Every once in a while, spring training numbers matter. Most of the time, they don’t. Freddy Garcia has been terrific this spring, and it might have been enough to earn him a spot in the rotation even without the Michael Pineda injury, but CC Sabathia has struggled, and the Yankees are still expecting him to be as good as ever on Opening Day. Doug Bernier opened some eyes this spring, but the Yankees looked the other way when Raul Ibanez got off to a rough start. Good numbers built some confidence in Clay Rapada, but good numbers still left Zoilo Almonte as one of the first players sent to minor league camp.
As you can guess, Alex Rodriguez falls in the “don’t” category.
“I never think of numbers,” Rodriguez said. “Numbers are never really what you focus on, you focus on, at this point in my career, how my body feels, how I’m reacting, how I’m seeing the baseball. Overall, I feel very good and I’m happy with the way I feel, and happy with the way the team’s played. And we’re ready to roll.”
Ready to roll is the key. When he was healthy early last season, Rodriguez was ready to play and ready to produce. As soon as he hurt his knee, his power disappeared and the production declined. He hasn’t played in more than 138 games since 2007, and last year he played in a career-low 99.
How many games is he hoping to play this year?
“The number’s not 99, that’s for sure,” Rodriguez said. “We want to get into playing a lot of games, being productive, and being a force in the middle of the lineup. I’m not going to throw out any numbers. April 1, predicting a big number here isn’t going to do anyone any good, but (it’s worth) focusing on going out and being productive and helping the team win.”
Spring training is strictly preparation for Rodriguez, and with Opening Day less than a week away, he seems prepared. The key is to stay that way, and that means staying healthy.
“I feel better about what I’m doing right now,” he said. “I have a lot more certainty. I have a more clear goal of what I want out of my workouts and I feel good.”
Associated Press photo