It was hard to ignore the boos last night, especially on an eighth-inning groundout immediately after Mark Teixeira had tied the game with a three-run homer. Alex Rodriguez took an 0-for-4, and the crowd at Yankee Stadium let him hear about it.
“Alex understands,” Joe Girardi said. “They just want him to be productive and get a base hit every time and put up big numbers. That’s what he wants to do. I think a lot of times players are more critical of themselves than others, so I think they expect it sometimes.”
Rodriguez is hitting .265/.353/.430 this season. His low batting average comes with a pretty good on-base percentage, but it’s the lack of power that really stands out. One of the game’s great all-time power hitters is slugging less than five-home-run Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.
Is it time to think about dumping Rodriguez from the heart of the order?
“We’re not at that point yet,” Girardi said. “We’ve hit him third against right-handers. He’s been getting on base and he’s scoring runs for us. We’ve hit him fourth against lefties. Until last night I think he was hitting .290 against lefties and seven of his home runs I think were off left-handers. He had a tough night last night, but that doesn’t mean he won’t bounce back and put up a big day today, and then you talk about what a great day he had.”
Against lefties Rodriguez is hitting .280/.390/.530. That’s tremendous. Against right-handers — like the one the Yankees face today — he’s hitting .258/.335/.383. That’s basically Kelly Johnson-level production from the Yankees No. 3 hitter. To be clear, I’m not sure a slight batting order shift makes enough run-scoring difference to be worth the distraction of dumping Rodriguez to the bottom of the order. But I’m also not sure how much longer the Yankees can hope that Rodriguez will become the hitter he once was.
“I don’t think it’s unfair to say he’s going to have a seven or eight home run month,” Girardi said. “I really don’t.”
• CC Sabathia felt no pain after yesterday’s simulated game and remains on track to throw a bullpen tomorrow and come off the disabled list on Tuesday. “As long as we don’t have any setbacks, which I don’t anticipate, we should be ready to go,” Sabathia said.
• Standard day game after a night game for Russell Martin. Girardi said he made the decision last night that Chris Stewart would start today. Martin’s big game wasn’t enough to change that decision. “It’s a quick turnaround (and)it’s hot,” Girardi said.
• Joba Chamberlain has already pitched his two innings in the Gulf Coast League today. He struck out two and allowed his only baserunner on an error. Girardi had no idea the game had already started. “How many pitches?” Girardi asked. “He didn’t tweet it yet?”
• Austin Romine was the No. 3 hitter and designated hitter in that game.
• Girardi said he hasn’t been surprised by the turnaround of today’s starter, Freddy Garcia. “I think we were a little more surprised when he struggled out of the gate because of what we saw from him last year and how he pitched for us,” Girardi said. “He just went through a tough month of April, but he’s bounced back and given us two really good starts.”
Associated Press photos