Crush and do damage. That’s become a go-to phrase for Alex Rodriguez, and in the month of July, he was actually doing those two things. In the 11 games before he broke his hand in Seattle, Rodriguez was hitting .349/.391/.581 with two home runs and four doubles. He’d been one of the very few Yankees to actually hit during that four-game sweep in Oakland.
“I think for the first time all year I had a pretty good run for 10 days,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been working hard on the same things that I had going on (back then), and hopefully I can just pick up where I left off.”
Obviously the Yankees need to get Mark Teixeira healthy again, and they need Curtis Granderson to rediscover the consistency that’s been missing in the second half, but the lineup really isn’t complete without Rodriguez.
“You just have to think big picture, and when I come back I want to come back full strength and make sure I’m a force in the middle of this lineup and help this team win,” he said. “Hopefully give us a shot in the arm. You’ve seen what happened with a lot of the guys in the American League.”
David Ortiz tried to come back too early. So did Jose Bautista. The Yankees have given Rodriguez time to make sure his broken left hand is 100 percent. He’s started taking batting practice again, and there are two reasons he expects to be better this September than last September:
1. This year’s DL stint wasn’t because of a leg injury. He’s been able to keep his legs in shape the past month. A lot of hitting is in the legs.
2. That fluke thumb injury really cost him last season. “My plan is, I don’t want him to hurt his thumb this year,” Joe Girardi said.
It’s not enough to get Rodriguez off the disabled list. The Yankees need him to come off the disabled list and be productive. Especially against left-handers, a productive Rodriguez and a powerful Teixeira will change this lineup significantly. Crush and do damage. That’s the key.
“I think my legs are coming,” Rodriguez said. “I see light at the end of the tunnel. My expectation is to come back and come back at full strength to help this team win.”
Associated Press photo