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Rodriguez: “Take small bites, and take it from there”

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[2]Since September 9, Alex Rodriguez has come to the plate 74 times. He’s had an extra-base hit exactly once. He’s drawn some walks, and he had that three-hit game over the weekend, but this is the Yankees No. 3 hitter and he’s basically a table-setter.

“Our objective is, we don’t care who does it, we just want to win games,” Rodriguez said. “Swing at strikes, and if they don’t pitch to us, pass the baton to the next guy. We have to trust our nine-man lineup. Not one guy here is going to (do it all). It’s not tennis or golf. Our job here is to take what they give us, take small bites, and take it from there.”

Small bites. That’s what Rodriguez has given the Yankees lately. He had two doubles and two homers in a span of four games earlier this month, and he actually hit .315/.367/.493 in the month of July, but he hasn’t been a run producer lately. That deep fly ball to center field last night, would have that gone out if Rodriguez had the same power as before?

“Sometimes he drives the ball better than others, but there have been some situations I know he’s been up where there’s been a runner at third and he’s just said, ‘I have to get the guy in,’” Joe Girardi said. “He’s done a good job of doing that. He drove a ball the other day to right-center, so maybe that’s a good sign.”

The Yankees lineup badly needs Rodriguez right now. Without Mark Teixeira — and with some of their lefties really struggling against left-handers — the Yankees need Rodriguez to bring some balance. They don’t necessarily need him to be an MVP again — that’s Cano’s job — but they need him to be productive.

“I think for the team, it’s real important,” Girardi said. “For him (as well). He had three hits in that 14-inning game, he had a couple hits or a hit the day before. I don’t know if that took a lot out of him or what happened in that situation, but that’s why I felt it was good to give him the day off (Wednesday). We do need to get him going. When he’s rolling, our lineup can be really potent.”

It’s not all on Rodriguez, but he certainly could make a big difference.

“I’m gonna go out and do the best I can, just like I did (last night),” he said. “You go out, you prepare, you leave it all out there. And that’s all you can do.”

Associated Press photo