SAN DIEGO -- Alex Rodriguez has vowed that he still has a lot left to offer the Yankees, and after notching three hits in his last two games, the designated hitter is doubling down on that statement.Rodriguez came off the bench to deliver a ninth-inning RBI single in the Yankees'
SAN DIEGO -- Alex Rodriguez has vowed that he still has a lot left to offer the Yankees, and after notching three hits in his last two games, the designated hitter is doubling down on that statement.
Rodriguez came off the bench to deliver a ninth-inning RBI single in the Yankees' 7-6 loss to the Padres on Friday, marking his 3,110th career hit, tying Dave Winfield for 19th place all-time. Coincidentally, Winfield was present at Petco Park to witness the knock, and Rodriguez is taking pride in his recent accomplishments.
"First of all, I'm working my [tail] off every day," Rodriguez said. "I'm going to be relentless about my work ethic. I have a lot of conviction. I think I'm going to do a lot of damage to help this team win a lot of games this year.
"I'm working very hard with [hitting coaches] Alan [Cockrell] and Marcus [Thames]. I think over the last week or so, we've gained some good ground, and I think for the last 14 or 15 at-bats, my at-bats have been more professional. I'm swinging at strikes and just making better contact overall."
Rodriguez was bypassed twice during the Yankees' series at home this week against the Rangers when the club faced right-handed pitching, with the Yankees believing that having Aaron Hicks in right field and Carlos Beltran as the designated hitter allowed them to field a more competitive lineup.
"He's gotten some hits," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The tricky thing is when Carlos comes back; how he's feeling and always wanting to keep his bat in the lineup. But Alex has gotten some hits."
Though the Yankees were ready to use Rodriguez at third base had there been a bottom of the ninth inning on Friday, Girardi said they do not see regular defensive duty as a way to keep Rodriguez's bat in the lineup.
"No, I don't think so," Girardi said. "That's an emergency thing and that's what we were in. My other option was [catcher Austin] Romine and I didn't want to use my last player, so I was going to stick him there because Al's obviously played there."
General manager Brian Cashman has flatly stated that zero consideration has been given to releasing Rodriguez and eating the remainder of his contract. Rodriguez is earning $20 million both this season and next.
In 48 games, Rodriguez has batted .223 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs, including just a .583 OPS against right-handed pitching. He insists there is more to offer, and Rodriguez said that he has been trying to use outside negativity as motivation.
"I get excited. I love to play. I love the challenge," Rodriguez said. "It's not the first time that people have said, 'He can't do this' or 'He can't do that.' I'm going to continue to work my [tail] off day in and day out. I'm excited about the opportunity. I'm excited about the challenge. I think I'm going to do a lot of damage. And look, there's no question I think our team is best when I'm in the middle of the lineup producing."
• Outfielder Mason Williams has started a Minor League rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Yankees (rookie ball). Williams, the Yankees' No. 16 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, had season-ending surgery on his right shoulder last August. He was injured diving back into first base last June 19 against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.