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A-Rod stressing one-day-at-a-time mantra

NEW YORK -- There was a calm confidence about Alex Rodriguez on Tuesday night in the Yankees' clubhouse considering the circumstances.

The Yankees had just come off a 10-4 loss at the hands of the Red Sox, their playoff hopes had been put on hold yet again and they were left needing the same playoff magic number they've had since Sunday night: 2.

Rodriguez himself had gone 0-for-4 against Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, yet the veteran slugger's demeanor suggested he was unfazed. And as one of the most experienced players in the clubhouse, Rodriguez is now hoping the Yankees as an entire team will relax as well.

"I think everyone's anticipating, and it's just important to keep it one day at a time, one pitch at time and one at-bat at a time," Rodriguez said. "And we've been doing that all year. Nothing's going to be easy, so this is very predictable. We've just got to come back and play good Yankee baseball, and we will."

Rodriguez said that despite the Yanks dropping their second consecutive game to the Red Sox in a four-game set that ends Thursday, he liked where the Yankees were as a whole. He indicated that this Red Sox team now is much better than it was in Spring Training and throughout the beginning of the summer, and that if the Yankees just take a deep breath, success will come naturally.

Rodriguez's sentiments echoed those of manager Joe Girardi, who minutes before had said that his team needs to not get too wrapped up in the ever-changing nature of the game.

"We lost a couple games in a row. Everyone was feeling pretty good over the weekend when we won three out of four [against the White Sox]," Girardi said. "Then you lose a couple in a row and that's the emotional roller coaster that as a manager and players you have to guard against, because you're going to go through streaks like that."

And so the Yanks' hopes for the playoffs will have to wait at least one more day. On Wednesday, they'll get their ace back in Masahiro Tanaka, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 18 due to a Grade 1 strained right hamstring.

Tanaka's return could help the Yanks immensely moving forward, but Rodriguez knows his team needs to stay even-keeled, as well.

Asked if he himself was relaxed, the designated hitter proved he was when he quipped back with a joke.

"I am, yeah," he said. "I just stunk today. Maybe too relaxed."

Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for
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