With quick turnaround, Yanks opt to sit A-Rod
NEW YORK -- At 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Alex Rodriguez addressed the media for the first time since returning to Yankee Stadium. He talked about how "awesome" it was to be back in New York, how "amazing" it was to be back in front of the home crowd.
Twenty minutes later, the Yankees posted a lineup without his name on it.
After playing four games in five days since coming off the disabled list on Monday, the Yankees' third baseman is getting a day off against Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez. The start of Friday night's game was delayed 47 minutes and didn't end until almost midnight, so manager Joe Girardi decided to keep Rodriguez out of Saturday afternoon's lineup.
"It's a quick turnaround," Girardi said. "He's coming off an injury, and I'm just trying to manage it and keep him on the field the rest of the year."
Days off are part of Girardi's plan to keep the 38-year-old Rodriguez fresh coming off his second hip surgery. He also pulled Rodriguez in favor of a defensive replacement -- Jayson Nix -- to start the ninth inning on Friday.
Nix started at third base, batting eighth against Detroit on Saturday.
"It's a day-by-day [plan]," Girardi said. "If we don't have that late night, maybe I play him today. It would have been his first day game after a night game. I'm just trying to be proactive in this, and make sure we don't run him into the ground where he ends up hurting something else."
"I trust Joe," Rodriguez said. "He's going to do the best for me and for the team."
Rodriguez's first home game of the season on Friday brought a mixed reaction from the fans. The sellout crowd serenaded the controversial third baseman with a raucous mixture of cheers and boos each time he came up to bat.
Despite the mixed reaction, Rodriguez called Friday "a day I'll never forget."
"It was awesome. It was just an amazing experience," Rodriguez said. "The fans were incredible. Such great energy. Such a great response. It was pretty overwhelming. I was having a hard time keeping my emotions in check."
Rodriguez struggled on the emotional night, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Yankees' 4-3 walk-off win. Still, he said, Friday went "so much better than I ever dreamed of."
As for the booing, that's something he's already used to. He expects to hear that for the rest of the season, especially next weekend.
"Well, for the last 14 years, there's always been a mix," Rodriguez said. "Even Chicago was a mix. Boston is going to be a mix -- well, maybe Boston isn't going to be a mix. But I was overwhelmed."