Alex Rodriguez again leaves for pinch hitter

Alex Rodriguez strikes out in the eighth inning Alex Rodriguez strikes out in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles. (Oct. 11, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Once again, Alex Rodriguez and his 647 home runs were removed for a pinch hitter by Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

This time it didn't work out.

Eric Chavez, batting for A-Rod against Orioles closer Jim Johnson in the 13th inning Thursday night, made the final out of the Yankees' 2-1 loss in Game 4 of the ALDS.

Chavez's line drive to third baseman Manny Machado ended a night of frustration for the Yankees' offense.

On Wednesday night, Girardi sent up Raul Ibañez to bat for Rodriguez in the ninth inning, and Ibañez hit a tying home run off Johnson. Ibañez also hit the winning home run in the 12th.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Girardi had no such magic Thursday night, though. With the Orioles starting righthander Jason Hammel Friday, it's not even a guarantee that Rodriguez will be in the starting lineup for the deciding game.

Rodriguez went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts, including a crucial one in the eighth when the Yankees had a golden chance to take the lead. Rodriguez is 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts in the series.

"I always tell you I look at -- go home and study the pitcher," Girardi said when asked if he plans to sit A-Rod in Game 5. "I know our guys, and I'll make decisions [Friday]. We play a little earlier [5:07 p.m.], so I'll have to study a little bit sooner, but I'll make decisions."

Rodriguez said he "absolutely" expects to start Friday.

Of being removed for a pinch hitter for the second straight night, Rodriguez said: "Same thing. Chavez had a good at-bat. He hit the ball hard to Machado at third. Just trying to string good at-bats together to win the game."

A-Rod had the key at-bat in the game. If he had come through, the Yankees would have taken a lead to the ninth inning with a chance to advance to the ALCS.

The Yankees had runners on second and third with one out in a 1-1 game when Orioles manager Buck Showalter brought in sidewinder Darren O'Day to face A-Rod. He struck him out and got Nick Swisher to fly out to right to end the inning.

"I'm thinking, 'Get one run in at least,' " Rodriguez said. " 'Get a ball into the outfield and give us a one-run lead.' "

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Girardi could have sent up Ibañez or Chavez at that point to bat for Rodriguez. He said he didn't because he thought Showalter would have walked the pinch hitter intentionally.

You also may be interested in: