Alex Rodriguez gets a rest -- and his first career pinch hit
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez, in the words of one opposing team scout, has looked "old and slow'' of late.
Joe Girardi doesn't necessarily agree and said Sunday's day off simply was a case of keeping the 38-year-old from having to play six straight days on turf. The Yankees start a three-game series in Toronto Monday night.
"Day game after a night game and six days in a row on turf, so I thought today might be a good day,'' Girardi said.
Rodriguez, who entered Sunday's game in a 1-for-15 skid, pinch hit for Chris Stewart in the 10th. He had been 0-for-14 as a pinch hitter in his career, but he lined Jamey Wright's 1-and-2 curveball into center for a leadoff single.
But Rodriguez was doubled off second later in the inning. Ichiro Suzuki scorched a liner into Wright's glove and A-Rod, frozen about 10 feet off the bag, was an easy out.
Girardi said he hopes to play A-Rod in all three games in Toronto but added: "We'll see how he's doing.''
Rodriguez is hitting .273 with two homers and six RBIs in 18 games since returning Aug. 5.
Girardi reiterated that Derek Jeter, who had been rehabbing with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, will join the Yankees on Monday. "That's the plan,'' he said. "I haven't heard anything different.''
Girardi said all the reports he heard regarding Jeter, on the DL since Aug. 5 with a right calf strain, were good. "He's played three days in a row. From everything I understand, he felt pretty good,'' he said.
In the five games Jeter played between DL stints, he talked about not yet running 100 percent to protect the quadriceps strain he suffered in his first game of the season July 11. "They said he ran under control when it was time,'' Girardi said. "That's not saying he can't run 100 percent, but I'll tell him, 'Be smart when you can be smart.' ''
When Jeter is activated, a pitcher likely will be sent down, with Preston Claiborne and David Huff the primary candidates . . . Robinson Cano went 3-for-3 with a homer against Rays starter Alex Cobb, improving to 7-for-19 with three homers against him . . . Evan Longoria hit his 28th homer. He has seven home runs in 16 games and 64 at-bats against the Yankees in 2013.