DETROIT - Don't look for Alex Rodriguez to be displaced from the three-hole anytime soon. "It was hard to ignore what Alex was doing," Joe Girardi said Monday.

Girardi batted A-Rod third on Saturday and Sunday in St. Petersburg against the Rays, but he said that was only because Carlos Beltran was out with an illness. But when Beltran returned Monday night, he found himself batting fifth.

"Alex has been playing great," Girardi said. "He's getting on base, he's doing everything that you want, so I just flip-flopped them for now."

Beltran has a .184/.238/.289 slash line with no homers and six RBIs. A-Rod entered action Monday night leading the Yankees in average (.316), on-base percentage (.447), slugging percentage (.711), homers (four) and RBIs (11).

"It's impressive what he's done," Girardi said. "If he was 25, it would be impressive what he's done. When you look at the home runs, the RBIs, the average, at any age it's impressive. But I think when you start talking about a guy that's 391/2 and has had two hip surgeries and missed a couple years basically, it's not easy."

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Won't skip Tanaka

Girardi toyed with the idea of giving Masahiro Tanaka an extra day during this next turn through the rotation but decided against it, choosing to start him Thursday on regular rest. That Tanaka threw only 85 pitches Saturday night played a role.

"We just felt because of the number of pitches that he threw and how he looked, it's probably a good thing to do," Girardi said. Tanaka likely will get the extra day the next time through the rotation.

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The Yankees' bullpen entered Monday tied with the Dodgers for the MLB lead with 50 strikeouts.