Rodriguez admittedly tried to talk his way into the lineup, saying he "begged" Girardi to change his mind three times.
"And I went 0-for-3," Rodriguez said.
So Rodriguez started the game on the bench, which Girardi said was necessary because Rodriguez did not have a minor-league rehab assignment before rejoining the Yankees on Sunday. Rodriguez pinch hit in the seventh and grounded into a fielder's choice.
Rodriguez, who initially injured his left calf on Aug. 16, was on the disabled list from Aug. 21 until Sept. 6. He's 3-for-8 with a home run since he returned to the lineup.
"Having three weeks off and then going and playing two days without really doing a rehab, I just felt the one thing I don't want is him to be a little bit fatigued at this time and then go out and injure something," Girardi said. "We have to balance it."
Rodriguez said after batting practice he understood. "I think Joe's being cautious and being smart," Rodriguez said. "Obviously he's much smarter than I am. Because if it was up to me I'd go play 20 days in a row, be reckless, because I love to play."
Girardi added that Rodriguez may get at least another day off during the trip to Texas and Tampa Bay that begins Friday. "I would think when we get through that next day off [next Thursday] I should be able to play him six or seven days in a row."
Curtis Granderson was nominated as the Yankees' finalist for the Roberto Clemente Award, which honors a major leaguer annually for his charity work. Derek Jeter won it last year . . . Mark Teixeira was named AL player of the week.