Joe Girardi tried to soften blow for Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez talks with manager Joe Girardi before

Alex Rodriguez talks with manager Joe Girardi before Game 1 of the ALCS. (Oct. 13, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

DETROIT -- Joe Girardi didn't have a problem sitting Alex Rodriguez at various points during the postseason. But he did try to soften the blow.

Girardi, in an incident first reported by cbssports.com Friday night, called the Yankee Stadium pressbox before pinch hitting for A-Rod in ALDS Game 3, requesting that only pinch hitter Raul Ibañez be announced to the crowd. It seemingly was an attempt to spare the besieged third baseman's feelings. Typical Yankee Stadium protocol is for public address announcer Paul Olden to announce both the pinch hitter and the player whom he is replacing.

After batting for A-Rod, Ibañez hit a tying homer, then won the game in the 12th inning with another homer.

Rodriguez went 3-for-25 in the postseason. He also created some off-the-field news when he got caught trying to secure the phone numbers of two women seated behind the Yankees' dugout during ALCS Game 1.

A person familiar with the team's thinking said A-Rod, 37, needs to come to terms with what he is now as a player, not what he once was. "If he gets his arms around that, he can still be very, very good," the person said.

But the team's sense is "he can't come to grips that he's not a 50-home-run guy anymore."

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