TORONTO — Alex Rod riguez’s start in 2016 has looked similar to his 2015 finish. A-Rod, who slumped the final two months of last season, went 0-for-3 Thursday night, leaving him at 3-for-25 with one homer, two RBIs and a slash line of .120/.267/.240.
“I feel great,” he said afterward. “I was very happy today with my swings. Swing at strikes in the strike zone. Results weren’t good, but a much better approach today.”
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Joe Girardi said he won’t overreact to the 40-year-old’s April, but he acknowledged that it’s only natural that when a player of a certain age slumps, the is-he-done questions are going to come. “When you’re 40, you’re going to be asked those questions,” he said. “And when you’re expected to produce and you’re 40, you’re going to be asked those questions even more.”
Girardi said Rod riguez, who led the Yankees with 33 homers last season but posted a .191/.300/.377 slash line in the final two months, has had some “bad luck.”
“He hit three balls on the screws the other day [Tuesday night] and didn’t have much to show for it,” he said. “I’m not making too much of it [the start] because it’s not that many at-bats.”
Brian McCann, forced from Tuesday night’s game after taking a foul ball off his left big toe and kept out of Wednesday night’s game, went 1-for-4 Thursday night. “There’s a little concern there and I’m going to watch him closely,” Girardi said. “But he came in today with a little hop in his step and said he felt pretty good. So that kind of told me he was ready to go.”
Gardy takes a tumble
Brett Gardner had a decent-sized red mark on the back of his head after catching a third-inning foul ball by Ryan Goins that carried him into the stands.
Gardner, who figured he landed on a seat or on the concrete floor, was not surprised that no one tried to brace his fall.
“From the things they usually say to me over there, I wouldn’t expect them to help me out,” he said with a smile. “Hit the back of my head on something, but I’m fine.”
Ivan Nova pitched four scoreless innings in his first relief appearance of the season April 6 against Houston but not nearly as well in his second on Wednesday night. Inserted in the eighth with the Yankees trailing 3-2, he allowed four runs.
Nova, who entered the season with no relief appearances since 2013, said unfamiliarity with the role was no excuse. “I was just bad,” he said. “If you’re starting and you don’t make your pitches, you’re going to get hit.”