As anticipated, Alex Rodriguez will be in the lineup for the Yankees tonight in the second game of a three-game World Series rematch with the Phillies.
And as expected Rodriguez will be the designated hitter. Yankees manager Joe Girardi slotted Rodriguez in the clean-up spot for tonight’s game.
Girardi said he will not change his decision on putting Rodriguiez at DH today, no matter what he sees out of him at third base this afternoon in batting practice. Girardi harped on the fact that the Yankees staff and Rodriguez felt the third baseman was "explosive" enough to play DH tonight. But he didn’t exhibit the lateral movement necessary to play at third. The Yankees manager said that Tuesday he saw Rodriguez only take BP. He did not see the third baseman field groundballs.
"We watched him take groundballs yesterday and we just didn’t think that he had the lateral movement that we wanted to see," Girardi said. "And he is going to do it again today, and if he can get better today we’ll ease him back to it."
Girardi said he doesn’t have a definitive date for Rodriguez’s return to third. Rodriguez missed the last five games for the Yankees due to tendinitis in his right hip flexor. He missed last nights 8-3 win over the Phillies and last week’s series against the Astros.
After Girardi’s presser Rodriguez made his way out to the Yankee Stadium field and went through workouts with a Yankee’s trainer for roughly ten minutes. Rodriguez ran back and forth twenty yards in short right field backpedaling and running straightforward. There was no lateral movement for Rodriguez in those drills, or when he shifted to third to field groundballs for just over five minutes. Rodriguez was out on the field for twenty minutes before returning to the Yankees dugout. He then took several turns at batting practice starting just before 5 p.m.
"It depends on how he looks today taking groundballs," Girardi said in his presser prior to Rodriguez taking the field. "That’s what I have to do everyday."
"There seems to be a lot more interest when it's Alex," Girardi said. "They want updates every couple of hours. But I evaluate all 25 players the same. We’re trying to keep all 25 guys healthy."
When asked if he was worried about Rodriguez’s explosiveness when coming out of the batters box as DH Wednesday, Girardi maintained that he, Rodriguez and his staff felt he would be fine physically in the DH role. Everyone involved was worried about lateral movement. Girardi even said that Rodriguez could take a heating pad out with him while batting tonight if need be.
"He felt that he had the explosiveness hitting," Girardi said. "Yesterday he felt that he wasn’t quite ready to make the lateral movements it takes to play third base. We’ll evaluate him tomorrow."