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A-Rod serves as DH for second straight game because of stiff neck

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees bats

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees bats against the Toronto Blue Jays. (July 17, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Alex Rodriguez made his second straight start at designated hitter because of a stiff neck in Tuesday night's 6-1 win over Toronto at the Stadium.

Manager Joe Girardi said he plans to play Rodriguez, who went 0-for-4 with an RBI, at third base in this afternoon's series finale. "I didn't even really check with him," Girardi said of how Rodriguez felt prior to Tuesday night's game. "I told him [Monday] night I'd probably DH him again [last night]. My plan is to play him in the field [today] and maybe DH [Derek Jeter].

Rodriguez was unavailable after the game but Girardi affirmed his intention to start Jeter at DH today.

Rodriguez originally was listed at third base in Monday's lineup but was switched to DH after batting practice because of what the team called "a stiff neck."

With the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh Tuesday night, Rodriguez sent a first-pitch liner over second base that scored Jeter, but Toronto second baseman Kelly Johnson corralled the ball and got Curtis Granderson on a force out at third. It was the 41st RBI of the season for Rodriguez, a career .342 hitter with the bases loaded with 23 grand slams but who is hitting just .154 (2-for-13) with one grand slam and seven RBIs with the bases loaded this season.

In the fifth, he worked the count full but flew out to deep left-center to end the inning.

Mark Teixeira was on second with one out in the third when Rodriguez lined a 2-and-2 pitch right at centerfielder Colby Rasmus.

With Jeter on first and two outs in the first, Rodriguez lined a 2-and-0 pitch to third baseman Brett Lawrie, whose throw pulled Edwin Encarnacion off the bag at first but he recovered in time to get Rodriguez to end the inning.

It was the team-leading 24th start at DH for Rodriguez, who turns 37 a week from Friday. The next highest on the Yankees are Eric Chavez and Raul Ibañez, both of whom have made 12 starts at DH.

Rodriguez is batting .344 with three home runs and 11 RBIs while at DH and .243 with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs while playing third base this season. After Sunday's 10-8 loss in which he went 2-for-5 with a home run and a pop-up with the bases loaded for the game's final out, Rodriguez said he did not read anything into the statistical discrepancy.

"I don't see anything to it," he said Sunday. "I love playing third base and I feel pretty good. My legs feel great."

New York Sports