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Alex Rodriguez: 'I will be back -- on a mission' with Yankees next season

Alex Rodriguez warms up during batting practice before

Alex Rodriguez warms up during batting practice before Game 4 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Oct. 18, 2012. Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

DETROIT -- After it was over, after Alex Rodriguez was benched again and went 0-for-2 after entering Game 4 of the ALCS as a pinch hitter, there was really only one question to ask:

Does he expect to be a Yankee in 2013?

"I will be back," Rodriguez said Thursday night after the Yankees' 8-1 loss to the Tigers. "I have a lot to prove and I will be back -- on a mission."

Rodriguez finished the series with one single in nine at-bats. He was pinch hit for in Game 1 and did not start Games 3 and 4.

For the entire postseason, A-Rod was 3-for-25 (.120) with no extra-base hits or RBIs.

Not that his replacement at third base, Eric Chavez, did any better. Chavez struck out twice Thursday and was 0-for-16 in the playoffs with eight strikeouts.

But Chavez is not paid $29 million, as Rodriguez was this year. Chavez does not have five years and $114 million left on his contract. Chavez is not the center of attention, rightly or wrongly, for every move he makes on and off the field.

A-Rod is.

"It wasn't just him that didn't hit," manager Joe Girardi said. "If the other guys hit, one guy's struggles aren't going to show as much. But when you have so many guys struggling and you're Alex Rodriguez, he is going to be the one that people talk about the most."

Said general manager Brian Cashman: "I expect Alex to be here. I expect Alex to come back and be our third baseman. Things that happened here, I just don't think is reflective of Alex's abilities and I think that's true of a lot of the guys, not just Alex. We didn't shine at the most important part of the season."

Rodriguez, 37, has a full no-trade clause. Asked if he thought he had played his last game as a Yankee, he said: "No. I don't think so. I love New York City and I love everything about being a Yankee. The highs are very high and the lows are extremely low. There's no question the last few weeks were extremely difficult not only on me but all my teammates."

Does he need to have a meeting with Girardi and Cashman to clear the air?

"I don't think so," Rodriguez said. "Look, I know it was difficult for Joe. I know Joe didn't want to sit me. That's something that's not easy for him. If I do what I do, Joe doesn't have a choice, neither does Cashman, neither does anybody."

Rodriguez had his last, desperate chance to impact this series when he batted for Raul Ibañez in the sixth inning with the Yankees trailing 6-1 and two men on base. He flied out to centerfield against lefthander Drew Smyly.

In the ninth, Rodriguez grounded to short for the second out against lefthander Phil Coke. One batter later, the Yankees were done for 2012.

Said Rodriguez: "Terrible way for the season to end."

New York Sports