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Alex Rodriguez, mired in slump, does not start vs. Mariners

New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez after

New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez after striking out against Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ on April 13, 2016. Photo Credit: AP / Nathan Denette

A day after saying he wasn’t going to “make too much” of Alex Rodriguez’s slow start, Joe Girardi did not have him in the starting lineup Friday night against Seattle righthander Nathan Karns.

Rodriguez had a .120/.267/.240 slash line through seven games and was hitless in his previous 14 at-bats.

“Just a day off,” Girardi said. “We got in pretty late last night. He hit the ball well, I thought, Tuesday in Toronto, but I just thought I’d give him a day off.”

“Ready to pinch hit,” Rodriguez said before the game. “I feel good . . . I easily could have had three or four hits in Toronto.”

For the 40-year-old A-Rod, however, every slump prompts questions not asked of a 30-year-old in a bad stretch, especially given the struggles he endured during the final two months of last season. The primary question: is this indicative of the end?

“It’s what hitters go through; you go through ups and downs,” Girardi said. “But when you’re 40, people are always going to question, is it his age? Let’s hope he comes out with three hits soon so I stop getting asked.”

Happy returns

Former Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is healthy this season — he battled a stomach ailment in 2015 — and it has showed, at least in his power numbers. He entered Friday night hitting .189 but had five homers. He did not hit his fifth homer in 2015 until July 1.

Cano said “it’s always going to be special” returning to the Bronx. “I played with a lot of Hall of Famers, superstars,” he said. “I’m always going to have a lot of good memories.”

Roster move

With the number of lefthanded hitters on the Mariners’ roster, the Yankees brought up lefthander Tyler Olson from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned righthander Luis Cessa.

“We thought adding another lefthander would be beneficial,” Girardi said. “I thought Cessa did a good job while he was here. He’ll go down and he will get built up [as a starter].”

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