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Joe Girardi doesn't rule out dropping A-Rod in order

Alex Rodriguez swings and misses during an at-bat

Alex Rodriguez swings and misses during an at-bat against the Baltimore Orioles in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. (Oct. 8, 2012) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Joe Girardi Tuesday didn't outright dismiss the idea of moving Alex Rodriguez from the three-hole after an ineffective first two games of the ALDS, and indications are it's a step he's considering, at the very least.

The Yankees manager avoided answering the question directly -- he was being pragmatic, because there was nothing to gain -- in a way that would have made Mitt Romney or Barack Obama proud.

"I think that we're going to do whatever it takes to win this three-game series," Girardi said on a conference call when asked if any lineup changes could involve A-Rod.

"Nothing we do will be something that is just a knee-jerk reaction. You know, we talk about different things, whether it's a pitching change or pitching situations. We know, the great thing about this is I have a great group of guys that's very unselfish, and they really want to win. And that's what we're going to do, what we think is best to win."

Game 3 of the ALDS, tied at one game, is Wednesday night at the Stadium. Hiroki Kuroda, 11-6 with a 2.72 ERA this season at home compared with 5-5, 4.23 on the road, will oppose Orioles righthander Miguel Gonzalez (9-4, 3.25 ERA).

"He seems to know how to pitch to our ballpark, and that could have something to do with it," Girardi said of Kuroda, who threw a career-high 219 2/3 innings. "It's one of the reasons that we talked about him pitching at home, plus we thought the extra rest would really help him, the couple days, instead of him having to go on his fifth day again."

Neither team worked out Tuesday and instead recovered from train problems in Baltimore that inconvenienced thousands of travelers. Most of the off-day discussion had to do with A-Rod's spot in the lineup.

Girardi's answers on the topic Tuesday were a stark contrast to those given after the Yankees' 3-2 loss in Game 2.

"Right now, I don't plan on having any changes to our lineup,'' Girardi said Monday night. "You look at it, [Rodriguez] squared two balls up tonight. You look at the ball he hit in the first inning, he squared it up. And then he had the other hard single. Right now, I don't have any plans to make any changes.''

Rodriguez went 1-for-9 with one walk and five strikeouts in the first two games, including 1-for-5 with two strikeouts in Game 2, when he stranded three runners. He was, as Girardi pointed out, robbed of a hit in the first inning when second baseman Robert Andino made a diving catch to his right on a low line drive, turning it into a double play.

"You can't get frustrated," Rodriguez said after Game 2. "I'm going to keep attacking."

Blaming Rodriguez solely is foolhardy, of course, because the Yankees' offensive failures in Game 2 were a collective effort. They went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10.

The Yankees enter Game 3 with the knowledge they very well could be up 2-0 in the series. Of course, the Orioles had the would-haves, could-haves on their minds after their Game 1 loss, when they went 2-for-9 with RISP and stranded seven.

"That's part of it when you get in those tight games, you don't want to miss those opportunities," Girardi said. "But they could say the same thing in the first game. I don't really think about it that much. We had a chance to win that game. We didn't get it done."

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