Alex Rodriguez said before Thursday night's game that he is on a quest to regain the trust he's lost in the past few years. If fan reaction, Thursday night's surprising ascension in the lineup and his solo homer in the sixth inning are any indication, he's well on his way.
Rodriguez, who batted second as the DH, blasted rookie Daniel Norris' 1-and-0 fastball for his first home run and second hit of the season. His homer brought the Yankees to within 5-2.
A-Rod batted seventh in the first two games of the season, but Joe Girardi bumped him to Brett Gardner's spot Thursday night (it was just a rest day for Gardner, Girardi said).
It was an unexpected move for a 39-year-old who missed all of 2014 to suspension and most of 2013 to injury -- unexpected enough that even A-Rod was taken aback when he confirmed his spot after glancing at the lineup posted on the clubhouse door.
But Girardi said it was a decision he was comfortable with after seeing Rodriguez swing the bat in spring training and the first two games of the season.
"It's all about trust and you've gotta regain the trust every day," said Rodriguez, who said he learned about the change not from Girardi but from WFAN's Suzyn Waldman.
"Anything Skip wants me to do, I'm ready to do . . . Joe and I have a long history . . . and I think there's a lot of trust on both sides."
Girardi said he didn't know what to expect from A-Rod going into spring training, but "I always thought Alex's mechanics have been very good, which gives him a better shot in those instances when you've been out a long time. Your timing comes back quicker, but he's done really well."
Murphy in, McCann sits
J.R. Murphy made his first start at catcher and batted seventh in what Girardi called a rest day for Brian McCann. Girardi said he doesn't plan to rotate his catchers based on who is pitching, but rather, "I think I'll try to rotate it based on when Mac needs a day . . . I chose to [play Murphy] tonight. I could've done it tomorrow, too."