MIAMI - That he wasn't slated to start either game here, hence giving him almost no chance to collect his 3,000th career hit, did nothing to dampen Alex Rodriguez's enthusiasm for this two-day return to his hometown.
"It's always great to be back home," said Rodriguez, whose two daughters, Natasha and Ella, were among a big group of family and friends of his in attendance Monday. "Obviously, I'm excited."
With the Yankees playing in a National League park, meaning no designated hitter, Joe Girardi chose to sit the 39-year-old Rodriguez, just as he did last month for a two-game series in Washington. Rodriguez pinch hit in the ninth and flied out to rightfield to end the game.
Rodriguez, who has 2,995 career hits, said Sunday in Baltimore the extra rest in Washington, even though he pinch hit both games, helped him.
He reiterated that he has no issues with sitting.
"Joe knows what he's doing," said A-Rod, hitting .267 with a .500 slugging percentage, 12 homers and 32 RBIs this season. "I'll be ready to pinch hit."
Girardi said he was not tempted to start Rodriguez in the field for his homecoming.
"It's what we've been doing all year," Girardi said. "He's fallen into being really comfortable in the DH role and sometimes two days off helps a player. So there was no thought of that."
Garrett Jones started a second straight day in right as Carlos Beltran deals with a slight tweak in his right hamstring, Girardi said.
"I was sore," Beltran said. "I should be good tomorrow."
In a quirk of scheduling, two players who were part of a trade for each other, will square off Tuesday night when Nathan Eovaldi (5-1, 4.13) takes on David Phelps (3-3, 4.11). "It's going to be fun," said Phelps, who had breakfast Monday morning with the Yankees' Adam Warren . . . Jacoby Ellsbury (sprained right knee) took BP for the first time during his rehab Monday.