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Thanks to lefties, Alex Rodriguez is back in lineup

New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez returns

New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez returns to the dugout after he pops out against the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning of an MLB baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, July 16, 2016. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Alex Rodriguez, barely visible in the lineup during the last two weeks of the first half, started a second straight game Saturday and likely will make it three straight Sunday night.

How long that lasts hasn’t been determined, and Joe Girardi indicated that the jump in DH opportunities for Rodriguez had more to do with Boston throwing lefthanders Saturday and Sunday than anything else.

“He’s been one of our better guys against lefthanded pitching,” Girardi said before Saturday’s game.

Boston started Eduardo Rodriguez on Saturday and will go with David Price on Sunday.

A-Rod did not distinguish himself Saturday, going 0-for-3 with a walk.

He hasn’t exactly been tearing it up against lefthanders, bringing a .267/.308/.483 slash line against lefties into Saturday’s game, but compared to his numbers against righthanders, those numbers are spectacular. Rodriguez, who turns 41 on July 27, came into the day with a .200/.237/.331 slash line against righties.

“I hope it gets him going. Obviously, that’s your hope,” Girardi said of Rodriguez playing three days in a row. “I’ve been playing him against lefthanders. Against righthanders, we had the issue with Carlos.”

That was a right hamstring problem that mostly kept Carlos Beltran out of rightfield and made him a DH during the last two weeks of the first half. In reality, however, the Yankees had temporarily pulled the plug on A-Rod vs. righthanders before that.

“I’m sure it’s hard,” Girardi said of Rodriguez essentially being a platoon player, and sometimes not even that, at this point of his career. “I think it’s hard for any player as you get older and things change. One of the things that makes great players great is their attitude and belief in themselves. And that becomes difficult when you’re older when you’re told you can’t do what you used to do.”

Speaking of Beltran

Beltran, 39, started a second straight game in rightfield Saturday, going 0-for-4.

Girardi said he probably wouldn’t play Beltran more than six or seven straight games in the field, but he liked what he saw Friday, when he got a few tests tracking balls down.

“He looked like he was moving better than he was before the break,” Girardi said.


Mark Teixeira, who fouled a 1-and-1 pitch off the instep of his left foot in the fourth inning, limped through the clubhouse after Saturday’s loss.

“It’s just sore,” Teixeira said. “We took X-rays, they’re all negative. They’re just sore.”

Teixeira, who stayed in the game and went 0-for-4, said “the goal” is for him to be in the lineup Sunday night.


The Yankees fell to 2-3 since Joe Girardi flipped Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner in the order and made Gardner the leadoff hitter. He homered and had two hits Saturday, but Ellsbury went 0-for-4.

“I think it’s too early to judge,” Girardi said before the game. “I like both of their at-bats. As I said, I’m not sure it’s going to make much of a difference because their numbers are really similar against righthanders. But I thought I’d try it and see how it worked.”

The Yankees have been outscored 33-25 in those games.

Gardner snapped a homerless stretch of 180 at-bats. He’s hitting .310 with 25 runs, 13 walks and 11 RBIs in his last 35 games.

Extra bases

Didi Gregorius went 1-for-3 with a double and is hitting .353 with seven homers, seven doubles, 20 runs and 20 RBIs in his last 26 games . . . Chase Headley went 1-for-3 with a homer, giving him five homers and 14 RBIs in his last 19 games.


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