After Alex Rodriguez’s Sunday announcement that he would retire following Friday’s game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi made it sound like Rodriguez would get to go out on at least some of his terms—that is, swinging. Except Girardi didn’t play Rodriguez on Sunday. Or on Tuesday. Or start him last night. Rodriguez did get in, though, and got just the reaction from the Fenway crowd he could have hoped for.
This sucks, because the Yankees aren’t playing for anything (besides a better draft position) and why not give A-Rod a few last games, for both entertainment and sentimental value? But instead, there was Girardi again, before last night’s game, apologizing...for making it sound like he was going to be writing Rodriguez’s name on any lineup cards.
“I got caught up in my emotions, and I apologize for that, OK?” Girardi said Wednesday. “I made a mistake. I’m human. But I told you what I was trying to do. And when I was asked the other questions, I’m aware of what my quotes were, that there would be conversations, and I would try to get him in every game. I said that. But what I’m saying is I made a mistake. And I’m admitting that. And I’m admitting that to everyone who’s watching because I have a responsibility and I’m trying to take care of my responsibility.”
Rodriguez came on as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning for Aaron Hicks (batting .191), and his appearance on deck garnered a reaction that wasn’t entirely boos—though it did look like there were a number of Yankees fans in attendance. His walk to the plate before flying out, however, was a solid wall of boos, though even that felt good-natured.
(Click here to watch on mobile)
Girardi acknowledged that this fight over playing time in A-Rod’s final week may strain their relationship in the short term, but defended his personnel decisions by saying “My job description does not entail a farewell tour. My job description is to try to win every game and to put everyone in the best possible position to do that.” A little recent history put the lie to that:
When Jeter’s farewell tour was brought up yesterday, Girardi claimed he didn’t have any better options in 2014. That was about as true then as it is for A-Rod now, but all of a sudden Girardi has discovered value in giving at-bats to young guys to let them scuffle and learn, rather than give in to sentiment.
Rodriguez is making the most of his dwindling bench time as a player, however. The Yankees rode a five-run seventh inning to an eventual 9-4 win over Boston, and the capper in that seventh was a go-ahead two-run double from Starlin Castro. Castro gave the credit to Rodriguez for scouting reliever Junichi Tazawa.
“I asked him about the pitcher and he said, ‘Be ready for a curveball on the first pitch,’” Castro said. “He was so happy in the dugout when I looked in there after the double. He told me to be ready for the first-pitch curve and I was. If he didn’t tell me that, I would have taken that pitch because I would have been looking for something harder.”
After his retirement following Friday’s game (in which you would assume he will start, but you never know!), Rodriguez will remain with the Yankees as a “special advisor and instructor.” If Joe Girardi indeed wants to try to win every game, he’ll find a way to keep Rodriguez in the dugout.