DETROIT – Alex Rodriguez was dropped from the Yankees’ starting lineup again Wednesday, this time with New York facing elimination and his future with the team still to be resolved.
Trailing 3-0 in the A.L. championship series against Detroit, the Yankees also benched slumping center fielder Curtis Granderson.
Rodriguez, only 3 for 23 in this postseason, was out of the lineup for the third time in New York’s nine playoff games. The star third baseman also has been pulled for a pinch hitter three times.
“We will go forward. Alex will go forward,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
“That doesn’t mean that he’s done, that he’s finished, that he is not capable. He is still a big threat, but for whatever reason right now we are adjusting to what we are seeing,” he said.
Whether the Yankees keep him on the bench or put him in another postseason game, “it doesn’t mean by doing so we’re not going to have to deal with legitimate questions,” Cashman said.
“That’s all for another day,” he said. “All we are concentrating on is the here and now and what is best for us today.”
The 37-year-old slugger with 647 career home runs didn’t like his seat in the dugout.
“I’m not happy about it. Obviously, you come to the ballpark feeling you can help the team win. When you see your name is not in the lineup, it’s obviously disappointing,” Rodriguez said before Game 4 on Wednesday night. “You’ve got to accept being a cheerleader and also make sure that you’re ready when you’re number’s called.”
While Rodriguez was surrounded by a pack of reporters on the field Wednesday, some Tigers looked on in bewilderment as Detroit took batting practice.
“I’ve played this game for a long time and bottom line is, anytime I’m in any lineup, I think that lineup is better. It has a better chance to win,” A-Rod said.
“I don’t care if it’s an All-Star Game. I feel I can bring that type of impact and I’m also at any point ready to break through. I thought my at-bats in some of those games got a little bit better. The last two, I hit two rockets. Anytime I’m in the box the game can change and everyone knows that,” he said.
The firestorm may not end any time soon. He has $114 million and five years remaining on his contract – and a no-trade clause.
General manager Brian Cashman shot down an Internet report that the Yankees had discussed dealing Rodriguez to the Miami Marlins in exchange for Heath Bell – a trade in which the Yanks would have to absorb a large portion of the $114 million base contract guaranteed A-Rod through 2017.
“I’ve had no trade discussions,” Cashman said. “So, (the report is) false. One-hundred percent.”
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