Back to the Future for Yanks
A-Rod scores when
it doesn't matter
(Photos by Gary Quintal)
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, APRIL 10- Alex Rodriguez took his trip around the bases in the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium Thursday evening. The home run to deep left was so reminiscent of the many that have put him fifth on baseballs all-time list, though being in that company of an all-time great home run leader can be disputed due to his history of using performance enhancing drugs.
But the controversial days of dealing with the A-Rod
steroid saga are over. That home run that gave the Yankees a lone run would not factor in the Yankees 6-3 series finale loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, however it was closure as to being away from the game all of last year from his 162-game suspension.
“I felt like I needed a Google map to run the bases, it's been so long," Rodriguez said. "Anything I can do this year is going to be a surprise, even for me." And for the Yankees, a team with an anemic offense in their first three games, any home run from Rodriguez at this juncture is a blessing. It was his first home run since September 20, 2013 which explained the reference to a google map.
Manager Joe Girardi at this point will also take whatever he can get from the bat of Rodriguez who batted second in the order and once again off the bench at DH. The Yankees are struggling at the plate, as was the situation most of last year. In their first three games they are 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position and went 1-for-9 in the finale.
Said Girardi about the Rodriguez home run, “If he drives the ball that’s a good sign for us. We need that production from him.” The 655th career home run was also significant because he is five shy of becoming fourth on the all-time list and joining Willie Mays. That would also mean cashing in the first of five $6 million bonus checks that the Yankees are supposed to pay under his 10-year $275 million contract.
Of course if that occurs, it is expected the Yankees will dispute the bonus based on the steroid history and drama A-Rod caused with management. That will be left for another time if indeed it happens. In the meantime Girardi will keep him in the lineup and hope for the best.
THE GAME: CC Sabathia (0-1) got the loss allowing five runs in 5.2 innings. The velocity of his fastball was down but he struck out eight Blue Jays without issuing a walk. He allowed the Jays four straight singles that led to runs in the second inning after two strikeouts in the first.
“I thought he threw the ball a lot better than what it looked like,” commented Girardi. "If he''s going to be hit that hard every time he starts I'll take it because he's not going to give up that many runs in most games. But it was just one of those nights."
Next for the Yankees are three games starting Friday night with the Boston Red Sox including the Sunday night ESPN game that concludes their first home stand of the season.
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