Girardi benches A-Rod ... again

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez strikes out on a pitch in the dirt from Detroit Tigers starting...

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez strikes out on a pitch in the dirt from Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister (not shown) as Tigers catcher Gerald Laird reaches for the ball in the sixth inning during Game 1 of their MLB ALCS playoff baseball series in New York, October 13, 2012. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

NEW YORK - Another day, another instalment in the soap opera that is Alex Rodriguez’s October.

In the last four days, he has been booed mercilessly at Yankee Stadium, pinch-hit for, and benched in the biggest game of his team’s season to date.

Saturday, in the opening game of the American League Championship Series, manager Joe Girardi extended his beleaguered future Hall of Famer a lifeline. Even though what little production A-Rod has provided in his past 25 games has been against lefthanded pitching, there he was back in the lineup at third base, batting not in his customary third position but sixth against tough Detroit righthander Doug Fister.

“He struggled in the first round,” said manager Joe Girardi, “but this is a guy we know can do a lot of damage.”

Not Saturday, though. After an 0-for-3 night, including a strikeout with the bases loaded, Girardi had Eric Chavez pinch-hit for Rodriguez in the bottom of the eighth. He belted a long drive to centre but Detroit’s Austin Jackson made a fine running catch to turn it into a long, loud out.

With the dawn of a new series, Girardi seems prepared to have an open mind on not just A-Rod but all his struggling offensive players.

“I think, in a sense, everyone should press the re-set button,” he said. “Forget what happened yesterday. Forget what happened three days ago. We have to start fresh.

“We need this guy to be Alex. That’s the bottom line. If we want to make some noise, we need this guy to be Alex. I think he’s rarin’ to go.”


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