NEW YORK - After being lifted for a pinch-hitter in each of the last two games of the American League Division Series, Alex Rodriguez is out of the starting lineup for the New York Yankees in the decisive Game 5 against the Baltimore Orioles.
Rodriguez is only 2-for-16 with a pair of singles and nine strikeouts in the first four games of the series. The right-handed slugger has especially struggled in clutch situations.
Curtis Granderson, just 1-for-16 with nine strikeouts in the series, is still in the lineup. The lefty-swinging centre fielder led the Yankees with 43 homers and 106 RBI during the regular season.
Baltimore is starting right-hander Jason Hammel on Friday.
Eric Chavez will start at third base and will bat ninth, while Raul Ibanez will be the designated hitter and will bat fifth. Both pinch-hit for Rodriguez earlier this week.
"It's been a struggle (for Rodriguez) against the right-handers," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi before Friday's game. "It was a tough decision, but I felt with the struggles that he's had, I just felt I'd go with (Eric Chavez)."
Rodriguez was the designated hitter in Game 3 on Wednesday and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning with the Yankees trailing by a run. Ibanez delivered with the game-tying home run -- then a subsequent 12th-inning winning homer -- in a 3-2 Yankees victory.
In Game 4 on Thursday, Chavez came in as a pinch-hitter for Rodriguez in the 13th inning and lined out for the final out of a 2-1 Baltimore win. Rodriguez had a walk and a hit in his first two plate appearances Thursday, then struck out in the sixth with a runner aboard and fanned again in the eighth with the go-ahead run on third and one out. He also grounded out to short to open the 11th.
Derek Jeter, bothered by a bone bruise on his foot, is back at shortstop after a stint as the designated hitter on Thursday.