'A-Rod Rules' at discretion of club, star
Mending Yanks slugger to rest right hip periodically
NEW YORK -- In 2007 and parts of '08, the Yankees had to deal with the "Joba Rules," dictating when and how often Joba Chamberlain was allowed pitch. The guidelines for how Alex Rodriguez can be used for the next couple weeks may not be quite as strict, but they certainly are vague.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday that Rodriguez will be given at least one day off and potentially more during the team's 13-game stretch leading up to the All-Star break. It is likely Rodriguez will also be used as a designated hitter on occasion, as he continues to battle back from right hip surgery.
So even though it seems clear exactly how Rodriguez will be utilized, it may not be that simple. Girardi did not offer a roadmap outlining exactly when Rodriguez will receive this promised downtime, instead presenting several scenarios.
"I will probably give him a day off in Minnesota, for sure, and DH him a day during the week and maybe even DH him two days during this week," Girardi said. The Yankees take on the Twins from July 7-9.
Beyond that, Girardi would not specify when the off-days will come. He suggested it is possible Rodriguez gets a day during the current homestand against the Mariners or Blue Jays, but also gave a scenario in which Rodriguez gets two days off in Minnesota on the synthetic-surface field, which is notoriously tough on the body.
Instead of planning everything in advance, Girardi said he will make his decisions based on watching and speaking with Rodriguez.
The decision to limit Rodriguez's playing time stems back to the last road trip, when the Yankees announced they would give Rodriguez one day off each week until the All-Star break. Those particular plans appear to have been abandoned, but Girardi rested Rodriguez on two consecutive days in Florida, when he was mired in a brutal hitting slump.
Upon returning, Rodriguez looked like a different player. His range of motion at third base was considerably better, and he began hitting as well as he has all year. Since the time off in Miami, Rodriguez has gone 8-for-23 (.348) with two home runs and 11 RBIs.
"When we look at it, it looks like they helped him those couple days off," Girardi said. "Could that be exactly it? It's hard to say. We all knew whether Alex got rest or not, he was going to come out of it. He's too good a player not to come out of it."
The Yankees will be especially cautious with Rodriguez, considering the status of other players around the league trying to recover from a similar injury. Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday because of fluid that had surfaced in his surgically repaired right hip.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Royals third baseman Alex Gordon have also had right hip trouble recently.
Nevertheless, Girardi is confident Rodriguez won't have the same setback.
"I'm pretty comfortable with where we are with Alex," Girardi said. "The one thing about Alex's hip surgery is that he wasn't in as much pain -- I don't know if you want to say it wasn't as serious -- but he didn't seem to have the deterioration that Mike Lowell had. I think you have to take that into account."
Jared Diamond is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.