Cautious Yanks give A-Rod half-day off
Girardi lets third baseman pinch-hit despite recent calf injury
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez was held out of the starting lineup in the Yankees' 6-2 loss to Orioles on Tuesday after playing back-to-back games upon coming off the disabled list, but the star third baseman made an appearance as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning. With runners on the corners and the Yankees trailing by four runs, A-Rod hit a sharp fielder's-choice liner.
Rodriguez missed 14 games with a strained left calf before being activated on Sunday, and he said that he'd lobbied to be permitted to get into a third straight contest.
"I wish I could [start]," Rodriguez said on Tuesday. "I pleaded my case long and hard last night, again this morning, again this afternoon. I went 0-for-3."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that because Rodriguez did not have a Minor League rehabilitation assignment, offering the third baseman some rest so quickly was important.
"If he had only taken five or six days off, he would have been in there today," Girardi said. "Having three weeks off and then playing two days without doing a rehab [stint], I just felt like the one thing I don't want is him to be a little fatigued at this point in time and injure something."
Rodriguez is 3-for-7 with a home run and three RBIs in two games -- both Yankees losses -- since coming off the disabled list.
"Joe's being cautious, being smart -- much smarter than I am," Rodriguez said. "I'd play 20 days in a row and be reckless, if it were up to me."
Girardi said that Rodriguez's health does not appear to be an issue at this time, although he has not yet completely tested his left calf on the basepaths because there has not been an opportunity to do so, such as on a ball hit into the gap.
"To me, he's doing fine," Girardi said. "I don't see him favoring anything. We haven't seen him have to go 100 percent. I don't anticipate that would be a problem. My guess is if Alex had to go 100 percent, he could go."
Girardi said that he feels the need to ease Rodriguez back in, although those limitations should come off by the time the Yankees finish playing the Rangers and Rays next week.
"The good thing is, after this stretch, we've got six [games] in a row and then we've got a day off [on Sept. 16]. Will I play him six days? I don't know. We'll have to wait and see how hot it is in Texas and how we're doing."
Rodriguez said he doesn't believe a few extra days off will affect his swing.
"I hope not," Rodriguez said. "I felt pretty darn good coming away from the K.C. series and felt strong about moving forward, and then I got injured. I feel the same way now."
In Cy race, Girardi sides with CC
NEW YORK -- In the debate regarding a potential battle for the American League Cy Young Award, it should come as no surprise that Yankees manager Joe Girardi is backing his guy.
As CC Sabathia prepared on Tuesday to go for his 20th victory, which would mark the first such campaign of his career, Girardi said that he'd have to side with the burly left-hander over the Mariners' Felix Hernandez.
"Felix Hernandez has had a great year," Girardi said. "We've seen enough of him, I can tell you that. But I think our guy has had an amazing year as well. Right now, if I was to vote, it would be for CC."
Sabathia entered Tuesday's start against the Orioles holding a 19-5 record with a 3.02 ERA in 29 starts spanning 202 2/3 innings pitched, and with 165 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.199.
Hernandez, the Mariners' dominant righty, is just 11-10, but he owns a 2.30 ERA in 30 starts spanning 219 1/3 innings, with 209 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.085.
Girardi said that he believes voters should consider the numbers, the ballparks pitchers work in, wins, innings and hits per inning among their criteria. Girardi said he looks first at the win-loss record but doesn't necessarily weigh it most.
"I'm a big believer in ERA and innings pitched," Girardi said. "I think that's important."
T-shirt sales boost Posada Foundation
NEW YORK -- The Yankees hosted a fund-raising event on Tuesday for the Jorge Posada Foundation, with the catcher's wife, Laura, on hand at Yankee Stadium to help launch a T-shirt commemorating Posada's 1,000th career RBI.
Posada surpassed the milestone on July 23 against the Royals. The T-shirt retails for $20 and is on sale exclusively at Yankee Stadium team stores and Modell's Sporting Goods locations, with 100 percent of net proceeds benefiting the Jorge Posada Foundation.
In addition, Nike presented the foundation with a $5,000 check and has pledged to donate the sales of the first 200 shirts sold on Tuesday to the Jorge Posada Foundation.
"We are very appreciative of the Yankees and Nike for supporting The Jorge Posada Foundation," said Jorge and Laura Posada in a statement. "This event will provide support to families and children who are affected by the medical condition of craniosynostosis, a birth defect that causes an abnormally shaped skull. It is something near and dear to our hearts."
The Jorge Posada Foundation is a non-profit organization. The Posadas' son, Jorge Luis, was diagnosed with craniosynostosis when he was 10 days old and has undergone eight major surgeries to correct the condition.
One day after stating he anticipated that left-hander Andy Pettitte -- out with a left groin strain -- might need two Minor League rehabilitation starts, Yankees manager Joe Girardi backed off that assessment slightly, saying the evaluation would depend on Pettitte's ability to locate his pitches and cover bases. Pettitte is scheduled to throw 60 pitches in a start on Thursday for Double-A Trenton. ... With 40 steals, Brett Gardner has become the seventh Yankees player in the past 70 years to reach that mark, joining Rickey Henderson, Roberto Kelly, Mickey Rivers, Steve Sax, Alfonso Soriano and Stuffy Stirnweiss. ... U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin threw out Tuesday's ceremonial first pitch.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.