ARLINGTON -- The crowd reaction when Alex Rodriguez stepped in for his first at-bat of the American League Championship Series on Friday was predictable. The Yankees' third baseman isn't winning popularity contests in the Metroplex area anytime soon.

But Rodriguez said he had nothing but "great feelings" as the Yankees checked in at Rangers Ballpark, a place he called home year-round during his three ultimately playoff-dry years wearing a Texas uniform from 2001-03.

"I thought we all tried hard and played well at times," Rodriguez said a day before New York's 6-5 victory in Game 1. "We had a lot of talent. It's exciting for me to see a guy like Michael Young leading this team, because he is a phenomenal player and a great friend. I think our efforts were sincere. We tried hard, but sometimes just because you want to win doesn't mean you're going to win. I thought the effort was good; we just came up short."

Rodriguez went 1-for-5 with a crucial two-run single in New York's five-run eighth inning on Friday.

While A-Rod and fellow former Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira have been painted as the most popular targets for Texas fans in this series, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he does not believe the extra attention will have any effect on Rodriguez.

"Alex is so used to coming into environments that are like this," Girardi said. "I don't think Alex really makes too much of it. He's had to go back to Seattle a number of times; he's had to go back to Texas a number of times. I wouldn't think Alex would get caught up in it. I think he'll just go out and play like he always does."

Yanks say they'll adjust to Rangers' lefties

ARLINGTON -- The Yankees were not shocked to learn Friday that the Rangers opted to add a pair of left-handed relievers to their bullpen, looking to provide manager Ron Washington with additional late options.

Southpaws Clay Rapada and Michael Kirkman were added to the bullpen, replacing infielder Esteban German and right-hander Dustin Nippert.

"It allows them to do a lot of matchups," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Against righties, we separate our lefties more, so it makes it more difficult. They might bring in one lefty to face Robbie [Cano] and then go to a righty, and then bring a lefty in to face Gardy [Brett Gardner] and Grandy [Curtis Granderson]. We're OK with that."

Granderson is the only Yankee with more than one at-bat against Kirkman, with a hit in two trips. Cano has the most at-bats against Rapada and is 0-for-3.

Girardi reflects on effect of CC's signing

ARLINGTON -- CC Sabathia has five years remaining on the huge deal he signed with the Yankees before last season, but already the ace left-hander appears to have been worth the investment.

One day after first baseman Mark Teixeira floated the idea that Sabathia -- inked to a seven-year, $161 million pact, the largest ever given to a pitcher -- might prove to be the Yankees' all-time best free agent signing, the topic was brought to manager Joe Girardi's attention.

"He's made a huge impact in the short time he's been here," Girardi said. "He's won 40 regular-season games, a number of playoff games already. We probably don't get to the postseason without CC. His impact has been huge for us. You count on him giving you distance, resting your bullpen. He's been a huge factor here."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was listening from a couch in the same office and had his own thoughts to share on the subject.

Cashman didn't want to impede on the deals swung by George Steinbrenner, bringing up the signings of Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter during the 1970s. But Cashman believes his best work to date was the signing of Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, who won 61 games for New York from 1998-2004, plus nine more in the playoffs.

"The best free-agent signing I was involved with," Cashman said. "He was cheap, he didn't cost us any money and he won a ton of games. He was dominant in the postseason. It was $1.6 million for four years and we don't win back-to-back-to-back [titles without him]. He was lights-out."