A-Rod on struggles: 'I don't worry about it'
Yankees slugger feels adjustments will help him break out
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez's average has plummeted nearly 100 points since an oblique injury threatened his red-hot start, but the Yankees slugger has a message for those who might sell him short.
"I don't worry about it," Rodriguez said. "I always look at baseball like a stock market. You don't look at it every day. If it's a good stock after a long season, it's going to be there."
Rodriguez went 1-for-4 with an RBI groundout in the Yankees' 12-5 victory over the Rangers on Sunday, wrapping up the team's seven-game road trip on a 6-for-26 skid.
But a 30-minute session with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long in the batting cages at Rangers Ballpark -- where all the successful mechanical changes have seemed to take root of late -- had Rodriguez feeling positive as the team boarded its flight back home.
"[I feel] better than the results," Rodriguez said with a laugh. "We had a good session today -- came in early, watched some video. I'm looking forward to getting back to New York and finish the season outstanding."
Long said that the Yankees have been trying to make an adjustment with Rodriguez's leg kick, which has gotten out of sync with the rest of his swing.
"It's been really high," Long said. "We looked at the film and talked about the adjustments that we're going to make. He had a good session and was able to take it out there [Sunday], and that was a big step forward."
The higher leg kick affects Rodriguez's consistency and ability to take his 'A' swing, said Long, who saw improvement with Sunday's swings. Rodriguez is usually quick to absorb adjustments, but Long said for some reason this one has taken longer to execute.
"He's a click away from being really, really hot again," Long said. "Today was a huge step in the right direction. I told him if he continues to do what he did today, it's going to turn around pretty quick."
Rodriguez said that he and Long reviewed some at-bats from Spring Training and from early in the season, which saw him hitting .366 with four homers and 10 RBIs through his first 13 games.
"I think today was a good adjustment day, hopefully a moving day for us," Rodriguez said. "I was very pleased with the session."
After missing two games in late April with tightness in his left oblique, Rodriguez wasn't completely missing in action -- on April 24, Rodriguez slugged his 22nd career grand slam in a rout of the Orioles at Camden Yards.
But Rodriguez has not homered since and has just nine hits -- one for extra bases -- in 51 at-bats (.176) to show for his past 13 games. Yankees manager Joe Girardi sees some signs that the struggles may be getting to him.
"Is he pressing?" Girardi said. "I think all hitters, when you're not swinging the bat, are going to think about trying to get a hit earlier or do those types of things."
That said, Girardi made sure to clarify that Rodriguez is not alone in that department.
"Pressing, to me, is usually frustration," Girardi said. "I think there's a lot of guys in our lineup that have frustration."
Long allowed that the lack of productivity might have creeped into Rodriguez's thought process.
"There's been some situations where he's come up with some men on base and he could have broken a game open," Long said.
"He hasn't been able to do it lately, but overall, the biggest thing I'm concerned with is getting back to the mechanics that have basically helped him be so good for so long."
So to take Rodriguez's market analogy a step further, perhaps this would be a good time to buy low on his futures. Rodriguez was asked, tongue-in-cheek, what kind of stock he represents.
"Google?" he said, with a laugh. "No, I have no idea."