10/07/06 4:58 PM ET
A-Rod batting eighth; Giambi to bench
Cabrera starts in left field in must-win Game 4 in Detroit
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
The two biggest changes saw Alex Rodriguez dropped from the cleanup spot to the No. 8 hole and Melky Cabrera inserted into the lineup in left field, batting ninth.
Gary Sheffield, who started Games 1 and 2, is hitting cleanup and playing first base, while Hideki Matsui is the designated hitter. Jason Giambi, who was the designated hitter in Games 1 and 2 and played first base in Game 3, is not in the lineup as Torre cited his poor numbers against Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman (3-for-15 lifetime).
"I just wanted to find a way to get Cabrera in there," Torre said. "Just a little juice; somebody who may give us a shot of energy."
Rodriguez is 1-for-11 in this series and is now 4-for-38 with no RBIs since Game 5 of the ALCS against the Red Sox in 2004, totaling 11 postseason games.
Torre spoke with Giambi to inform him that he would not be in the starting lineup, but he did not speak with Rodriguez about the decision to drop him to No. 8. Rodriguez has not hit this low in the order since he was with Seattle in 1996, his first full season in the Majors.
"He's one member of this team," Torre said. "We're all trying to get something accomplished."
"He's hitting eighth today? Wow," Sheffield said. "There's a first for everything. Wow. I don't know; I didn't even know I was playing today. I didn't know ... whatever is there, you just deal with it. ... Everybody is capable of doing anything. It really doesn't matter where you hit in this lineup."
Torre declined to get into any more specifics regarding his decision to drop A-Rod in the lineup.
"This is a lineup with a lot of good players in it," Torre said. "He hit one ball hard to center field last night, but it looks like he's feeling for it a little bit. Same thing with Jason. Alex is hitting eighth, but Jason isn't playing. When you have as many options as we do, it's no fun when you have this many people who can play."
Rodriguez didn't speak with reporters, as he emerged from the clubhouse with Reggie Jackson before hitting the field.
"I didn't know there was going to be that much attention when we came out, but when we came out, I'm glad I was standing next to him," Jackson said. "I'm a pretty good lightning rod, good or bad. I'm happy to handle that."
Jackson, who has counseled Rodriguez on several occasions, was more than happy to discuss the situation.
"He's happy he's playing, he's happy that he's in the lineup, happy he's got a chance to help," Jackson said. "You hit where you produce. You're selected to hit in the order as you produce. If you don't produce, you get moved around. That's just the reality of it.
"Joe has to do what's right for the team," added Jackson. "It's about the team. It's about winning."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.