Saturday, August 10, 2013

A-Rod benched Saturday but 'overwhelmed' by fans' reception Friday

It gets harder and harder every passing day to figure out if Alex Rodriguez actually gets it.

One night after blowing off the media and a less-than-triumphant return to the Bronx, A-Rod addressed  the same reporters who waited patiently at his locker to get a response to the Yankee Stadium reception he received Friday night.

"It was awesome, just an amazing experience," Rodriguez said of his return to the Bronx. "The fans are incredible, such great energy and such a great response. It was pretty overwhelming. I was having a hard time keeping my emotions in check… So much better than I even dreamed of. I just felt the love walking around the city. What people are screaming (is) pretty incredible. This city is the greatest city in the world."

The Yankees' pariah, who faces a 211-game ban from Major League Baseball, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his first game back in New York since last season's postseason. He was not in the Yankees lineup on Saturday.

"Just a day, it's a quick turnaround and he's coming off an injury," Joe Girardi said before Saturday's game against Detroit. "(I'm) just trying to manage it and keep him on the field the rest of the year."

Rodriguez received a mixture of applause and boos in his first game back but it was all Bronx cheers by the end of the game.

"For the last 14 years there's always been a mix. Do you ever get 100% of anything?" he asked. "Even Chicago was a mix. Boston's going to be a mix – well, maybe not Boston. But I was overwhelmed. Yesterday was a day I'll never forget."

Detroit starter Rick Porcello was probably A-Rod's biggest supporter at the end of the night.

"Yesterday (starter Rick) Porcello had some nasty sinkers and I obviously helped him out a little bit," he said. "I think after 10 or 12 games I'll have a better idea of where I'm at. The big thing for me is getting my legs under me."

The third baseman also dismissed reports the he'd been disciplined by the Yankees for seeking a second opinion for his quad injury a month ago.

"Maybe they sent it to my lawyers, but I'm not really going to talk about that," he said.

Rodriguez was pulled from Friday night's game for defensive purposes in the ninth inning and was not at home plate to celebrate with the Yankees after Brett Gardner's walk off single in the tenth inning. Still, Rodriguez says he was not upset by his manager's decision.

"He has a plan, I trust Joe," A-Rod said. "He's going to do the best for me and for the team…Joe and I have great communication. I have great trust and respect for him and he's going to manage it properly."
"If I didn't think he could play defense, I'd DH him," said Girardi.

Despite not being in the lineup, Rodriguez says he's been proud of the team's recent determination.
"(Last night) I had a tough night at the plate, but the good news is we came back and won," he said.

"The last few days I've thought the team has shown a lot of fight and the past two nights we could have easily scored seven, eight, or night runs. We keep putting ourselves in a position to get the big hit. I think we will. I think the other day we drew something like seven or eight walks, got eight or nine hits. That's usually a form of eight or nine runs. So hopefully that follows starting today."

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