- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Alex Rodriguez has some catching up to do.
The third baseman said after Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds that he is extremely confident he's going to produce the numbers he expects to by the end of this season.
Unless Rodriguez is aiming low this year, he's going to have to produce better than he has during the team's first 40 games. He has just five home runs and 15 RBIs, with less than 25 percent of his hits going for extra bases.
"I'm in a good place, my body feels good," Rodriguez said after an 0-for-4 day. "Working very hard with [hitting coach] Kevin Long every day. My numbers are going to be there at the end of the day and there's no question about it.
"The thing is we have put it to work right away because the team needs victories. Our offense, our coaches, our players, they expect a lot of from me and I'll be there."
While Rodriguez has been able to hit for average and get on base, the power he once flashed in pinstripes is at an all-time low. He has not homered in his last 40 at-bats, and is slugging just .410. That would be his lowest slugging percentage since 1995.
In his second at-bat on Saturday, Rodriguez nearly swatted his sixth home run, but his deep drive to right-center was tracked down in front of the 385-foot sign. The third baseman heard boos after making outs during the day.
"I hit that pretty well. I thought it was perhaps a home run," Rodriguez said. "You have to worry about the process. Had a good swing there, had a good swing against [Aroldis] Chapman (in the eighth) and nothing to show for it. I'll come back tomorrow ready to swing again."
Rodriguez said he trusts in the process that's been established by Long, and feels fine physically. He hasn't played 140 games since 2007, but has played in 39 of the team's first 40 games. His teammates don't seem concerned about him.
"We know he's one of our big boppers, there's no doubt about it," right fielder Nick Swisher said. "His BP's been great. That guy is a machine, he works his tail off and like they say, the harder you work the luckier it is."
Unless Rodriguez heats up, he's on pace for what would be his worst season in which he plays a majority of the team's games. His current numbers would project for 20 home run and 61 RBIs. In last year's injury-shortened year, he managed to drive in 62 runs.
"I think we're in a good place right now," Rodriguez said. "I think one of the things I'm working on is to improve the ratio of ground balls to fly balls. Been putting the ball on the ground just a little too much. Past two or three days I've been much better so I'm very encouraged."
Alex Rodriguez has some catching up to do.The third baseman said after Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds that he is extremely confident he's going to produce the numbers he expects to by the end of this season.