- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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1. Alex Rodriguez said Wednesday he hadn't been pinch hit for since high school. Now, it's happened twice in two nights. Joe Girardi lifted Rodriguez for Eric Chavez in the 13th inning in Game 4 on Thursday. Chavez lined out to Manny Machado.
Rodriguez was asked after the game whether he reacted Thursday to being pinch hit for the same way he had Wednesday. On Wednesday, he said he had no problem with the move, which resulted in a game-tying homer from Raul Ibanez.
On Thursday, Rodriguez said he didn't expect to be pinch hit for but ultimately had no problem with it.
"Chavez had a good at-bat," Rodriguez said. "He hit the ball hard to Machado. There, we're just trying to string together good at-bats to win the game."
Rodriguez went 1-for-4 with a single and a walk Thursday. On the series, he is 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts. He said he expects to be in the lineup Friday against Jason Hammel. Rodriguez is 8-for-22 with four homers and nine RBIs against Hammel over his career in the regular season.
2. Rodriguez certainly isn't the only Yankee scuffling at the plate. Nick Swisher is 2-for-15. Robinson Cano is 2-for-18, and Ichiro Suzuki is 4-for-20. But perhaps the Yankee having the toughest series is Curtis Granderson.
The Yankees center fielder is 1-for-16 with nine strikeouts. On Thursday, he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts as the Yanks as a team went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
After the game, Girardi credited Joe Saunders and the rest of the Orioles' staff for silencing the Yankees' bats.
"I think there's really good pitching," he said. "... With the exception of one inning [the ninth inning of Game 1], it's been really hard to come by hits."
3. Derek Jeter fouled several balls off his left foot Thursday but, magically (wink, wink), he said they managed to miss the bone bruise he suffered Wednesday.
Jeter said he hit balls off his heel and shin in Game 4 but managed to miss the affected area, thereby avoiding any aggravation of the injury.
"The Captain" served as the Yanks' designated hitter Thursday because Girardi determined he was not well enough to field. It was the first time in his Yankees career that he started a playoff game at a position other than shortstop.
Jayson Nix played short in Game 4. Jeter is confident he will return to his normal position Friday.
"That's the plan," he said.
4. Another postseason, another fluky mishap for Joba Chamberlain.
In 2007, he was swarmed by midges in Cleveland. On Thursday, he was hit in the elbow by a shard from the shattered bat of Matt Wieters.
"I don't know if I'd hang out with me right now," Chamberlain joked.
Girardi pulled Chamberlain from the game after he tried a few warm-up pitches following the freaky collision. He underwent X-rays, which came back negative, and was diagnosed with an elbow contusion.
Chamberlain, who described the pain in his elbow as a "charley horse," will ice his elbow and attempt to throw when he gets to the park Friday. He's optimistic about being available for Game 5.
"I'm going to play catch and see what happens," said Chamberlain, who was hit on the elbow he had surgically repaired last year.
5. Phil Hughes pitched well enough to win. If the Yankees' bats weren't so silent, he probably would have walked off the mound with a W on Thursday.
Hughes allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings (4 hits, 3 walks, 8 K's), his lone mistake coming on a Nate McLouth homer in the fifth.