Rapid Reaction: Alex on the bench

October, 12, 2012
10/12/12
2:19
PM ET
What it means: That in the space of three games, Alex Rodriguez has gone from the No. 3 hitter in the Yankees' lineup to a $32 million platoon player for the most important game of the season.

When it happened: Joe Girardi said he slept on the decision and informed A-Rod today at about 1 p.m.; the Yankees' lineup was posted at about 1:20.

The reasons: Well, obviously because Alex has struggled this postseason, hitting just .125 in the first four games of the ALCS with two singles in 16 at-bats. He has also struck out nine times.

Mitigating factors? None, even though A-Rod's numbers against Orioles starter Jason Hammel are eye-popping: 8-for-24 (.333) with four home runs. In Game 1, he went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout against Hammel.

A-Rod's reaction: According to Girardi, "He said he's ready to help when he needs to help, and let's win today."

Mollifying words: From Girardi: "It's never an easy decision. It really isn't. I know what he's capable of doing, so it's not easy. It's a tough decision. You know at any time he's capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark, too. It's not easy."

What's next: A-Rod is available to pinch-hit against a left-handed reliever late in the game.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146