Saturday, April 16, 2011
Updated: April 17, 3:16 AM ET
Alex Rodriguez leaves with stiff back
By Matt Ehalt
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez left Saturday's 5-2 win against the Texas Rangers after the sixth inning with lower back and oblique stiffness.
No further tests have been planned and Rodriguez is unsure of his status for the series finale Sunday night.
"We'll see," Rodriguez said about his status for the 8 p.m. ET game. "See how I wake up. I don't have a crystal ball but hopefully I feel much better and the weather helps."
Rodriguez said he felt the pain before the game, but it got worse as the game went on. He thought that the weather played a role in his stiffness, as it was windy and cold throughout the game and there was a light drizzle from about the fourth inning on. Rodriguez said his diving stop to his left on a groundball by Elvis Andrus in the third inning did not affect him.
The Yankees slugger said he felt the pain more on his swings and he was swinging weakly, almost in a protective manner. He went 0-for-2 on the day with a walk, with his final at-bat coming in the sixth inning when he grounded out to shortstop. In the top of the seventh, backup Eric Chavez replaced Rodriguez at third base.
"I feel OK, a little sore," Rodriguez said. "I had a little knot in my oblique and I couldn't get it warm in this weather."
If the Yankees lose Rodriguez for any stretch of games, or a single game for that matter, the team will lose one of its most valuable bats. Rodriguez has been the Yankees' hottest hitter this season, hitting .385, the top mark for any Yankee starter. The 35-year-old has four home runs and nine RBIs on the season and has a team-best on-base percentage of .500.
Rodriguez has already has missed one game this season, sitting out the finale against Boston on April 10 with flu-like symptoms. Without the third baseman in the lineup, the Yankees managed just two hits and suffered their only shutout defeat of the season in a 4-0 loss.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi will be cautious about using Rodriguez. The Yankees have an off day on Monday before starting a two-game set in Toronto and then have another off day on Thursday before heading to Baltimore for a weekend set.
"I'll listen to him and I'll listen to our doctors and our trainers about him and if he's stiff tomorrow, he probably won't play," Girardi said. "If he comes in tomorrow and says he's ready to go I'll talk to the trainers and doctors and see what they think."
Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.