Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Joe Girardi backs Alex Rodriguez
By Andrew Marchand
NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi has declared that Alex Rodriguez will be the New York Yankees' starting third baseman next year.
Girardi said Wednesday that Rodriguez, who was benched this postseason after struggling at the plate, won't have to win the every-day third-base job in spring training.
"I expect Alex to be our every-day third baseman," Girardi said during his end-of-the-year news conference. "What is he going to have to show me? That he is healthy and ready to go.
"That's the bottom line -- that he has no concerns and we have no concerns about putting him out there every day."
Girardi benched Rodriguez for three of the Yankees' nine postseason games, including the decisive win over the Orioles in the ALDS and the Game 4 loss to the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS.
Rodriguez went hitless in 18 at-bats and struck out 12 times against right-handed pitchers, prompting Girardi to sit the superstar against righties. The three-time MVP ended the season without homering in his last 93 at-bats.
Eric Chavez, who replaced Rodriguez at third base, went 0-for-16 with eight strikeouts in the postseason.
Girardi declined to offer Rodriguez' broken hand, suffered toward the end of July, as an excuse for the 14-time All-Star's struggles.
"I believe he was healthy," Girardi said. "He had some struggles during the course of the season, as well, against right-handers. You talk about as players, you do have to make minor adjustments -- let's evaluate why I wasn't as successful off of right-handers."
Girardi has not spoken to Rodriguez since the season ended but said he will meet with the third baseman to determine if there was any fallout in their relationship as a result of the benchings.
"That is still on the 'to-do' list," Girardi said.
Girardi said the conversation with Rodriguez will take place at some point this offseason. The Yankees could still trade Rodriguez, who has the right to block any deal out of New York.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman previously has stated that he will listen to offers for Rodriguez, but downplayed the comment by also saying that he would consider trade offers on any Yankee player.
Girardi fully realizes that benching Rodriguez could have an impact for 2013.
"One of the things I was taught as a boy and a young man is there is a consequence for every action that takes place," Girardi said. "Some of them are going to be good. Some of them you are going to have to deal with. I'm always worried about whatever move I make -- how it affects the club, how it affects the player, how it affects anything.
"It is something that I might have to deal with more than I expected, but I possibly may not have to deal with it at all. As we move forward, I'll get a temperature on it and see how it is going."