A-Rod back in lineup for ALCS

Updated: October 13, 2012, 6:18 PM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- A day after being benched, Alex Rodriguez is back in the Yankees' lineup for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night. Rodriguez will bat sixth and play third base.

During the AL Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Yankees manager Joe Girardi pinch hit for the struggling Rodriguez twice against right-handed relievers.

"If we want to make some noise, we need this guy to be Alex," Girardi said.

With a right-hander on the mound for the decisive Game 5 against the O's, Rodriguez did not play. In the ALDS, Rodriguez went 2 for 16 with nine strikeouts. He did not have a hit in 11 at-bats against righties.

On Saturday, the Tigers are starting right-hander Doug Fister. In his career, Rodriguez is 1 for 9 with three strikeouts and four walks against Fister.

Eric Chavez started in place of Rodriguez in Game 5 against the O's. Chavez went hitless in eight at-bats in the ALDS.

Girardi said he met with Rodriguez on Friday to tell him he would be in the lineup.

"This is a guy that we really need to get going," Girardi said. "This is a guy that, 2009, you think about what he did throughout the playoffs, I just believe in my heart that he's ready to go. I believe he's going to contribute. We're going to put him back in there."

In the regular season, Chavez, 34, hit much better against right-handed hitters than Rodriguez did. Chavez finished with a .908 OPS; Rodriguez was at just .717.

After this season, Rodriguez, 37, has five years and $114 million remaining on his contract. Rodriguez, who has 647 career homers, also has five $6 million bonuses for career home run accomplishments.

When he reaches Willie Mays' 660 homers, he will earn his first extra cash reward.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews was used in this report.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »



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