A-Rod still slated for Thursday after Red Sox pitching change
BOSTON >> Alex Rodriguez was on the bench again for the second of the New York Yankees' three games at Fenway Park, and manager Joe Girardi will stay with his plan to start him Thursday and then in his finale at home the following night.
"My job description does not entail a farewell tour," Girardi said Wednesday during a pregame media session that at times was a bit testy. "My job description is to try to win every game and to try to put everyone in the best possible position to do that, and that's what I'm trying to do."
At the beginning of his session with the media, Girardi was asked if Rodriguez would still be in the starting lineup Thursday after Boston scratched knuckleballer Steven Wright.
"Yes, he will," Girardi said.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will start for Boston because the Wright jammed his right shoulder while diving into a base as pinch runner in an interleague game against the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend.
"It's about winning the games," Girardi said when asked if he liked the matchup. "That's what it's always about here. It'll continue to be that way."
Girardi then went on to answer about 12 minutes of questions why A-Rod wasn't starting the first two games of the series. The Yankees said Sunday that Rodriguez will be released following Friday's homestand opener against Tampa Bay. The 41-year-old designated hitter, who has 696 home runs, didn't play in a 5-3 loss in Tuesday.
Fans chanted "We want A-Rod'!' late in the game.
"You could say what you want, there's a lot of relationships involved here and it bothers me sometimes because people say one thing to do and because it becomes controversial they say another and it's difficult," Girardi said. "When we look at this decision, we're basing it on a substantial amount of at-bats — and it's not what we want. I think our hope is he'd hit 30 home runs again, but that hasn't been the case this year."
Girardi said he understands some may consider him a 'bad guy' for not playing A-Rod.
"It is what it is," he said. "It's part of the job, I guess."
Girardi said he "made a mistake" by saying on Sunday that if Rodriguez wanted to play in all remaining games before his release that he would try to get him in the games.
"I talked to him again on Tuesday about it and said: This is what my plans were,"' Girardi explained. "I knew he didn't like it. But, again, I have a responsibility to the game of baseball. No one individual is ever bigger than this game. No one. No one. No one.
"And I'm not going to forget about it — as much as we've been through together. It's hard. Believe me, it's really hard."
Girardi explained further that Boston was in the race and Tampa Bay was out of it, justifying his decision to start him Friday.
"My job is to put out what I feel is the best lineup, and that's what I'm trying to do," Girardi said. "It's been difficult."
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