The New York Yankees need to sit Alex Rodriguez so he can rest and get healthy.
Rodriguez had been on a tear after being moved up to the two hole in the lineup, and it seemed like he might lead the Yankees to the playoffs after Derek Jeter was ruled out for the rest of the year.
Then, he strained his hamstring last Tuesday in a 7-5 win against the Baltimore Orioles and has been listed as day-to-day ever since. For the last four games, Rodriguez has been unable to play the field and has been limited to DH duty, but his hitting is also beginning to suffer.
He is one for his last nine at-bats and has yet to get a hit in the Yankees’ current series against the Boston Red Sox. Even if he does manage to get on base, he’s a liability on the basepaths because he has to take it easy running, lest he hurt himself further.
With two outs in the seventh inning of Friday’s game against the Red Sox, Rodriguez was the go-ahead run on first base after drawing a walk, loading the bases for Robinson Cano. The Yankees second baseman hammered a double to deep right-center field that should have given New York the lead, but Rodriguez only made it to third base.
He has to be able to score in that situation. If Rodriguez cannot run well enough to score from first base on a two-out double in the right-center field gap – especially if it means taking the lead – then he should not be playing at all.
If Rodriguez continues to play, he could aggravate his injury. The Yankees are better off platooning Eduardo Nunez and Mark Reynolds at third base and DH until Rodriguez is healthy enough to play the field and run at full speed.
I understand that they’re coming down the final stretch of the season and the Yankees want his bat in the lineup, but in trying to win a single game, they cannot cost themselves the entire race. The Yankees want to make the postseason, but they cannot to lose Rodriguez to injury in the process, nor can they lose games because Rodriguez can’t play as well as he’s normally capable of.
New York’s remaining schedule includes games against the Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros. With power bats like Cano, Reynolds and Alfonso Soriano, the Yankees should not need Rodriguez to beat these teams.
It is not that Rodriguez needs to be punished for poor play. Rather, they need Rodriguez healthy if they want to make a deep postseason run, and if he continues to play at less than 100 percent, he’s only going to hurt himself along with the team’s chances at securing a Wild Card spot.