NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez didn't find another gear as he legged out a double in the ninth inning of a 6-3 loss to the Phillies, and one day later, the Yankees were satisfied that he was being smart on the basepaths.
Rodriguez said after the game that he didn't feel it was crucial to go all-out on the play, instead beating the throw with a head-first slide. That explanation made sense to manager Joe Girardi, who was relieved to learn that Rodriguez hadn't felt another twinge in his troublesome groin.
"He was just somewhat being cautious," said Girardi, who conferred with third-base coach Rob Thomson to make sure. "To me, I take that as being pretty smart, actually. You think about, he gets into second, we're still down three runs. His run doesn't really mean anything if he gets thrown out, so you've got to be smart about it."
As it turned out, Rodriguez would be stranded at third base as Phillies closer Brad Lidge struck out Jorge Posada with the bases loaded to end the game. The Yankees have not set a date when A-Rod can graduate from designated hitter duty to playing defense.
"You probably want to see him score from second, where he has to bust it, or go from first to third," Girardi said. "More of it is him having the confidence that he can make the necessary moves that he needs to make."