Alex Rodriguez received a phone call of support this week from another player who has excelled above his peers in his respective sport.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, called Rodriguez this week after the Yankees' third baseman's postseason struggles continued, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com. Rodriguez, 37, is hitting .130 in the playoffs with 12 strikeouts and has yet to drive in a run.
"We spoke a couple of days ago," Bryant told the website Tuesday night. "You can only control what you can control. You go out there and do the best job you can. If they take you out of the lineup, it's really on you to be a good teammate and support the other guys, which he's good about doing."
Bryant and Rodriguez became friends after shooting a commercial a few years ago, and Bryant said he told Rodriguez to remember what he has accomplished in his 19-year career, which includes three American League Most Valuable Player Awards and 14 All-Star nods.
"I just say to him, 'You're Alex Rodriguez. You're A-Rod. You're one of the best to ever do it,'" Bryant said. "I think sometimes he kind of forgets that and wants to try to do the right thing all the time. Which is the right team attitude to have. But other times you really have to put your head down and say, 'Hell with it' and just do your thing.
"Hopefully, the next game they'll kind of give him a chance, maybe put him back at third and let him respond to the pressure, which I think he'll do."
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.