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Girardi stands by choices concerning A-Rod

Girardi stands by choices concerning A-Rod

Girardi stands by choices concerning A-Rod
NEW YORK -- No one argued with the results when Joe Girardi called Alex Rodriguez back to the dugout in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, setting up Raul Ibanez to deliver two momentous, memorable home runs in a victory over the Orioles.

Not all of the Yankees manager's moves panned out with such aplomb during the club's postseason run, but Girardi said on Wednesday that he would not change anything about the way Rodriguez was handled this month.

"I made decisions based on the season, a month, what I'd seen," Girardi said during a Yankee Stadium news conference. "For me to go back and say I would have changed anything; these weren't just, 'Let me go off the top of my head and make a decision.' These were things we evaluated a lot before we made our decisions."

Girardi benched Rodriguez for three of New York's nine postseason games, including the last two against the Tigers in the AL Championship Series, and pinch-hit for him in three other contests as the struggling slugger appeared unable to make adjustments to right-handed pitching.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was also on board with the decisions to bench the 37-year-old Rodriguez in the postseason, essentially reducing him to a platoon player at third base with Eric Chavez taking at-bats against right-handers.

Rodriguez finished the postseason 3-for-25, including going 0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts facing righties. Chavez didn't exactly distinguish himself either, going hitless in 16 at-bats with eight strikeouts.

It has been suggested that Rodriguez may have never fully recovered from a left hand fracture he suffered in late July, but Girardi dismissed that thought.

"I believe he was healthy," Girardi said. "If you look, I believe he had some struggles in the course of the season as well, if you look at his numbers over the whole season against right-handers [.256 batting average, .717 OPS].

"As players, sometimes you do have to make minor adjustments and you have to say, 'OK, let's evaluate why maybe I wasn't as successful against right-handers.' And next year it could be completely opposite. And then you look at that as well. As far as health, I think he was healthy."

Rodriguez batted .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs in 122 regular-season games, and while Girardi acknowledged that Rodriguez is unlikely to approach MVP-caliber production in the future, he said that the Yankees believe Rodriguez can still be an above-average third baseman.

"Can Alex be a very good player again? Absolutely. I don't have any question in my mind," Girardi said. "I think the desire is there. As far as being a heads up player, I think that's there. As far as being a 45-, 50-home run guy? We don't see much of that in baseball at all. How many guys hit forty-plus homers this year? [Six.] So I don't anticipate that's going to happen, but I think he can be a very good player."

Following the Yankees' loss in Game 4 of the ALCS, Rodriguez insisted that he has no intention of waiving his no-trade clause and said that he expects to be wearing a Yankees uniform in Spring Training.

Girardi said that he has not spoken to Rodriguez since the season ended, but he is aware that there may need to be some mending of the relationship between player and manager before the 2013 season begins.

"One of the things that I was taught as a boy and a young man is that there's a consequence for every action that takes place," Girardi said. "Some of them are going to be good. Some of them you're going to have to deal with.

"I'm always worried about whatever move I make, how it affects the club, how it affects a player, anything. I think it's something that sure, I possibly might have to deal with more than I expected, but I possibly might may not have to deal with it at all. As we move forward, I'll get a temperature on it, keep track of it and see how it's going."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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