New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, left, talks to Manager Joe Girardi… (Kathy Willens / Associated…)
Alex Rodriguez was removed from the New York Yankees' lineup at a key moment of Game 3 of the American League division series Wednesday night.
It was a bold move by Manager Joe Girardi and one that paid off -- pinch hitter Raul Ibanez hit the game-tying home run in the ninth inning and the game-winning homer in the 12th to give the Yankees a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
But even with those spectacular results, don't expect to see the Yankees' slumping superstar on the bench for the start for Game 3.
When Girardi was asked Thursday if he expected Rodriguez to be back in the lineup for the 4:37 p.m. Pacific time game, Girardi said: "Yeah. I'll make those decisions when I get there, but, yeah, I would."
Girardi may be bold, but he's not crazy. Rodriguez has been going through a rough patch lately -- one for 12 with no runs batted in and seven strikeouts in the series -- but this is A-Rod we're talking about. The guy who is chasing Barry Bonds for the all-time home run title. A guy like that is going to break out at some point.
And maybe Wednesday night's move will jolt Rodriguez out of his funk. Even then, don't go calling Girardi a genius, like many people already have after Ibanez's heroics.
"No, I'm not," Girardi said. "Just a guy who makes a move once in a while."
[Updated at 1:29 p.m.: Rodriguez will bat in the No. 5 spot, two places down from his usual No. 3 spot in the Yankees' batting order, for Thursday's game. Ailing Derek Jeter has been moved to designated hitter.]
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