Yankees Alex Rodriguez Desires New Role
Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees’ 40-year-old designated hitter, will search for his niche by working at first base during the All-Star vacation.
Lightly-used Alex Rodriguez is clamoring for playing time with the Yankees.
To what lengths is he willing to go increase his at-bats, you might ask?
Following Sunday’s 11-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that Rodriguez hit up fellow teammate Mark Teixeira for a notable piece of equipment:
"“According to a source, A-Rod grabbed one of Mark Teixeira’s first-base gloves on his way out of the clubhouse Sunday, which he’ll use to take grounders at first base during the four-day break. “Rodriguez also plans to work with infield coach Joe Espada beginning Friday, the source said, as he looks to add fielding versatility to his current DH-only arsenal.”"
It will be interesting to hear Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s reaction and analysis to this in the next presser. The Yankees experimented with A-Rod at first base in 2015, hoping the former shortstop/third baseman’s athleticism would transcend across the diamond.
However, his defensive prowess was lost in translation as Rodriguez was visually uncomfortable at the new position, and the plan was quickly abandoned.
It could have been blamed on the fact he had not taken the field for the Yankees since 2013, and it was his first time playing somewhere other than shortstop, third, or DH. Regardless, Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman had seen enough and sentenced the slugger to DH-only duties.
More from Yanks Go Yard
- Should Yankees toss short-term extension at Harrison Bader before 2023?
- Yankees chose worst possible player to ring in New Year on 2023 team calendar
- Yankees State of the Farm System Review: Josh Breaux
- Yankees make upside play, sign former Rangers top prospect outfielder
- MLB insider claims favorite emerging in Bryan Reynolds rumors (not Yankees)
Now in 2016, Alex Rodriguez has been outperformed in his only remaining “position” by All-Star Carlos Beltran, who has manned right field just once after injuring a hamstring June 28.
With Beltran leading the team in batting average (.299), home runs (19), RBIs (56), and OPS (.888) there haven’t been at-bats to spare for A-Rod lately.
After being omitted from nine of 10 starting lineups to end the first half, Alex Rodriguez is hitting .220 with a power-sapped eight homers and .642 OPS. The Yankees have been forced to platoon him against southpaws given his struggles against right-handers:
- A-Rod vs. righties in 2016: .198/.237/.333 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 126 ABs
A-Rod’s grit and determination is admirable. He is vying to be a team player and reinforce his status as a leader of the clubhouse. Unfortunately, the 21-year veteran has a mountainous climb to be of any service in the field. Aging, achy bodies don’t move as well as youngsters do.
And the Yankees happen to have Rob Refsnyder, 25, mashing lefties and playing acceptable defense at first.
Not too long ago, Alex Rodriguez avowed to his enduring audience: “You haven’t heard the last of me.”
Next: Expendable Yankees on the 40-Man Roster
Will that be the battle cry that turns his season around, or dying words to be inscribed on a semi-designated hitter’s career tombstone?