Alex Rodriguez’s scheduled start in next week’s All-Star game probably isn’t the foremost thing on his mind. Ending his longest batting slump this season probably is.
Rodriguez was 0-for-4 as a designated hitter in Wednesday’s 6-2 loss after saying he might not play in Tuesday’s midseason classic in San Francisco. Rodriguez tweaked a hamstring in a 5-1 loss to the Twins in the series opener on Monday.
“We just have to be smart about it,” said Rodriguez, whose slump has dropped his average 20 points to .314. “Again, I’m going to sleep on it and talk to Joe (Yankees manager Joe Torre) and we’ll put our brains together and decide what’s best for the team.”
Rodriguez—the major league leader with 28 homers and 80 RBIs—was the leading vote-getter with 3.89 million fan votes, and said he would go to San Francisco even if he doesn’t play.
Wednesday’s win for Minnesota (43-40) was just the fifth in its last 21 games at Yankee Stadium. With the score tied at 2, the Twins’ Jason Kubel hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Yankees starter Mike Mussina.
“It’s a pretty short porch down the line and I didn’t necessarily get it good, but just got it good enough to get it going,” Kubel said.
The Twins, who were outscored 13-1 in losing the first two games of the series, haven’t won two straight in one season in the Bronx since April 24-25, 2000. Minnesota won in its final visit to New York in 2000 and first there in 2001.
A solo homer by Hideki Matsui was one of just four hits by the Yankees (39-42), who lost for the 10th time in 14 games and dropped 12 games behind AL East-leading Boston.
To try and end their recent struggles, the Yankees will send disappointing rookie Kei Igawa (2-2, 6.91 ERA) to the mound to make his first career start against the Twins.
The left-hander allowed four runs and five hits—including three homers— over 6 1-3 innings of a 7-0 loss to Oakland on Saturday.
“He was a lot better than the last time,” Torre said Saturday. “Hopefully, we’re headed in the right direction.
The high-priced Japanese import will make his third start since being recalled from the minors on June 22. Igawa, who’s given up a team-high 11 homers in 41 2-3 innings, hasn’t won as a starter since April 18.
The Twins counter with fellow rookie Kevin Slowey (3-0, 5.13). He allowed four runs and nine hits over six innings of an 8-5 win over Detroit on Saturday.
“To get big hits makes it more comfortable out there,” Slowey said. “It’s a lot easier to pitch up three, four runs.”
Minnesota has given Slowey 34 runs of support combined in his six starts.
Justin Morneau, the reigning AL MVP, had two hits for the second straight contest and is batting .375 (9-for-24) over the first six games of Minnesota’s 11-game road trip. The Twins will play four games in Chicago against the White Sox before the break.