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Yankees unsure how home fans will greet Rodriguez

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Alex Rodriguez's rough reception in Chicago wasn't a surprise. What happens to him in New York is anybody's guess.

Rodriguez was in the lineup batting third and playing third base in New York Yankees game Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox. During the first two games of the series, he was booed lustily before his plate appearances.

Whether or not that carries over when the Yankees return home to play the Detroit Tigers won't be known until Friday. Manager Joe Girardi doesn't even know what to expect.

"I am curious what it's going to be like Friday. I'm not sure, and I don't know what the appropriate response is," Girardi said. "I don't think it's my right to tell people how to respond to situations. I did have a little bit of an issue with last night, when a guy gets hit that's a concern of mine, but that's a societal concern.

"But I think people are going to react the way they're going to react and we'll just see on Friday."

Whatever happens on Friday will be just the latest event in an already strange and eventful week for the three-time AL MVP.

On Monday, Rodriguez was both activated from the disabled list for the first time this season and suspended for 211 games for his alleged involvement with the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Miami before going 1 for 4. On Tuesday, he went 1 for 2 and reached base three times but was also hit by Chris Sale, something that drew cheers from the Chicago crowd.

Wednesday was no different. He formally appealed the 211-game suspension, and former teammate Johnny Damon said on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM that New York's 2009 World Series title would "absolutely" be tainted if Rodriguez was using PEDs.

Predictably, neither drew much response from Rodriguez, who said he hadn't heard what Damon said and that he "talks to Johnny all the time."

"I'm just going to let all that stuff rest. We're right in the middle of it," Rodriguez said. "I do love Johnny."

Regardless of everything going on around him, the Yankees need Rodriguez to inject life into a moribund offense.

Other than Rodriguez's one game at third base before Wednesday, Yankee third basemen had combined to hit four homers, drive in 32 runs and bat just .216. As a team, they started play Wednesday 27th in runs (423) and batting average (.240) and 25th in on-base percentage (.303).

Rodriguez didn't seem troubled by entering a lineup struggling that badly.

"I've been busy the last couple weeks trying to get ready myself," Rodriguez said Tuesday night. "Only thing I can do is try to be productive as I can to help the team win.

And thanks to the appeal which is expected to drag out through the season, Rodriguez will be around to add something to the lineup and maybe keep New York from missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

"We need him to help us. I don't think any of us thought it was going to be anything different," Girardi said. "So, as far as having a reaction it's kind of what I expected, and it's part of the process that was negotiated between MLB and the Players' Association and you let it play out. Expect to play him a lot. We need him to help us."
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