Alex Rodriguez(notes) was scratched from the Yankees lineup on Friday, reportedly due to fatigue. He won't start on Saturday either, but he'll be available to pinch-hit. A-Rod is batting just .212 in 165 plate appearances this season, and he's hitting .145 in June. He has exactly two multi-hit games.
The team has given no indication that Rodriguez's half-repaired hip is giving him trouble. That would be the major worry for fantasy owners. A-Rod is having an odd season at the plate, but, if it weren't for the spring surgery, we'd write off his current slump as a complete fluke. He's had no luck on balls-in-play (with one notable exception), posting a .192 BABIP. A-Rod's walk rate is up, his K-rate is down, and he's still getting on base at a .370 clip. He's hit nine homers, too. Without the hip issue, he'd be such an obvious buy-low that no one would actually sell.
Peter Abraham offers several interesting nuggets at the LoHud Yankees blog, including this:
Meanwhile, Alex told us that he went to see Girardi after the game last night and asked for time off. But he was in the lineup today. Then, after a conversation that included Brian Cashman, not only was he out of the lineup today, he’s out tomorrow as well.
A-Rod has been told to do nothing. But he will be available to pinch hit.
Alex spoke to the media for longer than he has all season after going over what he was going to say with the media relations director.
Abraham provides nine minutes of A-Rod pregame audio. It's worth a listen if you're a panicked Rodriguez owner. Tough to say which responses were actually a product of consultation with a media relations professional. This was my favorite exchange:
Reporter: "But two games? Doesn't that seem a little excessive?"
Rodriguez: "I don't know."
Reporter: "Have you ever taken two games? Have you ever been told you're gonna sit two games?"
Rodriguez: "No, I wasn't told. We made this decision as a team."
So let's not call it a benching. Or an injury. It's "fatigue," with just a touch of "flawed mechanics":
Hitting coach Kevin Long said that of Alex’s last 70 swings, 50 were “reaches.” That compact swing he has when he’s going well is missing.
If he's indeed back in the lineup on Sunday, crisis averted.
(Delightful) Update, Sunday, 10 am CDT: A-Rod may have been too tired to help the Yankees, but he was perky enough for Kate Hudson (via the Palm Beach Post)...
Benched for alleged "fatigue," slumping New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez partied until 2:30 a.m. Saturday in Miami Beach. He then disappeared into the tropical night with actress Kate Hudson in the back seat of his chauffeured Maybach.
Don't judge. Rehab takes many forms.