CHICAGO -- Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and the fans cheered.
Other than that and the New York Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox, things went pretty well Tuesday for the embattled superstar.
In his second game of the season after coming off the disabled list Monday, Rodriguez batted third, went 1-for-2 and reached base three times as New York's designated hitter. He walked in the first, was hit by a pitch in the third, lined out to deep center in the fifth, then singled in the eighth. Once again, he was booed before every plate appearance.
However, it was the fans' cheers when Rodriguez was hit by a Chris Sale pitch that drew the most emotion from Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
"There's something wrong with that," Girardi said. "I often think that it just starts from the adults, and if it was their child, would they want them to be hit because the kids are only going to repeat what the adults do."
Rodriguez, for his part, didn't seem bothered by the fans' reaction.
"I didn't hear that," Rodriguez said. "I love the fans of Chicago."
It's clear that Rodriguez doesn't love questions about anything other than baseball.
Starting with his introductory news conference before Monday's game, Rodriguez has declined to go into specifics about his planned appeal of the 211-game suspension he was handed by Major League Baseball for his alleged involvement with Biogenesis. The former South Florida clinic provided players with banned performance-enhancing drugs.
After Tuesday's game, Rodriguez was asked about a report that Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner said he would have advised A-Rod to take a certain number of games if the league had offered.
Predictably, Rodriguez didn't answer the question.
"First of all, I just came out of the game," Rodriguez said. "I'm not talking about that case any longer."
Before the game, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman took the same approach, choosing to speak about Rodriguez only in regards to how he might help the team on the field.
"If he's healthy, he's definitely going to be, by far, better than what we've been running out there (at third base)," Cashman said.
On Tuesday, that assessment proved true.
Though nobody expects Rodriguez to replicate the form he displayed while winning three American League MVP trophies, the Yankees are counting on him to invigorate a struggling offense. And during his second game back, he looked up to the challenge.
After coaxing a walk from Sale and getting hit by the All-Star lefty, Rodriguez hit a sharp liner in the fifth to deep center that was caught by Jordan Danks. Then in the eighth, he hit a solid single past diving third baseman Conor Gillaspie, reaching base for the third time in four plate appearances.
"Overall it feels good to be healed up, swinging the bat better, tracking better, and the ball's jumping OK," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has returned to a lineup that needs him badly. The Yankees haven't scored more than three runs in seven games and are hitting just .240 as a team, but A-Rod is reserving opinion on what kind of offense he's rejoining.
"I haven't been back long enough to really even make a judgment on anything," Rodriguez said. "My only concern is to go out there and be productive and help the team win."