A-Rod was not in the New York Yankees' starting lineup Saturday, about 13 hours after striking out three times in four at-bats during a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the Detroit Tigers.
"Just a day, it's a quick turnaround and he's coming off an injury," manager Joe Girardi said. "If we don't have that late night maybe I play him today."
And what a night it was for Lightning Rod.
Coming off January hip surgery, Rodriguez played his first game in New York since a horrendous postseason and since appealing the 211-game doping suspension he was given last week as part of the investigation into the now-closed Miami anti-aging clinic.
He received a mix of cheers and boos throughout the pregame and a good number of fans stood and applauded during his first at-bat against Detroit's Rick Porcello. But those cheers quickly turned to jeers when he struck out.
Rodriguez left the ballpark Friday night without talking to the media, but he was upbeat and smiling throughout a chat in front of his locker before Saturday's game.
"I was having a hard time keeping my emotions in check," Rodriguez said of the welcome. "So much better than I even dreamed of. I just felt the love walking around the city. What people are screaming, pretty incredible. This city is the greatest city in the world."
Rodriguez was booed throughout his first three games of the season in Chicago. And he expects to hear plenty for the rest of the year.
"For the last 14 years there's always been a mix. Do you ever get 100 percent of anything?" Rodriguez asked. "Even Chicago was a mix. Boston's going to be a mix — well, maybe not Boston. But I was overwhelmed. Yesterday was a day I'll never forget."
After going 0 for 4, A-Rod was lifted for defense in the ninth inning. He had no problem with the move, saying he trusts Girardi.
Girardi insisted he's only trying to manage a player returning from a serious injury. And he has experience.
Girardi already has seen star shortstop Derek Jeter return to the disabled list twice since coming back in July from offseason ankle surgery.
Out with a right calf strain, Jeter played catch on the field and said he might ride a stationary bike. He thinks he could starting running in the next couple of days.
A 14-time All-Star with 647 career homers, Rodriguez is 3 for 15 with two walks and a hit by pitch in his first four games. He thinks he'll need about a dozen games to know where he is in his recovery.
One topic he wouldn't discuss was his case. A report in ESPN late Friday night said Rodriguez was given a letter saying the Yankees would discipline him for seeking an outside second opinion on his strained quadriceps in late July.
"Maybe they sent it to my lawyers, but I'm not really going to talk about that," Rodriguez said.
A call to general manager Brian Cashman on Saturday was not returned.
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