One of the biggest talking points after last night’s All-Star Game was the fact that Joe Girardi did not use Alex Rodriguez. Most notably, that he did not use him to pinch run for David Ortiz, who wound up getting thrown out at second base on a single to the outfield.
I’ve heard two retorts to this: (1) Girardi was protecting A-Rod’s wonky hip or something and didn’t want him to get hurt on the basepaths in a (mostly) meaningless game; and (2) Since Ortiz didn’t represent the go-ahead or even the tying run, better to save your pinch runner for later.
Taking the second one first: huh? In that situation all runs up to and including the winning run were critical. If Ortiz is thrown out someplace (which he was), it would dramatically reduce the chances of the tying or go-ahead runs scoring. Given that there was no player on the American League team more in need of a pinch runner than Ortiz, you have to sub someone in for him. Maybe not A-Rod — the better bet would have been to save Elvis Andrus or someone for pinch running purposes — but someone, and A-Rod was the only one left.
I’m more prepared to buy the A-Rod’s health thing, but Brian Cashman just took a good chunk out of that argument:
Cashman said that while he had not yet spoken to Joe Girardi today,
he believes that Alex Rodriguez is healthy and that there was no injury
situation that would have kept him out of last night’s All-Star Game.
There were reports that Rodriguez had a sore thumb, but Cashman said
there was “nothing that I know of beyond the daily maintenance stuff.”
Cashman added, “Was he available (to play)? Yes he was.”
Maybe Cashman doesn’t have the best information here — Girardi was in the clubhouse with A-Rod after all — and maybe he’s simply not being 100% honest (why let the opposition know if A-Rod is a little banged up?), but the health explanation still isn’t washing with me.