We heard the news about Alex Rodriguez being benched for Game 5, and the reaction from the manager, now here it is straight from the man himself:
“Obviously I’m not happy and disappointed. You want to be in there in the worst way, but as I keep telling you guys, this isn’t a story about one person. This is about a team, and we have some unfinished business today. Our objective is to win one game tonight and keep this thing moving.”
When if he’s OK coming off the bench — and Joe Girardi said he would pinch hit Rodriguez if and a lefty comes in — he said:
“Without question. I do know in 27 outs, a lot can happen. I’ll be ready.”
He also added that he has no problem with Joe Girardi, saying “It’s never about Joe. I always have to look in the mirror and do what I can do to do the best I can.”
Well, at least he has experience with that.
Seriously, though: those are all the right answers. If anyone is looking to make a bigger deal out of this than “struggling player sits in favor of player with better chance to help team win in a single game,” they’re just looking for stuff that isn’t there. To the extent this becomes a bigger drama, it’ll happen in the offseason in the event that the Yankees think about fundamentally changing A-Rod’s role with the team.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.