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A-Rod gets another chance, returns to Yankees lineup for Game 1

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

NEW YORK -- The Yankees will give it another try with Alex Rodriguez.

Can you blame them?

Maybe you could, but would it really make sense to bench Rodriguez through the entire ALCS? Would it really make sense to totally give up on a guy with 647 career home runs, and a guy who they still have at least $114 million committed to over the next five years?

Rodriguez is starting Saturday night's Game 1 against Tigers right-hander Doug Fister, batting sixth. He began the postseason as the Yankees' third-place hitter, but just this week he was pinch-hit for twice, moved down to fifth and then moved completely out of the lineup for Friday night's Game 5 against the Orioles.

"This is a guy we expect a lot from," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I know he had struggles in the first round against right-handers, but this is a guy who can do a lot of damage."

Rodriguez hasn't done much damage in his career against Fister, going 1 for 9 (a single) with three strikeouts.

But if A-Rod didn't start against Fister, who would he start against in this round?

The Tigers have an all-right-handed rotation. Their other starters throw harder than Fister, which means they are exactly the kind of pitcher Rodriguez had the most trouble against in the Orioles series.

Against the Orioles, Rodriguez was 0 for 12 with nine strikeouts against right-handed pitchers.

"We need this guy to be Alex, that's the bottom line," Girardi said. "If we want to make some noise, we need this guy to be Alex."

And if he's not, Girardi can simply put him on the bench again. If he looks as bad Saturday as he did in the Division Series, maybe that happens as soon as Sunday afternoon.

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