|Joe Girardi made a very unusual call prior to benching A-Rod in favor of Eric Chavez in Game 1. (Getty Images)|
Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a special call to the public address announcer on the press level during a Yankees playoff game to request that Alex Rodriguez not be named when Girardi pinch-hitRaul Ibanezfor A-Rod, people familiar with the situation said.
So when Ibanez went in for A-Rod, only Chavez's name was announced, not A-Rod's. Typically the announcement contains the names of both the player who is pinch hitting and the person who is being pinch-hit for.
The call by Girardi from the dugout did occur, confirmed general manager Brian Cashman.
Cashman said he believes it showed the lengths to which Girardi went to protect A-Rod's feelings. Such a call is very unusual.
Rodriguez was pinch-hit for and benched multiple times during a postseason in which he went 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts vs. right-handed pitchers. Overall he was 3 for 25.
Cashman said he didn't believe the decision to protect A-Rod was the brainchild of Chad Bohling, the club's influential director of mental conditioning, but rather was Girardi's idea. Bohling, who came to the Yankees late in Joe Torre's tenure, is extremely well-regarded within the organization, Cashman said.
Girardi has been seen over the years as close to A-Rod, probably closer than he is to some of the star players Girardi played with for the Yankees. It'll be interesting to see how that relationship is affected by the surprise decision to bench A-Rod. Cashman, who has said he doesn't expect outside interest in Rodriguez this winter and fully expects him to be back as the team's third baseman, acknowledged he has received no calls to date regarding A-Rod from any interested teams.
The decision to bench A-Rod was Girardi's final call, with input from Cashman, the front office staff and coaches, Cashman said in a recent conversation, though he also said he agreed with the decision. Cashman added that while he usually agrees with Girardi's choices, he doesn't always.