DETROIT (AP) — Alex Rodriguez was dropped from the Yankees' starting lineup again Wednesday, this time with New York facing elimination and his future with the team still to be resolved.
Trailing 3-0 in the AL championship series against Detroit, the Yankees also benched slumping center fielder Curtis Granderson.
Rodriguez, only 3 for 23 in this postseason, was out of the lineup for the third time in New York's nine playoff games. The star third baseman also has been pulled for a pinch hitter three times.
"We will go forward. Alex will go forward," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before Game 4 was postponed because of a forecast of heavy rain. The game was rescheduled for Thursday.
"That doesn't mean that he's done, that he's finished, that he is not capable. He is still a big threat, but for whatever reason right now we are adjusting to what we are seeing," he said.
Whether the Yankees keep him on the bench or put him in another postseason game, "it doesn't mean by doing so we're not going to have to deal with legitimate questions," Cashman said.
"That's all for another day," he said. "All we are concentrating on is the here and now and what is best for us today."
The 37-year-old slugger with 647 career home runs didn't like his seat in the dugout.
"I'm not happy about it. Obviously, you come to the ballpark feeling you can help the team win. When you see your name is not in the lineup, it's obviously disappointing," Rodriguez said Wednesday night. "You've got to accept being a cheerleader and also make sure that you're ready when you're number's called."
While Rodriguez was surrounded by a pack of reporters on the field Wednesday, some Tigers looked on in bewilderment as Detroit took batting practice.
"I've played this game for a long time and bottom line is, anytime I'm in any lineup, I think that lineup is better. It has a better chance to win," A-Rod said.
"I don't care if it's an All-Star Game. I feel I can bring that type of impact and I'm also at any point ready to break through. I thought my at-bats in some of those games got a little bit better. The last two, I hit two rockets. Anytime I'm in the box the game can change and everyone knows that," he said.
The firestorm may not end any time soon. He has $114 million and five years remaining on his contract — and a no-trade clause.
"You know, the one thing about this game, as we've all appreciated over time, is that you're going to have some good times and you're going to have some tough times," Cashman said. "But when you're going through the tough times, it doesn't have to be the end-all and be-all. Opportunities will exist to continue to get back off that mat and get back in the ring and battle."
Yankees president Randy Levine and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria joked last spring about sending A-Rod to Miami. The conversation took place when the Yankees played a pair of exhibitions to open the Marlins' new ballpark.
"Alex is Mr. Miami," Loria told him.
"Take him. Tell me what you're willing to do," Levine said before the pair laughed.
Said Levine Wednesday: "It's funny. You can't even joke with somebody anymore."
Cashman flatly denied that the team has had trade discussions concerning Rodriguez.
He said manager Joe Girardi has the final say on the lineup, but a move like benching Rodriguez is discussed higher in the organization as well.