Alex Rodriguez was supposed to be benched for a second straight game -- this time with the Yankees facing possible elimination Wednesday night down, 3-0, to the Tigers in the American League Championship Series.
The game was postponed before it began and was rescheduled for 4:07 today, but there was plenty of drama surrounding Rodriguez on Wednesday besides the benching.
Keith Olbermann wrote on his blog, keitholbermann.mlblogs.com, that the Yankees "have held discussions with the Miami Marlins about a trade involving their third baseman in crisis, Alex Rodriguez."
General manager Brian Cashman refuted that report Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park and said he has not had any trade discussions since the trade deadline.
"We are not down the line on any trade talks on any of our players, including Alex," Cashman said. "And I haven't engaged any general managers about trade discussions, you know, since the deadline for the most part ... false, 100% false."
Cashman said the decision to bench Rodriguez was based on his struggles with right-handed pitching. Rodriguez hit .256 against right-handers this season.
"It's a short-term decision based on the strikeouts that have occurred against the right-handed pitching during the playoffs," Cashman said. "But if you look at his splits versus right-handed pitching and left-handed pitching for the season, it's not a short-term sample. So he's struggled with right-handed pitching this year altogether. There's a radical split there for whatever reason. And it's obviously gotten worse here in the postseason for some reason with the strikeouts."
Asked if he thought there were any other reasons for the benching other than not hitting right-handers, Rodriguez said: "I don't want to speculate. I played the game for a long time. Bottom line is, anytime I'm in any lineup, I think that lineup is better and has a better chance to win. I'm also at any point ready to break through. I think my at-bats in some of those games got a little bit better ... anytime I'm in the box the game can change and everybody knows that."
Manager Joe Girardi said benching Rodriguez was not easy: "It's not that I want to sit Alex Rodriguez."
The New York Post reported that Rodriguez flirted with two women late in the Game 1 at Yankee Stadium.
Rodriguez said he has never addressed gossip stories while playing in New York. He thought some of the criticism "is very fair and I can live with that. But some of the other stuff is not fair."
Cashman said the decision to bench Rodriguez was "purely baseball related."
"This is all about winning, regardless of the report that is out there that this is a nonbaseball-related story. It's not going to affect our decision-making about who is best to put us in the position to win on a daily basis."
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