Monday, December 18, 2017
Sports

A-Rod gets nod but falls in lineup

NEW YORK — 3B Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankees' starting lineup for their AL Championship Series opener against Detroit on Saturday night but was dropped to sixth in the batting order.

Rodriguez was 2-for-16 with no RBIs in the AL Division Series against Baltimore, going hitless in 12 at-bats against right-handed pitchers with nine strikeouts. Manager Joe Girardi pinch hit for him in Games 3 and 4.

"This is a guy we know can do a lot of damage," Girardi said. "I talk about sometimes going with my gut and evaluating what I see and different things you take into account when you made the lineup up, talk to people, and I think he's raring to go."

Rodriguez, 37, had not hit as low as sixth since Joe Torre batted him eighth in the fourth and final game of the 2006 ALDS against the Tigers, according to STATS LLC. He went 0-for-3. A-Rod last hit sixth in Game 2 that year against Detroit, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Detroit has four right-handers in its rotation. Rodriguez entered the series 1-for-9 in his regular- and postseason career against Game 1 starter Doug Fister, 0-for-3 against Anibal Sanchez, 8-for-30 with three homers against Justin Verlander and 1-for-12 against Max Scherzer.

Rodriguez hasn't homered in 84 at-bats since Sept. 14.

COACH HURT: Giants first-base coach Roberto Kelly sustained a concussion after getting hit in the back of the head when Buster Posey's ball struck him while he was standing near second base during batting practice. Kelly was still expected to be on the field for Game 1 of the NL Championship Series today.

EXPANDED REPLAY: Commissioner Bud Selig said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that instant replay likely will be expanded next year to include reviews of fair or foul balls and trapped balls. "I think we'll have it for sure," he said. "They're working on cameras in all the ballparks."

YANKS ROTATION: The Yankees picked RHP Hiroki Kuroda to start Game 2 tonight on three days' rest. Kuroda, 37, has never pitched on short rest in his five seasons in the majors. RHP Phil Hughes is set to face Tigers RHP Justin Verlander in Game 3 on Tuesday, with LHP CC Sabathia going on normal rest Wednesday.

NLCS ROTATIONS: The Giants announced that LHP Madison Bumgarner will start Game 1 tonight against the Cardinals, with LHP Lance Lynn expected to go for St. Louis.

UMP CREWS: Sam Holbrook, the umpire who made the controversial infield fly call that enraged the Braves and their fans in the NL wild-card game, is part of the crew for the AL Championship Series. Crews are chosen before the postseason begins. Jeff Kellogg is ALCS crew chief, and Gary Darling heads the NLCS crew.

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