NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez started and finished the Yankees' biggest game of the year on the bench.
After being pinch hit for in Games 3 and 4 against the Orioles in their American League Division Series, the $275 million third baseman was removed from the lineup for Game 5 on Friday.
"I'm not happy and obviously disappointed," Rodriguez said before the game. "Want to be in there in the worst way."
Eric Chavez started at third base, and Game 3 star Raul Ibanez was the DH in the series finale, won by New York 3-1. It was the first time A-Rod didn't start a postseason game for his team since 1995.
"He has been a very productive hitter," said manager Joe Girardi, who said the decision was difficult. "But he struggled against right-handers in the series."
Rodriguez, 37, was 2-for-16 (.125) with no RBIs in the series and 0-for-12 against right-handed pitchers with nine strikeouts. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the opener against Jason Hammel, Baltimore's Game 5 starter.
Girardi informed Rodriguez before the 14-time All-Star arrived at Yankee Stadium.
"It's never about Joe," Rodriguez said. "I always have to look in the mirror and do what I can do to do the best I can."
A-Rod wasn't the only slugger with more than 600 homers to sit. Orioles manager Buck Showalter chose to play Lew Ford over Jim Thome, who has 612 homers.
alcs: The Tigers were headed to New York late Friday from Oakland, Calif. They had about a day to savor their Game 5 Division Series victory over the Athletics in which ace Justin Verlander struck out 11 in a four-hit, 6-0 shutout. Game 1 of the championship series is tonight. Doug Fister was set to start for Detroit against Andy Pettitte.
Giants: OF Melky Cabrera was reinstated by Major League Baseball after serving a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test, but the team is sticking with its decision to not add him to the playoff roster for the NLCS.