NEW YORK — The Yankees' team bus was on the road on Saturday when manager Joe Girardi's phone rang. After deteriorating from Alzheimer's disease since the 1990s, his father had died in Illinois.
"I had tears in my eyes on the bus, so I put some sunglasses on," Girardi said Thursday, struggling not to cry, "and (did) probably what a lot of men do when they go through difficult and sad times, we try to stay busy. That's what we do. And I tried to focus."
For five days, Girardi did not disclose his father's death to his players, preferring not to talk about it and not wanting to distract his team in its AL Division Series with the Orioles. Jerry Girardi, who was 81, will be buried in Tampico, Ill., on Monday.
Girardi's mother, Angela, died in 1984.
Not managing for a night never entered Girardi's mind. "The one thing that both of them, besides many other things that they taught me, was always to finish the job at hand," he said.
And so Thursday was another day of choices. For Game 4 of the best-of-five series, a potential clincher for the Yankees, he moved 3B Alex Rodriguez down in the order from third to fifth, and he moved Derek Jeter, who fouled a ball off his foot, from shortstop to DH.
Girardi pinch-hit for Rodriguez (1-for-12, seven strikeouts entering Thursday) in Game 3 on Wednesday, and Raul Ibanez homered in the ninth and the 12th as New York took a 2-1 series lead.
"He wasn't angry. I don't think it will change our relationship," Girardi said of Rodriguez. "I saw Al's expression when Raul hit the home run, and you see the type of team player he is."
For his part, A-Rod said all the right things to the media. "Maybe 10 years ago I would have reacted in a much different way," he said.
Red Sox search: Team officials will start their managerial search today when they interview Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach. The Sox are also known to be interested in Blue Jays manager and former Boston pitching coach John Farrell.
Obituary: John "Champ" Summers, who played for six major-league teams in a 10-year career and was a hitting coach for the Yankees, died in Ocala of kidney cancer. He was 66.