Bronx, NY – After being lifted for a pinch-hitter in each of the last two games of the American League Division Series, Alex Rodriguez was out of the starting lineup for the New York Yankees in the decisive Game 5 against the Baltimore Orioles.
Rodriguez was only 2-for-16 with a pair of singles and nine strikeouts in the first four games of the series and has especially struggled in clutch situations. Eric Chavez started at third base for New York and hit ninth on Friday, while Raul Ibanez was the designated hitter and batted fifth.
Both pinch-hit for Rodriguez earlier this week.
"It's been a struggle (for Rodriguez) against the right-handers," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi before Friday's game. "It was a tough decision, but I felt with the struggles that he's had, I just felt I'd go with (Eric Chavez)."
Chavez went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts taking Rodriguez's place in the finale, but Ibanez delivered an RBI single to help the Yankees record a 3-1 win and advance to the ALCS.
Curtis Granderson, just 1-for-16 with nine strikeouts over the first four games, had two hits in three at-bats and belted a solo homer to help extend New York's season.
Rodriguez was the designated hitter in Game 3 on Wednesday and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning with the Yankees trailing by a run. Ibanez delivered with the game-tying homer -- then a subsequent 12th-inning winning homer -- in a 3-2 Yankees victory.
In Game 4 on Thursday, Chavez came in as a pinch-hitter for Rodriguez in the 13th inning and lined out for the final out of a 2-1 Baltimore win. Rodriguez had a walk and a hit in his first two plate appearances Thursday, then struck out in the sixth with a runner aboard and fanned again in the eighth with the go-ahead run on third and one out. He also grounded out to short to open the 11th.
Derek Jeter, bothered by a bone bruise on his foot, was back at shortstop in Game 5 after a stint as the designated hitter on Thursday.