Alex Rodriguez’s Return To Baseball A Success
Other than Kris Bryant, no other player received as much attention this spring as Alex Rodriguez did. Could A-Rod still hit well? Could he run the bases? Can he play the field? These are all questions that will get answers as the year progresses. What the Yankees saw on Monday though was promising nonetheless.
The New York Yankees as a whole didn’t produce enough on Opening Day to get a win, falling 6-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays. Masahiro Tanaka allowed 5 runs in the third inning and Brett Gardner drove in the only Yankee run with a solo homer. Even though this marks the Yanks 4th consecutive loss on Opening Day, there is a lot to be excited about, including a healthy Rodriguez.
In Alex’s first AB since September 2013, he walked on 8 pitches. During the spring, coaches were satisfied with A-Rod’s understanding of the strike zone and patience at the plate, which did show on Monday. At the bottom of the order, Rodriguez will need to get on base so the top of the lineup can bring him around to score.
In his second AB of the day, Rodriguez worked the count full before lining one into the gap in right center. When the ball left the bat, you could instantly tell it was a solid hit. Though it was just a single, gap power is something many critics were skeptical of regarding A-Rod’s game. It was only one hit, but it’s good to know he still has a bit of pop left in him.
Finally, Rodriguez lined out in his third and final at bat of the day. At the end of the game, Alex was 1-2 with a hard single and a walk. On a normal day, these would be average numbers, but given the circumstances and putrid play of the rest of the team, A-Rod’s performance stuck out.
In his post-game interview, Alex made it known that he is not taking this year for granted. He also said “it definitely felt pretty good” to be back on the field. It is clear he is ready to move on from the drama and based on the chants and ovations, the Yankee fans seem to be ready too.
Moving forward, the Yankees will hope for offensive contributions from Rodriguez, whether as a DH, first baseman, or third baseman. It is still unknown if Alex can still man the corner infield spots, but injuries have plagued the Yanks in the past, so he may have no choice. General Manager Brian Cashman has stated that A-Rod looks to be the everyday designated hitter, which is the most fitting position for the 39 year-old anyway.
When the Yankees go on the road, it is almost guaranteed that he will get booed mercilessly, but at least he’ll be booed with talent still left in his body.