When Alex Rodriguez met with reporters the other day one of the first questions that came up was about him possibly taking more DH at bats than he has in the past. A-Rod’s response was that he doesn’t consider himself a DH, he thought he played well defensively last season, but ultimately he would defer to manager Joe Girardi.
Here is what he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News on the subject:
“First of all, let me just say this. I don’t train and prepare to be a DH. I’m definitely not a DH. I think one of the things that I actually did that was above average last year was play very good defense. It’s also very important for the dynamic of our team to have a guy that plays not only solid defense but hits in the middle of the order. Is that going to say that you’re going to play 145 games down at third base? I’ll obviously defer to Joe, and I’ll do exactly what he wants me to do, but it’s definitely important for me to throw a very big number out there of playing third base. I came up watching, loving and admiring Cal Ripkin, and I saw him play third base well into when he was 40, 41. I don’t see any slowing down defensively. I think it’s important for our team to collect more wins and be more productive and have a longer lineup by me playing third base.”
As for his spot in the Yankees lineup, A-Rod talked about the “enormous pride” that he gets from hitting fourth, but again said that winning trumps everything and that he would defer to Girardi.
Hopefully the DH talk is premature, but with six years left on his contract it is almost inevitable that it will come up again.