A-Rod still slated for Thursday after BoSox pitching change

BOSTON (AP) — Yankees manager Joe Girardi is staying with his plan to start Alex Rodriguez for Thursday’s series finale at Fenway Park despite a change in Boston’s rotation.

“Yes, he will,” Girardi said a couple of hours before New York faced the Red Sox on Wednesday.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will start for Boston instead of knuckleballer Steven Wright because the right-hander jammed his pitching shoulder while diving into a base as pinch runner in an interleague game against the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend.

“It’s about winning the games,” Girardi said when asked if he liked the matchup. “That’s what it’s always about here. It’ll continue to be that way.”

Girardi then went on to answer about 12 minutes of questions why A-Rod wasn’t starting the first two games of the series. The Yankees said Sunday that Rodriguez will be released following Friday’s homestand opener against Tampa Bay. The 41-year-old designated hitter, who has 696 home runs, didn’t play in a 5-3 loss in Tuesday.

Fans chanted “We want A-Rod’!’ late in the game.

“You could say what you want, there’s a lot of relationships involved here and it bothers me sometimes because people say one thing to do and because it becomes controversial they say another and it’s difficult,” Girardi said. “When we look at this decision, we’re basing it on a substantial amount of at-bats — and it’s not what we want. I think our hope is he’d hit 30 home runs again, but that hasn’t been the case this year.”

Girardi said he understands some may consider him a ‘bad guy’ for not playing A-Rod.

“It is what it is,” he said. “It’s part of the job, I guess.”

Girardi said he “made a mistake” by saying on Sunday that if Rodriguez wanted to play in all remaining games before his release that he would try to get him in the games.

“My job is to put out what I feel is the best lineup, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Girardi said. “It’s been difficult.”

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