With ASG on line, A-Rod sits idle
Girardi elects not to use his slugger in the ninth
ANAHEIM -- The 81st All-Star Game ended with the tying run at home plate for the American League and baseball's active home run leader on the bench.
Alex Rodriguez, a three-time AL Most Valuable Player, said he was ready to enter Tuesday's 3-1 loss at Angel Stadium and had started to prepare in the sixth inning. But Yankees manager Joe Girardi never called his name, and Rodriguez was left to be an idle observer in his 13th All-Star Game.
"We had a couple of situations where I could have gone in, in the eighth and ninth innings," Rodriguez said. "I felt good. I was loose and ready to go. I sat there for about three hours. [Adrian] Beltre had some good chances and that's all that's important."
Asked for a particular reason he did not put Rodriguez in the game, Girardi said there was no injury-related concern with A-Rod, but rather with Beltre's left hamstring, which nearly prompted the Rangers' Michael Young to be added Monday as a replacement.
"We were talking about pinch-running [Rodriguez] in a situation," Girardi said. "We also had a little issue with Beltre and we were concerned about his hamstring, so if we get the tying run on, Al was going to pinch-run and then go in [to play third base]."
With Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton in for the National League's ninth inning, David Ortiz led off with a single to right field, bringing the tying run to the plate.
Beltre struck out swinging for the first out, and John Buck lifted a fly ball into shallow right field that Marlon Byrd couldn't catch on the fly. But with the slow-footed Ortiz running, Byrd recovered and fired to second base for the force out, and Broxton got Ian Kinsler to fly out to end the game.
Ortiz said he didn't know for sure why he was still on the basepaths, but guessed it might have to do with the shortage on the AL bench.
"I don't know, this is the All-Star Game and you never know what can happen," Ortiz said. "You don't want to waste a player with the situation we got caught in a few years ago. A lot of players were out already ... it's a situation you don't want to get rid of every single player. You just have to let things happen."
Girardi had already used Ty Wigginton and Beltre at third base behind starter Evan Longoria. Girardi said that he considered using a re-entry rule to get Wigginton back into the game for Beltre.
"If Ortiz and Beltre got on, Al was going to pinch-run for Ortiz and Wigginton was going to pinch-run for Beltre because his hamstring is bothered," Girardi said.
Girardi said that he could have pinch-hit with Wigginton, but decided not to.
"I could have, in a situation, but I was going to give Beltre his at-bat," Girardi said. "You can't really pinch-hit for John Buck and I don't have any outfielders left. So if the situation arose, you get extra innings, he would probably be my DH."
Rodriguez said he hadn't been given an explanation by Girardi and didn't need one.
"I'm happy for Beltre," Rodriguez said. "He got some playing time, and Wigginton. We have four guys out there. I think sitting out there for three hours, Joe probably decided it was best -- unless he really needed me -- not to use me."
When a reporter pressed him, Rodriguez reiterated that there were no injury concerns relating to his absence from the game, promising he'd be ready to play Friday against the Rays. Rodriguez also said he was not disappointed to be a no-show in the box score.
"I started to get ready in the sixth, I don't know what else to tell you," Rodriguez said. "You must have wanted me to hit. It would have been fun, but maybe next time."
The situation was similar to one in 2007, when NL manager Tony La Russa of the Cardinals did not employ his star slugger, Albert Pujols, in the AL's 5-4 win in San Francisco.
The game ended with Aaron Rowand flying out with the bases loaded, and La Russa said after the game he was saving Pujols in case the game went to extra innings.
Unlike A-Rod, however, Pujols was unhappy with his manager's decisions, and he voiced his frustration after the game.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.