Alex Rodriguez insisted he had no problem with Joe Girardi's decision to sub him out for Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the ALDS -- especially since his replacement hit a pair of home runs to give the Yankees a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
The Yankees third baseman said he hadn't been pinch-hit for since high school, but preached a team-first mentality when asked about Girardi's decision.
"Maybe 10 years ago I react a much different way," Rodriguez said. "I'm in a place in my career where team is everything."
Girardi kept A-Rod in the third spot in the New York Yankees' batting order, but in the bottom of the ninth replaced Rodriguez, who is 1-for-12 in the ALDS with seven strikeouts, with Ibanez. The move worked, as Ibanez clubbed a homer to right field to tie the game up, then hit with a walk-off shot in the 12th, while Rodriguez cheered from the dugout.
Rodriguez repeated that he was one of Girardi's biggest supporters and that he's behind whatever his manager needs to do to get the win. He also stressed his love for Ibanez, who like Rodriguez, hails from Miami.
"I wish that was me hitting two home runs tonight," Rodriguez said. "But if it wasn't me, it was the next-best guy, Raul."
Rodriguez said he feels good at the plate despite his sub-par numbers. The decision to bring in Ibanez might have had some basis in matchups -- Ibanez is a lefty, while the righty Rodriguez would have been at a disadvantage against Baltimore closer Jim Johnson -- but by any stretch, it was a decision based on hitting, as Rodriguez was a designated hitter Wednesday night.
Here's the full clip of Rodriguez' postgame comments: