It’s bad enough that the Yankees lost a ballgame to the lowly Baltimore Orioles, but last night they also lost their cleanup hitter to what was termed “groin stiffness”.
According to postgame comments, Arod’s groin had started bothering him during pregame warm-ups, yet despite this information, Joe Girardi inexplicably decided to keep him in the lineup. That decision was a major contributor to the 4-3 loss because Arod’s inability to range to his left for a groundball cost the Yankees two runs in the first inning. Also, a seventh inning rally was thwarted when Francisco Cervelli was forced to pinch hit for Ramiro Pena, who was hitting in the cleanup spot.
Not only do I make the play, it’s a routine play,” he said. “It’s a play that you make 10 out of 10 times. I just locked up. At that point, I pointed at Nino.” – Alex Rodriguez’ postgame comments, as quoted by the LoHud Yankees Blog
Why Girardi would think Arod would loosen up as the game approached is bewildering. After all, it was just last Sunday when Arod was forced to leave a game with the same sore groin. What’s more, groin issues are often symptoms of the kind of hip problems Arod has had in the past, so there was all the more reason to exercise caution, not only to avoid putting the game at risk, but a vital cog in the Yankees’ lineup as well.
So, now the Yankees have to hold to their collective breath as Arod meets with team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. If the groin stiffness turns out to be a pull, or even worse, points to a reoccurrence of his hip injury, the Yankees will be in full panic mode. With Mark Teixeira struggling, Nick Johnson likely out for most of the year and Jorge Posada battling to regain his form, the loss of Arod would be too much for the team’s precarious lineup to survive. Even though he hasn’t been hitting for his usual power, Arod is still the linchpin of the offense, so if the Yankees are forced to pull him out, the entire lineup could collapse.