CHICAGO (CBSDC/AP) — Alex Rodriguez got hit with a long suspension, then made his return to the New York Yankees lineup.
Derek Jeter got shut down, at least for a little while. And if that wasn’t enough, the Yankees somehow managed to get blown out by a team that had dropped 10 in a row.
Otherwise, it was just another day at the ballpark.
Alex Rios Drove in four runs, Alexei Ramirez added four hits and the Chicago White Sox stopped their skid with an 8-1 victory over New York on Monday night.
“I think they hit the ball in the right spots tonight and swung the bats pretty well,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
As for A-Rod?
“I thought he looked OK,” Girardi said. “I thought his swings looked pretty good tonight. That’s about all I can say. I thought he looked OK.”
Rodriguez, who was booed and taunted all night, blooped a single in his season debut, hours after he was suspended through 2014 by Major League Baseball in the Biogenesis case.
The three-time MVP, who had been out following hip surgery, plans to appeal his punishment.
“I just hope that there’s a happy ending there somewhere,” he said.
His suspension overshadowed everything else, whether it was Jeter going back on the disabled list because of a strained right calf, Andy Pettitte (7-9) getting knocked out early or Jose Quintana (6-3) pitching into the seventh for the White Sox.
Was it a good day for baseball?
“A little bit of both,” Jeter said. “I don’t know if you can say it’s a good day anytime you’re talking about a negative, negativity. I understand what baseball is trying to do; they’re cracking down on players.”
Rodriguez, meanwhile, is digging in, ready to go toe to toe with MLB.
At 38 and coming back from the hip injury, he said he’s fighting for his life. He was welcomed back with the same sort of greeting he got on the road in the past, a series of boos and jeers that were amplified by the penalty announced earlier in the day.
The crowd at U.S. Cellular Field booed Rodriguez during pregame warm-ups and introductions. When he stepped to the plate in the second inning, the fans could have drowned out a jet.
They weren’t feeling any better after Rodriguez dropped a leadoff single into shallow left on the third pitch. He moved to third with no outs on Vernon Wells’ double but was stranded.
Rodriguez flied out in his second and third at-bats and handled a few grounders at third, getting booed every time he stepped to the plate or touched the ball.
He also struck out in the eighth as fans chanted “Steroids! Steroids!”
Rodriguez shrugged off the reaction. “I love Chicago,” he said. “I love the fans here. It’s just a great town, great people. I’m just so humbled being on the field, being able to play the game I love.”
Rodriguez did not deny using performance-enhancing drugs in a news conference after the punishment came down. Instead he said he will talk about whether he used PEDs at another time when he is more free to speak.
He did say he has to defend himself because no one else will.
“I want nothing but the best for Al and his family,” Pettitte said. “Glad to see him back. He’s going to help this club. He’s a great ballplayer. He’s into the game. He’ll definitely help us.”
The Yankees are hoping Rodriguez can provide some sort of spark even though they’re fading from the playoff picture. They need more power for their lineup, something that’s been a particular problem for their third basemen.
Pettitte, however, did them no favors. He lasted 2 2-3 innings in his shortest outing since July 18, 2010, while matching season highs for runs (seven) and hits (11). He fell to 0-3 in his last four starts.
Rios delivered an RBI single and scored during a three-run first. He added a two-run single in the second that made it 5-0.
Rios then capped a two-run third with a bases-loaded walk after Preston Claiborne replaced Pettitte, making it 7-0.
That was more than enough for Quintana, who gave up one run and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.
“It was just a good night offensively,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Guys were swinging it.”
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