Updated 10/24/2012 03:56 PM
Girardi: Expect A-Rod To Hold Down Third Next Year
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Yankees Manager Joe Girardi told reporters Wednesday he expects Alex Rodriguez to be his everyday third baseman next season.
The Yanks were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series last week.
Throughout that series and the Division Series, A-Rod struggled and forced Girardi to pinch-hit for him late in games, as well as bench him.
Addressing the media, Girardi said he won't second guess his decisions but said he thinks Rodriguez can return to form.
"As I said, I think players have an opportunity and I think when you've been a great player, you're obviously usually a pretty smart player, and sometimes you do have to make a tweak here or a tweak there or maybe you got away from what you were doing accidentally," Girardi said. "And you go back and say, 'OK, this was the reason maybe this was happening or that was happening.' So, can Alex be a very good player again? Absolutely."
Girardi said he also expects pitching ace CC Sabathia to be healthy by the beginning of next season. Sabathia spent some time on the disabled list in 2012 and is scheduled to see a specialist about discomfort in his elbow.
"We all know that CC had a little bit of a groin problem and a little bit of an elbow problem during the course of the season," Girardi said. "He pitched really well down the stretch and it's made me feel pretty good about what's going on. But, you know, at times, people have to be evaluated to make sure everything's OK."
He also said he expects Yankees captain Derek Jeter to be healthy come spring training.
Girardi didn't shed much new light on the Yankees' offensive woes during the postseason, but he said the fight to get into the postseason in September may have played a role.
"It could've been the grueling five-game series with Baltimore too, without the day off. That could've had something to do with it as well," he said. "It's hard to put your finger on it because guys are used to playing every day. Those are pretty grueling games. The last month was pretty tough."