NY Yankees A-Rod Debuts at First Base: ‘It was quite interesting’
Alex Rodriguez started at first base for the first time in his long professional career and made routine plays to help the New York Yankees defeat the Houston Astros 7-0.
"It was fun," Rodriguez, 39, said. "It was quite interesting, after 20 year in the league, to see the game from a totally different lens."
Rodriguez's first play at first was a catch from third baseman Chase Headley, who fielded a routine grounder off of Jose Altuve. The veteran bobbled his second play, a grounder to his right, but recovered and threw to pitcher Nathan Eovaldi for the out.
"That was a very uncomfortable play, that's for sure,'' Rodriguez said. "Kind of an in-between hop for a righthander. I'm just glad we got a guy out. I felt like a quarterback hitting my tight end on the run. I've never done that before.''
Rodriguez's last play before Yankees manager Joe Girardi took him out after 3 1/2 innings was a catch from second baseman Stephen Drew.
"Maybe next time I'll play five innings; I know Joe is trying to ease into it a little bit," Rodriguez said. "I think the most challenging parts are going to be bunts, first and second when I have to throw across the diamond. But I'm used to throwing the ball across the diamond, so that's an asset."
"I think physically he [Rodriguez] is in a much better spot than when he got here, but that's true with all our players,'' Girardi said.
Rodriguez walked in his first at-bat of the game and then singled in the fourth. He is hitting .324 (12 for 37) with three home runs and four RBIs and will primarily be the Yankees' designated hitter this season.
"I'm happy to play baseball. I'm here to do exactly what my bosses want me to do. I just want to help the team win. I can tell you that I'm a lot more happy and fortunate this year than 12 months ago," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez lost his spot at third base to Headley when he was suspended for the entire 2014 season due to the steroid scandal. Throughout his major league career, he has played 1,272 games at shortstop and 1,189 at third.
The Yankees will play the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday at Fort Myers. It will be Mashairo Tanaka, the opening day starter's first spring outing.