The Yankee lineup is better with A-Rod in it, there's no denying that. But the last couple months have shown us that the team is just as dangerous and successful without him in the lineup. So Joe has a real tightrope to walk for the rest of this season in terms of how he uses A-Rod and how much he uses him. Obviously it's important to shake the rust off, test the knee and thumb, and get his timing back at the plate so he's hitting on all cylinders come playoff time. But in the interest of health, it might be more important to give The Horse more days at DH, take him out of games late for defensive replacements so he can rest, and to have some days where the team just leaves him in the paddock and lets him eat oats. And that will be something that will have to be monitored daily.
I feel bad for doing it, because the guy's name is the title of this blog, but with all the bumps and bruises he's had over the last few years and now this season, I have to say that I'm not 100% confident The Horse will make it through the remainder of this year healthy. In fact, I don't even feel confident he'll make it through tonight's game (assuming he will be in the lineup) without re-aggravating something. So here are the odds:
- Re-aggravates thumb injury and leaves game- 2:1
- Re-aggravates knee injury and leaves game- 3:1
- Suffers some other leg injury and leaves game- 5:1
- Suffers some upper-body injury and leaves game- 10:1
- Plays whole game without injury, hits home run, and kicks catcher in the face with his back hooves after touching home plate- 500:1
Place your bets, people. But do say a prayer that we get the long odds outcome and get the benefit of a healthy Horse batting cleanup from here on out. I don't know if I can live with having to watch Eduardo Nunez man the hot corner in the postseason.
(I don't think horses have thumbs)