NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez was out of the Yankees lineup on Wednesday, and he vowed to keep himself out of the news as well.
Rodriguez said he has instructed his lawyers and various spokesmen to dial back the rhetoric of the past few weeks so that he can focus on baseball.
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"I've shut everything down," Rodriguez said. "I think it's the best thing to do for all of us, to focus on the game. We're in the middle of a pennant race. I want to put all the focus back on baseball."
Rodriguez declined to answer questions about Ryan Dempster's recent suspension and would not go into specifics about why he asked his lawyers to cut back on their public comments.
"If there's any questions in the future that are not about baseball, the interview will end at that moment," Rodriguez said.
After playing both games of a doubleheader on Tuesday, Rodriguez's day off on Wednesday had nothing to do with an injury, but was a preparation for Thursday's afternoon game. Manager Joe Girardi said he didn't want Rodriguez to play a day game after a night game immediately after playing both games of a doubleheader.
"It all goes into planning ahead and what we're going to do," Girardi said. "I felt like I couldn't play both him tonight and tomorrow, I think it's probably too much. I chose to give him tonight and I'll play him (Thursday)."
Rodriguez has been productive since coming off the disabled list earlier this month, but has also served as a sideshow while publicly fighting with the Yankees front office and accusing the team's medical staff of mistreatment.
"The past is the past," Rodriguez said. "Right now, the most important thing is (playing as if) our first playoff game starts tonight, and every game is important. Playoffs is what we're thinking about right now. That's the reason why I shut everything down."
Jennings writes for The Journal in Westchester County, N.Y.