Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, shown during Game 3 of the ALDS vs. the Orioles, will play against the Tigers in Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday. / Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY
NEW YORK - Alex Rodriguez is back in the New York Yankees' lineup for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
The third baseman was scheduled to hit sixth in the Yankees' batting order as they face the Detroit Tigers at 8:07 p.m. ET Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
Rodriguez was benched for the Yankees' 3-1 victory against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night in the winner-take-all Game 5 of the AL Division Series. Manager Joe Girardi also pinch-hit for Rodriguez late in Games 3 and 4.
Rodriguez went 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts in the ALDS, including going 0-for-12 with all nine strikeouts against right-handers. That led to speculation that Rodriguez might not start any of the games in the ALCS because Detroit has all right-handed starting pitchers.
Rodriguez is the highest-paid player in the major leagues this season with a $29 million salary. He has five years and $114 million remaining on a 10-year, $275 million contract beyond this season.
"This is a guy we know is capable of doing a lot," Girardi said. "I talk about how you go with your gut sometimes when you make the lineup and I just think he's raring to go. If we're going to make some noise, we're going to need Alex to be Alex."
Rodriguez has been labeled as a player who fails to come through in the postseason, though he has hit .268 with 13 homers and 41 RBI in 72 games.
"You go through 225 days to get to this point," Girardi said. "You sacrifice a lot, physically, mentally and with family. I think guys just want it so bad at this time of year that they try too hard.
"Something that people don't talk about enough is that teams that usually get to the playoffs have good pitching, so runs are going to be at a premium. It's October, and the ball isn't going to carry as far. Bullpens are fresher with the off days. It's just tough to hit in the postseason."
In other Yankees news, Girardi has set his rotation beyond Game 1, which left-hander Andy Pettitte will start. Hiroki Kuroda will start Game 2 on three days of rest then Phil Hughes and lefty CC Sabathia will pitch Games 3 and 4 on the regular four days of rest.
It will be the first time Kuroda will pitch on short rest in his five major-league seasons.
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