BALTIMORE — To the surprise of most, Alex Rodriguez avoided the disabled list in 2015.
He will not be as fortunate this season.
The 40-year-old DH suffered a strained right hamstring running out a grounder in the fifth inning of Tuesday night’s loss to the Orioles and was placed on the 15-day DL Wednesday afternoon.
Lefthander James Pazos was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take his place on the 25-man roster.
“Obviously very disappointed,” Rodriguez said shortly after arriving in the clubhouse before Wednesday night’s game. “I was just hitting my stride.”
Rodriguez, who went for an MRI Wednesday morning that showed the strain, had a .194/.275/.444 slash line (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) in 20 games, but did have a team-high five homers with 12 RBIs, tied with Starlin Castro for the team lead.
Rodriguez posted a .368/.400/1.000 slash line in his previous six games, with three homers, three doubles and seven RBIs. Before that stretch, his slash line was .132/.233/.245.
“I thought it was encouraging before I started hitting well,” he said. “I told these guys [reporters] a couple of weeks ago I was coming along, seeing the ball better. Just the quality of the at-bats were getting better. For me, in my career, walks are usually a sign of good things to come.”
Now the veteran is down for a yet-to-be-determined time — the Yankees will have their team physician, Chris Ahmad, look at the MRI results before attempting to put a time frame on it — not ideal for a club that entered Wednesday night 8-16 and tied for last in the AL in runs (82).
“I can’t think of a worse time to go on the DL,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously the offense has been struggling and I know that I take a lot of pride and responsibility in making sure that our offense overall plays well.”
Joe Girardi said there is never a right time for a DL stint but acknowledged this one is particularly poorly timed.
“It’s not a good time right now with the struggles we’ve had and him seemingly getting it going,” he said. “The timing is not great, but it’s not too often injuries come at a good time at any point, especially when it’s someone who hits in the middle of the order.”
Rodriguez said that he spoke to the club before Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss, the Yankees’ sixth straight defeat.
“I [told them] there’s no reason why we can’t score five runs per night,” he said. “That should be a good par for us, especially in our stadium.”
Said Girardi: “I believe it’s a club that should, on average, score four, five runs a game. I believe that this offense is capable of doing that.”
Girardi said adding a 13th pitcher instead of a bat was likely a short-term move, a nod to the schedule that has the Yankees in the beginning stages of 20 games without a day off.
“Just trying to protect ourselves a little bit,” Girardi said. “Not saying we’re going to carry 13 pitchers throughout this 20-day stretch, but we figured we’d cover ourselves a little bit.”