Alex Rodriguez has made his improbable return to the New York Yankees lineup. Some didn't think it would happen, but it inevitably did, as he played all nine innings in the Yanks' 8-1 loss to the White Sox Monday night.
Regardless of what anyone thought of Rodriguez's involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, he does have the right to an appeal for his massive, 211-game suspension. And while appealing, he still gets to play.
But don't think Rodriguez got off the hook. This is how he was greeted in Chicago for his first at-bat:
The reaction was expected and it's something Rodriguez won't escape in any ballpark. Rodriguez got a hit in his first at-bat, but how did the rest of the game go for him?
Rodriguez finished the game 1-for-4 with a strikeout. His balance at the plate was good, but there was nothing overly impressive about his at-bats.
He did have a deep fly to left in his second at-bat. But, like we saw a lot of times last year, it wasn't enough.
He may be getting paid like a superstar, but he's failed to show that he's one...even in the minor leagues, where he hit .214 in 15 games. Fans are going to want to see more out of him at the plate, especially if he's in the No. 4 hole.
Rodriguez had a good glove on him, making three assists in the game. He did show considerable kinks in his game on an Adam Dunn grounder in the bottom of the second, however.
While beating Dunn to the bag isn't the hardest of tasks, it was a much closer play than need be, as A-Rod momentarily bobbled the ball and made an errant throw wide left. Only a nice stretch and save by Vernon Wells prevented the error.
Putting the off-field issues aside, how would you grade A-Rod's debut?
Otherwise, for his first game back in the big leagues, there was nothing much to complain about when it comes to fielding.
I have to say I was disappointed in A-Rod's baserunning. After getting on with a single in his first at-bat, Rodriguez had the ability to score from first on a double to left by Vernon Wells.
Of course, at his age, that might not be feasible anymore. But, with the Yankees' scoring struggles all year, when you have the chance to score, you have to take it.
Granted, it wouldn't have made much of a difference in the 8-1 loss, but at some point it will make a difference.
It was a decent return to the bigs for Rodriguez, but while fielding and baserunning are important, in the end, it's all about his hitting. If he doesn't produce at the plate, Rodriguez is going to be considered a failure.
Baseball fans are done giving Rodriguez the benefit of the doubt. No matter how much he tries to be a likable guy, it's not going to happen.
If he has a few more performances at the plate like he did Monday, expect the boo-birds to get even louder.