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Rodriguez gets to rest, not in Yankees starting lineup

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BOSTON (AP) — A-Rod is getting a rest from his pursuit of his next home run milestone.

Alex Rodriguez wasn't in the starting lineup for the New York Yankees on Friday night as he remains one homer away from tying Willie Mays' total of 660, fourth most in baseball history.

Manager Joe Girardi decided to rest Rodriguez with an afternoon game scheduled for Saturday. The Yankees were off Thursday before starting their three-game series with the Boston Red Sox.

"Sometimes I don't think it hurts to give a player a couple of days off," Girardi said. "We discussed it and it's what we went with."

He said the 39-year-old Rodriguez, who played in 20 of New York's other 22 games this season, would be available to come into the game.

The move also made sense since Rodriguez would have been the only right-handed hitter in the lineup against righty Justin Masterson. Girardi went with six left-handed batters and three switch-hitters.

Rodriguez has been in a slump, going 5 for 36 with one homer and two RBIs in his past 10 games. In his last game Wednesday, he went 0 for 6 with four strikeouts and a game-ending double play in New York's 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay in 13 innings.

Girardi would like to see Rodriguez hit No. 660 quickly.

"But my job is not to be caught up in milestones," he said, "but to be caught up with what is the best lineup you field that day.

"But I do want to get it out of the way because I think ... as much as a player you try not to think about it, it's impossible. And the sooner we get it out of the way the better."

After homering twice at Tampa Bay on April 17, Rodriguez was batting .344 with four homers. His only home run since then came last Sunday in a 6-4 win over the New York Mets.

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