07/07/07 9:15 PM ET
A-Rod opts to play in All-Star Game
Hamstring strain not severe enough to sideline top vote-getter
By Lauren Kobylarz / MLB.com
After testing his strained left hamstring one last time in the Yankees' afternoon game against the Angels, Rodriguez decided that his leg is still not 100 percent healed but feels good enough for the third baseman to play in the Midsummer Classic. The top vote-getter in the American League with nearly 3.9 million votes, Rodriguez said that he decided to play for his fans.
"The game is about the fans, and to get that many votes, you feel like you have the responsibility to go out and play," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez strained the muscle while beating out a fielder's choice in the sixth inning of the Yankees' win over the Twins on Monday night. He missed the final game of the series with Minnesota on Thursday and received normal results on an MRI performed on his leg.
Since then, Rodriguez toyed with the idea of missing the All-Star Game to rest his leg, torn between his responsibilities to stay healthy for the Yankees and to make the trip to San Francisco. In Friday and Saturday's games, the injury did not significantly hinder Rodriguez's performance.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Rodriguez said. "We'll go from there."
Before the game, Yankees manager Joe Torre was unsure whether Rodriguez would decide to take part or not, but he knew that A-Rod's focus was on the fans.
"It's an obligation," Torre said. "I can just judge from my years. I've been on a number of All-Star teams. You just feel when people -- whether they're the fans or the players -- want you on the team; it's a responsibility. Alex got the popular vote, so his fans and fans from around the country, that's where the obligation [is]."
Torre added that Rodriguez would probably play three innings in the field.
"It is an exhibition, and I know what comes out of this, home-field advantage [in the World Series], but, still, the most important thing for the manager managing the game is that he returns his players in the same shape they were in," Torre said.
Lauren Kobylarz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.