A-Rod return boosts YES Network ratings

Alex Rodriguez’s return had an immediate impact for the New York
Yankees – on the team’s television network.

A-Rod’s first major league game since October drew the YES
Network’s highest rating this year for a Yankees game, even though
New York lost 8-1 at the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.

YES said Tuesday the game had a 4.34 rating and averaged 393,000
viewers. The previous high was 4.16 rating for a 2-1 loss at the
New York Mets on May 27.

The most viewers were around the time of his first at-bat, with
the 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. EDT period drawing an 8.22 rating and 756,000
viewers.

Earlier Monday, Rodriguez was given a 211-game suspension
through the 2014 season by Major League Baseball for violations of
its drug agreement and labor contract. The ban starts Thursday, but
Rodriguez can play until an arbitrator decides his appeal.

Rodriguez, a three-time AL MVP, was returning from hip surgery
in January.

The Yankees are averaging a 2.53 rating and 231,000 viewers on
YES this season, a 35 percent drop in viewership from a 3.96 and
354,000 at a similar point last season.

Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson have
been injured for most of the season. New York began Tuesday in
fourth place in the AL East, 9 1-2 games behind division-leading
Boston.