A-Rod singles, Yankees lose 8-1 to White Sox

Alex Rodriguez got hit with a long suspension, then made his
return to the lineup.

Derek Jeter got shut down, at least for a little while. And if
that wasn’t enough, the Yankees somehow managed to get blown out by
a team that had dropped 10 in a row.

Otherwise, it was just another day at the ballpark.

Alex Rios Drove in four runs, Alexei Ramirez added four hits and
the Chicago White Sox stopped their skid with an 8-1 victory over
New York on Monday night.

”I think they hit the ball in the right spots tonight and swung
the bats pretty well,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

As for A-Rod?

”I thought he looked OK,” Girardi said. ”I thought his swings
looked pretty good tonight. That’s about all I can say. I thought
he looked OK.”

Rodriguez, who was booed and taunted all night, blooped a single
in his season debut, hours after he was suspended through 2014 by
Major League Baseball in the Biogenesis case.

The three-time MVP, who had been out following hip surgery,
plans to appeal his punishment.

”I just hope that there’s a happy ending there somewhere,” he
said.

His suspension overshadowed everything else, whether it was
Jeter going back on the disabled list because of a strained right
calf, Andy Pettitte (7-9) getting knocked out early or Jose
Quintana (6-3) pitching into the seventh for the White Sox.

Was it a good day for baseball?

”A little bit of both,” Jeter said. ”I don’t know if you can
say it’s a good day anytime you’re talking about a negative,
negativity. I understand what baseball is trying to do; they’re
cracking down on players.”

Rodriguez, meanwhile, is digging in, ready to go toe to toe with
MLB.

At 38 and coming back from the hip injury, he said he’s fighting
for his life. He was welcomed back with the same sort of greeting
he got on the road in the past, a series of boos and jeers that
were amplified by the penalty announced earlier in the day.

The crowd at U.S. Cellular Field booed Rodriguez during pregame
warm-ups and introductions. When he stepped to the plate in the
second inning, the fans could have drowned out a jet.

They weren’t feeling any better after Rodriguez dropped a
leadoff single into shallow left on the third pitch. He moved to
third with no outs on Vernon Wells’ double but was stranded.

Rodriguez flied out in his second and third at-bats and handled
a few grounders at third, getting booed every time he stepped to
the plate or touched the ball.

He also struck out in the eighth as fans chanted ”Steroids!
Steroids!”

Rodriguez shrugged off the reaction. ”I love Chicago,” he
said. ”I love the fans here. It’s just a great town, great people.
I’m just so humbled being on the field, being able to play the game
I love.”

Rodriguez did not deny using performance-enhancing drugs in a
news conference after the punishment came down. Instead he said he
will talk about whether he used PEDs at another time when he is
more free to speak.

He did say he has to defend himself because no one else
will.

”I want nothing but the best for Al and his family,” Pettitte
said. ”Glad to see him back. He’s going to help this club. He’s a
great ballplayer. He’s into the game. He’ll definitely help
us.”

The Yankees are hoping Rodriguez can provide some sort of spark
even though they’re fading from the playoff picture. They need more
power for their lineup, something that’s been a particular problem
for their third basemen.

Pettitte, however, did them no favors. He lasted 2 2-3 innings
in his shortest outing since July 18, 2010, while matching season
highs for runs (seven) and hits (11). He fell to 0-3 in his last
four starts.

Rios delivered an RBI single and scored during a three-run
first. He added a two-run single in the second that made it
5-0.

Rios then capped a two-run third with a bases-loaded walk after
Preston Claiborne replaced Pettitte, making it 7-0.

That was more than enough for Quintana, who gave up one run and
eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.

”It was just a good night offensively,” White Sox manager
Robin Ventura said. ”Guys were swinging it.”

NOTES: Pettitte is the first Yankees pitcher since at least 1920
to allow runs in the first inning in seven straight starts within a
single season, according to STATS LLC. … Besides Rodriguez,
Yankees C Francisco Cervelli and minor league OF Fernando Martinez
were suspended 50 games. ”I think he had made strides this year as
a player, and I want him to come into spring training ready to go,
try to learn from what has happened,” manager Joe Girardi said
when asked about Cervelli. … With Jeter going on the DL, the
Yankees recalled infielder Dave Adams from Triple-A
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. They also designated infielder Brent
Lillibridge for assignment, and Rodriguez was activated from the
disabled list. Outfielder Thomas Neal was claimed off waivers by
the Cubs. … White Sox LF Dayan Viciedo jammed his left thumb
diving for Robinson Cano’s single in the first inning and left the
game. The team said X-rays were negative and he’s day to day. …
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (10-6, 2.38 ERA) starts for the Yankees, with LHP
Chris Sale (6-11, 2.92) pitching for Chicago on Tuesday.