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.