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Girardi Defends Postseason Decisions, Maintains That A-Rod Benching Was Baseball-Related

NEW YORK (WFAN) - The Yankees were collectively miserable at the plate this postseason, so the blame for the premature finish to the Bronx Bombers' season will ultimately fall on the players.

But manager Joe Girardi made some gutsy and questionable decisions in the previous days in an attempt to wake up his team's bats. The skipper benched Alex Rodriguez three times in the postseason -- including the final two games of the American League Championship Series -- and didn't start Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson when they were struggling.

Though many understood the decisions to sit Swisher and Granderson, many were dumbfounded as to why Rodriguez didn't start the final two games in Detroit.

LISTEN: Joe Girardi discusses the 2012 postseason with Mike Francesa

Understandably, the Yankees' fan base is still searching for answers and solid reasoning.

"It's never easy to sit someone that has accomplished what he has accomplished," Girardi told WFAN's Mike Francesa in regard to Rodriguez. "I looked at his at-bats in September, I looked at them in the playoffs and the struggles that he had against right-handers. And (Eric) Chavez had been very productive against right-handers over the course of the year, and it was just something that I decided to do."

There has been plenty of speculation that the 14-time All-Star's benching was a disciplinary measure, possibly for his alleged flirtation with two female fans during Game 1 of the ALCS. Many suggest that the all-time great was scapegoated and treated unfairly because of outside factors, as opposed to his poor performance at the plate.

Girardi maintains that the decision to sit A-Rod was his own.

"I seek input, but the bottom line is (that) I sign that (lineup card)," Girardi said. "I'm the one that puts the lineup up. I'm going to seek input and talk to my coaches and talk to our staff, like I do on an everyday basis ... Every day I sought people's opinions, like I would during the course of the season, but the bottom line is that I have to make the final decisions."

The 37-year-old slugger was 3-for-25 in the playoffs with 12 strikeouts, and Girardi doesn't feel that he held the three-time American League MVP to a higher standard than the rest of the struggling players in his dugout.

"I sat Swisher, I sat Granderson," Girardi proclaimed. "If you look at their track record off of righties during the course of the season, it was a little bit better than Alex's ... (Rodriguez's benching) had nothing to do with anything but what I felt was our best opportunity that day. I just think he was one of our guys that was struggling, like a lot of our other guys."

And how does Girardi explain Robinson Cano's disappearance? Arguably one of the top five players in all of baseball, Cano went an unfathomable 3-for-40 in the postseason, including a historical 0-for-29 stretch.

"This is the hardest one for me to explain," Girardi said in regard to Cano's struggles. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to come up with an answer why Robinson Cano struggled as much as he did. He is a great player. He is a great hitter. He was so hot when the season ended, (and) I thought he was going to tear the postseason up. I just, for the life of me ... I can't tell you, and I will always wonder."

Obviously the players are the main culprits for why the Yankees fell to the Tigers, but what grade would you give Girardi for the job he did in the postseason? Let us know in the comments section below...

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