There may have been an ulterior motive for New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez to miss his first game of the season: he was resting up to face Los Angeles Angels pitcher Bartolo Colon.
Despite a current 0-for-19 slump and a strained hamstring, Rodriguez may still get a chance to extend his domination over Colon as the Yankees open a three-game series Friday against the Angels at Yankee Stadium.
The All-Star third baseman sat for the first time Thursday as the Yankees (40-42) recorded a 7-6 victory over Minnesota. Rodriguez, who tripped over Twins first baseman Justin Morneau running out a ground ball on Monday, went 0-for-4 on Tuesday while playing the field and 0-for-4 on Wednesday as the designated hitter before being a spectator in the series finale.
''He was a little uncomfortable yesterday,'' said Yankees manager Joe Torre, who listed Rodriguez as questionable for this game. ''I don't think it's anything more than it was, but probably a couple of days playing on it exposed it a little bit more. We still don't think that it's anything that's going to require anything more than maybe a day or so off.''
Colon (6-4, 5.79 ERA) may be secretly hoping Rodriguez - the major league leader with 28 homers and 80 RBIs - takes another day off. Rodriguez is batting .444 (20-for-45) with eight homers and 17 RBIs against Colon, hitting three of them in a 12-4 rout April 26, 2005, in which he ended up with a career-high 10 RBIs.