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Joe Girardi Benches A-Rod, Swisher For Game 3; Nunez To Get Start At Shortstop

Alex Rodriguez (credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Alex Rodriguez (credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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DETROIT (CBSNewYork/AP) — Manager Joe Girardi is pulling out all the stops to wake up his listless lineup.

Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher were benched by the New York Yankees for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Detroit on Tuesday night.

It’s the second time that A-Rod has been benched this postseason. He’s hitting .130 (3-for-23) with no RBIs in the playoffs, including 0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handers. Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander, the AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, will take the mound Tuesday against New York, trying to help the Tigers to a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Swisher has struggled about as much as Rodriguez, hitting .154 (4-for-26) this postseason. He is 1-for-34 with runners in scoring position in his postseason career.

Eric Chavez, 0-for-11 in the playoffs, will start at third base in place of Rodriguez. Brett Gardner is leading off and playing left field in his first start since April 17.

Rodriguez’s benching came following a New York Post report, citing an unidentified witness, that said A-Rod flirted with two attractive female fans sitting near the New York dugout after he was pulled late in Game 1 against Detroit. Girardi would not comment on that report and said the decision to bench A-Rod was strictly performance-related.

“We talked about the dimensions here, and we talked about (the) fly-ball pitcher today, and we’ve had some guys struggling, so we decided to make some changes,” Girardi said.

Swisher was unable catch Delmon Young’s double in the 12th inning of Game 1, a 6-4 Detroit win, saying that he lost the ball in the lights. Swisher, who is eligible for free agency, complained after Game 2 about hearing from angry home fans in the right-field corner.

“I wouldn’t say desperate. We are down 2-0, but there was an extended period of time when opportunities were given, and now we’re going to give them to some other people who are legitimate Major League guys who can contribute,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “It’s not like we’re dropping off the face of the earth.”

What do you think of Girardi’s new lineup? Should A-Rod be starting? Let us know in the comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)