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Nettles: A-Rod Needs to Step Up
By mvyb, 24.01.2007, 12:27

New York Yankee veterans agreed on Tuesday that the Bronx Bombers needed Alex Rodriguez to rise to the occasion in the postseason to help them return to World Series glory in 2007.
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The 1977 Yankees were honored on the 30th anniversary of their World Series triumph along with current Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and Detroit Tigers' Sean Casey at the 18th annual B.A.T. (Baseball Assistance Team) dinner benefiting financially strapped former players.
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"They got an All-Star at every position. They should do well," said Graig Nettles, a power-hitter and dazzling third baseman for the Yanks in the 1970s when they reached three World Series in a row and won back-to-back titles in 1977-78.

"A-Rod, he needs to get over that hump. He needs to have a good postseason," Nettles told Reuters.

"He puts up good numbers during the season. If he just continues that during the postseason I think the fans in New York would embrace him and love him."

Jim Leyritz, a hero of the 1996 Yankees World Series triumph over the Atlanta Braves  said theories about A-Rod suffering from lack of support in the clubhouse were unfounded.

"Hopefully the things with A-Rod last year will take care of themselves," he said.

"A-Rod has to make the adjustment himself to get used to playing in New York City."

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A-Rod has heard this "advice" for about three years now, and nothing has drastically changed when it comes to his postseason play. Of course, I hope he'll be able to perform at a higher level this postseason, but I'm beginning to think that Rodriguez never will. I mean, maybe this is just who he, as a player, is. Maybe he's a guy who can (obviously) pound the ball and drive in runs when he isn't under too much stress. But when it comes to the postseason, maybe Alex just doesn't have the stamina that guys like Jeter have.
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If this really is the case, perhaps it's time for other players, like Hideki Matsui ( .250 BA in 2006 postseason), Jason Giambi ( .125 BA in 2006 postseason), Robinson Cano ( .133 BA in 2006 postseason), and Johnny Damon ( .235 BA in 2006 postseason) to really step up in October. Maybe Yankee fans would be smarter if they shifted focus and attention to the players around Rodriguez. Not only would this take stress off A-Rod (allowing him to play better), but it might also motivate his teammates to step up when the games really mattered.

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