- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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New York Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner made only his second appearance at Yankee Stadium this season on Wednesday and decided to weigh in on his team.
He defended Alex Rodriguez, while offering a remedy for A-Rod's problems hitting with runners in scoring position.
"I'm not concerned," Steinbrenner said, speaking to a small group of reporters outside Yankee Stadium prior to last night's game between Boston and New York. "He is still young enough. He is going to have a lot of good years ahead of him. He just has to quit pressing."
Rodriguez, 33, entered last night's game, hitting just .246 with runners in scoring position. Overall, A-Rod was batting .308 with 28 homers and 78 RBIs.
On Tuesday, Rodriguez heard perhaps the loudest boos from Yankee fans during his time in the Bronx after he hit into two double plays, made an error and struck out to end the game.
One of his double plays came with the bases loaded. He has just one hit in 10 at-bats with the bases juiced this season.
"When he has a night like that, he is going to hear it from the crowd," Steinbrenner said. "That's the way it works. I'd rather have him than not have him."
Steinbrenner, who shares ownership responsibilities with his younger brother, Hal, attended the Yankees' home opener, but was a no-show when his father, George, was honored at the All-Star Game. Hal is more active in the Yankees' day-to-day operations,but Hank is more talkative.
Recently, Hank said that the Yankees' injuries were the reason they were in danger of not making the playof fs for the first time in 14 years.
"That's the realities of sports," Steinbrenner said. "Every year there are one or two baseball teams that get racked by injuries. Usually just one, sometimes two. In football, it can be as many as four or five teams. Look at the Giants already. They lose [Michael] Strahan and now they have lost Osi [Umenyiora]. In football, it happens even more, even to Super Bowl favorites. It is part of sports. You have to deal with it and you have to move on and still try and win.
"I don't think we are going to have another season like this, injury-wise, and that is a good thing."
Steinbrenner said the Yankees still "have a shot" at making the playoffs, but even if they do qualify there will be changes. The Yankees have already identified CC Sabathia as a free agent they will pursue.
"There is going to be a lot going on this offseason," Steinbrenner said. "I promise you that."
Andrew Marchand is the managing editor of 1050 ESPN Radio in New York.
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