A-Rod goes quiet, Girardi endorses Hughes

The pennant race hasn't galvanized Alex Rodriguez.

Over his past 14 games, the third baseman is hitting .228 and has failed to hit a home run while driving in just four runs. All of 13 hits in that stretch have been singles as well.

Despite these struggles, Yankees manager Joe Girardi expects that Rodriguez can produce as the Bombers head into a pivotal final series against Boston. Rodriguez is batting third and will be the designated hitter Monday night as the Yankees oppose Clay Buchholz.

"Why not? We've seen him do it before," Girardi said. "He went through a pretty good spell for a while and then he went through a spell where he wasn't getting quite as many hits but I think you can expect him to be involved in our offense and a big part of it."

HUGHES IN: Girardi said the team expects Phil Hughes to be one of the team's postseason starters if the team makes it to the ALDS. That means David Phelps and Ivan Nova will be used out of the bullpen, if they're on the postseason roster.

"We look at Hughesy as being one of the starters for us, that's the expectation there," Girardi said.

The manager also did not divulge if the team would consider using Monday's starter, CC Sabathia, on three days' rest if the team is forced into the one-game Wild Card playoff. Andy Pettitte has already been announced as the starter if there's a one-game playoff for the division.