A-Rod sits with 'muscle-related' issue

Alex Rodriguez was scratched from Sunday's Yankees-White Sox game with a "muscle-related" injury to his right leg. According to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, the third baseman -- who underwent hip surgery in March 2009 and missed the first 28 games of that season -- "felt a little something on the basepaths" in the ninth inning of Saturday's 7-6 loss to the Chicago.

Manager Joe Girardi removed Rodriguez for pinch-runner Ramiro Pena after A-Rod's two out single in the ninth, and under questioning before Sunday's game, insisted his third baseman was "fine physically."

"I just felt like he needed a day," Girardi said. "He's played every game and I just feel that he needs a day physically. We've been going at it pretty hard and travelling a lot. You never want to take Alex out of the lineup, but sometimes you need a day. It's not physical."

Before the game, Girardi said Rodriguez would be available to pinch hit, but he was not used in the Yankees 12-3 blowout of the White Sox. Rodriguez left the clubhouse without speaking to reporters after the game, but Girardi said the third baseman was not injured, contradicting the statements of his general manager.

"He's not hurt, he's just a little stiff," Girardi said, acknowledging that A-Rod had informed him of some degree of discomfort while running the bases Saturday. "That doesn't mean he's injured. He'll be back in there [Monday]."

During the game, Cashman said, "Alex is tired and since he felt a little something in Saturday's game, we thought it would be a good idea to give him a day off."

The GM refuted a NY Post report saying Rodriguez's absence was due to an aching right knee.

"It's not specifically in the knee," Cashman said. "My understanding is that it's more muscle related."

So far in 2010, Rodriguez is batting .258 with just two home runs and 15 RBIs. Before doubling in the first inning of Friday's 6-4 victory over the White Sox, he had been hitless in 19 at-bats, his longest such drought since an 0-for-21 in 2007.

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.