A-Rod's defensive woes continue
Rodriguez makes key throwing error in Thursday's loss
TORONTO -- When it rains, it pours.
Of course, Alex Rodriguez didn't have the weather to blame for his latest mishap, a sixth-inning throwing error which helped the Blue Jays mount a four-run rally against Mike Mussina and erase a 3-0 Yankees lead.
The domed Rogers Centre protected Rodriguez from the scattered showers that hit Toronto, but Rodriguez couldn't save himself from another night of tough questions about his recent play.
"You just work at it," Rodriguez said of his play at third, where he made three errors in a game on Monday. "It's something that's not fun to go through; I have to just keep working on it. You don't want to hurt your teammates out there, so you just have to work through it."
Mussina and the Yanks were clinging to a 3-0 lead against Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays in the sixth inning, and Toronto was trying to rally with a man on third and one out. Reed Johnson chopped a ball to A-Rod at third, where he fielded it and fired home, trying to throw out Aaron Hill.
But the throw sailed by Posada, allowing Hill to score Toronto's first run while Johnson advanced to second base. Instead of a 3-0 game with two outs and nobody on base, Mussina was now faced with a 3-1 game, one out and a man at second base.
Torre had no problem with Rodriguez's decision to throw home, but he also said he would have been content had A-Rod thrown to first for the out.
"He made the right play, I thought," Torre said. "The ball was right in front of him and he never hesitated. I didn't see any indecision on his part. He just dropped [his arm] down and the ball sailed on him.
"It's an error," the manager added. "If it was somebody else who made the same play, you'd talk about the error and then go on to the next subject. Because it's Alex, you're not going to do that."
Unlike his manager, Mussina wasn't quite as pleased with the decision to throw home.
"I thought he was going to throw to first," Mussina said. "When I turned and saw him throw home, all he had to do was throw it on target and the guy would have been out by 20 feet.
"[The inning] would have probably been pretty different; I don't have to pitch guys the same way," the pitcher added. "The mentality becomes completely different. With a guy at third and one out, I'm willing to give up that run. If I'm not willing to give that run up, I start making mistakes and it turns into four runs instead of one. I'm willing to give up that run to have two outs and nobody on base."
After the error, Mussina gave up a bloop single by Frank Catalanotto, a ground-ball single by Vernon Wells and a two-run double by Troy Glaus, as the Jays took a 4-3 lead.
"It let everything happen from there," Mussina said of the error. "I was doing the same things I was doing before, it all just mounted up in one inning. It was a tough inning."
"It's frustrating as hell, obviously," Rodriguez said. "You want the inning to stop. Moose was throwing such a great game; it's just one of those things."
Rodriguez's recent throwing problems have come when he tries to sidearm his throws. He had two balls hit to him at third base on Thursday, and he made perfect overhand throws to first base on both plays.
"It's definitely important for me to get on top of the baseball, make sure it's truer," Rodriguez said. "Every other ground ball they hit to me tonight, I was real happy with my technique and my mechanics. I just have to keep working on it.
"I'm working through it; it's not easy, that's for sure, but I'm working hard," he continued. "I'm feeling pretty good. I liked the way I threw the ball across the diamond tonight, except for that one play."
Despite the fact that he is hitting .284 with 20 home runs and 68 RBIs, Rodriguez has been the focal point for the fans this season for everything that has gone wrong for the Yankees.
"That's something he's going to have to answer for," Torre said. "That's what happens when you're Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter or [Jason] Giambi. When you play for the Yankees and you make an error, it seems to mean more."
Rodriguez's 17 errors already eclipse his total from last season by four, and some of those errors have been costly to the Yankees, who trail the Red Sox by 2 1/2 games in the American League East.
"Pitchers, catchers, everybody goes through it at some point," Rodriguez said. "You have to make sure you get your target, do your footwork and stay on top of the baseball."
"I don't know what's going on; I know he needs to play better and that he's disappointed in the way he's playing," Mussina said. "It's just not him right now; we need him back the way he's supposed to be."
As Rodriguez's play continues to be inconsistent and the boos continue to mount at Yankee Stadium, there has been plenty of speculation that the two-time MVP would be better off playing for another team. Some people have even suggested that A-Rod wants out, a notion he dismissed rather quickly after Thursday's game.
"That's not true," he said. "That couldn't be further from the truth. That's a ridiculous thought."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.