Sportress of Blogitude

Alex Rodriguez goes 0-for-2 against Yankees pitching machine ‘Iron Mike’

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Alex Rodriguez went up against a pitching machine — not against a live-armed pitcher — during Monday’s “live game” action, but the results for the New York Yankees slugger still were underwhelming after he went 0-for-2 in a showdown against a pitching machine intimidatingly named “Iron Mike.”

While his official debut on the field in a real-live action game will occur on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, A-Rod struggled against “Iron Mike,” grounding out to second base in his first “at-bat” and then looping a lazy fly ball to right in his second stint in the batter’s box against the pitching machine.

“Iron Mike” of course shares the moniker of famed brute of a boxer Mike Tyson, as well as the pugilist’s famed ability at punching out foes, as the New York Daily News notes that Rodriguez wasn’t the only Yankees batter to struggle against the machine that can crank out 90-mph fastballs.

A combined 0-for-10 was the final line for the cracks by Mark Teixeira, Didi Gregorius, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew and Garrett Jones against “Iron Mike.” Chris Young even struck out once against it.

Yankees skipper Joe Girardi downplayed the results of the day, arguing that the machine’s lack of a timing mechanism makes it difficult for batters to get a good read on the ball given its lack of an arm, among other things.

The good thing for A-Rod in his official spring training debut on Wednesday is that he reportedly will serve as the team’s designated hitter — the team’s planned course of action for A-Rod in his return from suspension for months now — meaning he will have plenty of time to sit in the dugout and work on his timing. While that won’t help him steal the starting third base job from Chase Headley, which is his stated goal, he will at least get a few at-bats against a pitcher with a real, human arm. It can’t hurt.

Even better, no matter how we performs against a live pitcher, odds are certain the Daily News won’t be able to reuse the above delightfully snarky headline about A-Rod’s struggles. Ouch.

Then again, never count out NYDN when it comes to delivering well-crafted headline zingers. Especially when it comes to A-Rod.

(image credit: Peter Abraham/Twitter)