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A-Rod benched for a third straight game, sits vs LHP

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HOUSTON (AP) Alex Rodriguez was out of the lineup for a third straight game Monday night against the Houston Astros as he remains mired in a slump.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel has been tough on Rodriguez, but the decision was more to keep Carlos Beltran in the lineup. Beltran has hit .305 this season with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs entering Monday.

Rodriguez came into Monday 4 for 31 with one home run in July and batting .206 this season with nine home runs and 29 RBIs. He's been a regular in the lineup against left-handers and had played more against righties since the All-Star break. He started seven times during New York's recent 10-game homestand and hit his 696th career homer in a 2-1 win over Baltimore on July 18.

''He wants to be in there,'' Girardi said. ''I get that. I don't want a player who's content not being in there. His time's going to come. He's going to get more chances.''

Despite the benching, Rodriguez is optimistic he can turn it around after speaking to members of the Yankees' baseball operations department.

''My job is to work hard and be ready when my number is called,'' Rodriguez said. ''I am optimistic about the future. I've met with our sabermetrics department and a lot of the numbers are trending in the right direction. There's no question that for the first two months, my mechanics were out of whack. I think I found something, and I'm excited to put it into play.''