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In 1981, Reggie Jackson missed the final game of the AL championship series and the first two games of the World Series because of an injured calf. He said he could play in Game 3, but manager Bob Lemon held him out against Los Angeles Dodgers rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela.

“The best left-hander in the National League was pitching against us,” Lemon said, “and Reggie hasn’t been at bat in quite awhile. It wasn’t fair to him, and it wasn’t fair to us.”

New York lost 5-4 that night and the Dodgers won the Series in six games. Jackson, in his final year with the Yankees, returned the following night and went 4 for 12 with an RBI over the rest of the Series.

Zito, a Cy Young Award winner with a $126 million contract, was dropped by Bochy from San Francisco’s postseason rosters in 2002.

“The way he handled it was so impressive,” Bochy said. “I think he threw a bullpen that day and throughout the postseason he kept himself ready in case something happened. He didn’t hang his head and he even threw to hitters. He said, `I’ll keep myself ready. If you need me, I’ll be ready.’”

And the manager maintained Zito’s respect.

“He’s always communicated,” the pitcher said. “Sometimes the truth was not what I wanted to hear, but it was the truth.”

Willie Mays, in the last of his 22 seasons, started the 1973 Series opener for the New York Mets and then entered Game 2 as a pinch runner. He fell down on Deron Johnson’s fly ball leading off the ninth as Oakland rallied for two runs that sent the game into extra innings, then hit a tiebreaking single in the 12th. After Mays pinch hit in Game 3, manager Yogi Berra didn’t use him in the final four games. And Mays didn’t cause a fuss.

“Just because it was my last game, it didn’t make any difference to me if I played or not,” Mays said then.

By then, Mays was 42. Rodriguez, at 37, stills thinks of himself as a power. Girardi’s move paid off when Raul Ibanez batted for A-Rod in the ninth inning of Game 3 of this year’s division series and hit a tying home run. Ibanez homered again in the 12th to win the game.

“Those were tough moves to make _ pinch hitting for a guy that’s going to be a Hall of Famer,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “But it certainly turned out to be the right thing to do.”