NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez's return had an immediate impact for the New York Yankees – on the team's television network.

A-Rod's first major league game since October drew the YES Network's highest rating this year for a Yankees game, even though New York lost 8-1 at the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.

YES said Tuesday the game had a 4.34 rating and averaged 393,000 viewers. The previous high was 4.16 rating for a 2-1 loss at the New York Mets on May 27.

The most viewers were around the time of his first at-bat, with the 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. EDT period drawing an 8.22 rating and 756,000 viewers.

Earlier Monday, Rodriguez was given a 211-game suspension through the 2014 season by Major League Baseball for violations of its drug agreement and labor contract. The ban starts Thursday, but Rodriguez can play until an arbitrator decides his appeal.

Rodriguez, a three-time AL MVP, was returning from hip surgery in January.

The Yankees are averaging a 2.53 rating and 231,000 viewers on YES this season, a 35 percent drop in viewership from a 3.96 and 354,000 at a similar point last season.

Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson have been injured for most of the season. New York began Tuesday in fourth place in the AL East, 9 1-2 games behind division-leading Boston.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Keith Olbermann, ESPN 2

  • Craig Calcaterra, Hardball Talk

  • Andy Glockner, Sports Illustrated

  • Andy Glockner, Sports Illustrated

  • David Cameron, FanGraphs

  • Mike Vaccaro, New York Post

  • Dan Meyer, ex-MLB pitcher

  • Barry Petchesky, Deadspin

  • Will Brinson, CBS Sports

  • Matt Goldich, stand up comic

  • Morgan Ensburg, retired MLB player

  • Eric Stangel, writer, Late Show with David Letterman

  • Eric Stangel, writer, Late Show with David Letterman

  • Drew Magary, Deadspin & Gawker Media

  • David P.,

  • Editorial Director, SB Nation

  • Jesse Sanchez,

  • Darren Viola, Blogger, Baseball Think Factory

  • Matt Sussman, Baseball Prospectus/SB Nation

  • Andrew Goldstein, TV Producer, Vh1

  • Rob Delaney, stand-up comic