Joe Girardi had three key injury updates, and all of them seem to be good news for the Yankees.
“Gardy is better today,” Girardi said. “Geno was encouraged by that. Maybe we’ll have him this weekend.”
Gardner is still limited to pinch running tonight, and he will go for a precautionary MRI when the team gets back to New York tomorrow. “Just to make sure,” Girardi said. “We want to be absolutely 100 percent sure that we’re able to see everything we need to see.”
“He had a good day today,” Girardi said. “He caught a side. Did some other things. He’s throwing. He’s obviously progressing the way we want. As far as having a target date of when he would catch, we’ll just take it day-by-day and we’ll see.”
Girardi won’t announce a date, but he said he does have a day in mind when he’d like to get Posada back behind the plate for a game. It’s tricky, though, because they won’t have a chance to rehab him, so they have to make sure he does enough side work to be ready for nine innings. The plan is for Posada to do more work behind the plate tomorrow, but if the team gets back to New York especially late, they’ll give Posada tomorrow off and go back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday.
“He’s still just doing rehab with a therapist,” Girardi said. “Geno wants to talk to the doctor tomorrow and see if he can start doing more with us.”
The hope is that “doing more” will include throwing. At the very least, Girardi seems hopeful that Aceves is ready to take the next step toward rejoining the bullpen. “He’s a guy that we have missed because he gave us so much versatility,” Girardi said.
• This will be Chad Moeller’s third straight start with A.J. Burnett on the mound. “It seemed to click right off the bat as far as our first game, he went eight and struck out eight,” Moeller said.
• When Moeller caught Burnett the first time, he came away impressed with Burnett’s two-seamer. Moeller said today that he usually just calls for a fastball and lets Burnett decide which one to throw. Moeller can call for one or the other, but he usually leaves it up to the pitcher.
• Girardi said he would use Kevin Russo as a defensive replacement for Marcus Thames in left field.
• Speaking of Russo, today he opened a box from Under Armour. It had his first set of spikes that came with his name stitched onto the shoes. Pretty cool.
• Girardi’s scouting report on Orioles starter Jake Arrieta: “He’s a guy with four pitches. Has very good stuff. Good velocity. Good curveball. You look at his hits per innings in the minor leagues and there aren’t a lot of hits per innings, but there are a couple of walks. Some of the tape that I watched, he pitched up in the zone for us it’s important that you lay off the pitch up in the zone because that’s usually either a swing and a miss or a pop up.”
• Andy Pettitte has already left for New York. He’s starting tomorrow and went home to make sure he doesn’t get in too late.
UPDATE, 6:14 p.m.: Orioles lineup.
Corey Patterson LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Scott Moore 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Associated Press photo of Gardner sliding into home.