There wasn’t really one big story that came out of today’s pregame. It was more a series of fairly significant updates and explanations. We’ll start with the thing that stood out the most about the lineup.
Why isn’t Derek Jeter playing?
“Seventeen days in a row he’s played,” Joe Girardi said. “The man needs a day off. You hate to give him a day off, but we can’t have him physically break down.”
Eduardo Nunez got the nod at shortstop because he doesn’t have as much third base experience as Ramiro Pena. And there’s a chance the remaining everyday infielders could also get a day off — or a DH day — here in Toronto.
“I’ll think about maybe giving Robbie a day off here too,” Girardi said. “I know he’s tired too, so it’s something we’ll have to look at. Maybe we’ll look at Tex.”
What’s the rotation after Ivan Nova?
Girardi said the Yankees plan to stick with the original plan of using their five regular starters in the next five games. Everyone will simply be bumped back a day to make room for Nova. That’s with one exception.
CC Sabathia will start Saturday’s game in Chicago. That’s so that he will fall between A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez. The Yankees want to split those two so that Francisco Cervelli can go back to being the regular catcher for both of them. Also, the Yankees don’t want to give Sabathia seven days off.
What’s next for Andy Pettitte?
The plan is for Pettitte to get back on the mound on Friday. He’s cleared to play catch. Assuming he feels OK playing catch on flat ground on Friday, he’s step back on the mound for a bullpen that day.
“I think you kind of work up to what he can do,” Girardi said. “Obviously we would like for him to be able to throw a full bullpen and not feel anything.”
Where’s Alex Rodriguez?
He’s in Toronto, but he’s not doing much.
“Just a lot of ice,” he said. “A lot of treatment. Heat. Cold. A little bit of everything. A lot of massaging… They want me to stay off my feet (and) spend a lot of time with Steve and Geno. Doing all my treatment stuff, but no baseball stuff. No hitting. None of that.”
Some other minor notes for the day.
• Alfredo Aceves will make another rehab start tomorrow. Girardi said it will be with either Trenton or Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, whichever is home that day. Problem is, both are home that day. “He’ll continue to pitch,” Girardi said. “It’s just not quite sharp enough.”
• Damaso Marte will throw a bullpen — his second since going on the DL — tomorrow.
• Even with Robinson Cano playing so well, Girardi said there’s no temptation to leave Cano in the clean-up spot. “I’ll insert Alex right back where he was and put him right back in the fourth hole,” Girardi said. “He’s a clean-up hitter. He’s done a tremendous job.”
• Girardi said he’ll look for early strikes to tell him whether Nova’s going to be on his game tonight. “This is a young man that we have high hopes for,” he said. “He’s being asked to pitch in the pennant race.”
• Cano and Evan Longoria were named the American League’s co-Players of the Week.
UPDATE, 6:28 p.m.: Toronto’s lineup
Fred Lewis LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Bautista RF
Vernon Wells CF
Adam Lind DH
Aaron Hill 2B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Jose Molina C
Associated Press photo of Jeter