If only to play devil’s advocate…
The Yankees have made it clear that they consider a healthy roster — and, in theory, a more productive roster — to be more valuable than home-field advantage in the playoffs. The team has been losing, but the Yankees remain heavy favorites for a playoff spot, and some of the recent days off might actually have helped some of their lineup regulars.
There is, of course, no way of knowing whether the rest played a role in these numbers, but it’s worth considering.
• Since he came back from the disabled list, Alex Rodriguez has been held out of the starting lineup three times. He’s shown no signs of the calf injury returning, and the previous hip and groin injures have not resurfaced. He’s hit .333 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in his past 18 games, and he has three homers in his past two games.
• In the month of September, Derek Jeter has been held out of the lineup twice. When he’s played, he’s had a hit in 19 of 21 games including a current 14-game hitting streak that is his longest of the season. Since the last time he was given a day off — Sept. 11 in Texas — Jeter has hit .346 with the same number of walks as strikeouts.
• Mark Teixeira was limited to one pinch-hit appearance during two days in Baltimore. He essentially had three days off in a span of four days. At the time he was hitting .211 with no home runs in the month of September, hampered by a hand and toe injuries. On Thursday he had his first extra-base hit since Sept. 3, and on Friday he hit two home runs, his first and second of the month. Even after the days off, though, Teixeira has not seen any sustained success.
• Given basically a week off to deal with a sore left knee that had shown no structural damage, Nick Swisher returned to everyday duty last Saturday and had two hits. He’s hit .303 since coming back to the lineup and has two home runs during this home stand. Of his nine strikeouts since coming back, five came in his first two games.
• Robinson Cano, who has not been given any time off, has hit .125 during this home stand. His .272 batting average and .370 slugging percentage for the month of September are his lowest numbers of any month this season.