There wasn’t a lot of breaking news coming out of the Yankees clubhouse before tonight’s game, so I’ll lead the notes with this little tidbit.
Joe Girardi took some early batting practice today. He shagged fly balls for a small group of Yankees, and when they were done, Girardi took his turn doing Kevin Long’s net drill. Long has his guys hit with a screen in front of them. It’s physically impossible to get full their arms fully extended.
“It teaches you to be quick to the ball, and short,” Girardi said. “Or you do what I did the first time and hit a little dribbler to the cage.”
Girardi said it had been about four years since he took any sort of batting practice. This session lasted only 15 or so swings until Girardi finally got a ball out of the park, pulling a home run about 350 feet to left field.
“I was hoping I could do it,” he said. “Once I started getting close, then I had to keep going… It was a wall-scrapper. I’m glad Grandy wasn’t there to go up the fence and rob it.”
This was before regular batting practice. It was basically the early drill that Robinson Cano does all the time. So why did Girardi want to get involved?
“If I was ever to suggest it to someone, I know what it’s about,” he said. “And I also want to teach my son to do it.”
• Andy Pettitte is starting tomorrow. At least that’s the plan for now, but Girardi left open the possibility of changing that plan if the Yankees clinch tonight. “I’ll worry about tomorrow if I have to,” he said.
• Mariano Rivera did some of the same pregame work today that he did yesterday. Rivera is available tonight. “He’s not satisified with what’s happened the last few times out and he’s trying to fix it,” Girardi said. “I love it.”
• Could CC Sabathia make another start in the regular season? “We’ll see,” Girardi said. “It’s possible.” Sabathia would be on regular rest for the season finale.
• Girardi said he doesn’t have a rotation for the Boston series. He also said the staff has not been talking much about the playoff rotation or roster the past few days. He has not looked at numbers at all for teams the Yankees might face. “We’re not talking about it,” Girardi said. “You have to get in first. That’s our focus. I think it’s the right thing to do.”
• Girardi was asked if it’s possible A.J. Burnett is hurt, leading to his bad second half. “He’s healthy,” was Girardi’s response.
• The Yankees actually faced Kyle Drabek once in spring training, but this was back when Drabek was with the Phillies. “I faced his father and his father wore me out,” Girardi said.
• According to Girardi, tomorrow’s game will start at 7:30 because the Blue Jays have a pregame ceremony planned to honor Cito Gaston.
UPDATE, 6:26 p.m.: Blue Jays lineup
Travis Snider LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Bautista RF
Vernon Wells CF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Aaron Hill 2B
John Buck C
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
J.P. Arencibia DH
Associated Press photos of Girardi and Jeter