There are 11 reporters covering the Yankees full time. Four of us — Sweeny Murti, Dan Barbarisi, Pete Caldera and myself — chose a 8:20 a.m. flight to carry us from Chicago to Cincinnati this morning. It was the wrong choice.
After a five-hour delay, I got to Great American Ball Park about four minutes before Joe Girardi addressed the media. In the end, the timing worked out just fine, but it’s been a long, long day of airport meals and searching for places to plug in a laptop.
Anyway, apparently it rained almost all day here in Cincinnati, but it’s cleared up for now and it looks like the Yankees and Reds have a chance of playing tonight. The Yankees are taking batting practice, and we’ll just straight into the notes.
• Johnny Cueto is sick (nevermind, apparently he has a stiff neck), so the Reds shuffled their rotation to start lefty Travis Wood tonight. That left Girardi deciding whether to start Andruw Jones or Brett Gardner. He went with Jones, despite the fact Gardner’s been hot lately. “You think about giving Grandy a day off too, either one of them, but I chose to do Gardy today,” Girardi said. “Gardy’s been playing great, and maybe some of that will keep him going. He’s going to play against some left-handers, but I chose to get Andruw back in there.”
• Gardner has a .385 on-base percentage against lefties, but only one extra-base hit. Jones has a .236 average against lefties, but a .491 slugging percentage. Jones’ OPS is more than 100 points higher than Gardner’s against lefties. It’s almost impossible to sit Curtis Granderson these days, and obviously Nick Swisher’s days off should come against right-handers. It’s worth noting that this is a home run park. “You’re playing in a ballpark where (power) can sometimes serve you well here,” Girardi said.
• Girardi said he expects Phil Hughes to make at least two more rehab starts before being activated. He believes Hughes will make his next outing with Trenton on Friday, but Girardi wasn’t sure. Last night, Hughes fastball was 91-93, including some 93 readings in the fourth inning. “It just seems that his arm strength is back,” Girardi said. He should be cleared for 75 pitches next time.
• On Russell Martin: “He’s fine,” Girardi said. “I talked to him today. He’s fine. He’s ready to go.”
• On Alex Rodriguez: “You could walk into training room and there’ll be 10 guys getting treatment every day,” Girardi said. “It’s part of being a ball player. You go in. You get treatment. It’s part of what it is… Soreness is just part of being an everyday ball player.”
• It’s been a week since Derek Jeter was injured. Girardi said he’s still hopeful that Jeter will be back after 15 days. It’s still uncertain whether he’ll go on a rehab assignment. “He’s still doing treatment and he’s doing some functional stuff,” Girardi said. “He’ll start some baseball activities in the next couple of days.”
• Eric Chavez has been doing some light running on a treadmill every other day.
• Rafael Soriano is reporting to Tampa today. No word on when he’ll start doing extensive rehab start, but getting down there is obviously the first step.
• No real update on the other injured Yankees. Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte are playing catch. Bartolo Colon is pretty much just doing his treatment. “I think he plays a little bit with his weighted ball, but he hasn’t done anything aggressively and we’ll just have to play it by ear how he’s doing,” Girardi said. “Are we going to get him after 15 days? I can’t tell you that. If we are, he probably needs to start throwing pretty soon.”
• The Yankees plan to stay on rotation after Thursday’s off day, meaning CC Sabathia will get an extra day of rest.
Associated Press photo