Ever since it was decided that Derek Jeter would come off the disabled list on Monday, Joe Girardi has planned to give him today’s game off. It seemed like a good mid-point between his rehab games and the all-star break. As of last night, he was still planning to sit Jeter tonight.
Then he talked to Jeter after last night’s game, slept on the decision, and woke up having changed his mind.
“Just from talking to him, I got the sense that he’s thinking about it,” Giradi said. “And he wants to get this done with so he can just go on and be Derek Jeter, not Derek Jeter pursuing 3,000 hits. That’s the sense I got from him. I’m not telling you that’s what he was saying to me, but that’s the sense that I got. I started thinkng about it, you know what, if I was in pursuit of 3,000 hits – which, I was never close to – I don’t know if I’d want a day off to think about it. I’d want to get back out there.”
Girardi said his first conversation was with the training staff, which assured him that Jeter’s calf was fine. Then he talked to Jeter at the stadium. Then Girardi texted with him when he got back to the hotel.
“His thing was how much I’m playing just coming back,” Jeter said. “I told him I was fine and that was pretty much the extent of it… He said he was going to sleep on it. He said that from the get go. He just told me what he was thinking, and I told him what I was thinking, and he came to a decision.”
Girardi’s new plan is this: Play Jeter until he gets 3,000 hits.
“If we can,” Girardi said. “So we can get this through with and he can just be Derek Jeter again.”
Here’s Girardi’s lengthy pregame session in the dugout.
• If Jeter gets three hits in his first three at-bats and the Yankees have a big lead, Girardi said he might get him out of the game and give him a chance to get the milestone at home. “I’m going to manage to win the game,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line. I would love for him to be 3-for-3 and we had a big lead, but I don’t know what I would do. I hope I get in that situation that he’s 3-for-3 and we have a big lead. That would be nice.”
• Mariano Rivera felt better today than he felt yesterday, but he’s still not sure whether he’ll actually pitch tonight. “If it’s necessary, yes,” he said. “Knowing Geno and knowing Girardi, they might give me another day. I might take another day.”
• Lance Pendleton was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Phil Hughes. Girardi said he’s hoping to get six or seven innings out of Hughes tonight. “The radar gun is one of the tools you see how much a guy’s stuff is falling off, if you think they’re getting tired,” Girardi said. “I won’t watch (the radar) any different tonight than I would any other night.”
• Triple-A reliever Kanekoa Texeira was released to make room for Hughes on the 40-man roster. “Don’t get that confused with Mark,” Girardi said.
• Get this: Damaso Marte threw a bullpen today. Seriously. That’s what Girardi told us.
• Of course, it’s one step forward and one step back for injured lefties. Pedro Feliciano was shutdown today because of soreness. He’ll be shut down for a week.
• Rafael Soriano threw a bullpen yesterday and will throw another tomorrow. He seems to be progressing.
• No update on Eric Chavez.
• Hughes is not scheduled to pitch again until after the all-star break. Girardi said it will probably stay that way. There are no plans to have him pitch any sort of minor league or simulated game over the break. “He’ll maybe throw a couple bullpens, we’ll see,” Girardi said. “Maybe throw one Friday, throw one Sunday, but we’ll see. No plans.”
• Eduardo Nunez is ready to go.
Associated Press photos