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Pregame notes: Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

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From the very moment that Russell Martin suggested the Blue Jays were stealing signs on Thursday, the Yankees have insisted that sign stealing is perfectly fair as long as it takes place between the lines. A player on base reading signs and relaying information is fair game.

This morning, though, Joe Girardi implied that the Blue Jays sign stealing goes behind head gestures from second base.

“I don’t really want to get into it,” Girardi said. “Signs are coveted. Anywhere that you play in the game, you have to protect your signs. Sometimes we have inclinations that things might be happening in certain ballparks that we’re aware of, and we try to protect our signs… I’ve told the guys, there’s things you have to do in certain ballparks.”

This was in response to a question about why the Yankees were using multiple signs last night, even without runners on base. Why would it be necessary to flash multiple signs when there’s no base runner to read them? Asked if there’s a chance the signs are being gathered off the field, Girardi gave a cryptic, “Could be.”

“I’m not accusing anyone,” Giardi said. “I just said we need to protect our signs. You have to take pride in it, and you have to be smarter than the other club when you do things and you have to change things up. You have to be willing to do those things.”

Of course, Blue Jays manager John Farrell denied any sort of off-the-field activity, and brought up the fact that his team is still trying to get above .500 at home. He seemed more confused that anything about the implication.

“Honestly, why that would even come about, I don’t know,” Farrell said. “We play this game to compete and prepare every day, and we don’t look to any other means than what takes place between the lines.”

Here’s Girardi

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[4] [5]• Rafael Soriano is throwing live batting practice today, but Girardi wasn’t sure when. If that goes well, Soriano could be cleared for a rehab assignment next week.

• Girardi said Eric Chavez is also taking steps forward. “He’s taking ground balls, and he’s taking BP, so he’s done okay,” Girardi said. “Hopefully we can get him in a game pretty soon too. I can’t tell you when, but it would be nice to get him in a game soon.”

• Damaso Marte is throwing bullpens now. Pedro Feliciano is playing catch again.

• Russell Martin is sitting because it’s a day game after a night game. Curtis Granderson is the DH to rest his legs on this turf. “This is the third of eight days, and you’ll see us do this a little bit,” Girardi said.

• Lefties have hit Ricky Romero better than righties, so Girardi didn’t want to take either Brett Gardner or Granderson out of the lineup. Could be because Romero has such a good changeup. That pitch is usually helpful in a left-hander neutralizing right-handed hitters (and vice versa).

• Girardi said he’d have to check with Hector Noesi before knowing whether he’s available, but he doesn’t expect Sergio Mitre to be available today. Mitre has struggled the past two nights. “He just doesn’t have the velocity and the sink that he had, and I can’t tell you exactly why,” Girardi said. “We’re looking at things and we’re trying to work on it.”

• Jose Bautista is once again out of the Blue Jays lineup.

• If you haven’t seen it, George King has reported that the Yankees have scouts watching Ubaldo Jimenez, [6] as well as several other potentially available pitchers. As always with Brian Cashman, it’s hard to say whether this is legitimate interest or part of Cashman’s usual diligence in checking every possible option.

• Derek Jeter got a kick out of hearing about Paul McCartney’s “more hits than me” line from last night’s concert.

Rajai Davis CF
Eric Thames RF
Yunel Escobar SS
Adam Lind 1B
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Aaron Hill 2B
Travis Snider LF
J.P. Arencibia C
John McDonald 3B

Associated Press photo