Brett Gardner was sitting in his locker, looking at something on his phone when he noticed a group of reporters gathering around a locker just a few feet away. Nick Swisher wasn’t in the room. Neither was Russell Martin.
“Is Chavy here?” Gardner said.
Eric Chavez arrived about an hour ago. He’ll be evaluated today, and if that goes well, he could be activated tomorrow.
“Knowing that this team was obviously a real good team and hopefully going to make the playoffs, that’s why I’m here,” he said. “I’ve got a chance to contribute, and hopefully I can still do that.”
The foot is healed. The kidney stone issue has come and gone. The back feels good. Chavez said it might take a while to feel as comfortable at the plate as he was back in May, but he feels healthy enough to play.
“I’m still a guy with a bad back history and I still have to worry about it and stuff like that,” he said. “But I’ve been on the field. Yesterday I played nine and everything went smooth, so I’ll just hold my breath for the next two months.”
Joe Girardi said he doesn’t expect Chavez to be an everyday player — he’s not going to push the health issue and try to play Chavez seven days in a row — but it’s entirely possible Chavez could be in the lineup right away, if only to give Eduardo Nunez a day off.
As for Chavez, he just seems happy to be back. The broken foot, he said, was an extreme level of frustration because he was playing better than he’d played in years. When his back forced him to delay his rehab — when he was just days away — Chavez said the idea of retirement briefly crossed his mind. Now he’s as healthy as he’s going to be, and Chavez is expecting to be ready to play tomorrow.
“Everything’s fine,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.”
• The tarp has been on the field since I got here, but players are outside playing catch, which doesn’t always happen if the teams are expecting to have the game rained out. It’s not a beautiful night, but it might be good enough. Have to wait and see, I guess.
• Rafael Soriano is still scheduled to pitch today in Triple-A, but there’s also rain in the forecast there. This would be Soriano’s second straight outing. The Yankees want Soriano to go back-to-back, and Girardi said they would have to discuss whether to activate him if today’s Triple-A game is rained out.
• Alex Rodriguez is progressing as expected after knee surgery. Girardi said he’s still doing pool work and other low-impact exercises. He’s “on schedule” but Girardi’s not sure when he’ll be ready to begin baseball activities in Tampa.
• Girardi on facing a team that’s lost 15 games in a row: “It’s a weird feeling because obviously you got to believe they will be playing extremely hard because the motivation to end this streak. It’s going to be a team that is excited to play here as well. They got some young kids on their club that I know will be excited so I would throw out that they lost 15 in a row.”
• The guys who went to the HOPE Week event this morning said it was a lot of fun, and apparently included quite a bit of Yankees singing (including a Backstreet Boys song at some point). Feel free to imagine Nick Swisher’s comments and enthusiasm. He was exactly as excited as you would expect.
• Girardi on HOPE Week: “I love that our players go through this because you could be going through a good time as a player or a bad time as a player and you realize that some of the obstacles that others have to overcome are so much greater than what we’re trying to overcome. Whether you’re in a 0-for-10 slump or you haven’t won a start in a couple of times or you gave up a few runs and we lost a game, you realize that there’s so much more to life than what we do.”
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brendan Ryan SS
Dustin Ackley 2B
Miguel Olico C
Adam Kennedy 3B
Mike Carp DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Greg Halman LF
Associated Press photo