Alex Rodriguez was encouraged by a more aggressive workout this afternoon, but his return to the Yankees lineup will likely wait another full day. Joe Girardi said today that he doesn’t expect to activate his third baseman until Sunday at the earliest.
“We’ve got to do the best thing possible,” Rodriguez said. “But I think after today, this is definitely a step in the right direction. We have another big day tomorrow and we’ll take it from there. But I’m definitely not counting this weekend out.”
Girardi said Rodriguez was definitely not ready yesterday, which is why the team wanted to see him go through drills today. They want to see him go through more drills tomorrow before making a decision. Girardi didn’t rule out activating Rodriguez tomorrow, but said he would “lean against doing it.”
“I think everything was better,” Rodriguez said. “I think Mick called me defensively game ready as far as speed. I trust his eyes. He’s my defensive coach. Kevin and I thought our offensive session was really good. But the most drastic thing for me was going from first to third. Skip made me do five first to thirds, pretty much close to 100 percent, and more than anything else the recovery time was much better so Dana was happy about that.”
Rodriguez has been wearing a soft, blue brace on his knee. He said he’ll keep wearing it for a few weeks after he returns, but he expects to get rid of it eventually.
• Aaron Laffey broke into the big leagues as a starting pitcher, and Girardi said he plans to use him as more than a left-handed specialist. “He’s a guy that can give you multiple innings,” Girardi said. “But he’s another left-hander for us. That’s why we went and got him.”
• Laffey is expected to be here tomorrow. Lefties are hitting .250 against him this season. He had a 1.87 ERA before the all-star break, but a 12.00 since. He was once a fairly highly touted prospect, and he’s still just 26 years old.
• Girardi said Boone Logan’s role won’t change because of Laffey. Logan will still be the top lefty in the bullpen, but it helps that he won’t be the only lefty. “The only time it really limits you is when he throws two or three days in a row,” Girardi said. Now, on days Logan’s not available, the Yankees will have Laffey.
• Freddy Garcia reported no problems throwing his splitfinger today, and it’s pretty clear that he preferred to start in Minnesota on Sunday rather than go to Scranton on Monday. “We just thought it was the safer route,” Girardi said. “When you’re a starter, you’re used to working every fifth or sixth day, and he hasn’t pitched in two weeks. We just thought it would make sense to see how he comes out after today’s bullpen. Have him throw on Monday somewhere and test the finger to make sure it’s OK, and just to get sharp again.”
• The plan is for Garcia to start one of those doubleheader games next Saturday.
• Girardi didn’t have a pitch count for Garcia on Monday. “I’ll see how many pitches Larry wants him to make,” Girardi said. “It will be more than an inning.”
• A possible added bonus of Garcia’s situation: The cut has helped to limit his workload and give him a little rest. “It definitely could help him,” Girardi said. “He was throwing the ball well, and when a guy is throwing the ball well, you hate for him to have all this time. With the rehab start on Monday, that should help. In the long run, this could really help him.”
• Mustaches are 0-for-2 in the Yankees clubhouse. Following Russell Martin’s lead, Eric Chavez has shaved his.
Ben Revere CF
Trevor Plouffe RF
Joe Mauer C
Justin Morneau 1B
Jason Kubel DH
Danny Valencia 3B
Rene Tosoni LF
Luke Hughes 2B
Tyuyoshi Nishioka SS
Associated Press photo