Things went a little later than usual pregame today, so I’ll try to make these notes quick.
As expected, Alex Rodriguez is back. Yesterday, both he and Joe Girardi hinted that he might play the field, and sure enough, he’s in there at third base, batting in his usual cleanup spot.
“He feels good, and with the day off tomorrow we thought it made sense to play him at third base today and see how he does in the nine innings,” Girardi said. “He should be fresh… I think you just kind of have to watch how long the games are, how he’s moving, how he’s recovering from day to day. I’ll talk to him tomorrow to see how he feels so you get kind of a temperature on how he’s recovering.”
The Yankees have been encouraged by Rodriguez’s work the past three days. They’re hopeful that they’re getting the guy who was driving the ball early in the season, not the hobbled singles hitter they had before he went on the disabled list.
“This is the middle-of-the-order hitter,” Girardi said. “This guy has been a run producer for years and years and years. Before he hurt his knee his home runs were good and his RBIs were good. Once he hurt his knee his power kind of went away a little bit, but he was productive.”
• Derek Jeter is hitting .342 since coming back from the disabled list. With those numbers, there was no chance of Girardi dropping him to the bottom of the order, which meant Brett Gardner dropped. “There’s nothing set in stone,” Girardi said. “We’ve played with things, and if I feel we have to play with it (I will). The way Jeet’s swinging the bat, maybe it costs Gardy four at-bats a week. Maybe. But they’re still together. Most of the game they’re going to be together, and we like that combination.”
• The only alternative would have been breaking up the Yankees two through five hitters — Granderson, Teixeira, Rodriguez and Cano — and Giradi wasn’t willing to do that. He prioritized getting those four at-bats. “You’re talking about two, three, four and five extremely productive guys that hit the ball out of the ball park,” Girardi said. “You don’t really want to move those guys down. You want to get those guys up as much as you can. That’s why we’re doing it.”
• To make room for Rodriguez, Aaron Laffey was optioned to Triple-A. “He’s a guy that we believe could help us against left-handers as we move forward here,” Girardi said. “He’s not going to be able to throw for a couple of days, anyway.”
• Russell Martin is catching a day game after a night game. “I was able to get him out from behind the plate after six innings (last night),” Girardi said. “He didn’t catch Thursday.”
• Girardi said he could easily have flipped Gardner and Eduardo Nunez in the order, but he thinks of both of them as basically the same guy on the bases. Either one puts speed on the bases ahead of Jeter and the Yankees power hitters.
• Girardi on Ivan Nova: “Big start. We expect him to pitch well. I thought in his last start he hung some breaking balls is what hurt him. You can say pitch selection. To me it was the execution of his pitches. He hung some pitches.”
Ben Revere CF
Trevor Plouffe 2B
Joe Mauer 1B
Jason Kubel RF
Jim Thome DH
Danny Valencia 3B
Rene Tosoni LF
Matt Tolbert SS
Drew Butera C
Associated Press photos