UPDATE, 7:18 p.m.: I have no further details, but Mariano Rivera was just taken off the field on a cart during batting practice. He was shagging fly balls in the outfield.
Joe Girardi said today’s lineup switch had as much to do with the Royals starting pitcher as the Yankees struggling lineup. Against a left-handed starter — with multiple left-handed relievers in the Royals bullpen — Girardi wanted to put a few different hitters between Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano.
Fair enough, but the bottom line is, the Yankees need something to click with their supposed-to-be-high-powered middle of the order. Line them up whatever way you’d like, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano need to be more productive than they’ve been so far.
“You got to trust that the history is going to repeat itself,” Joe Girardi said. “You could look at different options if other people were hot. That’s not what we have right now. We have some guys that are really scuffling offensively. So you ride it out and hope that it starts to turn around on this road trip.”
With Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner on te disabled list, the most productive Yankees have been Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson. Those two are staying together at the top of the order, but the Yankees lineup is really built around the idea of Teixeira, Rodriguez and Cano being an overwhelming trio in the middle.
They’ve combined for eight home runs, one less than Granderson has by himself.
“It’s not rare for me (to get off to a slow start),” Teixeira said. “But for all of us together, it is rare. We all have track records – Alex longer than me, and me a little longer than Robbie — but we all know what we have to do to get back to producing. … The last couple years, whenever Alex has been banged up, Robbie and I have really picked it up. We carry each other. It’s going to happen. Like I said yesterday, you’ve got to give their pitchers credit the last three games, but we expect a lot more out of ourselves, and hopefully we’re not going to have a lot more stretches like this.”
• Eric Chavez was released from the hospital today. He went there last night after experience whiplash and concussion symptoms following a diving play at third base. He went on he seven-day DL this afternoon to open a roster spot for Jayson Nix to be called up from Triple-A (Joba Chamberlain was moved to the 60-day to open a 40-man spot for Nix).
• When Nix found out about the call-up, he was told that the Yankees might use him right away, so he showed up today expecting to be in the lineup. This will be his sixth Major League start in left field. He also played a game out there in spring training and played a game there just a few days ago in Triple-A. “I don’t have a whole lot of experience,” Nix said. “But every time I’ve been out there, I’ve been comfortable and had no problems.”
• Girardi said he wanted to call up a right-handed hitter because the Royals are starting lefties the next two days. The only right-handed outfielder in Triple-A is Cole Garner, who just came off the disabled list yesterday.
• Brett Gardner took today and yesterday off. He’ll hit in the cage again tomorrow and hopes to take batting practice on the field Saturday. “I guess it just depends on how the cage goes tomorrow,” Gardner said. He still needs a rehab appearance, so Tuesday is the absolute earliest he could be back.
• Nick Swisher might be ahead of Gardner at this point. Swisher hit in the cage today and will try to take batting practice on the field tomorrow. He’s not on the disabled list, so Swisher can’t go on a rehab assignment.
• Andy Pettitte’ next start will be on Sunday, giving him an extra day between starts after this week’s time in Washington for the Roger Clemens trial. Girardi said he’s still not sure whether this will be Pettitte’s final tuneup. Sounds like it depends on how he does on Sunday. Girardi said it will be up to those people who actually see Pettitte pitch.
• David Phelps walked into the clubhouse with his earbuds in, then gave a playful shove to D.J. Mitchell. He looked fairly relaxed heading into his first big league start. “For me there would be more (nerves) if he hadn’t pitched here yet,” Girardi said. “But because he’s pitched here yet, I think some of that would be gone. There could be some just because he’s had five days to think about it, but hopefully he got all that out of him when he pitched in relief.”
• Phelps is expected to throw 75-90 pitches. “I would love five or six shutout innings,” Girardi said. “I’d sign up for that right now.”
Associated Press photos