In the middle of 16 games in a row, Joe Girardi has decided it’s time to give guys a rest. Derek Jeter is off tonight, and Girardi said another of his regulars will almost certainly sit another regular tomorrow.
“I think I’ve always been concerned with players’ health,” Girardi said. “You see that a lot of times injuries are caused by fatigue, and that’s a concern for me. And I think as you know your players better, you know how many days they can go before you think it physically starts to wear on them. … I think you can wear them down and then they don’t start to swing the bat as well, they don’t move as well defensively and they get frustrated, and you can get into bad habits.”
When the lineup was posted, most of you probably expected something along these lines from Girardi. For better and for worse, he’s been committed to giving players — particularly his older players — regular rest. Today it was Jeter’s turn to sit for the first time this season. Jeter laughed when asked whether he was physically healthy.
“What do you think?” he said.
“Just a day off,” Girardi said. “We’re in the midst of 16 in a row. You give him today and maybe he can play the rest of the way out here. I’ll try to get him a DH maybe somewhere against Kansas City.”
Although he’s dealing with a cough, Mark Teixeira has played all but one game this season, and he’s played all of them at first base. Girardi said he told Teixeira that he wanted to DH him in Baltimore, but Teixeira convinced him that he was fine.
Although he plays a position that requires a ton of running, Curtis Granderson has started every single game in center field, but Girardi said he’s not particularly worried about Granderson’s health or durability.
“Curtis is a guy that’s used to playing every day,” Girardi said. “You look at what he’s done in the past, will I possibly give him a DH day here in these next eight days? Probably. But a lot of times last year I thought he might need a day and he’d play and get three hits that day, so he’s a tough one to take out of the lineup because he seems to do well when he plays every day.”
• Ivan Nova said he feels even better today than he felt yesterday, and there’s a good chance he’ll throw a bullpen tomorrow in preparation for a start on Saturday. “He came through the running fine,” Girardi said. “He feels better, and even if he didn’t throw a bullpen I wouldn’t rule out a start. I wouldn’t rule it out. I’ve said before that guys have skipped bullpen sessions before just because sometimes it’s that time of the year. He does feel better. He’s going in the right direction. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
• Girardi said he won’t avoid any of his relievers just because Nova’s next start isn’t a sure thing. D.J. Mitchell pitched today, so I’m not sure you could consider him an emergency option should the Yankees need to promote someone to make that start. Basically, it seems that Girardi is expecting either David Phelps or Freddy Garcia to be available that day, and if one of them isn’t, then the Yankees will adjust.
• Even though he leads the team in homers, Girardi said there was no consideration of anyone other than Granderson hitting leadoff today. “That’s the next guy if Jeet’s not going to be in the lineup,” Girardi said. “Jeet’s done such a good job for us, and Grandy’s done it before, so I’m comfortable putting him in.”
• Eduardo Nunez made two errors in a Triple-A game today.
• Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie got a four-game suspension for hitting an umpire with a thrown helmet last night, but he appealed and will play tonight.
• By the way, I honestly didn’t realize Jose Bautista was hitting .195 until I looked at today’s lineup card. I knew he wasn’t off to a strong start — he does have eight homers — but I didn’t realize he’d been that bad.
• This will be Hiroki Kuroda’s first career start against the Blue Jays.
Associated Press photos