Joe Girardi has started Alex Rodriguez at designated hitter 11 times this year. He’s put Robinson Cano at DH twice. He’s given Derek Jeter one full day off and six half days.
But Curtis Granderson has played every single inning in center field.
It’s odd for Girardi, who is sometimes labeled as overly cautious when it comes to resting his players. He was hesitant to give Mark Teixeira days off to deal with his lingering cough, but when he did rest him, he gave him three full days. Granderson seems to be the exception to the rule.
“I do know that we have an off day coming on Thursday,” Girardi said. “Part of the plan is that I would like to give him a half day (at designated hitter). It’s been difficult. He might get one in the next three days. I’ll continue to talk to him. He’s been a guy, though, that hasn’t really needed them in the past and has been able to play every day. I’ve talked to him a couple of times this week to make sure he feels ok, and he’s said he feels ok.”
I honestly thought today would be the day. With Teixeira sitting out again, Girardi could easily have put Raul Ibanez back in left field, moved Dewayne Wise to center and let Granderson’s legs get out of the outfield for an afternoon. But Girardi prioritizes resting his older players — for obvious reasons — and this would have been five days in a row for Ibanez in the field.
“I think (rest) puts more life in their body,” Girardi said. “I think they physically feel better. I think their bats are more explosive. It’s not like they’re getting a lot of days off. It’s not like they’re getting two days off a week. It’s a half a day, and they still do a lot of work. I’m just trying to keep them from getting hurt. I think one of the biggest reasons players get hurt is because of fatigue.”
Granderson has told Girardi he’s fine, and for now, Girardi’s choosing to trust him and let him play.
• Although Brett Gardner had not yet been evaluated by the doctor, Girardi said the Yankees are planning to wait until Thursday to have Gardner pick up a bat again. “He’s still progressing fine and he’s starting to feel better,” Girardi said. “Hopefully that’s going in the right direction. … We’re just not comfortable with where he’s at right now to do it.”
• A plan for Thursday came as news for Gardner, who didn’t expect any decision to be made until he’d seen the doctor later today. “It feel good,” he said. “But I haven’t picked up a bat.” Amazing that it’s been a full month since Gardner got in a game.
• This is one of those incredibly quiet Sundays when the clubhouse is nearly empty and there seems to be nothing going on pregame. Granderson and Andruw Jones were laughing at the Not Top 10 list on SportsCenter — a Little League umpire’s over-the-top strike-three call had them cracking up — but really, this place was dead all morning.
• Things will get a little more lively with a terrific pitching matchup between CC Sabathia and Johnny Cueto. “He’s got deception because he gives you the big turn,” Girardi said. “He’s got a good changeup, good slider. I do appreciate these matchups. They’re fun to watch.”
• Of course, the Yankees are hoping that they can build on last night’s ninth inning, when they finally seemed to put a little bit of a rally together before coming one hit short of a complete comeback. “You get a couple of guys to get a couple of hits with runners in scoring position, they relax, everyone relaxes and you start putting together some big innings,” Girardi said.
Associated Press photo