Russell Martin has a stiff neck. He felt it yesterday, and it’s still bothering him today, which is the reason he’s not in the lineup for this afternoon’s series finale in Oakland.
“It was pretty bad yesterday,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s better today, but it’s not quite where it needs to be. Hopefully he’ll be OK tomorrow. … We’ve all had stiff necks. It could be the way you sleep on a pillow. It could be a lot of different things. I’m hoping he’ll be back tomorrow.”
One potential added bonus: With Thursday’s off day, this will be three days off in a span of four days for Martin. When the Yankees gave Mark Teixeira three days off last weekend, he came back with improved success at the plate. Could the same thing happen with Martin?
“I’m not looking to do that, and I wasn’t looking to do it with Tex,” Girardi said. “He was so sick that eventually we had to do it. Russell has hit some balls hard, and it seems like a lot of those balls that he’s hit hard have been caught. I’ve been pleased. I think Russell’s at-bats are getting better and better. I see good things coming.”
• It’s been an inconsistent past two months for Hiroki Kuroda, and Girardi said that’s partially because of an inconsistent sinker, and partially because of an inconsistent defense. “(It’s key) for us not to give away any runs early,” Girardi said. “It seems like we’ve done that in his starts more than anyone. We’re a pretty sure-handed team, but for whatever reason, it’s happened in his starts.”
• Girardi moved Mark Teixeira up to the No. 3 spot in the order last time the Yankees faced a lefty, and Girardi stuck with that lineup today. Historically, Teixeira has hit lefties better than righties, but this season he’s actually been much worse against left-handers.
• Chris Stewart has a strong defensive reputation, but he’s second in the American League in passed balls despite being a part-time player. “He’s usually really sure-handed,” Girardi said. “Sometimes things happen. I wouldn’t expect it to continue because he is sure-handed. It’s a new staff. That could have something to do with it.”
• Derek Jeter kind of rolled his wrist yesterday, but he’s fine.
• Girardi said he expects to stay on rotation after the upcoming Angels series. The Yankees could shake up the rotation after an off day Thursday, but Girardi doesn’t expect to do that.
• The Yankees have been especially good against the A’s the past few seasons, and they need that trend to continue to finish off a series sweep. “We’ve played well out here and we need to continue it because you want this road trip to continue to be a good road trip for us, Girardi said. “When you have a chance to win three in a row on the road, it’s important, especially when you talk about winning series. When you have a chance to sweep, go for it.”
Associated Press photos