When the interleague schedule shifts to National League parks, the Yankees usually have a tough decision to make. What do they do with their DH? This year, the Yankees designated hitter is already playing the outfield, so the decision has more to do with how many days in a row Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter can play the field.
“It probably affects Alex and Jeet the most because that was kind of a way that we gave them a day off,” Joe Girardi said. “But we have a day off in three days. We’ll see if they can go this whole way through. It’s nine days in a row once we get through this. As far as affecting, who we thought was going to be our DH, they’ve been playing the field.”
Raul Ibanez was supposed to be the Yankees regular designated hitter, but he’s become the primary left fielder ever since Brett Gardner hurt his elbow. The DH has primarily been used to rest Rodriguez and Jeter, with Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones getting some turns in that role as well. These next six games will likely see Ibanez and Jones platooning in left field, while the rest of the lineup stays pretty much the same as usual.
Obviously Ibanez isn’t nearly a Gardner-level defensive player, but the fact he’s comfortable in left and generally makes the routine plays has helped the Yankees fill this extended void since Gardner landed on the disabled list.
“It’s really been helpful,” Girardi said. “It’s really, really been helpful, and it’s really helped me with what I’ve been able to do with Alex and Jeet. They’ve probably played more than what we anticipated because we’ve been able to DH them a lot more. He’s done a good job. He’s done a good job out there for us. It’s going to have to continue for a while.”
• Dave Robertson is scheduled to make his second rehab appearance tomorrow. It may be the last rehab outing he needs. “We’ll make evaluation after Tuesday, and it’s very possible we’ll see him this weekend,” Girardi said.
• Girardi said he has not gotten any sort of report on Brett Gardner, and he said it’s not worth holding your breath. The Yankees aren’t likely to make any sort of announcement about Gardner’s condition until after he’s seen Dr. Kremchek on Thursday. He’s going to see Dr. Andrews first.
• Andy Pettitte has a small bruise on his pitching hand but said he feels fine following last night’s bare-handed play. Pettitte played catch today and said he’s not even slightly worried about being able to throw his bullpen on Wednesday. “I feel good,” Pettitte said. “There’s hardly even any bruising any more. It feels great.”
• Similar story with Hiroki Kuroda, who said he can still feel some soreness after being hit by a comebacker in his left foot, but he threw a bullpen yesterday and felt fine today. “I’m going to do some sprints tomorrow and see how I feel after that,” Kuroda said. “But I don’t feel limited.”
• It was fun to watch Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia put on their batting gloves and talk about hitting this afternoon, but Girardi takes no pleasure in seeing his pitchers at the plate during these interleague games. “I hold my breath a little bit,” Girardi said. “In 2008 I think it was Chien-Ming Wang who hurt his foot. In 2010, Vazquez hurt his finger on a bunt, this is a guy that was an experienced bunter, so our track record hasn’t been the greatest, so I worry a little bit.”
Associated Press photos