Robinson Cano is just fine, just getting a day off. Even with an off day yesterday, Joe Girardi said he felt like this was a good time to give Cano a precautionary day off against a left-hander who’s had some success against him. Cano is 0-for-9 with four strikeouts in his career against Gio Gonzalez. Jayson Nix is 3-for-7 with a home run.
“It’s preemptive,” Girardi said. “He got spiked the other night on his leg. We’re going to have this stretch of games, then we’ve got 13 in a row. I felt, if there’s a time to do it, now is the time. Nixy has seen Gio, had some success off him, so I figured it works out OK.”
Cano said he tried to change Girardi’s mind — he had the day off yesterday and didn’t need one today — but Girardi’s generally been proactive about keeping his players healthy. If Cano’s going to get a day off, it might as well be against a National League team with a starting pitcher who’s given Cano some trouble.
Although he was spiked earlier this week in Atlanta, Cano said that’s a non-issue.
Turns out, Cano actually has a bit of a friendship with Bryce Harper, who asked to meet Cano during the spring of 2010. The two exchanged numbers, and Cano said he texted Harper just a few days ago to congratulate him on his hot start in the big leagues.
“He can throw, run, hit,” Cano said. “The thing is, he’s only 19. I know he’s going to criticized and things, but I hope people understand he’s only 19, and it’s hard to come up to this level with this opportunity to learn and improve. Sometimes you’ve got to say, he’s a young kid, he’s not even 20 yet. Hopefully he learns quick and soon, because he’s got all the talent to be here for a long time.”
• Andy Pettitte turns 40 today. When a group of reporters gathered around him, someone joked that we were there to sing him Happy Birthday. “I want to hear it,” Pettitte said. “Let’s go. In four different parts.” Needless to say, the Yankees beat doesn’t do four-part harmony.
• Speaking of Pettitte, there’s a set of four lockers on small piece of wall in the middle of the visiting clubhouse here in Washington. This week, those four lockers belong to Alex Rodriguez, Pettitte, CC Sabathia and Derek Jeter. In this presidential city, that’s quite the Mt. Rushmore of Yankee locker assignments.
• With Dave Robertson activated, Girardi once again confirmed that he’ll use Robertson in an eighth-inning setup role, but the success of Boone Logan and Cory Wade would make Girardi comfortable switching things up depending on the situation. “If you’ve got left-right-left in the eighth and you’ve got three right-handers in the seventh, maybe you flip Robertson and Boonie around a little bit,” Girardi said. “There’s things you can do just because those guys have pitched in the back end of games.”
• Girardi on the conversation telling David Phelps he was being sent to the minors: “He was good. He understood. It’s never a fun time to listen to that conversation, but this is a young man that we have high hopes for. We think he’s going to be a starter for us in the future. Our starters have been giving us a lot of distance so he’s going to go down and start. They’re building him up down in Tampa and then he’ll go to Triple-A. If we need him before that, we’ll call him back.”
• Girardi seemed hopeful that Brett Gardner could be back soon after the all-star break. “The way I understood it, it was three or four weeks that he’d be back,” Girardi said. “We’ve said that before, right? It just depends on how it heals. I don’t think any of us really have a true timetable of when he’s going to come back. He’ll come back when he feels good.”
• Unexpected but welcome surprise in the clubhouse: Gene Monahan is here, filling in for Steve Donohue. “Stevie’s got a graduation to go to, his daughter’s graduation, so Geno’s going to fill in for a day,” Girardi said. “It’s great.”
Associated Press photos