Today it’s Alex Rodriguez getting a day off and Curtis Granderson getting a turn at DH. Within the next week and a half, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and some of the other everyday Yankees will take a turn getting a day of rest.
“You look at the last month, we’ve had our share of days off,” Joe Girardi said. “Some of them have been pretty rough where you get into a city at 7:30 in the morning and that’s your day off, but we haven’t had a real long stretch of games for a while. This is the first one. After that, the day off (next Thursday), then we’re playing four games in three days in Boston. We’re playing 17 games in 17 days basically, and I don’t want any of these guys to get hurt. We need all our guys.”
This is what Girardi does with most of his players. It’s unusual to see Granderson playing anywhere but center field, but it’s not particularly shocking that Girardi wants to give him a rest. Girardi has generally taken this sort of proactive approach to resting his players, especially Rodriguez and Jeter. He said that tendency will only increase now that the weather is heating up and the Yankees are in the middle of 13 games in a row.
“Just trying to stay proactive,” Girardi said. “We can say which day (a player) needs off. As a manager you’ve got to try to keep these guys healthy. They’re not 25 anymore. We might want to view them as 25, but the reality of it is that they’re not 25 and I’m just trying to stay ahead of it. (Rodriguez) will probably get another day off in this long stretch of games too. He’ll get a DH day here. We’ll try to DH Tex a day. Try to give maybe Jeet a day off. I’m going to try to take care of all these guys — Swish (as well) — because we’re in such a long run and we’ve been going at it pretty hard here.”
• Russell Martin’s sore back is better, but Girardi still wants to avoid using him. “He’s definitely better today,” Girardi said. “He’s moving around better. We either shoot for tomorrow or the next day.”
• Brett Gardner had the brace off his right arm for a while this afternoon. He still wears it often, but he’s been given the green light to take it off from time to time. He’s going to travel with the team to Tampa on Sunday, then he’ll stay in Tampa to do rehab work.
• Girardi said he believes Rafael Soriano will be available after pitching the past two days in a row.
• For the record, Granderson said he hasn’t felt any effects from playing so many days this season. He said the weather and playing so few games on turf has really helped his legs stay strong.
• Just to be clear, Rodriguez is not hurt. He’s just getting a day off.
• Girardi commented on Cory Wade’s recent struggles: “When you look at him, it doesn’t seem a lot different than what we’ve seen in the past but obviously there’s some differences,” Girardi said. “He’s left some changeups up that have hurt him and some changeups over the inner third of the plate to some hitters that have hurt him. Relievers are going to go through that where they go through a stretch where they have a rough time and they’re not out there every fifth day or every day to correct it. His changeup has been up a little bit and I think it’s hurt him.”
• Girardi on what’s made Hiroki Kuroda so good lately: “I think he started using his slider more and I think he stopped using his cutter for the most part. His fastball has been more effective. Those are the three things I’ve seen the most out of him. He’s used his curveball sporadically throughout the whole year. He’ll use it as a strike pitch early in the count, but he’s used his slider a lot more effectively.”
• Girardi also weighed in on Soriano’s postgame routine of untucking his shirt after the final out. “I don’t think he’s doing anything to show anyone up. … He’s not really showing any emotion. When he does it, I don’t even see him pull it out.”
Associated Press photos