Just a routine half-day off for Robinson Cano. Alex Rodriguez had a DH day yesterday and Derek Jeter had one before the Yankees flew to the West Coast, so Joe Girardi decided this would be a good time to rest Cano. That means another second-base start for Jayson Nix, an afterthought in spring training who’s become a go-to utility man against left-handed pitching.
“He’s played really well for us,” Girardi said. “We knew of him, and we’d seen him hit some home runs in the big leagues, but the job he’s done for us has been really, really good.”
This was supposed to be Eduardo Nunez’s job. It was supposed to be Nunez who would play regularly against left-handers, giving Rodriguez, Jeter and Cano a few days off here and there. But Nunez once again struggled defensively, and the Yankees turned to Nix, who’d played a similar role in Chicago, Cleveland and Toronto.
“It takes a lot of preparation,” Girardi said. “Taking ground balls all over the infield. Trying to give him a heads up where he might play the next day. You’ll see him move all over the infield all the time, and he’ll take his fly balls. And that’s not easy because BP’s only so long, but he’s really good at it. … I think it is a veteran (role). Nixy is a guy who played other positions before we got him, too. He played short, and he started every day at third at times, so I think he was probably a little more prepared for it and more familiar with it.”
• Joba Chamberlain gave up a leadoff home run tonight. It was the first hit he’d allowed during this rehab assignment, and he followed the homer with another run in his second inning of work. All today, Chamberlain had the following line with High-A Tampa: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. It was Chamberlain’s fourth rehab outing and easily his worst of the bunch.
• Still no date for Brett Gardner’s surgery. The Yankees only know it will be next week, but Girardi isn’t sure exactly when. He said Gardner is traveling today. Girardi hasn’t spoken to Gardner since the decision to have surgery.
• A little more than three weeks after breaking his ankle, Andy Pettitte was playing light catch in the outfield this afternoon. He seems to be moving around pretty easily, but Girardi said it will be a while before Pettitte is doing much more than playing catch. “I still think he’s a little ways away,” Girardi said. “That’s got to heal more.”
• I have an old college friend who’s now an NBA writer in Denver. Turns out, he was close friends with one of the victims of last night’s movie theater shooting. Horrible, horrible situation. It’s hard to understand people sometimes.
Associated Press photo