Brian Heyman back here at the Stadium for this middle game of the series against the Red Sox. Nick Swisher still isn’t in the lineup. This will be the seventh straight time the game has started without him because of his mild hip flexor strain. The thing is, Swisher says he feels available for anything today. I saw him down taking batting practice.
But Joe Girardi is waiting.
“I don’t blame him,” Swisher said. “I don’t want to go backwards. … I just want to play.”
Girardi didn’t rule out using him as a pinch hitter today.
“In talking to him, he felt pretty good yesterday,” Girardi said. “But we’ve got to make sure that it’s real good, because if you go out and play one day and you have a little setback, now you’re looking at 15, 16 days. So one or two days might buy you a lot of time in the future.
“I think it’s difficult for him because he loves to play. But I think he understands, too, that we need him and we don’t want him to go back to where he has to go on the DL because he reinjures it.”
So the Ichiro-to-left move will have to wait until Girardi deems that Swisher is ready to head back out to right.
“Our real hope was today, in my mind, I would feel that he was 100 percent,” Girardi said. “I just don’t think he’s quite there. We’ve waited this long. What’s maybe one or two more days?”
Chris Stewart is catching CC Sabathia again even though Girardi would like to pair up Russell Martin again with the lefty. They will need to be in sync for Game 1 in October. Martin is the DH today.
“He caught last night,” Girardi said. “It is a day game after a night game. At some point, I want to do it. I can’t tell you when I’m going to do it.
“But it has seemed to work out. It seems to keep them both fresh. I think Russell has swung the bat better since he’s come back in the second half. Maybe some of that has to do with not playing him day games after night games.”
Stewart has caught 15 of Sabathia’s starts this season and they have a 2.92 ERA together, according to baseball-reference.com. Martin has caught two and they have a 6.75 ERA together.
“If you throw him back there (in the postseason) and he hasn’t caught him all year, I guess it’s an issue,” Girardi said. “You want to make sure both of them are comfortable. Not just the pitcher, but you want the catcher to be comfortable, too, that he has a sense that he knows what CC wants to throw and they’re on the same page. I think that’s really important.”
Sabathia is 10-3. Overall, the Yankees have gone 19-11 when Stewart has been the starter.