If September 1 weren’t three games away, it’s likely Mark Teixeira would have landed on the disabled list today. The Yankees believe he’ll miss at least a week, and they recognize that two weeks or more is a very real possibility. Essentially, the Yankees decided to play a man short for these three games rather than risk Teixeira being healthy enough to play early next month but remain unavailable because of the DL.
“You might have to revisit something,” Joe Girardi said. “You’re looking at three games, basically. Our feeling is, we’ll take that chance.”
For tonight, Teixeira’s replacement in the cleanup spot is newly acquired Steve Pearce, who’s here specifically to hit left-handed pitching. Girardi said he wanted to keep the top three hitters together — “They’ve been swinging the bat good so let’s get them up as many times as we can,” he said — and lining up hitters after those three is a bit of a crap shoot. These numbers are vs.LHP this season:
Agree or disagree, there’s certainly logic in the batting order.
What the Yankees really need is to get Teixeira back sooner than 15 days (and Alex Rodriguez fairly soon as well). Derek Jeter missed three weeks with a Grade 1 calf strain last season, but Teixeira believes he can come back sooner.
“The doctor looked at the MRI and said it’s not as severe,” Teixeira said. “You can have the same injury. One person’s pull is a week, another person’s is a month. It’s just the way it is. … I’m hoping it’s a week. It might be as much as two. I’m going to be as optimistic as I can. You guys know me. I’m a very positive person. I’m just going to really try to be positive here and hopefully I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
• Alex Rodriguez ran the bases, fielded groundballs and took live batting practice this afternoon. “I think my legs are coming,” he said. “I see light at the end of the tunnel. My expectation is to come back and come back at full strength to help this team win.”
• Rodriguez said he would like to get into a rehab game or two — and Girardi says that seems possible — which means some minor league team might be adding a significant bat for the playoffs.
• Andy Pettitte threw three sessions of roughly 20 pitches apiece this afternoon. All pitches were thrown off flat ground, but for the last session he went through something close to his usual windup and delivery. “He actually looked really good,” Girardi said. ““Our hope is it’s a mound, a bullpen, (that Pettitte does next). We’ll have to see how he feels in the next couple days.”
• If Pettitte does throw a bullpen next, it would be either Friday or Saturday.
• Girardi wasn’t sure whether Ivan Nova would try to play catch Wednesday or Friday, but the plan is for him to throw a baseball again this week.
• To make room on the roster, Casey McGehee was optioned to Charleston. He was sent all the way down to Low-A because that season will end sooner, and McGehee can be called up sooner. The way I’ve always understood the rule is this: When a player is optioned, he has to remain optioned for 10 days unless there’s a big league injury. The 10-day rule still applies for September call-ups, unless the player’s minor league season ends. In McGehee’s case, the Yankees Triple-A, Double-A and High-A teams are still in the playoff hunt. Low-A Charleston is not, which means that team’s season will end on September 3 and McGehee will be eligible to return.
• Girardi said he’s been encouraged by Martin’s recent at-bats, which is why he’s hitting so high in the order. “I really like the Russell is swinging the bat,” Girardi said. “He’s really got to try to change his luck a little bit.”
• Rafael Soriano said his pitching hand felt fine last night, he just didn’t have a good night. Being hit by that line drive the night before had no impact on him.
• Pearce said he was surprised to learn the Yankees had traded for him. He was playing extremely well with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre the first two months of the season, but at that time the Yankees didn’t have room for him on the big league roster, and he floated to Baltimore and Houston before finally landing at Yankee Stadium. “I was playing well, which was the only reason I used the opt-out date,” he said. “I wanted to come up through the Yankees organization, but it was a numbers thing. I had to move on. … When you join an organization, you don’t want to stay in Triple-A the whole year. This is definitely what I envisioned and I’m really excited to be here.”
Associated Press photos