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Pregame notes: Nunez getting closer

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Eduardo Nunez [2]

The tarp is on the field here in Denver, which means batting practice was cancelled and there was no chance to go through any sort of normal ground ball drills. Eduardo Nunez went through a few exercises in the outfield, but it’s hard to know whether he’s truly available.

On his way out of the clubhouse, Nunez said he believed he could play today, but he also said he can’t hit yet. He’s either being overly optimistic, hinting at a running-only situation, or he simply didn’t understand the rushed question.

“If he says he’s OK, I wouldn’t use him much,” Joe Girardi said. “It would be in the case of an emergency.”

As last night showed, things can get interesting when the Yankees are without a backup infielder — something that’s happened quite a bit this season. Usually, the only impact is a lack of options, but occasionally it’s left Robinson Cano at shortstop, Francisco Cervelli at second or Vernon Wells at third.

“They understand that we might have to do a few things different just because of the way our roster is constructed,” Girardi said. “Our lineup is kind of heavily left-handed, and we’re short an infielder, and we’re having to do some different things is the bottom line. … I’m glad they’re embracing (an all-hands-on-deck mentality). I think it’s fun for them. It’s a long year, it’s a grind, and sometimes when you’re in the same spot all the time, you get a chance to move a little bit and they get excited about it. I know Robbie was extremely excited about the day he got to play short. I think they like that. I don’t really want to make a habit of it.”

CC Sabathia [3]• Why not bat CC Sabathia eighth? Because with a left-hander on the mound for Colorado, the Yankees lineup looks a little different. “It’s just different because I have righties between some of the lefties,” Girardi said. “I don’t really have any lefties stacked. If you put possibly the pitcher in the eighth hole, then you’d have Overbay and one of your pinch hitters stacked.”

• Someone asked — somewhat jokingly — whether Sabathia pushed to bat fifth or sixth and would be upset about batting ninth. “I haven’t seen him today, so maybe that’s why,” Girardi said.

• Why pull Austin Romine in favor of Chris Stewart last night? “It’s a situation where Stew is used to Mo,” Girardi said. “It’s a one-run game, and I just felt like Stew’s the best thrower that we have, so I thought we’d put him in there. … It’s not something I want to do every time, but in that situation, I just thought I’d do it.”

• For whatever it’s worth, Girardi seemed to think there was some chance of having Nunez in the lineup tomorrow. “I sure hope so,” he said. “I’m not really sure. Rib cages are tricky, so you have to make sure he feels OK before he goes out there.”

• Nothing has changed about finding a starting pitcher for Monday’s doubleheader. “We’ll worry about that as we get a little bit closer,” Girardi said. “Nova could make that start for us. He’s in line. And we have some other candidates.”

• Joba Chamberlain is able to play catch, and Girardi said he expects Chamberlain to be activated as soon as he’s eligible. “I think so,” Girardi said. “He says he feels much better, and he’s playing catch – which is a good sign – but until he gets off the mound and turns it up a little bit, you’re really not going to know.”

• Joe Torre released a statement from MLB about last night’s missed home run call in Cleveland: “By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief. In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night’s crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final. Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night’s decision.”

Associated Press photos