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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Archive for June, 2013

Swept: Orioles knock Yankees into fourth place06.30.13

Hiroki Kuroda

Halfway through the season, the Yankees are now a fourth-place team. Tonight’s 4-2 loss to the Orioles dumped the Yankees a half game below Tampa Bay in the American League East standings. The Yankees now two games ahead of last-place Toronto and six-and-a-half behind first-place Boston. The Orioles are hitting the ball the way the Yankees used to. They lead the Majors in home runs, and tonight they hit three solo shots; one each by Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Nate McLouth. Robinson Cano’s 17th homer of the year temporarily pulled the Yankees within a run — and continued his strong performance here in Baltimore — but the Orioles tacked on an insurance run in the seventh and handed the Yankees their third five-game losing streak in the past five weeks.

Associated Press photo

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Game 81: Yankees at Orioles06.30.13

YANKEES (42-38)
Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Travis Hafner DH
Zoilo Almonte LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Jayson Nix SS
Chris Stewart C
David Adams 3B

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (7-5, 2.77)
Kuroda vs. Orioles

ORIOLES (46-36)
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Brian Roberts DH

RHP Chris Tillman (9-2, 3.72)
Tillman vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 8:05 p.m., ESPN

WEATHER: It was raining this afternoon, but the tarp has been off the field for quite a while. There’s at least a fighting chance of getting through this one without a problem.

UMPIRES: HP Paul Schrieber, 1B Adam Hamari, 2B Eric Cooper, 3B Jeff Kellogg

BROOM BREAKERS: The Yankees are looking to avoid being swept by Baltimore for the first time since April of 2005. That previous sweep was also a three-game series at Camden Yards. They are looking to avoid being swept for the fourth time overall this season, second in a series of at least three games (also that mid-June series in Oakland).

BAD BREAK: The Yankees lost last night despite getting 11 hits and scoring three runs for the second straight game. It was their second such loss this season, both against Baltimore.

BROKEN BATS: The Yankees have homered in just three of their last 10 games and have hit just two homers in their past 11 road games since June 7. They are 9-24 when not hitting a home run this season.

UPDATE, 8:41 p.m.: Not sure where previous updates have gone. Having some technical issues apparently. Anyway… David Adams’ at-bats have been much better recently. He’s not hitting the cover off the ball, but he’s giving himself a better chance and taking some walks. He just walked to load the bases with two outs here in the second, Yankees down 1-0.

UPDATE, 8:47 p.m.: Bases loaded walk by Gardner has brought in a run and tied the game at 1. Three straight Yankees have reached base with two outs in this second inning.

UPDATE, 8:52 p.m.: Chris Davis is like Jose Bautista a few years ago. Another homer and the Orioles are up 2-1 in the second. That’s 31 for Davis before the end of June!

UPDATE, 9:17 p.m.: The Orioles have already hit three solo homers, and now their starting pitcher is making behind-the-back plays on would-be singles. Now they’re just showing off. And leading 3-1.

UPDATE, 9:54 p.m.: Hey look, Cano just homered. This is actually a one-run game and each team has five hits. Somehow it feels like the Orioles are in complete control.

UPDATE, 10:25 p.m.: Two on with one out, the Yankees popped up a couple of balls and couldn’t do anything. It’s still a one-run game, and the Orioles still seem to be in complete control.

UPDATE, 10:34 p.m.: Single and double, and now the Orioles are in business and the Yankees are into the bullpen. Here’s Boone Logan to face Flaherty.

UPDATE, 10:35 p.m.: Scratch that. Valencia pinch hitting.

UPDATE, 10:43 p.m.: Not enough arm from Gardner to get the out at the plate. It’s now a 4-2 Orioles lead in the seventh.

UPDATE, 10:49 p.m.: Logan gets the strikeout to end the inning, but the damage is done and the Orioles are up by two with two to play.

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Pregame notes: “We’re not in too bad of a position”06.30.13

Joe Girardi

Welcome to the middle, Game 81 of 162.

“We’re definitely in striking distance,” Joe Girardi said. “We’re in the middle of our division right now. You’d like to be better, but it’s not the case. It should be a very interesting second half. We’re not in too bad of a position.”

There’s little mystery about the season’s first half. We know all about the offensive struggles, the incredible number of injuries, the deflating setbacks and the difficulty of maintaining the Yankees early pace. This was a first-place team in late May, now it’s fighting to stay above .500 while waiting for a series of key players to come off the disabled list.

The real mystery is what happens going forward.

“I think it’s probably fair to say it’s not real clear because you don’t know exactly when the guys are coming back and actually how they’re going to feel,” Girardi said. “Two guys are clear that we’re not getting them back, but there are five guys down there (rehabbing in Tampa), but you’re not exactly sure when you’re going to get them.”

So tonight the Yankees wrap up the first half, hoping for better in the next 81 games.

“You make the assumption that (the injured players) are going to come back and be good players,” Girardi said. “I make that assumption. There’s nothing that tells me they won’t be. The one thing, as you get into July and after the break possibly, and later in July, is you don’t really want to take a week or two to get guys going. It’s one thing to do it in April, but they have to be ready and ready to go.”

Ivan Nova• After pitching well last night, Ivan Nova is back in an uncertain role. The Yankees will stay on rotation for the Twins series, meaning Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia and David Phelps. “Maybe slot (Nova) in somewhere else,” Girardi said.

• Pretty underwhelming rehab start by Michael Pineda, who’s velocity was once again 93-94 mph but without much command. He pitched just three innings with four hits, four runs, four walks and four strikeouts. He also hit a guy and allowed two home runs. He should have one more rehab start before the Yankees have to decide whether to add him to the big league rotation or option him to the minors. “That’s not something that we’ve really talked about,” Girardi said. “I haven’t had a chance to watch him. It’s more up to Brian (Cashman), and we’ll talk to the guys and see if there’s a way he can help us.”

• Girardi reiterated that, for the time being, there are no plans of making Pineda a reliever. He’ll continue to work as a starter unless there becomes a pressing reason to make a change.

• More simulated at-bats for Alex Rodriguez today. Girardi said he had three at-bats and got three hits. … No simulated at-bats for Derek Jeter. Girardi made it sound like it was a scheduled day off. … Eduardo Nunez played one inning in the Florida State League before his rehab game was postponed by rain. He drew a walk and scored a run in his only plate appearance.

• Pettitte’s locker was empty today. He flew ahead for tomorrow’s start in Minnesota. “He had the real good first month and then he kind of went through some starts where he felt like he didn’t have all his weapons,” Girardi said. “I think he’s had them all now again. One inning here or there is what’s cost him.”

• After last night’s blowout, Girardi actually sounded a little bit encouraged by the offense. They’re getting a right-handed starter tonight, and they actually had quite a few extra-base hits yesterday. “It makes it tougher when you’re not scoring five, six runs a night,” Girardi said. “That it does. I thought we swung the bats better last night, and hopefully it carries over tonight.”

• It was raining when I walked to the stadium today, but the tarp came off the field in time for the Yankees to take batting practice (that’s happening right now). Still a chance of rain tonight, but right now things are at least a little promising.

• The Orioles have activated second baseman Brian Roberts from the disabled list. He’s batting ninth and starting at DH tonight.

Associated Press photos

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Yankees face righty in series finale06.30.13

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Travis Hafner DH
Zoilo Almonte LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Jayson Nix SS
Chris Stewart C
David Adams 3B

RHP Hiroki Kuroda

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 140 Comments →

Bell and Garcia activated in Triple-A06.30.13

Most seasons, these sort of moves would be easy to ignore. This year, they might actually carry some significance.

Today, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders activated infielder Josh Bell and outfielder Adonis Garcia from the disabled list. Given the Yankees currently three-man bench, one of these two could play his way into consideration.

Bell is a 26-year-old switch hitter who’s primarily a third baseman with some experience at first and the outfield corners. He’s spent time in the big leagues each of the past three seasons. Garcia is a 28-year-old out of Cuba who played well before getting hurt in big league camp. He bats right handed and hit .288/.325/.492 in Double-A last season.

Probably not as significant as it would be to have Ronnier Mustelier or Brennan Boesch come off the disabled list, but the Yankees seem to have entered beggars-can’t-be-choosers territory.

To open roster spots, infielder Casey Stevenon and outfielder Cody Grice were transferred to Double-A Trenton.

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Questions on the last day of June06.30.13

Joe Girardi

This is the last day of June, which means much of the next month will be spent talking about potential trade targets, which prospects are most valuable — yet expendable — and whether the Yankees should consider being sellers instead of buyers. Truth be told, that’s already a pretty steady part of the conversation, and has been for several weeks already.

For now, though, the Yankees questions aren’t limited to external options. They have a few internal questions to consider as well.

Phil HughesWhat’s the role of Ivan Nova?
This is the first one that comes to mind largely because of last night’s performance. What happens with Nova going forward? His trade value is probably fairly limited based on last year’s second half and the fact he was so rocky early this season that the Yankees shipped him to Triple-A. But Phil Hughes has been inconsistent, Andy Pettitte has battled back injuries, and David Phelps was just clobbered by the Orioles. Is it time to give Nova another shot as a regular member of the rotation? Can he help out of the bullpen? Should he be stretched out again in Triple-A? His ERA is now lower than either Phelps or Hughes.

Who else can bat cleanup against lefties?
Every time Vernon Wells starts at DH and bats fourth against a lefty, there’s a nearly universal groan. Surely there’s a better option. Thing is, there might not be. Zoilo Almonte has never been a particularly good right-handed hitter in the minors. Lyle Overbay hasn’t hit lefties at all this season. Travis Hafner has struggled against them too (and there’s some desire to rest him regularly to keep him healthy). That leaves guys like David Adams, Jayson Nix and Chris Stewart. Is there an outside-the-box solution (maybe a non-typical cleanup hitter like Ichiro)? Is it worth running Hafner out there every day? Can any of the limited Triple-A options provide a boost? Clearly Wells isn’t a great cleanup option, but who is on this roster?

Is Joba Chamberlain a reliable reliever?
Let’s face it, there are only a handful of truly “reliable” relievers in baseball, and the Yankees happen to have two of them in Mariano Rivera and Dave Robertson. Chamberlain, though, is supposed to be another go-to force in the late innings. Problem is, he’s been outpitched lately by Shawn Kelley and Preston Claiborne. Before pitching a strong eighth inning on Friday, Chamberlain had allowed 14 hits and nine runs in his past 6.2 innings, which spanned most of the month of June. “I really believe that he should be a big part of our bullpen,” Joe Girardi said. “He has that type of talent and he just hasn’t gotten going since he hurt that rib cage muscle, and hopefully yesterday was the start of something good.”

Have the Yankees really run out of immediately available alternatives?
There’s a solid chance that they have, but it’s certainly worth considering over and over again as long as the offense struggles like this. Brennan Boesch, Ronnier Mustelier and Corban Joseph are hurt — and not particularly close to a return, according to Girardi — but is that the end of the list? Is Thomas Neal worth another look when he’s eligible to be recalled (probably is, actually). Is it worth pulling J.R. Murphy out of a real breakout season to find out if he can bring some offense to the catcher position? Are any of the veteran minor league additions — Brent Lillibridge, Fernando Martinez, Randy Ruiz, Corey Patterson — potential upgrades for part-time jobs?

When is Michael Pineda going to be a viable option?
Today is his fifth rehab start, ad his second with Double-A Trenton. The numbers are good — one earned run with 11 strikeouts in 14.1 innings — and reports of a mid-90s fastball are encouraging, but what exactly does that mean? Pitching has been the Yankees unquestioned strength, but there’s little question about Pineda’s potential to be an impact arm. Hughes hasn’t been consistent, neither has Nova, and last night showed that Phelps isn’t quite a sure thing (despite an otherwise strong season). At some point, the Yankees are going to have to seriously consider whether their rotation might be even better with Pineda in it.

How quickly can the DL position players make progress?
This is the big one, isn’t it? The progress of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Francisco Cervelli and Eduardo Nunez could have a huge impact on the current roster and the trade deadline approach. Can these guys get back in time — and be productive enough — to keep the Yankees in the hunt and give a real reason to make a huge splash to chance a title? Are they going to be so limited — in terms of time and ability — that their return won’t mean much? Can Nunez be back next weekend? Can Rodriguez begin a rehab assignment this week? Can Granderson be back from the end of the month? They need the obvious offensive boost, and they need some clarity about what they actually have.

Associated Press photos

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Postgame notes: “Go out there and not give them a chance”06.29.13

David Phelps

The Adams Jones single that drove in the first Orioles run? That was a curveball. The Chris Davis home run that delivered the first big blow of the night? Also a curveball. The Ryan Flaherty home run that chased David Phelps from the game? Another curveball.

“I was thinking back and three of the curveballs accounted for seven of the runs,” Phelps said. “The home run to Davis and the one to Flaherty, they were just sitting on a tee right there for them. It’s frustrating. I felt like I was making some good pitches with my fastball, just everything else was up in the zone and they made me pay for it.”

If you’d like to get more into specifics, this was Phelps’ assessment of the pitch that Davis crushed.

“Where that pitch was, I hope he’d hit it like he did,” Phelps said. “That’s about as bad of a breaking ball as I’m going to throw, and that’s what he’s supposed to do with that kind of pitch.”

It was bad. The Orioles scored nine runs in the first three innings. The Yankees haven’t scored nine runs in a game since May 24. The Orioles finished with 11 runs. The Yankees haven’t scored more than 11 runs in their past four games combined.

In a vacuum, this gave was clearly on Phelps’ shoulders. His curveball was — obviously — pretty bad tonight, and that cost him. It seemed possible he was going to get on a little bit of a role after he stranded two runners in the first, pitched a 1-2-3 second and got a quick out in the third, but his night fell completely apart after that. And when you consider the fact this game wasn’t played in a vacuum, that it was played by a team that is struggling to score runs, it seemed like a lost cause pretty quickly.

“I don’t care what our offense is doing,” Phelps said. “You give up nine runs, it’s a big hole to dig yourself out of. The last four or five games that I’ve pitched, they’ve scored runs for me. It’s frustrating to go out there and not give them a chance to do it.”

Ichiro Suzuki• Ivan Nova left the building pretty quickly, but he pitched well tonight. He was certainly the bright spot, with his only blemish coming on the towering Davis home run in the sixth. Now, Joe Girardi said, he’s not sure what’s next for Nova. It’s possible he’ll start on Thursday, but that’s very much up in the air. Girardi would still like to use Nova to give all of the starters an extra day off at some point. “We’ll see how we come out these next few days,” Girardi said. “That’s kind of what I’m planning; how we come out the next few days.”

• Why Nova over Adam Warren? “If you use Warren, you’re not going to be able to start Nova anyway in the next few days,” Girardi said. “I figured I would get him back out there. It was his sixth day, so I thought that would help us. Now we have Warren, we still have our long man. I’m not sure when I’ll slot Nova in there.”

• Girardi on Phelps: “He made some mistakes with his breaking pitches. You look at the first inning; if the ball is maybe a foot to my left, the one hit to Adams, maybe he gets out of the inning. Then he hung a curveball to the next batter on a big home run. He struggled with his curveball tonight. His curveball was very good in the bullpen, but it didn’t translate.”

• Robinson Cano on whether the five-run third inning felt like a daunting task to come back from: “You’ve got to give them credit,” Cano said. “They took advantage of pitches over the plate. We got beat tonight. It’s not like we were walking guys or making errors. In a game like that, there’s nothing you can do. Just keep fighting and forget about this game. Be ready for tomorrow.”

Robinson Cano• The Yankees have gone 12-20 since May 26. If they lose tomorrow, they’ll have their third five-game losing streak in that five-week span. “I still think these guys can get it done,” Girardi said. “I know that we have some young guys playing out there and we have some guys that have struggled the last couple years that playing out there, but I still think they can get it done. … Because I’m optimistic. That’s my nature. It is what I’ve seen. I’ve seen the work. I thought we had good at-bats tonight and swung the bats as good as we have in a while. Maybe that’s the start of something.”

• To be fair, the Yankees actually did hit some balls hard tonight. They had five doubles, including two by Brett Gardner. Every spot in the order had a hit. But still, three runs just isn’t much, especially compared to what the Orioles were able to do. Of those five doubles, only one drove in a run, and only two contributed to a run in any way.

• Phelps lost against an AL East opponent for the first time since August 27, 2012. He was undefeated in his past nine starts against the division.

• Cano continues to rake in this park. He had two more hits tonight and is hitting .364 in his career at Camden Yards.

• The Yankees were once 12 games over .500 with a one-game lead in the division. They’re now four games over .500 and in third base, trailing by five and a half games. “You don’t want to go all the way down,” Cano said. “You want to start winning games. Maybe it starts tomorrow. We win tomorrow and then we go from there. A lot of things can happen in this game.”

• Final word goes to Cano, talking about the same topic: “We’ve got a team that was closer earlier in the season. We all know one day it’s going to change and we’re going to turn around. We’ve just got to find our way now and keep fighting. Don’t let this team put our heads down or thinking about trying to figure out too much. Just go out there and keep fighting and trying to do our job with men in scoring position. Keep playing hard.”

Associated Press photos

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No chance06.29.13

Kevin Phelps

By the end of tonight’s third inning, the Orioles had scored enough runs to win any one of the Yankees past 33 games. It was ugly early, didn’t get any better late, and an 11-3 embarrassment at Camden Yards left the Yankees one loss away from their third five-game losing streak of the past five weeks. David Phelps lasted only 2.1 innings. In the course of seven outs, Phelps allowed nine hits and nine earned runs. Chris Davis hit his first of two home runs in the game — he’s the Major’s first player to reach 30 this season — and Ryan Flaherty chased Phelps with a three-run shot in the third. The Yankees chipped away, but chipping away wasn’t going to do much against that early Baltimore lead. Brett Gardner had two doubles, including one to drive in a run in the ninth, but that was pretty much the offensive high point. The real bright spot was Ivan Nova, who pitched well in relief, allowing two runs — both on the second Davis homer — through 5.2 innings. His season ERA is now lower than Phelps’.

Associated Press photo

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Game 80: Yankees at Orioles06.29.13

YANKEES (42-37)
Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Zoilo Almonte LF
David Adams 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Austin Romines C

RHP David Phelps (5-4, 4.01)
Phelps vs. Orioles

ORIOLES (45-36)
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Dickerson DH
Ryan Flaherty 2B

LHP Zach Britton (1-2, 5.51)
Britton vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:15 p.m., FOX

WEATHER: Another humid night here in Baltimore. Doesn’t feel quite as hot as last night, though.

UMPIRES: HP Jeff Kellogg, 1B Paul Schrieber, 2B Adam Hamari, 3B Eric Cooper

FROM THE LEFT SIDE: The Yankees are facing another lefty tonight. They are 15-11 (.576) vs. left-handed starters this season, but they have lost their last four games when opposed by a left-handed starter and five of their last six. Their current four-game losing streak to left-handed starters is their longest since dropping their final nine such games in September 2010.

DEALIN’ DAVID: David Phelps is undefeated over his last nine starts against AL East opponents since August 27, 2012, going 4-0 with a 3.91 ERA over the stretch.

SEEKING 600: With his next win, manager Joe Girardi will reach 600 victories in his managerial career (78 with Florida, 521 with the Yankees). He will become the 16th current manager to reach the plateau.

UPDATE, 7:29 p.m.: Bases loaded for Almonte, but he can’t get the run in and the Yankees leave them stranded in the first.

UPDATE, 7:34 p.m.: Three straight singles did nothing for the Yankees in the top of the first. Three straight singles have now put the Orioles in front 1-0 in the bottom of the inning. It helps to hit the ball hard.

UPDATE, 7:36 p.m.: Chris Davis goes deep. That’s something like his 52nd of the season and the Orioles are up 4-0 in the first. They’ve made only one out so far.

UPDATE, 7:44 p.m.: Phelps gets a strikeout to leave runners at second and third, but the damage is clearly done.

UPDATE, 7:58 p.m.: Well that was a good second inning for Phelps, for whatever it’s worth.

UPDATE, 8:17 p.m.: Another hit by Chris Dickerson, this one drives in two runs and makes it 6-0 Orioles.

UPDATE, 8:18 p.m.: My goodness. Three-run homer by Flaherty, Phelps is finished and this is an official debacle. Brutal outing. Here comes Nova. Guess you can scratch that Minnesota start.

UPDATE, 8:23 p.m.: The line on Phelps: 2.1 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. His ERA jumped nearly an entire run, going from 4.01 to 4.95. Nova now has a lower season ERA than Phelps.

UPDATE, 8:27 p.m.: Rotten luck for Ichiro, but a rather awesome play by Hardy.

UPDATE, 9:04 p.m.: Zoilo’s sac fly has the Yankees on the board, but chipping away doesn’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence in a 9-1 game.

UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: Bases loaded with two outs and a right-handed reliever in the game, Girardi sees his best opportunity and brings Hafner to hit for Romine. Probably won’t get another chance like this to make a serious dent in that Orioles lead.

UPDATE, 9:13 p.m.: And Hafner missed a grand slam by about three feet.

UPDATE, 9:27 p.m.: Chris Davis now has 30 home runs this season. You can’t add together any two Yankees and get 30 home runs.

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Pregame notes: “My swing is definitely getting back to form”06.29.13

Alex Rodriguez

Nothing particularly newsy happening here in Baltimore pregame, so I’m going to let the AP down in Tampa get us started…

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Alex Rodriguez says he feels great and his relationship with the New York Yankees is fine.

Rodriguez didn’t indicate when he will start a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment or rejoin the big league team, saying Saturday he “can’t wait to get back.”

“So far, no issues,” Rodriguez said. “I’m just working really hard. I’m having fun. It’s exciting to be back on the field.”

The All-Star third baseman is taking at-bats at the Yankees’ minor league complex as he comes back from hip surgery in January. He also is fielding grounders, running the bases and doing sliding drills.

“I feel like my swing is definitely getting back to form,” Rodriguez said. “(Defensively) moving better the last few days. Everything is coming along.”

His rehabilitation became a point of contention in the past week.

Rodriguez posted Tuesday evening on Twitter that his hip surgeon had cleared him to play in rehab games, an announcement that angered general manager Brian Cashman because Rodriguez has not been given the go-ahead by team doctors.

When asked if everything is OK with the Yankees, Rodriguez said “absolutely.”

“Ready to get back on the field,” Rodriguez said. “All good.”

Thomas Neal• Don’t expect the Yankees to add someone like Ronnier Mustelier or Brennan Boesch any time soon. Girardi said the guys on the Triple-A disabled list are not close to being activated, and thus nowhere near playing a role in New York. “I don’t think they’re doing much,” Girardi said. “When you look down there – and I’m not saying he would be the guy we would call up – but the only guys really that you could foresee calling up is Thomas Neal possibly again. The position players that we have down there on the roster are all hurt too.”

• Derek Jeter took five more simulated at-bats, and the AP reports that he ran four times first to third and four times from third to first, all on the grass just behind the infield dirt. “The next progression is the bases,” Joe Girardi said.

• Girardi said he thinks the next significant step for Jeter would be getting into a game. He’s not sure when that would happen, but there’s really not other massive landmark before a rehab assignment begins. “With the simulated at-bats, I think the next step would be a game,” Girardi said. “Like a rehab game.”

• The AP says Nunez will play his next rehab game on Sunday. I guess that means he’s getting a day off today. … Francisco Cervelli caught another bullpen today. … Curtis Granderson is able to play catch, but he’s still not hitting.

• Still no word on when Ivan Nova will make his next start. Actually, Nova didn’t even know that the Yankees were planning to have him make a start. “Part of it depends on what we need here,” Girardi said. “Our plan is to kind of throw him against Minnesota somewhere depending on what we need.”

• Lyle Overbay is back in the lineup. Girardi said this will be the norm. He’s not planning to regularly play David Adams at first base against left-handers. The position belongs to Overbay. “I just gave him one day off,” Girardi said. “We’re going to see another lefty on Monday and there’s a good chance he’s going to play on Monday too. Just gave him one day. We’re in a stretch of 20, and if I’m going to give a guy a day off, it’s usually going to be on a day against a lefty.”

• Girardi basically admitted that his hands are fairly tied right now. He knows the offense is struggling, but there’s really not a ton he can do to change it. There just aren’t great options available to him. “You can try some things, but we’ve faced a lot of left-handers, and to take some crazy risks, I don’t believe in doing that,” Girardi said. “You could talk about some hit and runs, but I don’t know if we’re a team that’s really built for a whole lot of that. So it’s just being positive and continuing to encourage the guys and be the same person.” By the way, Girardi said something like having Travis Hafner steal a bunch of bases is the kind of thing he considers a crazy risk not worth taking. So if you were pushing for Hafner to become a base-stealer to get the Yankees out of this funk, you’re probably out of luck.

Associated Press photo

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