Travis Hafner is physically able to play today. Joe Girardi is simply choosing to bench him in favor of Vernon Wells.
“(Hafner)’s fine,” Girardi said. “Vern has been putting up good at-bats and right handers have hit this guy better than left handers so I thought I’d go with Vernon.”
Twins starter Sam Deduno has reverse splits. Lefties are hitting .226/.288/.330 against him. Righties are hitting .302/.368/.425. Those numbers are hard to ignore, but it’s also impossible to overlook the fact Wells is hitting .440/.464/.520 in the month of July, a strong stretch of 25 at-bats at the end of two brutal months.
Hafner on the other hand is hitting .175/.262/.304 since May 1, and just .175/.267/.225 in his past 40 at-bats. He hasn’t homered since June 25.
“When he came back from the shoulder injury, it seemed like he was back on track,” Girardi said. “He was swinging good. It seems like he either hits it just foul and hits it hard, or fouls it straight back. His pitches he’s not hitting hard in play, he’s just missing them or hitting them foul. To me, that’s what I’ve seen. It’s hard to say why that’s happening, but it is a guy that we expect to be productive, and I’m going to run him back out there.”
• Jayson Nix will report to Tampa on Monday to begin workouts as he works his way back from a strained hamstring. No word on whether Nix will need a rehab assignment. For now he’s just going to get some work in during the All-Star break. “I’m not so sure exactly when he’s going to be back,” Girardi said. “He’s going to go to Tampa on Monday and start doing more stuff. I’m not exactly sure what his schedule is and what he’s scheduled to do on Monday, but we will increase it.”
• Rained out last night, Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to play one game in today’s Tampa doubleheader. Girardi said he wasn’t sure which game.
• There’s no issue with Eduardo Nunez, just getting a day off. “This is a guy that basically came off a rehab and our original plan was we were going to build him up as well,” Girardi said. “He’s been out there every day.”
• No surprise that Austin Romine is starting the day game after a long night game. Chris Stewart is fine.
• Nothing new on Derek Jeter.
• This is the next-to-last game before the All-Star break. The Yankees have CC Sabathia starting tomorrow’s first-half finale.
Associated Press photo