The Yankees next five games are in National League stadiums, and it sounds like Derek Jeter could be playing shortstop for each one of them.
“I won’t hesitate to play him two in a row here, and then we’ll go from there,” Joe Girardi said.
Fresh off a quadriceps injury, Jeter had a day off yesterday, and the Yankees have another scheduled off day on Thursday. That schedule, despite the interleague games, makes it a little easier for Jeter to jump into regular duty in the field. Girardi didn’t completely commit to Jeter playing all three games in San Diego, but he certainly sounded like a man with no plans of absolutely sitting his shortstop.
“He’ll have some DH days and some off days, but I think at this point in the season, we don’t necessarily have the luxury of working guys necessarily in slowly,” Girardi said. “I think you have to just kind of go day-by-day and see where he’s at.”
Sunday’s game was Jeter’s first real game at shortstop in two and a half weeks, since he ended a rehab assignment before the All-Star break. He played a sort of simulated game on Saturday, and he played the field in three Triple-A games (plus simulated games in Tampa), but this could be his first extended stretch in the field.
“I think (the off days) should (help) because he has to work up to playing in everyday shape,” Girardi said. “That’s one thing that’s really difficult, and because of some of the injuries and us needing him, he didn’t probably play as much as a guy probably would in spring training.”
• Speaking of shortstop, with Jeter active, the Yankees don’t really have a regular role for Eduardo Nunez. He’ll still play some short when Jeter has a DH day, but Girardi said the Yankees will also take a look at him as a third base option. “I want to see him work out there a couple of days before we do anything,” Girardi said. Three of Nunez’s past eight games have been multi-hit games.
• Despite the expectation of a substantial Biogenesis suspension, Alex Rodriguez is moving forward with his rehab process. “We have him scheduled for a rehab on Thursday, a game somewhere if everything goes OK,” Girardi said. “If we didn’t think he was going to be with us, we wouldn’t do those things.”
• Of course, Rodriguez isn’t here today, and it’s Jayson Nix at third base. Girardi said he does not necessarily consider Nix his everyday third baseman. “I’ll look at it every day to see what we’re going to do here,” Girardi said. “There’s nothing etched in stone. Third base has kind of been a revolving door a little bit. He’s going to get his share of playing time there, and we’ll move him around like we always did.”
• Looking for another third base option, Danny Knobler reports that the Yankees have shown interest in the Angels Alberto Callaspo. He’s a switch hitter who’s typically better against lefties, so there could be a platoon value there. Could also play some other positions in a pinch.
• As I type this, Curtis Granderson is playing a Double-A rehab game with Trenton. He’s so far 1-for-3 with a triple in his last at-bat. Still seems like Friday is a possibility for Granderson’s return. “He’ll play the next couple days in Trenton and we’ll make an evaluation,” Girardi said.
• David Phelps pitched in that Trenton game: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. The one run came on a solo homer.
• Not the best time to play the Dodgers, who are playing extremely well lately. “That’s part of it,” Girardi said. “You have to play these teams. We’ve played the Dodgers before and they were struggling a little bit, and we split with them. We know they’re playing extremely well. They’re really swinging the bats, and it’s part of the schedule. We’ll get through it.”
Associated Press photos