No Eduardo Nunez in today’s lineup. He’s going to spend the first game getting treatment on his tight right hamstring in hopes of him playing in the second game, but that’s far from a sure thing.
“I’m not so sure that’s going to happen,” Joe Girardi said. “We’re going to give him a lot of hours of treatment. He had an MRI yesterday and it came back negative. There’s still tightness in there and we’re just going to have to see if it loosens up.”
Nunez said his hamstring was tight when Sunday’s game started, and the situation got worse after he slid hard (and awkwardly) into first base when retreating after thinking about trying to stretch a single to a double. He was hopeful that he’d be able to play today, and the negative MRI is obviously a good sign, but it’s still too early to know when he’ll become available.
Obviously, if Nunez can’t play, Jayson Nix will have to play both games at shortstop, which could impact the Yankees plans for Alex Rodriguez.
Right now, the plan is for Rodriguez to play only one game today, but that could change.
“So much of this depends on Nunez,” Girardi said. “My original thought was no (Rodriguez won’t play the second game), but we’ll see.”
• Major League Baseball is expected to suspend Ryan Dempster later today, a punishment for plunking Alex Rodriguez on Sunday night. “(If he’s not suspended), it just makes him open season for people,” Girardi said. “And that can’t happen. It’s not fair. If a player is suspended for throwing at someone, they’re going to get their appeal. Are we just going to throw that out too?”
• Derek Jeter will play in another simulated game this afternoon, and this time he’ll run the bases. Girardi, though, would not reveal the next step in the Jeter plan. “The fact that he is running the bases is a positive sign for me, and then we’ll move on,” Girardi said.
• It seems entirely possible that Jeter will need at least a short minor league rehab assignment before being activated, but Girardi wouldn’t say whether that’s in the works. “There’s a plan in place,” Girardi said. “It’s not just that they wing it. I’m not going to reveal the plan until we get there.”
• Will Jeter be ready by the Tampa Bay weekend series? “I’m not sure,” Girardi said. “You’re asking me to reveal the plan in another way.”
• The Yankees play a lefty in the second game of today’s doubleheader. My guess would be that Girardi wants to have Nix at third base and Mark Reynolds at first for that game, but we’ll have to wait and see. Have to assume Girardi wants to use all four guys who are on the bench for Game 1.
• Adam Warren is listed as a reliever for this game. I would guess we’ll have to wait until after the doubleheader to find out whether Warren or Pettitte will start tomorrow.
• Preston Claiborne as returned for the day to serve as the 26th man. He’ll be in the bullpen for both games and his spot on the roster cannot be replaced between games, so even if he’s used up in Game 1, he’ll still be there for Game 2. Those are the rules of the 26th man.
• Girardi has been adamant in his backing of Rodriguez, especially since that hit by pitch on Sunday. Has the Yankees front office given him any instructions on how to handle this situation? “No,” Girardi said. “I have never had any instruction from them. I have never been told to play him or not play him. The lineup is mine. How to treat my players is mine. I just go from there.”
Associated Press photos