DENVER -- The Yankees will try to win the series from the Colorado Rockies this afternoon at 3:10, and as we've seen all week, the skies are heavily overcast and the infield is covered. But right now, no rain is falling so it looks good for an on-time departure.
Here's what came out of this morning's chat with the manager:
-- Eduardo Nunez (ribcage) is still not ready to play, but may be available as a pinch-runner/defensive replacement. Joe Girardi said Nunez felt better but still had not swung a bat. "If I do use him, it will be in case of an emergency," Girardi said.
-- That means, of course, that Vernon Wells' career as a third baseman may not be a one-off event, although admittedly the stars would have to align the way they did in the ninth inning of Wednesday night's 3-2 win, which is an unlikely occurrence. Still, Girardi said he would not hesitate to use Wells there again if the situation arose. Girardi took the opportunity to use Travis Hafner to hit for Chris Nelson, leaving him without a third baseman. Except for Wells, of course.
"If I had to do it over, I would have done it the same way," Girardi said. "I go back to what I saw that one day in BP. I liked what I saw. It was a chance for me to use Hafner in a big spot, and you look for a chance with a guy like that, and it worked out. So I don’t really think much about it. I think about what we need to do today."
-- Girardi said he thinks his team is embracing the "all hands on deck" philosophy on display in Wednesday night's win.
"They understand that we might have to do a few things different just because of the way our roster is constructed and or lineup is kinda heavily left-handed and we’re short an infielder and we’re having to do some different things," he said. "And I'm glad they’re embracing it. I think it’s fun for them. It’s a long year. It’s a hard year. Sometimes when you’re in the same spot all the time and you get the chance to move around a little bit, they get a little excited about it. So I think they like it. But I don’t really want to make a habit of it."
-- Girardi said he had not settled on a second starter for Monday's makeup doubleheader against the Indians in Cleveland. The manager sounded unimpressed with Ivan Nova's outing in an extended-spring game on Wednesday and refused to commit to him for one of the starts. David Phelps, who threw six solid innings Wednesday night, is a definite for one of the games.
"We’ll worry about that as we get a little bit closer," Girardi said. "We have Nova who can make that start for us, he’s in line, and we have some other candidates."
-- After going Tony LaRussa on us Wednesday night and batting his pitcher eighth, Girardi went back to the conventional configuration for today's game with a lefthander (Jeff Francis) starting for the Rockies, batting CC Sabathia ninth despite the fact that Sabathia is by far the best hitting pitcher he's got.
"It’s just different today because I have righties in between some of the lefties and I don’t really have any lefties stacked," said Girardi, who sometimes seems obsessed with such things. Today, the lower half of his lineup lays out the way he prefers it, with righty Nelson followed by lefty Lyle Overbay followed by righty Chris Stewart, followed by Sabathia. He believes this allows him to use Hafner, a lefty, to pinch hit for the pitcher late in the game without causing the dreaded Lefty Stack.
-- Joba Chamberlain, on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain, did some light running in the outfield and played catch, leading Girardi to believe he will be ready to go when he is eligible to be reactivated on Monday.