NEW YORK -- When the man says, "Play ball!" tonight, Travis Ishikawa will become the 43rd player to play for the Yankees this season. (The Yankees used 45 all of last season.)
And as in most cases in this injury-riddled season, if you're on the Yankees, you're playing. Usually as soon as you arrive.
New York Yankees
Ishikawa, a 29-year-old first baseman who has played for three teams in parts of six big league seasons, was designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles on June 29, having hit .118 (2-for-17) in eight games.
And of course, he is in tonight's starting lineup, playing first base and batting sixth against the Kansas City Royals and Jeremy Guthrie as Joe Girardi gives Lyle Overbay a night off. To clear roster space, the Yankees optioned David Adams to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
"Last week when I was with Baltimore I saw they were coming to Yankee Stadium this week and I was getting excited to come here," said Ishigawa, who flew Sunday on a red-eye from San Francisco and arrived in New York this morning. "And when they designated me, a little disappointed. So I guess I got my wish. I’m ecstatic right now."
As per team rules, Ishigawa shaved his goatee before arriving in the clubhouse. He will wear No. 22, most recently the property of Thomas Neal.
With Adams off the roster, Girardi said Luis Cruz will get most of the work at third base, although he is playing shortstop tonight.
• Derek Jeter is playing shortstop tonight for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the third game of his rehab stint, and Girardi did not rule out the possibility, however remote, that Jeter could rejoin the Yankees for this weekend's series against the Twins leading into the All-Star break. "There's always a chance," Girardi said. "You just have to see how he does the next three or four days."
Jeter has yet to play in the field on back-to-back days.
• Girardi acknowledged that Curtis Granderson's recovery from a broken left hand has not proceeded as quickly as he would like. Granderson still has not hit, and according to Girardi, is still taking underwater swings with a lightweight pipe.
"I don't know if he's behind, but it's probably not healing as quickly as I would like," Girardi said. "He just hasn't been able to do tee and toss yet. I don't think that you can ever say when you come from an injury, [like], a broken hand how long it's going to take. Maybe it's taking longer than we expected but we didn't really put a time on it."
Still, Girardi said it was possible that Granderson, who has played in just eight games this season, could rejoin the team by the end of July. "I think once he starts hitting, he'll get ready pretty quick," Girardi said.
• Phil Hughes has a good win-loss record -- 5-1 -- against the Royals, but a bloated 6.10 ERA in seven career starts. At Yankee Stadium, he is 2-0 vs. KC with a 5.82 ERA. Guthrie is 4-9 lifetime against the Yankees (5.15 ERA) in 15 starts, most of which he made with the Orioles. The last time he started at Yankee Stadium was July 29, 2011, when he beat them, 4-2, while with Baltimore.
• Mariano Rivera, who blew the save on Sunday while wearing high socks in support of David Robertson's bid to be voted to the final spot in the AL All-Star team, said he was not superstitious and would wear the socks again. Well, he's wearing them tonight, but having pitched in the last two games, may not work.