ST. PETERSBURG -- The news on Brett Gardner was good -- he arrived in the Yankees clubhouse without a cast on his right hand after being hit by a Chris Archer pitch Friday night, but his X-ray came back negative. So he's OK to play, only not against David Price.
"Every night that we face a lefty, one of our lefties is going to have to sit," manager Joe Girardi said. "This has nothing to do with last night."
What it has to do with is Gardner's career record against Price -- 2-for-14 (.143) with three strikeouts -- as opposed to Curtis Granderson's, who, in spite of hitting only .196 against Price, has hit four home runs off him. Girardi also cited some "good at-bats" by Ichiro Suzuki against Price, although he has just three at-bats against him with one hit.
• Lyle Overbay, who missed last night's game with flu-like symptoms, didn't look too well before this one, either, and Girardi said he was probably not available in any capacity tonight. "He's still having some issues," Girardi said. "He gets a little bit dizzy, and he’s nauseated, so I'm not sure about that one."
• A discussion of CC Sabathia's woes this season came up before the game, and it was suggested to Girardi that maybe his erstwhile ace, who has pitched effectively at more than 300 pounds for most of his career, is now too thin. Sabathia has shed at least 25 pounds this season and kept it off, but the lost poundage seems to coincide with a loss of fastball velocity.
"I don't think so," Girardi said. "It’s not like he's 210 pounds. He's still a big man. He's still strong. I think he's in tremendous shape."
Still, Girardi could offer no concrete reason for Sabathia's struggles -- he is 11-10 with a 4.83 ERA, leads the team with a career-high 27 home runs allowed and has given up more than 10 hits in a game three times this season -- other than to say, "He's had a tough year. There's a lot of things you could say. Could it be this? Could it be that? I think that's just speculation. The bottom line is, his fastball has cut more and his changeup has cut more, and that's what's led to the problems."
Sabathia has always had trouble with the Rays -- he is 11-12 with a 3.76 ERA against them in 33 career starts -- and especially at Tropicana Field, where his record is 3-7 and his ERA 4.39. In fact, since becoming a Yankee, Sabathia has won just four of 22 starts against Tampa Bay and lost 11 times.
• Price is 7-4 with a 3.74 ERA lifetime against the Yankees, but the Yankees beat him here at the Trop on April 23, 4-3, when closer Fernando Rodney blew a save on a two-run single by Ichiro. In nine career meetings with Sabathia, Price is 4-2 and the Rays have won six of those starts.