NEW YORK -- Not surprisingly, Joe Girardi didn't take the suggestion offered by ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews. He didn't write out a third straight lineup with a Derek Jeter-less infield for Tuesday night's game against the Houston Astros.
But Girardi did leave Martin Prado at second base.
New York Yankees
Girardi gave the left-handed-hitting Stephen Drew a day off, with lefty Brett Oberholtzer starting for the Astros. But with the Yankees due to face at least a couple of more lefties this week, and with Prado having shown over the weekend how good he can look at second base, there's a chance he could see more time there in the days to come.
"It's something we'll look at," Girardi said Tuesday afternoon. "We have a number of infielders we can move around."
That's fine with Prado, who has already started at three different positions (right field, third base and second base) in his first 15 games as a Yankee. Prado has more than 200 career starts at both second and third, and also in the outfield, and he won't even give an answer when asked which spot he prefers.
"I would lie if I said one place," he said. "I trick my mind. You have to come to the field thinking, 'I don't know where I'll be playing today.'"
Tuesday was his third consecutive start at second base. The first two came with Drew at shortstop and Jeter as the designated hitter (with Carlos Beltran playing right field). The infield alignment with Prado and Drew up the middle, with Chase Headley at third base and Mark Teixeira at first, is probably the strongest one the Yankees could field now, as Matthews wrote Tuesday.
But Girardi is not going to sit Jeter -- or even restrict him to DH duty -- in the final month and a half of his career. What he will do is change his lineup regularly, something that Prado's versatility makes easier.
"We've got a 13-game stretch here [without an off day]," Girardi said. "And we finish with a long stretch [21 games in the final 20 days of the season]. So we'll have to watch it."
Phelps to bullpen? David Phelps, on the disabled list since Aug. 4 with right elbow inflammation, had another MRI exam Monday and was due for a checkup with the doctor Tuesday. Phelps has resumed throwing, but it could be three more weeks before he returns to the Yankees.
Returns as what, though?
Phelps was in the Yankees' rotation from the first week in May until he got hurt, but Girardi said Tuesday it's possible he could come back as a reliever. The Yankees don't have an urgent need in the rotation, and there's even a possibility they could get Masahiro Tanaka back. Also, Phelps would be able to return sooner if there's no need to stretch him out to start.
Another Tanaka bullpen: Tanaka, who threw off the bullpen mound Saturday, is scheduled for another bullpen session Wednesday afternoon.
Girardi wants another catcher: Not really, but Girardi thinks baseball should allow teams to have an emergency third catcher on site, to be used in case they lose a catcher to a concussion. Brian McCann just returned from a week on the concussion disabled list.