Yanks adjust schedule to accomodate pope's visit to Yankee Stadium

NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi has no complaints with changes in the New York Yankees' schedule made to accommodate Pope Benedict XVI's Mass on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

"You'd like to be home a little bit more, but who's going to argue with the pope? No, not me," New York's first-year manager said before Wednesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox.

New York is in the midst of playing 18 of 20 games on the road, returning only for a two-game series against Boston that started Wednesday night. The Yankees had a longer homestand on the original schedule, baseball senior vice president Katy Feeney said. Changes were made by Major League Baseball to accommodate Benedict's Masses at Nationals Ballpark in Washington on Thursday and at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

"Eventually, you're going to get 18 out of 20 at home, in a sense," Girardi said. "You're going to have to play 81 games on the road. And if you're going to play a lot of games on road, to me the month to do it is early, when you're fresh and it's not real hot, where it's draining you."

After Thursday's game, gear and personal items will be removed from the Yankees clubhouse, the visitor's clubhouse, the auxiliary clubhouse and the umpire's room, Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost said. The rooms will be used for dignitaries at the Mass.

Benedict will be the third pope to say Mass at Yankee Stadium, following Pope Paul VI in 1965 and Pope John Paul II in 1979.