CHICAGO -- Derek Jeter was not in the lineup for Monday night's game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox due to lingering soreness in the middle finger of his right hand, struck by a ground ball on Saturday and by a pitch on Sunday.
"I could play," Jeter said, although he admitted he did not try to talk manager Joe Girardi out of his decision to give him the night off.
"You get hit in your hand, it's gonna be sore, and the soreness is not going to go away but you can play with it," he said. "But an extra day's not going to hurt."
Jeter said he got hit on the tip of the middle finger by a grounder in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader with the Orioles, and then got hit with a pitch by Jake Arrieta on the second knuckle of the same finger in the third inning of Sunday's game. X-rays were negative and the Yankees said he has a bruised middle finger.
Jeter remained in the game to play the field in the top of the fourth but Girardi sent Francisco Cervelli up to pinch-hit for him in the fourth.
"I been hit in the hands a lot," Jeter said. "If it was just one or the other, I think it wouldn't have been a big deal, but to get hit twice in the same finger? I don't know how it happened but that's what made it worse."
Jeter was replaced at shortstop Monday by Eduardo Nunez, and his customary No. 2 spot in the lineup against right-handed starter Jake Peavy was occupied by Curtis Granderson. The Yankees, who began a seven-game road trip which will take them from New York to Boston for three games with their AL East rivals the Red Sox over the weekend, beat the White Sox 3-2.
"He told me he felt better today which I thought was good," Girardi said before the game. "But I was going to give him a day on this trip anyway and today is probably the day to do it, because he was sore yesterday and we had to take him out of the game. It just gives it a better chance to heal."
Both Jeter and Girardi agreed on one point.
"I expect him back tomorrow," Girardi said.
"I could play tonight," Jeter said. "And I am playing tomorrow."
The 37-year-old Jeter had missed just two games since he was activated July 4 following a stint on the disabled list for a strained right calf.
Jeter is batting .268 with four homers and 36 RBIs in 84 games this season.
Meanwhile, Girardi indicated injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez is inching closer to a return. Rodriguez had surgery July 11 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
"It looks like he's going to go to Tampa on Wednesday and start working out on Thursday," Girardi said. "I think he's seeing the doctor today but as of yesterday that was kind of the plan. Could that change on what the doctor says today? Possibly, but I think that's probably the plan."
Rodriguez, who turned 36 last month, is hitting .295 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs this season. But the three-time MVP with 626 career home runs has not connected since June 11 and has gone 85 at-bats without a homer, his longest single-season drought.
Girardi said he thinks Rodriguez would need at least one rehab appearance, and there is no timeline for his return.
"The fact that he is going to start doing baseball activities on Thursday is a great sign," Girardi said.
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.