Yanks won't rush A-Rod back to action
Third baseman may not be activated on Thursday
KANSAS CITY -- The Yankees are expecting to greet Alex Rodriguez when they arrive in Minneapolis to open a four-game series on Thursday, but they aren't sure if the three-time American League Most Valuable Player will be ready for activation.
Rodriguez said he felt "a little tentative, a little hesitant" on defense in his first Minor League rehabilitation game with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday, and the Yankees would like to get a chance to evaluate Rodriguez in person before finalizing any decisions.
"Our plans right now are still to bring him to Minnesota [Thursday] if everything goes OK," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We may not activate him. We may just have him go through some things for a couple of days, then wait a couple of days to activate him."
Rodriguez played his second rehab game with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, and he also played two games as a designated hitter with Class A Advanced Tampa. He is returning from July 11 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
"I think any time you play with something like he did for the three weeks, it's in your mind," Girardi said. "That hesitation when you're running, knowing there's something there -- that's something you have to get rid of."
Girardi said the Yankees want to see Rodriguez run and move around at Target Field and will watch any sessions with hitting coach Kevin Long and the Yankees' trainers closely.
"A couple of days, if you rush it, could cost you a couple of weeks," Girardi said. "That's the bottom line. Then he'd end up hurting something else. That's why we want to take a look at it with our own eyes [Thursday] and see how far he is away."
Girardi said that he would "definitely consider" having Rodriguez serve as the Yankees' DH for a few games upon activation. When Rodriguez is activated, the Yankees will likely trim a pitcher from their staff, trying to get from 13 hurlers to 12.
Garcia to test splitter in bullpen session
KANSAS CITY -- Yankees right-hander Freddy Garcia is expected to attempt throwing his split-fingered fastball in a bullpen session on Thursday, testing the injured right index finger that forced him to miss a start.
Garcia tossed fastballs and sliders in a bullpen session on Tuesday in Kansas City, but the test is his splitter, which has been a huge pitch for the veteran and was rendered inactive by a kitchen mishap last week.
"If he throws his split tomorrow, then we'll make a day where we can slot him in," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "If it's not Saturday, then we'll shoot for Sunday."
Girardi said that if Garcia is unable to make a start this turn, the Yankees would probably place him on the disabled list retroactively.
The Yankees have not announced their final two starters for their upcoming series against the Twins. CC Sabathia gets the starting nod on Thursday, and Phil Hughes is set to go on Friday.
Jorge Posada celebrated his 40th birthday on Wednesday. The last Yankees non-pitcher to appear in a game at age 40 or older was Lou Piniella, who played 29 games with the Bombers in 1984.
Mariano Rivera had converted 35 of 37 save opportunities against the Royals entering play Wednesday, including 27 straight dating back to May 2, 1999. That marks the longest consecutive-saves streak against the Royals in Major League history. Rivera hasn't allowed a run to Kansas City in a save situation since Aug. 20, 2003, when he gave up RBI singles to Mike Sweeney, Carlos Beltran and Joe Randa. Two of those runs were charged to Sterling Hitchcock.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees are 14-4 this year in games when they've faced a starting pitcher seeing New York for the first time in his career, including Royals lefty Danny Duffy on Tuesday. They've won their last nine such games and 12 of their last 13 after going 5-9 in such games last season.