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08/23/10 7:47 PM ET

Yanks give Jeter day off in opener with Jays

TORONTO -- Derek Jeter received a rare day on the bench Monday, as the Yankees shortstop was given his first game off since the club's Aug. 5 off-day.

"Seventeen days in a row he's played," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The man needs a day off. You hate to give him a day off, but we can't have him physically break down."

Jeter has five hits in his last 12 at-bats and was 7-for-27 on the homestand. He was replaced at shortstop by rookie Eduardo Nunez.

A-Rod praises Yanks for stepping up

TORONTO -- Alex Rodriguez's strained left calf may be keeping him out of the Yankees' lineup, but the All-Star third baseman's sense of humor seems to be intact.

Rodriguez has followed the recommendations to stay off his feet and receive treatment after aggravating his injury on Friday in New York, and as the Yankees head into play Monday wielding a 12-0 record with him out of the lineup, staying on the sidelines seems a little easier.

"I'm certain that I'm going to be back strong," Rodriguez said. "My only concern, the way the team's been winning right now, I'm afraid [Brian] Cashman and Joe [Girardi] are going to bring me into the office and they're go to move me to the 60-day DL."

Not likely, as Girardi has said he plans on restoring Rodriguez to his customary No. 4 spot in the lineup as soon as he returns. In the meantime, Rodriguez said he has been receiving ice and heat therapy on the calf, the first time in his career he has had to deal with this type of issue.

"Guys have stepped up in his absence and a lot of good things have to happen to win a game, so it's not just one person," Girardi said.

Rodriguez said that he is "very confident" that he will be able to return in the minimum 15 days, and guessed that it will be about five days until he can resume baseball activities.

Of course, unless the Yankees keep winning with him as a cheerleader.

"Somebody's going to kick me in the calf and take me out of my misery," Rodriguez joked. "That's the thing about this team. Everyone steps up. The way Robbie [Cano] and CC [Sabathia], the way these guys step up is pretty awesome."

Girardi focused on run, not future

TORONTO -- Joe Girardi is very familiar with the home dugout at Wrigley Field from his days catching there, and now that Lou Piniella has waved goodbye as Cubs manager, he figures the amount of questions relating to that job opening will increase.

"I'm sure I'm going to be asked that a lot now," Girardi said. "My focus is here. I have a responsibility to the organization and the guys in that clubhouse. That's where my focus is.

"As a player when I was a free agent, I never worried about where I was going to be. The one thing that you can control is what happens this year. Your preparation and getting guys ready to play every day and doing the best job I can do. That's all I can worry about."

Girardi is in the final year of a three-year contract with the Yankees, having led them to the World Series title last season after missing the playoffs in 2008.

He said he is fine with the organization's stance to not negotiate deals in-season, a policy that is meant to reduce distractions and applies not only to Girardi, but also players with expiring contracts like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

"I'm very happy here. I have a working relationship here with everyone involved," Girardi said. "I know I have a background there. I'm not going to skirt around my background there. I grew up a Cubs fan. I played for the Cubs. But I'm not worried about that right now. I'm worried about what we're doing now. We're in a fight."

Worth noting

Andy Pettitte (strained left groin) will throw a bullpen session on Friday in Chicago, beginning on flat ground. The Yankees are taking care to avoid another setback, which would push Pettitte's potential return deeper into September. ... The Yankees will start CC Sabathia on Saturday at Chicago, splitting up A.J. Burnett (Friday) and Javier Vazquez (Sunday). ... Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira could receive days off from the Rogers Centre turf. ... Damaso Marte (left shoulder) is scheduled to throw a bullpen Tuesday.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.