05/05/2013 7:14 PM ET
Aside from game's outcome, Claiborne's debut perfect
By Jay Greenberg / Special to MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Only a Yankees win could have made Preston Claiborne's Major League debut any more perfect. Claiborne retired all six batters he faced in the team's 5-4 loss to the A's on Sunday.
"He threw strikes, used all his pitches, used his slider, used his changeup effectively," said manager Joe Girardi. "I thought he had pretty good command of his fastball.
"He gave us two important innings that allowed us to come back and tie the score."
Claiborne, recalled on Friday after allowing four earned runs in 10 1/3 innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, says he tried to pretend he was on any old mound, not the one at Yankee Stadium.
"This was big game for me obviously, the biggest one I have pitched in my life," he said. "I was trying to keep in mind I was just playing baseball.
"It's a huge step for me, and obviously a big confidence booster. "
Nunez day to day with tightness in rib cage
NEW YORK -- With 10 Yankees on the disabled list, manager Joe Girardi could believe in a good case of indigestion, starting with his own first and his shortstop's next. Indeed, on Sunday, Eduardo Nunez first thought his problem might have been something he ate.
"Started in the third inning," Nunez said. "I thought it might be some food, something like that.
"I kept playing. After I swing [in the third], it hurt a lot. I went out to play defense, I couldn't move."
Derek Jeter's replacement, who has already missed two two-game segments of his own this season after getting hit by pitches, had to leave Sunday's 5-4 loss to Oakland before the top of the fifth inning with tightness in his rib cage area. An MRI was negative and his status was termed day to day. Jayson Nix moved over from third to finish the game at short.
"[Nunez] just came to me in the fourth inning and said he had a little irritation," said Girardi. "He wanted to try to go, so I sent him to the on-deck circle and told him to take a couple swings.
"The last out was made, and I said, 'What did you feel?' He said it was irritated and I said, 'So you're done.'
"You don't want to make that a six-week injury if it can just be a couple days. We'll see how he feels Tuesday, although I don't think we'll have a player then."
Granderson's role may vary upon return
NEW YORK -- With the Yankees suffering no shortage of production from Vernon Wells in left field, it is not a foregone conclusion in manager Joe Girardi's mind that Brett Gardner will be going back to left from center when Curtis Granderson comes off the DL.
"We might toy around with some other things," said Girardi on Sunday. "Left, right, [DH] things.
"[Granderson] is getting reps everywhere right now (in extended spring action in Tampa, Fla.). My concern is how he reacts to all the different spots.
"We'll decide that as time goes on. We just want to get him healthy. Grandy is going to play, he is a big part of our offense. But as we see around here, a lot can happen in a couple weeks."
Granderson was hit on the triceps muscle with a pitch on Saturday, his fourth day of work in Florida, but suffered no setback. He probably will be the closest of the Yankees' everyday players on the DL to return. Alex Rodriguez (left hip surgery) and Mark Teixeira (torn sheath in his right arm) will be flying to Tampa on Monday to begin their rehabilitations under Yankees supervision.
"I thought we had a chartered flight going there, actually," joked Girardi. [Francisco Cervelli] (fractured right hand) is already there and I have to check about [Ivan Nova].
"I get little updates, but the update I don't want to hear is that we had a setback. If we don't have a setback, I don't get too worried about it. I know there are a lot of big people there, I understand that, but that is not going to be the focus of my day. The focus is the people in this room right now."
The Yankees have 10 players on the DL.
Girardi doesn't plan a Coors Field prep for pitchers
NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi, who caught three seasons for the Rockies in the days before game balls were stored in a humidor to keep more of them in Coors Field, says he will have no advice for his pitchers before they take the mound in a three-game series that begins there Tuesday night.
"Some of our guys have been there," Girardi said. "And if I don't hear them talking about it and I don't see it affecting them, why would I put a thought in somebody's head? "
Girardi, an original member of the Rockies, says he has nothing but fond memories of his time in Denver, no matter how many of the pitches he called were hit out of the park.
"It was a very enjoyable time of my life, being part of that organization at the beginning, and the fan support we had at Mile High [Stadium], then going over to Coors Field," he said. "The first pitcher we faced at Coors Field, I remember, was Andy Pettitte in an exhibition game.
"People were great to me. I have family there. I'm looking forward to it."
Hiroki Kuroda, David Phelps and CC Sabathia are the Yankees' scheduled starters for the series, which begins an eight-game trip that continues to Kansas City and concludes with a makeup doubleheader in Cleveland on May 13.
• David Robertson, who suffered a slight left hamstring pull in completing a 1-2-3 inning Wednesday night against Houston, played catch on Saturday and Sunday and expects to be available Tuesday night when the Yankees open a three-game series in Colorado.
"I don't see why I wouldn't be ready," said Robertson, whose return will not require a roster move.
• Since the beginning of the 2008 season, the Yankees are 28-9 in games after being shut out, the latest being their 4-2 win over the A's on Saturday.
• Ichiro Suzuki entered Sunday with more career hits against Oakland (308) that any player since the franchise moved to the Bay Area in 1968, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Suzuki went 0-for-4 Saturday but came into Sunday's game still hitting .359 in his last seven games, raising his average 66 points to .266.
Jay Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.