6/5/2013 8:20 P.M. ET
Girardi not expecting speculation to be distraction
By Paul Casella and Josh Vitale / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi on Wednesday continued to say he has no plans to discuss with Alex Rodriguez the slugger's potential suspension or possible involvement with the Miami-area anti-aging Biogenesis clinic founded by Anthony Bosch.
Girardi said any conversations he has with Rodriguez going forward will continue to focus strictly on on-field activities and his ongoing rehab work in Tampa Bay.
"No, I have not," Girardi said when asked if he had talked to Rodriguez since the reports surfaced. "And when I do talk to him, it'll certainly be baseball stuff and rehab stuff like it always has been."
Rodriguez's name came into the spotlight Tuesday night, when ESPN's "Outside the Lines" reported that Rodriguez is one of the players that Major League Baseball is possibly seeking to suspend based on connections to Bosch's clinic.
Reports suggest that MLB may pursue as much as a 100-game suspension for Rodriguez. Girardi, however, said he will continue to plan on Rodriguez returning from injury sometime after the All-Star break until instructed otherwise.
For the time being, Girardi doesn't see the Biogenesis situation becoming a distraction in the clubhouse. Catcher Francisco Cervelli has been previously reported to have a connection to Biogenesis. It remains unclear whether Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has any connection to Bosch. Sonia Cruz, the spokeswoman for his foundation, was listed in Biogenesis documents, and MLB officials have investigated whether she might have been a conduit for Cano.
"Being in New York, you're always going to have things that come up. Some of it's going to be speculation, some of it's not, and you just deal with it," Girardi said. "You deal with it as time goes on, and you make sure the players focus on the field, and I think our guys are really good at doing that. There's a lot of expectations that players deal with here, there's a lot of things that players have to deal with on a daily basis to play the game, and I think guys are really good at handling that."
As for what the report potentially means for the game of baseball, Girardi reiterated his disappointment with performance-enhancing drugs again becoming a hot topic. Yet, regardless of the results of the investigation, which could lead to suspensions of upwards of 20 players, Girardi said the game will survive and continue to prosper.
"Well, I think the game is always bigger than one individual, 10 individuals, 100 individuals, even 1,000 individuals," Girardi said. "This game has gone on for a long period of time. I think the important thing is you try to learn from everything that happens in the game, whether it's good or bad or indifferent, you try to learn. And that's how I try to get by it and through it and however you want to talk about it."
Overbay starts in outfield; Ichiro passes Williams
NEW YORK -- Moving Lyle Overbay's bat to the outfield has given Yankees manager Joe Girardi more flexibility when making the lineup.
Overbay started in right field for the third consecutive game in Wednesday's finale against the Indians, giving Girardi ample chance to give one of the Yankees' three normal starters a day off. Vernon Wells sat out Monday, Brett Gardner had the night off on Tuesday, and on Wednesday it was Ichiro Suzuki's turn.
"We're going at it day game after a night game, long day yesterday, so it's just a way to give Ich a little break," Girardi said. "He'll be back out there tomorrow."
Ichiro replaced Overbay, who went 1-for-3 with a run scored in the Yankees' 6-4 win, in the seventh inning and notched a single, passing Ted Williams and moving into No. 72 all-time with his 2,655th Major League hit.
Girardi said it was important to give players time off over this long stretch, during which the Yankees are playing 17 games in 17 days.
It also helps to get Overbay in the lineup on consecutive days. The career first baseman is playing a position at which he has little prior experience, and Girardi said he'd rather play him in the outfield three days in a row than three non-consecutive games in a week.
And if that's the Yankees' plan going forward, Wells, Gardner and Suzuki will likely all continue getting days off to keep fresh.
"If you're going to run a guy out there in a long stretch, you kind of like to do it bang, bang, bang," Girardi said. "He's in the feel of the game. If you're in a 17-game stretch, you're not going to do it on the second day, the seventh day and the 12th day. I would rather do it bang, bang, bang. ... That way they're in the feel of the game."
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.