6/13/2013 11:25 P.M. ET
Cano taking measures to solve southpaws
By Bryan Hoch and Jeff Kirshman / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- There is a huge gap between facing a left-hander in a big league game and seeing hitting coach Kevin Long during batting practice, but the Yankees hope that a slight change might help Robinson Cano crack through his struggles at the plate.
Long, a lefty, said that the Yankees are moving Cano into his group during BP so he can see a few more pitches from that side of the mound. Cano is hitting just .206 (20-for-97) against southpaws this season.
"I think Robbie is all right. We're going to do some more left-handed stuff with him," Long said. "If you look at his numbers against righties, he's killing 'em. I think where his production goes down is facing lefties."
Cano is batting .321 (50-for-156) with 11 homers and 26 RBIs against right-handers this year, and has just six extra-base hits against lefties.
He normally hits with bench coach Tony Pena's group during BP, but Cano also can often be found hitting in Long's "net drill" before games at Yankee Stadium.
"Cano's the least of our concerns, really," Long said. "He's a guy that at any time can get real hot. Robbie's one of those guys that we count on and you know is going to be there. I don't see anything out of the ordinary with him, and we'll just keep working."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he does not have a solid explanation for the difference in Cano's splits.
"I know we've seen a lot of [lefties]. It's hard to say," Girardi said. "He's hit some home runs off them, but it has been somewhat of a struggle. But there is no rhyme or reason. Some years it's just like that."
Jeter healing, cleared for baseball activities, running
OAKLAND -- Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has been cleared to progress into baseball activities and running, the team announced on Thursday.
Jeter was examined on Thursday in Charlotte, N.C., by Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed the initial surgery after Jeter fractured his left ankle in last year's American League Championship Series.
Dr. Anderson determined that the injury is healing, the Yankees said.
"He'll start doing baseball activities, trying to do more and more each day. As long as everything is positive, he'll continue to move forward," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Jeter, who turns 39 later this month, has been working out at the club's training complex in Tampa, Fla., with his activities including playing catch, hitting off a tee and fielding ground balls hit directly at him on the outfield grass.
The Yankees have offered only a vague timeline for Jeter's return, saying that they expect him to be playing in Major League games sometime after the All-Star break. Jeter had targeted being in the Opening Day lineup before suffering a new fracture in his left ankle during Spring Training.
A's honor Rivera with proper Oakland sendoff
OAKLAND -- The California stops on Mariano Rivera's 2013 farewell tour hold particular significance for the Yankees closer.
Rivera's first career save came in Anaheim against the Angels on May 17, 1996. The future Hall of Famer expanded on that outing to become the game's all-time saves leader, with 631 over a 19-year career that will end after this season.
To put Rivera's longevity into further context, A's manager Bob Melvin caught Rivera in the mid-'90s as a member of New York's Triple-A Columbus Clippers affiliate -- before Rivera had developed his career-defining cut fastball.
"He didn't have it then," Melvin said. "When I caught him in Columbus, it was a four-seam fastball. It turned into a little bit of a cutter, which was probably a good move for him."
It's rare that an athlete is designated the best in the history of the sport at what he does while still playing, but that's what Rivera has accomplished.
Continuing the trend of Major League ballparks presenting the 12-time All-Star with iconic items from their respective areas, Melvin met Rivera at home plate to present him with a custom-designed surf board, a bottle of cabernet and a $10,042 donation to the Mariano Rivera Foundation before Thursday's series finale.
"I think when the other teams do it, they realize that they're honoring him because of what he's meant to the game, not just the New York Yankees," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Added Melvin: "Hopefully he doesn't pitch here today, but he's had an unbelievable career. And not only that, he's as good a person as he is a player. He's meant so much to that organization, continues to mean a lot to that organization, and I wish him the best in his career afterward. I'd love to be able to say we see him again at some point in time. It's rare that you get a guy like that who's going out on top, and that is the case with him."
El Duque to debut at Old-Timers' Day on June 23
OAKLAND -- Nearly 50 former players will be on hand for the 67th annual Old-Timers' Day ceremonies on June 23 at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees announced Thursday, with the Old-Timers headlined by Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Rich "Goose" Gossage, Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson.
Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, who helped lead the Yankees to three consecutive World Series titles from 1998-2000, will make his Old-Timers' Day debut along with Brian Dorsett, John Flaherty, Todd Greene, Scott Kamieniecki and Andy Phillips.
Former Yankees and current YES Network broadcasters David Cone, Paul O'Neill and Lou Piniella will also join in on the festivities, which are scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m. ET before the Yankees' game against the Rays.
Gates will open to ticket-holding guests at 10 a.m., and fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 11 a.m. for the festivities.
Joining the Hall of Famers and former Yankees on the baselines will be the widows of five legendary Yankees -- Arlene Howard (Elston Howard), Helen Hunter (Jim "Catfish" Hunter), Jill Martin (Billy Martin), Diana Munson (Thurman Munson) and Kay Murcer (Bobby Murcer).
• Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez (oblique) is continuing to take dry swings in Tampa, Fla., according to Girardi. Nunez has been unable to play since May 5 due to the injury and subsequent setbacks.
"We've went through that a few times, so he's back down the road to recovery, I guess," Girardi said. "Hopefully this time it's for good."
• Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli (fractured right hand) has played catch at the Tampa complex and is also catching bullpen sessions while strengthening his hand. Girardi said he would expect Cervelli to return to the big leagues before outfielder Curtis Granderson (fractured right wrist).
• On this date in 1948, an ailing Babe Ruth made his final appearance at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees retired his No. 3 while commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Stadium. Ruth died at age 53 less than three months later.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Jeff Kirshman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.