8/6/2013 10:05 P.M. ET
Versatile Wells ready to man first when needed
By Manny Randhawa / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Vernon Wells made his first career start at first base against the White Sox during Monday night's 8-1 Yankees loss. Wells, who has played outfield, second base and third base over his 15-season career, said that while there's definitely a learning curve, he's getting more and more comfortable at the position.
"I avoided running in circles, which was my main goal," Wells said, jokingly. "All in all, it was a great experience."
Wells made a nice play stretching to catch Alex Rodriguez's wide throw on the third baseman's first defensive play of the season. But later in the game, Wells had trouble determining how far to go out of position to try to field a ground ball to his right, resulting in first base being left vacant on an Alexei Ramirez ground ball.
"That's the one play that's -- even talking to guys that play the position -- that's the hardest play," Wells said of the grounder between first and second. "Your instincts tell you to go get the ball, but when you're over [at first], you have to think opposite of that. It happened, and hopefully if I'm out there again, I won't make that mistake."
Wells said that prior to Monday, he had never played first base at any level, even Little League. But he also said he'd be comfortable going back out to first if asked to by manager Joe Girardi.
"Definitely," Wells said. "The more I'm out there, the more I'll get comfortable. Those first couple of innings, there was so much going on with base hits and different things going on, it kind of gave me a crash course in playing the position.
"It's amazing. You don't think there's that much going on at first base, but with every pitch, you're paying attention to so many different things. It's an involved position, that's for sure."
Yankees cautious with injured Phelps, Pineda
CHICAGO -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Tuesday that right-handers David Phelps and Michael Pineda will both be shut down temporarily after sustaining setbacks in their recoveries from injuries.
Phelps, who is 6-5 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 games this season, sustained a slight strain of his right forearm and was placed on the disabled list on July 6. He was scratched from a scheduled rehab start for Double-A Trenton on July 28, saying he was still experiencing soreness.
"[Phelps] has now a different little strain [in his forearm]," Girardi said. "It's different from the last one. The last one healed, so he has a little one. It's in a different spot, so he'll be off for a couple of weeks. … I think they said they'd shut him down two weeks."
"It's very small -- this is a minor strain," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "It would be less than Grade 1, but it's still a strain nonetheless. … It's minor, but it's something you've got to be careful of, so you back off."
Pineda, who has been recovering from right shoulder surgery, felt stiffness in the shoulder during a start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday. He went to New York to undergo tests.
The 24-year-old Pineda hasn't pitched a Major League game for the Yankees since they acquired him in a trade with the Mariners in January 2012. Between Class A Advanced Tampa, Double-A and Triple-A this season, Pineda has gone 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 10 starts.
"Pineda just had some tightness," Girardi said. "The tests came back good; the strength was good. He'll be shut down -- my guess is seven to 10 days."
Cashman said that the most important thing for Pineda is to finish the season without any more injury issues.
"The testing today … appears to have gone as well as can be expected," Cashman said. "That doesn't mean anybody's out of the woods. He'll be shut down for seven to 10 days, then get his throwing program back. What's best for him right now and best for us is just to finish this year healthy ... so we can have him in our mind next year as a player we can count on."
Cashman added that he doesn't know whether Pineda will pitch in a big league game before the end of this season.
"I don't know if you'll see him or not this year," Cashman said. "The doctors told me, 'Yes, you can see him this year.' Will we see him? I don't know. And is that what's best? I don't know."
Propping up lineup, Grandy OK with pressure
CHICAGO -- With the Yankees scuffling offensively and Derek Jeter now back on the disabled list for the third time this season, Curtis Granderson says he's not feeling any added pressure but instead just going about the game the way he always does.
Granderson returned to the Yankees' lineup on Friday in San Diego after missing most of the season with two injuries -- one to his right wrist and another to his right hand.
Granderson sustained a fractured wrist on Feb. 25 when he was hit by a pitch in his first Spring Training at-bat. He missed the first month and a half of the regular season, but after playing only eight games in May, he was hit by another pitch that fractured his right pinky finger.
"No, no added pressure," Granderson said on Tuesday. "I've just got to come in and do what I can. I can't make up a whole season in one day. All I can do is play one day at a time. The main thing is to make sure I feel good and get my reps and work in ... make sure my legs and body are able to handle the rigors of nine innings, back to back and travel and that good stuff. That's all I'm able to do right now."
Granderson said that despite the Yankees' struggles with injuries and at the plate, he hopes the team can catch fire at the right time and make a push for the postseason.
"That's baseball," Granderson said. "You've just got to get hot at the right time. I've been on the other side of it, being with Detroit once we made it to the World Series [in 2006]. We lost fire and ended up losing the World Series to St. Louis that year, but the main thing is to make that run. You're going to make it either at the beginning, the middle or at the end, and hopefully for us it, can be at the end and be long enough for us to sustain to get us where we need to be."
• Cashman said on Tuesday that he sympathizes with Jeter as the shortstop deals with another DL stint after straining his right calf.
"I feel bad for him and therefore bad for us," Cashman said. "Obviously, once the [fractured] ankle is resolved and he's activated and healthy, then he blows the quad, and once that's resolved he's activated and healthy and sometime during that activation, he's now got a calf [injury]. I just feel bad for him and therefore for us for not being able to run a great player out there."
Cashman wouldn't put a timetable on Jeter's recovery.
"One step at a time," Cashman said. "It's just an unfortunate circumstance. Once that heals, we'll get him going again."
• With Alex Rodriguez starting at third base on Monday, the Yankees have used 48 players this season, surpassing the total number they used in 2012 (45). The franchise record for most players used in a season is 51 (2005, '08).