8/14/2013 12:18 A.M. ET
Girardi holds Gardner, Ichiro, Stewart out of lineup
By Josh Vitale and Chris Iseman / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi shuffled his lineup Tuesday with the hopes of fulfilling multiple purposes.
It was a chance to sit some left-handed hitters against Angels lefty Jason Vargas, but it also served as a way to rest players the Yankees have been running out on the field on almost an everyday basis.
"Just using everyone," Girardi said, "keeping everyone strong and fresh."
Girardi slotted shortstop Eduardo Nunez in the leadoff spot for the first time this season, which gave usual center fielder Brett Gardner a breather. Gardner did enter the Yankees' 14-7 win over the Angels as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning and finished the game in center field.
"He's been playing every day, but I've noticed in the second half when I've given him a day off how much more explosive he's been," Girardi said. "He seemed to swing better. I think that's important. We ran him really hard the first half, and I think it took its toll a little bit."
Vernon Wells started in right field on Tuesday in place of the left-handed-hitting Ichiro Suzuki.
Girardi also held catcher Chris Stewart out of the lineup to give him a rest and started Austin Romine. Stewart has played in a career-high 80 games this season, 13 more than he played in while with San Francisco in 2011.
Stewart was hit on the hand with a backswing during Monday night's 2-1 win over the Angels, but Girardi said Stewart's fine.
Romine has also been hot at the plate. In his last 11 games going back to July 11, Romine was 11-for-31 (.355) with four doubles, a home run and four RBIs.
"We think he's made some really big improvements in his time here," Girardi said. "We're happy with the way he's playing. I don't feel like I need to run Stew into the ground. I can keep them both involved and active. A lot of times when you do that, you can get more productivity."
Girardi said Romine will likely see some more playing time, but Stewart will still catch "a lot."
Jeter tests calf by taking part in baseball activities
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter took batting practice on the field Tuesday for the first time since going on the disabled list with a right calf strain on Aug. 3. He also took ground balls at shortstop and tested his calf with some light running on the field.
It's a sign of progress for the Yankees' shortstop, who took tee and toss for the first time on Monday. He said he'll probably do similar programs on Wednesday and Thursday before flying to Tampa, Fla., to continue his rehab while the Yankees are on the road.
"It's a day-to-day thing," Jeter said. "They told me I'm taking BP, so I'm taking BP. Tomorrow, I don't know. I know I'm going to Tampa on Thursday. That's all I know."
Jeter is 10 days into his third DL stint this season. He missed the first three months of the season while recovering from a broken left ankle, returned to play one game on July 11 and went on the DL again after suffering a right quad strain in that game. He joined the club again on July 28, but he was only able to play four games before going back on the DL.
Jeter -- who is batting .211 with a home run and two RBIs -- said he wasn't sure if he would be able to return to the Yankees when eligible on Sunday. He also doesn't know whether he'll have to play rehab games in the Minors before he returns.
"I always think I can just jump back in. I did last time," Jeter said. "If they want me to go play somewhere, I'll go play somewhere. It's entirely up to them. I'm not really in a power position to negotiate. That's all I can say."
Granderson focused on finding timing at plate
NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson can't mirror the time he missed during Spring Training and the first four months of the regular season, so he knows it's going to take a while for him to get his timing back at the plate.
But if Monday night is any indication, he's close. The outfielder's seventh-inning home run against the Angels proved to be the decisive run in the Yankees' 2-1 victory.
"My timing is the main thing right now," Granderson said. "I just got to continue to work with different things -- deliveries to the plate, just realizing the rhythm the pitchers are getting into. It's just something that happens over time."
A broken arm suffered in Spring Training and a broken pinkie sustained in May have kept Granderson out of all but 18 games this season, perhaps contributing to his struggles at the plate.
Granderson has just 14 hits in 59 at-bats entering Tuesday and has struggled since coming off the disabled list for the second time on Aug. 2, batting just .226 with two home runs and four RBIs over 10 games.
Monday's home run was his third of the season, and it came against a pitcher -- Angels starter Garrett Richards -- whom Granderson is now 4-for-6 against with three home runs in his career.
"I think as a hitter, he knows when he's starting to get right. It's a feeling you feel when you're seeing the ball better," manager Joe Girardi said. "Curtis was able to hit that home run -- it's a feeling that a hitter gets, and you can't always notice it."
The free agent to be said he has been taking extra swings with hitting coach Kevin Long and will continue to do so until he feels like he gets his timing back.
"You only can control what you can, and I understand that there aren't many games left," Granderson said. "But I can get out there and hit a little more. I can get in the batting cage, go out on the field a little early both at home and on the road, and that's what Kevin Long and myself have been continuing to do."
• Second baseman Robinson Cano is one home run shy of 200 for his career. He was a .444 lifetime hitter against Vargas entering Tuesday.
• Left-handed reliever Boone Logan turned 29 on Tuesday.
• Two Yankees Hall of Famers have died on Aug. 13. Mickey Mantle passed away on this date in 1995, and Phil Rizzuto passed away in 2007.
Josh Vitale and Chris Iseman are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.