9/3/2014 12:35 A.M. ET
Girardi has no plans to drop Jeter in batting order
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- As Derek Jeter prepares for the final month of his last big league season, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he is dismissing the outside cries for a drop in the batting order, expressing confidence in a strong finish from the captain.
Jeter's performance fell off markedly in August, with the 40-year-old posting a split line of .207/.226/.261. That dropped his batting average from .277 to .261, and Jeter posted just four extra-base hits in 26 games, working two walks.
"For the first four months of the year, he was probably one of our most consistent hitters; one of the three most consistent hitters in our club," Girardi said. "I consider us to be in playoff mode right now, for us, because we obviously need to win games. Throughout his career, he's been clutch in the playoffs and we're leaving him there."
Girardi said that Jeter is "a hot topic always just because of who he is," but noted that there have been other issues throughout the Yankees' lineup.
"You look up and down our numbers and there's a lot of .240s and .230s," Girardi said. "I'm not so sure why he's the one that's necessarily picked on here. As I've said, this guy has been a money player his whole career, and we need him to be the last month."
Girardi said that he is not averse to shuffling pieces in the lineup, pointing out that he elevated Martin Prado against left-handed pitching because of his production (.996 OPS) against southpaws. Against righties, Jeter (.634 OPS) and Prado (.624 OPS) have been similar.
"[Jeter] could hit .600 and if the other guys don't produce around him and through the lineup, then it's not going to matter what he hits," Girardi said. "It's going to have to be a collection of all these guys that can swing the bat extremely well."
Likely needing to be in the neighborhood of 89 wins to continue playing in October, the Yankees would gladly accept contributions from other corners this month; Mark Teixeira, for one, also had a punchless August that produced a .193/.276/.307 split line. The Yankees entered play on Tuesday ranked 14th among the 15 American League clubs in runs scored.
"That's not all Derek's fault. That's collectively we haven't hit," Girardi said.
Gardner ejected for arguing called third strike
NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner didn't even have to say a word. The act of spiking his batting helmet to the infield dirt was enough for home-plate umpire Tim Timmons, who quickly ejected the Yankees' left fielder for arguing a called third strike in Tuesday's 9-4 loss to the Red Sox.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Gardner looked at a 96 mph Joe Kelly fastball that appeared to be outside off the plate, but was ruled strike three by Timmons, leaving the bases loaded. Gardner furiously protested, gesturing wildly as Timmons shook his head before Gardner was led away by manager Joe Girardi.
"I thought there had maybe been a couple pitches that didn't go my way the first couple at-bats, and then the first pitch of the third at-bat for me, and then the last pitch -- it just felt like it was way outside," Gardner said. "I felt like he gave him way too much, and I was pretty angry."
It was the third career ejection for Gardner (also July 21, 2010, vs. the Angels and July 19, 2013, at Boston), who was batting third for the first time in his big league career and finished the night 0-for-3.
"It's human nature. That's the fight in him," Girardi said. "That's what we love about Gardner, that's the fight in him and it's frustration. It's a lot different when [the count is] 3-2 in that situation with the bases loaded. He has to throw a strike, and we all know Gardy has a very, very good eye."
Gardner acknowledged that during his tirade, he kicked the dirt in the right-handed batter's box to show Timmons where he thought the ball had crossed home plate. Girardi indicated that he thought Timmons had been fooled by catcher David Ross' pitch-framing.
"Let's just say that Ross did a heck of a job," Girardi said.
Martin Prado moved from second base to replace Gardner in left field, with Stephen Drew entering the lineup in the No. 3 spot as the second baseman. Gardner said that he would not change anything about his actions.
"[I would act] the same way," Gardner said. "As soon as he called it a strike I was getting thrown out of the game. He threw me out before I even said anything to him. I knew where the ball came across and I knew it wasn't close to the plate, and I wasn't happy about it."
Tanaka slated to throw bullpen session this week
NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka has been cleared to continue his throwing program after playing catch on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Tanaka, who was sent back to New York last weekend with what was termed general arm soreness, was examined by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and diagnosed to have "arm fatigue," according to manager Joe Girardi.
"Every manual test that they did came out really well," Girardi said. "They just said he had some arm fatigue. He's scheduled to throw a bullpen [session] sometime this week and hopefully he's ready to do it."
On the advice of four leading physicians, Tanaka is hoping to avoid Tommy John surgery as he rehabs a partially torn right ulnar collateral ligament. He experienced soreness after throwing a 49-pitch simulated game last week in Detroit.
• Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the Yankees' lineup on Tuesday, leading off and playing center field, after injuring his left ankle on a slide into home plate. Ellsbury pinch-hit on Sunday and doubled in a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays.
"I told him, 'Look, if you feel that it's an issue out there, you've got to let me know,'" Girardi said. "If you feel you need to DH a day, you have to let me know."
• David Phelps threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday, tossing his fastball and changeup, and he plans to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Friday in which he will use all of his pitches. Phelps has not pitched in a game since Aug. 2 in Boston because of right elbow inflammation, and the Yankees plan to bring him back as a reliever.
"It's not really in my control, as much as I would like it to be," Phelps said. "We have to take it a step at a time, just play it step by step and make sure everything goes well."
• On this date in 1996, David Cone threw seven innings of no-hit ball at Oakland in his first start since having surgery in May for an aneurysm. On this date in 2001, Mike Mussina came within one out of a perfect game at Fenway Park. Carl Everett broke up the bid with a pinch-hit single to center field.