Quick hits: A-Rod batting second for Yanks

greetings-from-baltimore-marylandHere are the early notes as the Yankees (76-67) and Orioles (76-66) get set to kick off a four-game series here at Camden Yards. CC Sabathia (13-11) has the ball for New York, while the Orioles counter with Chris Tillman (15-5, 3.71). It’s a nice September night here in the Inner Harbor, temperatures in the 70s and – somehow – low humidity. That won’t last all week, so let’s enjoy it while we can.

Curtis Granderson, Alex RodriguezAlex Rodriguez is hitting second tonight, the first time he has done so since Aug. 26, 2006, when Joe Torre tried him there in a 12-7 loss to the Angels.  Joe Girardi said that since Alfonso Soriano has been productive hitting behind Robinson Cano, he wanted to keep that alignment intact.

“[Rodriguez has] done a really good job of getting on base against right-handers and swinging the bat well against right-handers,” Girardi said. “I’m trying to break up our left-handed hitters.”

Hey, was that Derek Jeter? It was — briefly. Jeter stepped out of the trainer’s room for only a moment, and did not return the rest of the time that reporters were allowed in the clubhouse. Jeter hasn’t spoken publicly since he left Saturday’s game to have a CT scan performed.

Girardi said that he wanted to keep Jeter from doing any baseball activity on Monday, but added that Jeter could be pressed into duty on his sore ankle if anything happened to shortstop Eduardo Nunez.

“I might use him in an emergency if I had to use him tonight,” Girardi said. “That’s kind of the situation we’re in. It’s not like I have a number of shortstops lying around.”

Where have you gone, Reid Brignac? Oh, right.

The team forwarded Jeter’s CT scan results to Dr. Robert Anderson – who performed Jeter’s ankle surgery last October – but Brian Cashman said that Anderson has not yet responded with his diagnosis. Cashman added that there has been no consideration given to the idea of shutting Jeter down for the rest of the 2013 season.

“No, no, no, no,” Cashman said.

David Robertson was scheduled to play catch on Monday, testing his right arm after he was diagnosed with shoulder inflammation last week. He’s considered ahead of Boone Logan, who had a a cortisone injection administered over the weekend. Girardi seemed to be doubtful that Logan would be available until Friday against the Red Sox, but they’re hopeful Robertson could pitch in the Orioles series.

Chris Stewart is “probably not” available to play, according to Girardi. Stewart sustained a left foot contusion when he was hit by a pitch in the third inning of Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

Left-hander David Huff continues to be listed as the Yankees’ probable starter on Thursday against the Orioles, though that seems less than a certainty after Huff allowed nine runs in 3 1/3 innings to the Red Sox on Saturday.

“We’re going to get through these three days and see where we’re at,” Girardi said. “I’m not saying I’m changing anything, but if we need Huff [in relief], we need Huff.”

Phil Hughes, who lost his rotation slot to Huff, could be reinstated to starting duty under that scenario.

Cashman’s state of the Yankees: “Well, I certainly don’t like where we’re sitting because you want to be in the driver’s seat and we’re not in the driver’s seat, But I know we’re going to fight and give it everything we’ve got, as simple as that.

“We’ve been fighting for this thing all year long and they’ve put themselves in a position to kind of see a line that crossable. But we’re all bunched together here, so this is a big series. It’s the obvious thing to say but it’s true.

“We’ve caught enough breaks this year. Like anything else, every time someone has a problem it gives an opportunity to either take advantage or not. It’s hard to find anything at this time of year now.”

My Beat The Streak pick today: I’d better start doubling down if we’re going to make this streak respectable — forget matching Joe D., I can’t even get to Wee Willie Keeler with just 19 games left. So let’s make two picks tonight: A-Rod (4-for-7 lifetime vs. Tillman) and Cano (11-for-22 lifetime vs. Tillman). The streak is at one after Ichiro Suzuki had two hits in yesterday’s win.

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