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Pre-Doubleheader Notes: Sept. 19

09/19/2012 11:39 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro
The Yankees have a double-dip on tap today, with Game 1 of their doubleheader against Toronto set for 1:05 p.m. ET (with coverage beginning at 12:30p on YES).

In his pre-game press conference, Joe Girardi dished on Derek Jeter’s absence, Alex Rodriguez’ situation, and the team’s pitching plans for the next 12 hours as they get set to “play two.”

In regards to The Captain, who is out of the lineup for Game 1, Girardi said his absence is simply a chance to rest the bone bruise in his foot, and how he responds to afternoon drills will determine where he plays in Game 2.

“I’m not going to play him both games, so our plans are to put him at short in the second game today,” Girardi said. “He’ll go out and do some work in between games, and if he can play short he plays short, if not we’ll figure out if we DH him or not.”

Girardi also said that he might use Jeter as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement if needed in the first game, but he didn’t particularly want to if he could avoid it.

As for the man who is the designated hitter for Game 1, Alex Rodriguez, the skipper said that his lineup placement in the afternoon was also hopefully just a small break.

“We’ll go through the first game as a DH, and hopefully play him at third the second game,” Girardi said.

Lineup juggling for doubleheaders is always tough, but one thing Girardi did reflect on is that expanded rosters will make today’s juggling act somewhat easier.

“It’s not what you want, but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate,” he said of yesterday’s rainout, “but the one thing is that it’s September and you do have extra bodies here so we’ll have to make it work.”

With Andy Pettitte on a pitch count of 70-75 in Game 1 and fill-in starter David Phelps on the mound in Game 2, Girardi may have to use his bullpen a lot in both games, so those extra arms on the pitching staff may come in handy – but the skipper wasn’t sure exactly how as of 11 a.m.

“That depends where we are in the lineup, really,” Girardi said when asked who would be the first horse out of the bullpen stable. “I haven’t seen it (the Toronto lineup) yet so that could change it too.”

And as for the fact that the Yankees could go from a first-place tie to a 1 ½ deficit in the AL East today, Girardi said the standings aren’t weighing on his or the team’s mind.

“We know we have to win, and you want to be playing good baseball, so that doesn’t really change our approach,” he said. “With the extra wild card, the importance on the division is so much greater; we’ve known that since Day 1, so the focus is on how we play.”

Other pregame notes:

-When asked about the possibility of activating Brett Gardner, Girardi said “not yet,” saying there were still some issues to be worked out.

-A 40-man roster move will need to be made to accommodate Andy Pettitte’s return, but Girardi was unsure what that would be, telling the media “that’s something you’ll have to ask Brian (Cashman).”

The Yankees lineup for Game 1 behind Pettitte:

RF Ichiro Suzuki
1B Nick Swisher
2B Robinson Cano
DH Alex Rodriguez
CF Curtis Granderson
C Russell Martin
3B Eric Chavez
RF Raul Ibanez
SS Eduardo Nunez

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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