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Yankees Pre-Game Notes: Sept. 26

09/26/2012 12:19 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
Lefty CC Sabathia is coming off a strong last start that saw him throw eight shutout innings against Oakland last Friday night, and as the ace gets set to take the mound this afternoon to try to win the rubber game of the Yankees’ three-game set with the Minnesota Twins, manager Joe Girardi stressed the importance of a repeat performance by his ace.

“It’s important, we need to win a series today and we need him to go out and pitch well like he did five days ago,” Girardi said in his pre-game press briefing. “In his last start, his fastball command was really good and I thought he had all three pitches.”

One player Sabathia won’t have in the lineup behind him is Alex Rodriguez, who fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat on Tuesday night.

“He’s sore today, and I have to see as we go through the day and he gets some treatment if he’ll be available as a pinch-hitter,” Girardi said. “It’s probably a good day anyway, after playing eight days in a row, including a 14-inning game and a doubleheader…he could probably use a day anyway, and I just thought if he’s sore, and you’re going to give him a day, today’s probably the day.”

Rodriguez himself said that he thinks he’ll be unavailable today, but there is no further testing scheduled on his foot and he hopes it won’t keep him out more than a day. His absence has forced Girardi, who planned to possibly use A-Rod as the DH today, to shuffle his lineup; Chris Dickerson will play left field while Raul Ibanez is the DH, and the skipper has placed Ichiro Suzuki in the leadoff spot with Derek Jeter second ahead of Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher.

“You see what happens when we have to stack our lefties and that’s always a concern, but sometimes you just gotta do it and we’ll figure it out,” Girardi said. “I thought I had to change it up to try to break up the lefties a little bit.”

The Yankees do still have six lefties in the lineup today – including three in a row with Curtis Granderson, Eric Chavez, and Ibanez hitting 5-6-7 – and also can count switch-hitter Nick Swisher for at least a couple at-bats from the southpaw side as well.

As for the pitching staff behind Sabathia, Girardi said that he would like to stay away from using Boone Logan, who has made 77 appearances and recorded a blown save in last night’s loss – but the skipper also said that while Logan’s increased workload of late has been a function of the tight pennant race, he is happy with the way the lefty has held up to that usage all season.

“(Logan) has been really good, and when we lost Mo, his workload increased because we’ve mixed and matched more, and earlier in the game than we would have, so his role increased,” Girardi said. “He’s done a really good job and I think he’s held up really well.”

Girardi also said in regards to availability, he would have to see how Derek Lowe, who pitched the eighth inning last night and has pitched multiple innings twice in the last six days, was feeling as well.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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