Yankees Notebook: Girardi defends sac bunt

When Joe Girardi calls for a bunt, the social media universe tends to explode.

And last night,when Girardi called on Derek Jeter to sacrifice in the ninth, he opened himself up to just that. It seemed like an odd time to call for a sacrifice down by two, with two good base runners on and with Derek Jeter having three hits.

“You want to give yourself a chance with the big boys coming up,” Girardi said in reference to Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira. “We had two shots at, we ended up getting four shots, so it’s not a tough situation.”

Also possibly factoring into it was keeping Jeter from hitting into his 10th double play.

“That’s how we play,” Girardi said. “We sacrifice from time to time.”

A-Rod sits with thumb injury

Girardi assessed Alex Rodriguez’s return from the DL Sunday by saying his timing is not all the way back, but that he was not getting fooled by pitches.

One sign that Girardi will know Rodriguez is completely back will be when he starts seeing more line drives. Currently Rodriguez’s line drive percentage is at 14.6 percent, which is slightly up from a career-low 13.8 percent last year.

That second game had to wait because the Yankees made Rodriguez a late scratch with a sprained left thumb that he suffered fielding a Joe Mauer ground ball.

“I just jammed my thumb a little bit on that play where Mauer hit it,” he said. “It kind of swelled up a little bit. Hopefully it’s just a day.”

X-rays taken at Yankee Stadium were negative and he is day-to-day.

Rodriguez also said that he is scheduled to meet with MLB officials about reports of him participating in illegal poker games.

Shaking up the Yankees

The 5.9 earthquake that occurred at 1:52 p.m. was felt at Yankee Stadium, but the team said there was no structural damage. Girardi said he was working out and didn’t feel anything.

“A couple of our people talked about it, where they just felt it a little bit,” Girardi said. “I’ve never felt one, and I don’t want to. [Head athletic trainer Gene Monahan] said he felt it, and I was giving him a hard time about it.”

» Girardi also confirmed that Freddy Garcia will start the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader in Baltimore. Garcia pitched in a rehab game Monday and Girardi said that he usually only gets reports if something goes wrong.

» It is not often that a player from the West Coast gets more than one trip to New York, but this year 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui has had three. He visited the Mets in June and went 7-for-13 last month at Yankee Stadium in a trip that included his second career five-hit game.

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.



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