While Derek Jeter is chomping at the bit, telling those covering him in Scranton how much he wants to get back to the Yankees, it seems to be different for Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is two weeks and one day removed from the tweet heard around the world, when he posted a photo of himself with his operating physician that stated he was ready for rehab games. The photo set off a profane tirade by general manager Brian Cashman to ESPN New York, followed by a lengthy press conference to explain things and ending a news cycle with various conspiracies about Rodriguez’s playing status.
A week later, Rodriguez started playing rehab games actually four days ahead of Jeter. Rodriguez has been saying he feels 20 at-bats should be sufficient and so far he is at 15 at-bats with two hits through six games.
“I think Alex feels that he’s not to that level and that he’s not ready to go,” manager Joe Girardi said. “And what I’ve said is every year is you have to when a player tells you he’s ready and then you make an evaluation.
“Some players are going to tell you they’re ready the first of spring training because that’s who they are. But you have to make the evaluation. So it’s kind of when we feel that they’re ready we’ll evaluate him and see where he is. We don’t think he’s to that point yet.”
In terms of Rodriguez’s mindset, Girardi said that he feels prepared and is eager to contribute but still remains a few weeks away.
As for Jeter, there seems to be some possibility he could make his season debut this weekend, though time is running out. Jeter is playing shortstop Wednesday night for Triple-A Scranton and the Yankees feel he would need to play seven or eight innings on consecutive nights in the field.
“It’s hard for me to really evaluate him because I’m not seeing him,” Girardi said. “So you have to trust the people that are seeing him, the people that are watching him, and that’s how you make the decision.”
Phelps exhales after MRI
When David Phelps felt a little stiffness in his right forearm he felt the usual nervousness any pitcher goes through.
But an MRI confirmed what he suspected — there was no structural damage.
“There’s a lot less concern now after the MRI than there was,” Phelps said about the diagnosis of a slight strain. “Any time it’s your arm, there’s some concern. When [the doctor] came and said the ligament looked great, that was obviously reassuring. It’s just something minor. We can take care of that and go from there.”
Phelps was placed on the DL Saturday and besides getting the MRI, he used the three days off to spend time with his family. He plans to go to Tampa on Monday and start a throwing program to stretch his arm.
Trade talks for Chamberlain, Hughes?
Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes are free agents after the season it is widely assumed they will not return. And with a need for offense that gets more pressing every day both could be on the trading block.
It appears as though the Yankees would want an expiring contract in return since they are trying to get under the $189 million tax threshold.
According to Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees have been aggressively pushing Chamberlain and Hughes. He went on to say, a trade of Chamberlain to an NL team could happen soon but that talks on both don’t appear to be close.
One anonymous scout seemed to think Chamberlain could fetch a reserve player and that Hughes might be interesting to a team looking for a rental since it is believed he is headed for a West Coast team next year.
The belief is that Hughes would thrive in a pitcher’s park that has unfavorable conditions for home run hitters.
Chamberlain began this season in the mix of critical, late-inning guys before injuring his rib cage. After returning from a month stint on the DL, he has struggled immensely and has a 5.57 ERA in 22 appearances.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.