Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.

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Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Nova, the playoff schedule and the alleged Blue Jays' sign-stealers

Greetings from a pleasant night at the Stadium. Just a few items on the docket:

--Alex Rodriguez, rehabilitating down in Tampa, remains on track to play Friday in a minor-league game, and Joe Girardi said that A-Rod should be able to join the Yankees on their road trip next week, starting Monday in Kansas City. Interestingly, though, Girardi said he would guess that A-Rod would not be ready to start with the big-league club on Monday.

--Ivan Nova will not be pitching for his job tonight, Girardi said. As long as Nova emerges healthy, he'll get another start in the big leagues. Girardi spoke of a desire to get down to a 12-man pitching staff and five-man rotation, and I still wonder whether the Yankees could use a five-man rotation but with different pitchers sitting out a turn.

A.J. Burnett, for instance, could sit out to "work on the side," or whatever euphemism they want to use for "hanging out while we count the days until his contract concludes." And Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia could rest so that they still have some bullets remaining for the playoffs.

But this is all a fluid situation. We'll see how Phil Hughes does in his start Saturday. And we'll see how Burnett performs in his start Monday, if Girardi follows on what he has indicated and keeps Burnett in the rotation.

--MLB announced its postseason schedule. No huge surprises. The only real tweak is that, if you're enough of a baseball geek, you might recall that one of the four division series used to feature this schedule: Game 1, day off, Game 2, day off, Game 3, Game 4, day off, Game 5. That allowed the teams in that series to use a three-man starting rotation, with the first two pitchers going on normal rest.

Now, all four series have the same schedule: Game 1, Game 2, day off, Game 3, Game 4, day off, Game 5. So clubs could still use a three-man rotation, with the provision that your Game 1 and 4 starter would have to go on three days' rest. Your Game 2 starter could start Game 5 on four days' rest, however.

--I admit, sign-stealing stories generally bore me to tears. I don't have a rational explanation behind it. I'm just not into them. The exception would be the story of Bobby Thomson and Ralph Branca, just because the reporter Joshua Prager really did an excellent job of detailing his evidence in his book, "The Echoing Green."

This ESPN The Magazine story on the Blue Jays, by Amy K. Nelson and Peter Keating, kind of lays out its cards in its final paragraphs: "We've got some good anecdotes and some interesting statistical data, and it might not mean anything at all, but it's interesting, so enjoy." Fair enough. Now back to not caring about sign-stealing.

--Finally, here's an interview I did with Jonah Keri. It's long. 

--Have a great night.