It is becoming increasingly possible that Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez will be less a topic of discussion when they actually resume playing baseball for the Yankees. On Sunday, Joe Girardi's regular pregame Q&A with reporters again consisted almost entirely of queries about the two absent stars who have been out of sight -- but certainly not out of mind -- through the team's first 88 games.
When will Jeter be back in the Bronx? Is his rehabilitation from a twice-fractured ankle ahead of Rodriguez's rebound from a second hip surgery? Might Girardi be especially impatient to get Jeter, the team captain and for so long a Yankees spark, playing before the July 15-18 All-Star break? What about Rodriguez's schedule of rehab games in Tampa and in Charleston, S.C.? Is the manager worried about their so-far wimpy batting results?
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"What's my pat answer?" Girardi said of Jeter. "He's ready when he's ready. I'm not saying anything about when he's going to be here or when he's not going to be here. I just don't like putting a date on it."
He compared the progress of both men to spring training, not yet worried about them "going 2-for-3 or 3-for-4 or whatever" in rehab games, and left it to others in the organization to figure out where Rodriguez will play next. "I don't know the minor-league schedules," Girardi said.
Whenever Jeter returns, Eduardo Nunez should not be expected to play elsewhere on the infield. "Probably not," Girardi said. "We talked about having Nunie at shortstop."
Yanks acquire Ishikawa
With a stretch of 20 straight games and concern about overworking Lyle Overbay at first base, the Yankees acquired first baseman Travis Ishikawa off waivers Sunday from Baltimore. Ishikawa, 29, a career .260 hitter, has spent the majority of the season in Triple-A, batting .316 for Norfolk. He hit .118 in 17 at-bats for Baltimore.