BALTIMORE - Joe Girardi said the "next step" in Derek Jeter's rehab "probably" will be a rehab game, but that's not to say such a step is imminent.
Girardi acknowledged before Saturday night's game that Jeter needs to run the bases before that rehab game clock starts, and that date, he said, hasn't been determined.
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Jeter ran arcs Saturday in Tampa, four times from first to third and four from third to first, just the second time he's done arc-running since being cleared two weeks ago to resume baseball activities. Jeter also took simulated at-bats for a third straight day, with a couple of the at-bats coming against Omar Luis Rodriguez, a hard-throwing 20-year-old Cuban lefthander the club signed last summer for about $4 million.
Girardi said that once Jeter -- and Alex Rodriguez, for that matter -- start their rehab games, they're likely to need the full 20 days typical of a position player.
"I think you'd have to assume they would," Girardi said. "Just because they haven't played at all. The first couple games, they're going to play four or five innings, and you have to build them up. It takes time."
The Yankees have consistently left the timetables for both players' returns vague, saying only "sometime after the All-Star break.''
No Nova date
On Friday, Girardi said Ivan Nova would start one of the upcoming four games in Minneapolis, but before Saturday night's game, he added that exactly when hasn't been determined.
"Part of it depends on what we need here," Girardi said, meaning a game either Saturday night or Sunday night against the Orioles that might require Nova's services. "Our plan is to throw him against Minnesota somewhere, depending on what we need."
Indeed, Nova allowed two runs in 52/3 innings Saturday night after relieving David Phelps with one out in the third and the Orioles leading 9-0.
Gardy an All-Star?
Brett Gardner doubled twice Saturday night after entering the game hitting a team-best .288, the result of a torrid stretch in which he hit safely in 26 of 32 games.
"I think he's had a great first half, defensively, offensively," Girardi said. "He's played every day. I believe he's an All-Star."
Grandy healing slow
Girardi said Curtis Granderson, out since May 25 with a broken left pinkie, hasn't progressed much beyond playing catch and shagging balls in the outfield.
"We figured it was going to be about 60 days," Girardi said. "I think he's still on target that he could make it in 60 days, but getting that strength in that hand when it's inactive, it can take time."