DENVER -- After saying the previous two days he "hoped" to be in the next day's lineup, Eduardo Nuñez took a different tack Thursday.
"We'll see," the shortstop said with a smile about the possibility of being ready for Friday night's series opener in Kansas City.
But the tightness in Nuñez's left rib cage is significantly better, he said.
Nuñez threw on the field before the game and did not feel any soreness, an improvement from the day before.
"[Wednesday] was sore, [yesterday] is good," Nuñez said. "No soreness."
Nuñez said the plan was for him to hit in the cage Friday, something which leads to him being in Friday night's lineup.
"I'll hit in the cage Friday," he said, "and see how I feel."
"Rib cages are tricky," Joe Girardi said of Nuñez playing Friday night. "You have to make sure he feels OK before he goes out there."
"I think so, I think he'll be OK," Girardi said. "But here again, until he actually gets off the mound and throws and we find out if he feels it . . . he says he feels much better and he's playing catch, which is a good sign, but until he gets off a mound and turns it up a little bit, you're really not going to know."
Scene of the crime
Mariano Rivera returns to Kansas City Friday for the first time since May 3, 2012, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury shagging flies during BP. The 43-year-old closer said absolutely he will shag before the game.
"Maybe I'll cancel BP," Girardi said with a smile. "But I've noticed he doesn't run after fly balls as much as he used to."
Girardi smiled again, adding: "And I'm not challenging him to."
Monday still in air
Girardi said he still hasn't determined who will start the doubleheader games Monday in Cleveland. Ivan Nova (inflammation right triceps), available to come off the DL Sunday, remains a possibility to start one of the games. "We'll worry about that as we get a little bit closer," Girardi said.