TORONTO - Alex Rodriguez showed signs Friday night of emerging from his slump, but Joe Girardi rested him Saturday anyway.
A-Rod entered Saturday's game 2-for-19 on this trip but hit two balls hard Friday night, including one that went for a first-inning double off David Price. But with a day game after a night game and the Yankees in a stretch of 16 straight games, Girardi said the decision was easy.
"You have to think about the long term, how many games we have remaining and the quick turnaround [from Friday night],'' he said. "I wish I could run guys out 16 days in a row, but we don't necessarily have the kind of team you can do that. So you have to pick strategic days."
Girardi said he didn't take the importance of this series into account. "I know it's a big series, but I don't think you can get away from what you believe and what you think guys need just because it's a big series," he said. "Every series is a big series from here on out. And if he gets hurt, then you really kick yourself."
Ivan Nova took a comebacker off the ring finger on his right hand in the third inning Friday night and said at the time he thought he "broke" it. Nova went seven innings but had the finger wrapped and submerged in cold water before Saturday's game.
"I think he'll bounce back," Girardi said. "But that's something we'll have to look at to see how he's feeling in a couple of days."
Greg Bird got the start at first base and collected his first career hit, a single to left in the eighth. He missed his first career homer by what appeared to be inches in the sixth, as the towering drive to right hooked foul at the last moment. "I think they got it right," Bird said of the play, which was reviewed . . . Brett Gardner picked up his first stolen base since June 12. . . The Yankees recalled reliever Caleb Cotham Saturday and designated Chris Capuano for assignment.
Capuano said he's "leaning" toward accepting the assignment.
He entered spring training in competition for the fifth starter's spot but got hurt during his first outing. "You put yourself behind the eight-ball getting hurt in spring training," said Capuano, 0-4 with a 6.97 ERA in 16 games, including four starts. "In this situation, there's no hard feelings. It's a numbers game."