ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Brett Gardner found himself on the bench Saturday night, but it had nothing to do with taking a fastball off his right hand the night before.
Rather, Joe Girardi said, with lefthander David Price on the mound, "you have to sit someone.'' That person was Gardner.
"It has nothing to do with last night,'' said Girardi, who went with Alfonso Soriano in left, Curtis Granderson in center and Ichiro Suzuki in right.
Gardner received a scare in the third inning Friday when he was hit by Chris Archer. He had an X-ray Saturday morning that came back negative.
"It feels good,'' said Gardner, who celebrated his 30th birthday Saturday. "It's a little sore, but it's not an issue . . . I'm good to go. Perfectly fine.''
He said he was fully available to pinch hit or pinch run. "I don't think it will be a problem swinging a bat or hitting or anything,'' Gardner said. "Like I said last night, I've broken that bone before [in 2007]. When it got hit initially [on Friday], it hurt, but after it wore off, I wasn't too concerned about it.''
Overbay still illLyle Overbay showed up at the ballpark Friday night experiencing flu-like symptoms, and although he said he felt a little better Saturday, he didn't sound it.
"He's still having some issues,'' Girardi said. "He gets a little bit dizzy and he's nauseated, so I'm not sure .''
With Price on the mound, the righthanded-hitting Mark Reynolds got the start at first.
Taking advantageAustin Romine, who started at catcher Saturday night, gradually has gotten more and more starts in the last month, and his offense, always the biggest question surrounding him, has progressed.
"I think he's got a better idea of what it's like to play at this level,'' Girardi said. "He's gotten more comfortable with our pitching staff. He's gotten his feet wet. He's played very well.''
The 24-year-old entered the game hitting .381 (16-for-42) with one homer, five doubles, six walks and five RBIs in his previous 15 games since July 11. That raised his average from .132 to .227.
No step back for NovaIvan Nova (7-4, 3.17) starts Sunday against Alex Cobb (8-2, 2.85), and Girardi isn't making too much of the righthander's start against the Blue Jays last Tuesday. In the first game of a doubleheader, Nova allowed four runs and nine hits in 61/3 innings in an 8-4 victory. All four runs and four of the hits came in the second inning.
"I saw him bounce back in that game, which made me feel good about it,'' Girardi said. "When it was all said and done, he ended up giving you seven, and I think that was the important thing.''