Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks on the phone during...

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks on the phone during batting practice prior to a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. (Sept. 21, 2010) Credit: Jim McIsaac

While fans and media have already started debating the composition of the Yankees' 25-man playoff roster, including the order of the rotation after CC Sabathia, Brian Cashman said those are talks he hasn't started.

"I'll worry about clinching first," Cashman said.

The Yankees' magic number to clinch a playoff berth, entering last night, was five.

Cashman did say, other than CC Sabathia's spot as the clear No. 1 starter, "everything's up in the air," whether it be who follows the lefthander or the rest of the 25-man roster.

"A lot of it depends on your opponent, where you're situated," Cashman said before the game.

Cashman has been encouraged by the recent pitching performances of Phil Hughes, last night's starter, and tonight's starter, A.J. Burnett.

"Especially A.J.," Cashman said. "A.J.'s been pitching extremely well and, obviously, Hughes has, too, so we're building to make sure everyone's firing on all cylinders," he said.

More rest for Tex?

Joe Girardi said should the Yankees clinch a spot soon, he would consider a prolonged rest for Mark Teixeira, who sat the last two games of the weekend series in Baltimore to rest the injuries to his right thumb (bone bruise) and right foot (broken pinkie toe). "That's something that we're going to have to talk about and see how he's physically doing and how that bruise is doing," Girardi said. "If it needs three or four days, we're probably going to have to do it."

Jeter surge

Derek Jeter went 2-for-5 and is in an 11-for-30 stretch, riding a 10-game hitting streak but still with a .265 average. Girardi said he wasn't prepared to say whether it was just a season in which Jeter, 36, simply underperformed or if it is the start of a decline. "He's going through a tough year," Girardi said. "People are always going to debate, is it a tough year or is it age? None of us really know. We'll probably find out next year."

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