Pitching coach Eiland takes leave of absence
TORONTO - Popular pitching coach Dave Eiland has taken "a personal leave of absence" from the Yankees, Joe Girardi said before Friday night's game. He did not elaborate. "He'll be gone as long as he needs,'' Girardi said, "and that's all I'm going to share."
Eiland, who missed the May 23 game against the Mets to attend his daughter's confirmation in Florida, spoke to reporters after Thursday afternoon's game at the Stadium.
Girardi would not say if Eiland made the trip here, though Eiland had been dressed in a coat and tie, the common dress of those in the traveling party, when he spoke Thursday.
Bullpen coach Mike Harkey, a pitching coach in the Padres' organization from 2000-05, will serve as pitching coach in Eiland's absence. Advance scout Charlie Wonsowicz will move to the bullpen. If the leave of absence continues past this weekend, a coach is likely to be added.
Girardi said the issue isn't friction of any kind. "Everything's great between us," he said. "I know you probably want to ask a lot more questions and you want a lot more answers, but I just can't give them to you."
Eiland is in his third season as pitching coach and in his eighth year overall in the organization.
"We'll carry on as business as usual," Girardi said. "Obviously, Dave's very valuable to us; we're going to miss him. Just like when you have a player go down, people have to pick up, help out. Everyone will help out and we'll make it work.''
Granderson sits Saturday
Curtis Granderson, 10-for-24 in the Yankees' recent seven-game homestand that marked his return from the disabled list, said he wouldn't be concerned about playing three straight days on the Rogers Centre turf. But Girardi said he won't be given that chance. Girardi said he gave Brett Gardner Friday night off with the plan of sitting Granderson on Saturday.
"He's swung the bat great since he's gotten back," Girardi said. "But you have to be smart and you have to understand that in a sense, it's kind of early for him. You're not going back to square one like spring training, but he did miss a substantial amount of time."
Girardi said Jorge Posada has not been cleared to catch. "I just think the doctors don't think he's ready to put that type of pressure on his foot constantly," Girardi said, "because he's back sooner than we expected. And I'm curious how he responds playing on this turf."