- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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Concerned about the effect of the hard artificial surface at The Trop will have on the legs of his aging infielders. Joe Girardi opted to give Derek Jeter a day off from playing the field, using the soon-to-be-38-year-old shortstop as his DH tonight against David Price. and tomorrow, the manager said he will likely give Alex Rodriguez, his 36-going-on-37-year-old third baseman, a complete day off with Eric Chavez starting at third.
"I'm just trying to be smart about it,'' Girardi said. "It is early, and I think as the season goes on they''ll get more and more built up, but we do have to remember it's the first season of the year and we''re on Astroturf which I think is harder on a person's body than if you're playing on a natural surface.''
If you're wondering how Astroturf can affect a player who spends the whole game standing on the dirt, Girardi, who earned a degree in industrial engineering from Northwestern, had a ready answer. "There's still concrete underneath,'' he said. "It doesn't give as much.''