TORONTO -- If you're wondering why, with the Yankees down by three runs in the ninth inning and a right-hander pitching for the Blue Jays, Joe Girardi went to Ichiro Suzuki as a pinch-hitter rather than the more-powerful Eric Chavez, the explanation is simple.
And somewhat disturbing.
New York Yankees
Playing four games in a row against right-handed starters in Detroit left the oft-injured Chavez "not feeling great," according to Girardi.
Translation: Chavez's back, which has limited him to 90 games or fewer in each of the last six seasons, is acting up again.
"His back's been a little sore," Girardi said. "He hasn't been a player for me this series."
With the Blue Jays starting three lefties, it really wasn't an issue, and honestly, not many noticed that Chavez did not take batting practice with the team here in Toronto. But with Texas starting right-handers Ryan Dempster on Monday and Scott Feldman on Wednesday, the hot-hitting Chavez's availability becomes very much an issue. Playing in place of the injured Alex Rodriguez, Chavez has 14 hits in his last 30 at-bats (.466).
"He's gotten better every day," Girardi said. "So I think I'll have him tomorrow."
"I'm a little sore, but I'm fine," Chavez said. "I can play tomorrow."