Joe: Derek could beat Alex back

BALTIMORE -- While there is no new timetable on the return of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, Yankees manager Joe Girardi indicated that Jeter may play in a rehab game before Rodriguez will.

"I'm not sure who you will see in a game first," Girardi said. "Alex has had more simulated at-bats than Derek, but we will see how that goes."

Recently, Girardi had said that A-Rod was ahead of Jeter for a possible return. Now, that is up in the air. Rodriguez is returning from a second hip surgery, while Jeter is coming back from a twice-fractured ankle.

Girardi said that both Jeter and Rodriguez had simulated at-bats on Friday in Tampa. No matter the reports of how good or bad the players look, the Yankees won't know for sure what they have until the two return to actual rehab games. Girardi said the reports have been "pretty good" so far.

Meanwhile, Eduardo Nunez played in a rehab game on Wednesday and he is now the closest to returning to the big club of all the injured players.

NOVA TIME: Girardi said that Ivan Nova will start in Minnesota, but he didn't say which game yet.

Girardi wants to give Nova a start for two reasons. First, in the midst of 20 games in 20 days, Girardi would like his starters to have an extra day off. Plus, after Nova's 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball against the Rays, Girardi is eager to see Nova pitch again.

The only way Nova wouldn't start in Minnesota is if he were needed in an emergency out of the pen over this weekend.