LOS ANGELES -- What a difference a couple of days makes. With the return of Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix (from the DL), and the acquisition of Alfonso Soriano, it is a vastly different Yankees lineup that Joe Girardi will send out tonight against the Dodgers tonight than we saw even a week ago in Arlington, Texas.
And with the uncertainty surrounding Alex Rodriguez, there may be a new look to the infield soon, too, because starting today, Nunez will be taking grounders at third in preparation for possible starts there in the (near?) future. Although right now Nix is the "everyday third baseman" -- and this season, seven players have started at third and even Vernon Wells got some time there -- Girardi would not rule out the possibility that Nunez, designated a shortstop last year by the Yankees, might see some action at third this season, especially if A-Rod gets set down by MLB for his role in the Biogenesis affair and the Yankees fail to acquire a third baseman at the trade deadline.
"There’s nothing etched in stone," Girardi said. "Third base has kind of been a revolving door a little bit. [Nix] is going to get his share of playing time there, and we’ll move him around like we always did. And I want to see [Nunez] work out there a couple of days before we do anything."
In other news:
-- Derek Jeter will get his second start at shortstop this season -- he started there in Sunday's game against the Rays -- but Girardi said his 39-year-old captain will get a fair share of DH games worked into his schedule, with either Nunez or Nix playing SS.
“He will have some DH days and some off days, but at this point in the season, we don’t necessarily have the luxury of working guys in slowly," Girardi said of Jeter. "I think we have to just go day-by-day and see where he’s at.”
-- Curtis Granderson, who has appeared in just eight games all season after suffering two broken hands from errant pitches, will play a couple of rehab games for the AA Trenton Thunder beginning tonight, and could re-join the Yankees over the weekend in San Diego. Girardi seemed optimistic that adding Granderson along with Jeter and Soriano would solve some of his team's offensive woes this season; they are at or near the bottom of the AL rankings in many categories they once dominated.
"When you get Curtis back, that should add some thump to it," Girardi said. "I’m not asking him to come in and hit homer after homer, but we know what he has the ability to do. It should make our lineup deeper.”
-- Girardi was asked the obligatory "Is Alex coming back?" question, and gave a fairly predictable response: "We have him scheduled for a rehab on Thursday, a game somewhere if everything goes OK. If we didn't think he was going to be with us, we wouldn't do those things."
Girardi could offer no prospective date, however, for A-Rod's return to the Yankees.
-- Andy Pettitte (7-8, 4.39) has lost his last two games, and five of his last seven decisions, but he pitched well in losing a 3-1 game to the Rangers in Arlington last Wednesday. Pettitte has only faced the Dodgers five times in his career, and only once as a Yankee, but has never lost to them (2-0, 3.94 ERA). He has not faced the Dodgers since June 27, 2010, when he allowed five runs in five innings and took a no-decision in an 8-6 Yankees victory. As a hitter -- remember, no DH tonight -- Pettitte has a career .139 BA with a home run and 13 RBIs in 194 career at-bats.
-- Zack Greinke is 2-4 with a 6.35 ERA in 11 games against the Yankees. The last time he faced them, on June 28, 2011 at Yankee Stadium as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, Greinke allowed seven runs in just two innings.