LOS ANGELES -- With the Yankees making no trades before the end of baseball's non-waiver trade deadline, you might be tempted to believe that Joe Girardi would be as crestfallen as a kid awaking on Christmas morning to find his parents had re-wrapped all his old, broken-down toys and stuck them under the tree.
If so, you would be wrong.
New York Yankees
Girardi said he was neither disappointed nor surprised to learn that as of now, he will have to muddle through the final 56 games of the season with the same old, broken-down roster he has had for the first 106.
"As I've told you, I don’t ever count on anything," Girardi said before tonight's game between the Yankees and Dodgers. "I think about the guys that we have in the room and how we’re going to win with those guys. That’s what we have to go do."
Girardi said he is looking at the acquisition of Alfonso Soriano, the activation of Derek Jeter, and the expected return this weekend of Curtis Granderson as the equivalent of three major trade-deadline deals.
“The big thing is we’ve got to get our guys back," Girardi said. "I think that’s a big part of it. That’s something that we’ve had a problem doing this year, and I feel like if we do that, we can contend.”
And of course, there is always Alex Rodriguez, widely expected to be suspended for an extended period of time, perhaps as soon as Thursday, although Girardi continues to maintain that he expects A-Rod to return and be productive in his lineup this season.
“I think you have to at this point," Girardi said. "Nothing’s been handed down, so I think you have to. We expected to have him back at this point. We don’t have him yet, but I know he’s playing in a simulated game tomorrow, and that’s a step in the right direction.”
A-Rod will play a Class A minor-league rehab game in Tampa tomorrow, but beyond that Girardi could offer no real timetable for his return. “He’ll do a simulated game tomorrow and they’ll see where he’s at tomorrow," Girardi said. “He did go through the full 20 days of rehab and got plenty of at-bats, so I wouldn’t expect it would be as many as that.”
• Granderson, who played with the Double-A Trenton Thunder today, is expected to travel to San Diego during tomorrow's off-day and be activated for Friday night's series opener against the Padres.
With Granderson returning soon, the Yankees will have a glut of outfielders, so Girardi said he was considering giving both Soriano and Vernon Wells some drills at first base in anticipation of possibly starting one of them in place of Lyle Overbay against tough left-handers. Tonight, Overbay is sitting against Clayton Kershaw, because, Girardi said, "Lefties hit about .100 against him."
Actually, it's .136, and righties don't fare all that much better, hitting .198. Still, Girardi is starting the rigty-hitting Brent Lillibridge at first.
• This will be only the second career start for Hiroki Kuroda against his former teammates. On June 19, Kuroda beat the Dodgers, 6-4, in the first game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, allowing two runs in 6-2/3 innings.
• Kershaw is making his second career start against the Yankees, throwing seven innings of two-run ball but earning a no decision the last time the Yankees were here in 2010. Kershaw is leading the major leagues in ERA (1.96) and since June 26 is 5-1 with a 1.72 ERA.