TORONTO -- We're on the scene in Rogers Centre for the opener of the Yankees-Blue Jays series. Tonight's key items on the field will be CC Sabathia's quest for his 20th win, would would give him 20 back-to-back as a Yankee (a first since Tommy John in 1979-80), and Mariano Rivera's bid for his 601st career save (one behind Trevor Hoffman's all-time record). Rivera's family is here to see him go for the mark.
Most of the pregame chatter, however, centers around the absence of Alex Rodriguez from the Yankees' lineup for the sixth straight game with a sprained left thumb. A-Rod hasn’t played since Sept. 9 and has been bothered by the injury since late August.
Manager Joe Girardi said A-Rod was going to play tonight when the Yankees were in Seattle but backtracked today. Still, Rodriguez took batting practice for the first time in a week and proclaimed himself ready to go Saturday.
"We decided he wasn't going to play both of these games (tonight and Saturday at 1)," Girardi said. "So why don't we see how he feels after taking these swings and a round of BP out there?"
Rodriguez was swinging with a knob of tape a couple inches from the end of his bat between his two hands and said that alleviated the pressure on his thumb, his bottom hand. He hit a few balls over the fence during BP.
"It's definitely goinng to be a little adjustment but anything that can alleviate pain is a good move," A-Rod said. "I'm excited about it. I haven't been this excited in at least a month. ... Today is a really good day. I'm really encouraged."
In other news: The roof was open during BP but it's been closed because the temperature is only 59 degrees. Dustin McGowan is pitching for Toronto as Brett Cecil was scratched because he cut his finger on a blender Wednesday in the clubhouse in Boston. ... Yankees beat writers, as well as Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner, were floored during BP when they looked up and saw red-suited people hanging out of the CN Tower that soars over the right-field corner. Those folks were taking part in the new tower attractioon, Edgewalk