TORONTO -- The Yankees could clinch a playoff berth today if they beat the Blue Jays in their 1:07 start on YES and the Angels lose their 4:05 game to Texas. But it's pretty obvious the Bombers are going anyway barring something epic. The AL East is still in doubt, however, with New York leading Baltimore by a game and the Orioles at Fenway tonight to meet woeful Boston.
Reporters meeting with Joe Girardi in the dugout this morning joked with the Yankees skipper that he might learn his team is officially in the playoffs when he's out at dinner.
Cracked Girardi: "Maybe I'll have dessert."
The topping to the season, of course, is the division race. Girardi said he won't be resting any of his players until the AL East is wrapped up; no way he wants to slip to the wild-card and end up in next week's inaugural one-game playoffs. He said he hasn't decided if he'll rest guys if the best record in the AL is still in play (the Yankees are one game behind Texas).
As for today's game, Andy Pettitte (5-3, 2.71) makes his third start since returning from his fractured left ankle. He's 2-0 and has pitched 11 scoreless innings in the first two. Said Girardi: "He just knows how to get outs."
Robinson Cano is in the lineup batting cleanup; X-rays on his left hand were negative after he was hit by a pitch last night. Derek Jeter is DHing today with a day game after a night game and the erratic Eduardo Nunez is at shortstop.
"We know that Jete needs a day off on the turf," Girardi said. "We have to be smart here. We can't hurt Jete. [Nunez] has to get it done."
With Jeter at DH, the Yankees are down to one backup infielder today because Girardi revealed Jayson Nix has been sent back to New York for an MRI on a sore hip flexor injured here Thursday.
"For us to send him back to get an MRI, there's a concern," Girardi said. "There's a possibility we may not have him for a while and Nunez becomes more important."
Former ace Ricky Romero (9-14, 5.76) starts today for the Blue Jays. After starting 8-1, he lost 13 straight decisions before posting a 9-5 win Monday in Baltimore. The 13 straight Ls were a Blue Jays record within one season and the most in MLB this year.