NYY@TB: A-Rod notches his first career pinch-hit

ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Rodriguez received a scheduled day off on Sunday as the Yankees try to keep the third baseman's legs fresh while navigating a stretch of games on artificial turf.

The Yankees are in the heart of a six-game road trip that is taking them to Tropicana Field and Rogers Centre in Toronto, so manager Joe Girardi said that he selected Sunday -- a day game after a night game -- to rest Rodriguez.

"Whenever we get on this turf six days in a row, it was a concern last year for some of our guys," Girardi said. "That's partly because of age, and we try to manage them carefully. Sometimes you can run them into the ground, and then they're not productive when they're playing, so you have to pick your days."

Rodriguez did come off the bench in the 10th inning of the Yankees' 3-2 win, delivering a single for the first pinch-hit of his career (1-for-15). 

Girardi said that his hope is that the 38-year-old Rodriguez will be able to play in all three of the night games at Toronto.

Rodriguez's production has cooled since an emotional nationally televised game a week ago against the Red Sox in Boston. In five games since his plunking and homer off Ryan Dempster, Rodriguez has gone 2-for-18 (.111) with seven strikeouts.

"Sometimes you just make decisions because you think it's the right thing to do," Girardi said. "Guys are going to want to be out there, but I think sometimes putting him out there becomes counterproductive over a long period of time."

Girardi: Yanks will keep close eye on Jeter

Jeter discusses Triple-A rehab game, timeline

ST. PETERSBURG -- Derek Jeter is expected to be in the Yankees' clubhouse for Monday's game against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, and manager Joe Girardi said that there is little time to work the captain in slowly.

Games are at a premium with just a little over a month remaining on the schedule, so while the Yankees will again tell Jeter to take it easy on his right calf whenever possible, they are also expecting results quickly following his Minor League rehab stint at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"He has played three days in a row. From everything I understand, he felt pretty good," Girardi said. "I don't know if we can afford to be apprehensive."

Including Saturday's game, Jeter went 3-for-9 with two runs scored, a double, one RBI and a walk in his three games during his latest stint at Triple-A. Girardi said that he was told Jeter "ran under control," meaning short of 100 percent.

"I'll talk to him," Girardi said. "I'll talk to our people and see how he ran down there. We'll see. He's still going to have to be smart."

Girardi said that he had not yet spoken to general manager Brian Cashman, but it is likely that the Yankees will trim a pitcher from their roster to create room for Jeter. New York is carrying 13 pitchers after recalling right-hander Preston Claiborne to replace the injured Jayson Nix last week.

In what he has described as a "nightmare" season, Jeter has played in just five big league games due to left ankle, right quadriceps and right calf injuries. He injured his right quadriceps on July 11 in his first game back following the ankle injury, then felt the strain his calf soon after returning from the quad strain on July 28.

"We're just going to go day by day, and see what I see the night before, and make the decision the next day," Girardi said.

Bombers bits

• Lyle Overbay returned to the Yankees' lineup on Sunday after a two-day bout with flu-like symptoms. Girardi said that the club's hope is that the issues are behind Overbay, who came in with seven hits in his last 22 at-bats.

• Robinson Cano entered play on Sunday having hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games since Aug. 5, batting .397 (29-for-73) with 10 runs, six doubles, two homers, 12 RBIs and eight walks over that span.

• On this date in 1996, the Yankees unveiled a monument in honor of Mickey Mantle. On this date in 2011, Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson each hit grand slams in a 22-9 rout of the Athletics as the Yankees became the first team to hit three grand slams in a game.