NYY@SD: Girardi, Jeter on A-Rod's potential return

SAN DIEGO -- Alex Rodriguez says that he is flying to Chicago on Sunday to join the Yankees, and manager Joe Girardi said that he has "penciled" the embattled slugger into the lineup he is formulating in his mind for Monday's game against the White Sox.

"I think all of us are curious what's going to happen and if Alex is going to be a player for us tomorrow, and what's going to happen with the other guys that are involved in this," Girardi said. "Because in my mind, I have him penciled in here tomorrow."

Major League Baseball is poised to suspend Rodriguez through the 2014 season, according to multiple reports, but Rodriguez is then expected to file an appeal that would permit him to take the field for his first game of the season on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field.

Rodriguez's appeal would be heard within the next three weeks by arbitrator Frederic Horowitz, according to USA Today, but there is no prescribed timetable for Horowitz to hand down a decision.

Thus, it is possible that Rodriguez could continue to appear in the Yankees' lineup for an extended period while his appeal process plays out.

"There are so many rumors that are going around about it, I don't know if anyone really knows what's happening," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "But he's our teammate. If he's here tomorrow, we'll look forward to seeing him."

Girardi said that he exchanged text messages with Rodriguez after he played on Saturday for Double-A Trenton, and sensed Rodriguez is "anxious" to play in the big leagues.

Rodriguez walked four times in the contest, his 15th Minor League game of the year, and said he'd fly to Chicago following a workout on Sunday.

"I talked to him yesterday, joked with him -- he didn't get any pitches to hit yesterday," Girardi said. "[I told him], 'Don't wear yourself out today and I'll see you tomorrow.'"

Girardi said that he has been proceeding as though Rodriguez will play in the big leagues, and has not made an effort to closely track coverage of MLB's investigation since he does not have input on the decision-making process.

"It hasn't really occupied my mind like maybe some other things have," Girardi said. "I think all of us have known that possibly something could be coming for a lot of different players. You deal with it when you have to deal with it. It's kind of like most of the things I've done around here."

The Yankees, who ranked 13th among the 15 American League teams with 417 runs scored entering play on Sunday, have been searching for offensive help. Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano said that he expects Rodriguez to be welcomed in the clubhouse.

"We're all going to be happy, I would say, to see him back in the lineup -- especially the way we've been playing," Cano said. "We've been waiting for this moment to see him back in the lineup. You know what, come up and help us to win some games."

Rodriguez last played for the Yankees on Oct. 18, 2012, in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, and he will be joining a roster that has undergone plenty of turnover in his absence.

"[It'll be] a bit of a circus, I'm sure," Yankees outfielder Vernon Wells said. "I think Alex will do his best to keep as much of it out of the clubhouse as he can, and what he has control over.

"I think the good thing is everyone knows the situation, knows what it could potentially be like, what the atmosphere's going to be like, so there's not fear of the unknown. I think we all have a pretty good idea, and we'll be ready for it."

Girardi said that he does not think it will create an uncomfortable atmosphere if Rodriguez joins the Yankees in Chicago, saying that there will be more media coverage than usual but that it will be centered upon Rodriguez rather than the rest of the team.

"I don't suspect it'll be awkward," Girardi said. "Most of the guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and been around Alex a lot. I think it'll be business as usual."

Strained right calf could land Jeter on DL again

Joe Girardi and Derek Jeter discuss Jeter's injury

SAN DIEGO -- Derek Jeter has been limited to just five games this season due to injuries, and the Yankees' captain is facing the possibility of yet another stint on the disabled list.

An MRI performed on Saturday in San Diego revealed that Jeter has a Grade 1 strain of his right calf. The Yankees have not announced how they will proceed with the 39-year-old shortstop, but a decision is expected before Monday's game against the White Sox in Chicago.

This has been by far Jeter's most difficult big league season, and his frustration has been obvious.

"It's been terrible. It's been like a nightmare," Jeter said after Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Padres. "The whole season has been a nightmare. I really don't know what to tell you; I wish that wasn't the case and we were sitting here talking about something besides another injury. We'll see what happens. I have no idea."

Jeter is traveling to Chicago with the team. He has been dealing with the calf injury since last Monday, having felt a sensation something like a deep bruise after he came off the disabled list and played in a July 28 game against the Rays.

The injury is to the same calf that sidelined Jeter with a Grade 1 strain in June 2011, stalling his pursuit of his 3,000th career hit.

"It's different because when I did it last time, I felt it," Jeter said. "I was running to first base and I felt it. This time, I didn't feel anything while I was playing. It was later on that night and the next day.

"I can't pinpoint when it happened. I don't know when it happened. Maybe adrenaline got me through it, but it would be speculation if I try to figure out when I did it."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that his hope continues to be that he can write Jeter's name in the lineup on Monday, but he will not rule out the disabled list.

Because it is so late in the season, however, Girardi said he is more inclined to push Jeter through the Grade 1 strain -- the least severe strain classification -- to avoid what would be Jeter's third stint on the disabled list this season.

"[The strain] could become more, we're aware of that," Girardi said. "But as I said, it's that time of year. We've got to weigh the decision."

Jeter returned from a pair of left ankle fractures to make his season debut on July 11, injuring his right quadriceps in that game. Girardi said that Jeter's unorthodox schedule may be contributing to his repeated injuries.

"I think that if he had a normal Spring Training and he wasn't coming off the injury like he did, I don't think these things would be happening," Girardi said. "My guess is next year will be different, but only time will tell."

Jeter has four hits in 19 at-bats (.211) for the Yankees this season, owning a home run and two RBIs. Last year, Jeter led the Majors with 216 hits and batted .316.

"I've been pretty fortunate in my career not to have to deal with too many things," Jeter said. "Now it seems like I'm dealing with a lot at one time. I have no choice but to move on. Hopefully, it heals quickly and I can get back out there."

Pineda having tests after bout with shoulder stiffness

SAN DIEGO -- Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda is heading to New York for tests after he was forced to exit a start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with stiffness in his surgically repaired pitching shoulder.

Pineda completed just two innings in his start on Friday against Lehigh Valley. The Yankees have been managing Pineda's innings as he returns from right labrum surgery.

"He felt a little stiffness in his shoulder," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "His strength tested out fine after the game, but he is probably going to see our doctors. [That] would be my guess."

Pineda has not pitched for the Yankees since being acquired from the Mariners in a January 2012 trade. He was 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 10 Minor League starts this year for Class A Advanced Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"I think with what he's been through, we're making sure that it's nothing, but I can't tell you 100 percent it's not," Girardi said.

Girardi said that even with the innings limitations, there had been a chance that Pineda would pitch at the big league level this year.

"He was built up to ... where if we needed him at any point, we could use him," Girardi said.

Bombers bits

• Brett Gardner had his right hand stepped on during Saturday's 3-0 win, but Girardi said that was not why Gardner was out of the Yankees' lineup on Sunday.

"Just a day off for him; I'm trying to keep everyone involved here," Girardi said.

• Vernon Wells took ground balls at first base on Sunday in San Diego. The Yankees have been saying that it is possible Wells could see some time at the position as a reserve.

• On this date in 1985, the Yankees celebrated Phil Rizzuto Day at Yankee Stadium, dedicating a Monument Park plaque in his honor and retiring his No. 10. The Yankees lost their scheduled game to the White Sox, 4-1, as Tom Seaver won his 300th career game.