Girardi: Rest paying off as playoffs loom

Girardi: Rest paying off as playoffs loom

BOSTON -- As the Yankees hit the finish line of their 162-game schedule, manager Joe Girardi believes his team is better equipped for a postseason run because of several September decisions.

In particular, the Yankees were battling health issues with Brett Gardner (sore right wrist), Nick Swisher (sore right knee) and Mark Teixeira (bruised right thumb) all hurting. Rest has helped to quell those concerns heading into the playoffs.

"I think we're a lot healthier than we were three or four weeks ago. I'd really like to keep it that way," Girardi said. "It's extremely important. You want to have a whole team and know that your guys are physically healthy going into a playoff series."

Girardi has bristled at times when repeatedly questioned about his decisions to offer rest to players, which was perceived as taking his foot off the accelerator in the chase for the American League East. But Girardi said he didn't really have an option in those cases.

"Every one of our guys had cortisone shots," Girardi said. "Swish couldn't run. Tex's thumb was bothering him, Gardy's thumb was bothering him. And everyone said, 'Why are you resting them?' I wasn't -- they were hurt. I'd ask them every day if they could play, and they just weren't healthy."

The third-year Yankees manager said that he does not know why resting players seemed to become such a hot-button issue, though it did coincide with the team limping to its first losing September (12-15) since 2000.

"Sometimes people ask one question and it becomes wildfire," Girardi said. "But obviously I know what's going on in our clubhouse better than other people. We play to win every day, and I've never played any different."