ST. PETERSBURG -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi is serious about making sure that Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are well rested early in the schedule, particularly on artificial turf.
Jeter was in New York's lineup as the designated hitter on Saturday at Tropicana Field for the second game of the regular season, and Girardi said that he is considering giving Rodriguez a full day off Sunday.
Eduardo Nunez took over at shortstop for Jeter on Saturday, and Girardi said that Eric Chavez could get his first start of the year on Sunday at third base.
"Against lefties, I'm probably going to DH Alex or Jeet a substantial amount of time," Girardi said. "This turf can be rough on these guys, especially early on in the season. It's a way to get Nuney [playing] before a month, like last year, as well."
Girardi said that the DH assignment has nothing to do with Jeter's left calf, which the veteran rested for a period during Spring Training. Even though Jeter and Rodriguez play on the infield dirt, Girardi said there is concrete underneath that makes it more taxing than actual soil.
"It is early, and I think as the season goes on, they'll get more and more built up," Girardi said. "Maybe you won't have to do it quite as often, but we do have to remember it's the first series of the year and we're on Astroturf, which I think is harder on a person's body than if you're playing on a natural surface. I'm just trying to be smart about it."