ST. PETERSBURG -- Joe Girardi strongly considered giving Alex Rodriguez the day off Sunday, but the Yankees' manager instead put the three-time American League Most Valuable Player in his starting lineup at third base.
"I told him we'd talk about it," Girardi said. "I talked about it with him last night. I re-checked with him this morning; he said he feels great. My guess is I'll DH him [Monday at Baltimore]."
Girardi expressed some concern in playing veterans like Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, who served as the designated hitter on Saturday, three straight days on the hard artificial turf at Tropicana Field.
Girardi has said that it will be important for him to keep both Jeter and Rodriguez fresh this year to avoid the injury problems that hampered both stars in 2011.
"It's early," Girardi said. "Maybe if we get later in the year, it's a little bit different, but I checked with him two or three times just to make sure."
Girardi said that he decided to use Nick Swisher as the DH on Sunday, with Raul Ibanez getting an outfield start, because Swisher battled groin injuries during Spring Training.