"You can never have too many options," Girardi said.
Nady was batting a team-high .330 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs through 89 games with the Pirates before the trade was made.
With an extra arm for the outfield and no break coming until Aug. 14, Girardi will rotate the designated hitter to get his players some rest.
"You can move some people around," Girardi said. "We're in the stretch of 20 games, and you want your horses to play every day, and this is one way of keeping them off their feet a little bit."
Johnny Damon will be the primary candidate for time in the DH slot, as he is still working back from a left shoulder injury. But Girardi gave Alex Rodriguez a turn to stay off the field on Tuesday night against the Orioles, and the skipper said he has considered doing the same for Bobby Abreu and Derek Jeter.
Girardi described his use of the DH spot as a way to give his players a half-day off.
"Mentally, you still have to prepare, and you have to do all your work, but you're not on your feet as much," he said.
The flexibility of the position will help the Yankees on Wednesday when they make a quick turnaround and face the Orioles in a day game after a night game for the series finale.
Right-hander Joba Chamberlain will take on another reliever making the transition to the starting rotation when he faces off against Baltimore's Dennis Sarfate.
And as Girardi considered the stretch ahead, with a four-game series against the American League West-leading Angels to be followed by a 10-game road trip, that extra room to move around the lineup became an important factor.
"We've got some heat, some day games, days in Texas where we know it's not going to be very cool," he said. "There's a lot of things going where you want to kind of give guys a spell but keep them in the lineup."
BAL: RHP Dennis Sarfate (4-1, 3.78 ERA)
NYY: RHP Joba Chamberlain (3-3, 2.30 ERA)
The righty is coming off his best outing as a starter, throwing a career-high seven shutout innings on Friday in Boston in a 1-0 victory over the Red Sox. He matched a career high with nine strikeouts and threw 103 pitches. Perhaps most impressive was how he finished -- retiring the final 10 batters he faced to hold the potent Red Sox at bay at Fenway. This will be Chamberlain's first career start against the Orioles. He has already faced them four times this season in relief, allowing just four hits and one run and posting a 2.08 ERA.
Sarfate will be making his first big league start at Yankee Stadium, which has to hit close to home for the Queens, N.Y., native. Sarfate will be replacing Brian Burres, who has been pulled from the rotation for erratic pitching and relocated to the bullpen. Sarfate will need time to build to a higher pitch count and will have to keep his delivery in sync to have success.
Carl Pavano and Phil Hughes both pitched on Tuesday night for Class A Charleston. Pavano started the game and threw two shutout innings with one hit, one walk and four strikeouts. He threw 28 pitches, 18 for strikes. Hughes pitched three innings and also did not give up a run. He allowed two hits, struck out one and recorded one walk. He threw 28 pitches, 20 for strikes. ... Shelley Duncan batted in a simulated game on Tuesday. Duncan separated his shoulder while making a diving catch for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on July 1. ... Mariano Rivera threw one inning on Tuesday night to give him his 1,000th career inning pitched.
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Official game notes
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Thursday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 12-7, 3.76) vs. Angels (Jon Garland, 9-6, 4.30), 7:05 p.m. ET
Friday: Yankees (Sidney Ponson, 6-2, 4.59) vs. Angels (Ervin Santana, 11-5, 3.57), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Yankees (TBD) vs. Angels (Jered Weaver, 9-8, 4.11), 3:55 p.m. ET