WASHINGTON -- Robinson Cano was out of the Yankees' lineup on Friday for the first time this season, and manager Joe Girardi explained that it was a "preemptive" move to avoid burning out his second baseman.
Cano said that he told Girardi he was prepared to play and that the benching had nothing to do with his left ankle, which had been spiked on a play at second base on Wednesday against the Braves in Atlanta.
"I was surprised, but he's the manager and he's the one that decides," Cano said. "Obviously things happen for a reason. He said, 'Be ready any time.'"
Cano had started all 62 of New York's previous games this season, with two dates serving as the club's designated hitter.
Jayson Nix, who was 3-for-7 lifetime with a home run against Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez, made the start at second base in Cano's place. Cano had been hitless in nine at-bats against Gonzalez.
"We're going to have this stretch of games, then we've got 13 in a row," Girardi said. "I felt if there's a time to do it, now is the time. Nixy has seen Gio, had some success off him, so I figured it works out OK."