Ichiro recorded his second multihit game as a Yankee, and knocked in five of New York's 10 runs. It was the first time since August 2004 against the Royals that Ichiro amassed five RBIs in a game.
"We had it planned out and we kind of stuck to it," Girardi said about the decision to rest him. "It's a day game after a night game, he hasn't had a day off since we've had him, we've played a lot of games. So just figured give him a day off the turf."
Girardi said before the series opener that he was going to find ways to give some of his players a breather.
New York's schedule played a factor in that -- the team is in the midst of playing 20 consecutive games -- and so did the artificial turf in Toronto, which is considered tough on the knees.
"It is, that's the tough thing, but that is just the way we chose to manage," Girardi said, when asked if it was hard a decision to sit Ichiro based on the way he has been playing.
In 17 games since joining the Yankees, Ichiro is batting .269 with one homer, 11 RBIs and has recorded a hit in all but one of those contests.
After playing center field on Friday for the first time since 2008, he has played all three outfield positions for New York and has also been used as the team's designated hitter once.
"He has been good. He has really allowed us to move some people around," Girardi said. "He has played extremely well in right, left, wherever we play him. He had a big night last night. ... he has been important."
Curtis Granderson, who entered Friday's game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the eighth inning, was back in center field and batting sixth in the order.