In long stretch, DH assignments keep Jeter fresh

In long stretch, DH assignments keep Jeter fresh

NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi penciled Derek Jeter into the leadoff spot as the Yankees' designated hitter for the second time in as many games on Saturday, but the manager said there is nothing physically wrong with the 38-year-old shorstop; the DH assignment is simply a break.

"Sixteen days in a row is the reason that I've done it," Girardi said. "As I talked about, it's really hard to give him a day off with the way he's swinging the bat. He's our leadoff guy."

New York is in a stretch of 20 consecutive games without a day off, and Saturday's game against Boston marked the 16th game of that stretch. The Yankees' captain has played every one, 12 at shortstop and four as the DH.

Jeter is hitting .343 (23-for-67) with 12 runs scored and eight RBIs during the stretch.

Girardi gave Jeter a half-day off as the DH on Aug. 11 in Toronto, on Tuesday against the Rangers and in Friday's series opener against the Red Sox. Girardi originally planned to DH Jeter on Thursday and Saturday, both day games after night games, but with Robinson Cano out of Thursday's starting lineup due to a stiff neck, Girardi needed Jayson Nix to start at second base, not spell Jeter at shortstop.

"I just said, 'You know, I'll just do two days in a row. What's the big deal?'" Girardi said. "Physically, he's fine."