Cano day to day with bruised hand
Precautionary X-rays negative; Monday return is possible
NEW YORK -- Second baseman Robinson Cano, who had played every inning of every Yankees game this season, exited Sunday's 5-2 win over the Blue Jays after bruising the pad on his left hand. After the game, manager Joe Girardi said that Cano is considered day to day.
Precautionary X-rays taken after the game were negative, and Cano said through a Yankees official that he hopes to play on Monday night in Detroit.
Cano injured the hand while catching a pickoff throw from starter Ivan Nova.
"He talked about it after his third at-bat," Girardi said. "It was kind of difficult, that at-bat. I asked him if he could play defense for a couple of innings; he said, 'No problem.'"
Eric Chavez appeared in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter for Cano, who had been 1-for-3 and played in all but eight games since the 2007 season began. In '06, Cano's first full big league season, a left hamstring injury limited him to 122 games.
Eduardo Nunez played second base for the Yankees in the ninth inning.
Right fielder Nick Swisher is now the only Yankee to have played every inning of every game in 2011.
Cervelli back, but not as personal catcher
NEW YORK -- With Ivan Nova on the mound, Francisco Cervelli started behind the plate at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, making his season debut. But the Yankees have no immediate plans to pair their backup catcher with the young right-hander.
Cervelli has experience working as a personal catcher. He worked with A.J. Burnett for much of last season, including in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. He also caught six of Nova's seven starts in 2010. Both Russell Martin and Gustavo Molina have worked with Nova this season.
"I hope it's an easy transition," manager Joe Girardi said of Nova. "This will be the third catcher he's thrown to in his five starts. You'd like to get some consistency back there. But he seemed to adapt to Molina real well. He seemed to do a good job with Russell his first start, against Minnesota. Hopefully, it's like riding a bike for both of them."
Cervelli fractured his left foot in Spring Training and started the season on the disabled list, missing a chance to work with Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. On Friday, the Yankees activated Cervelli after deploying Molina in a reserve role. Cervelli started 80 games as Jorge Posada's backup in 2010, but with Posada now the Yankees' designated hitter and Martin healthy and performing well, Cervelli appears likely to see a reduced role this season.
The timing of day games after night games and the work Martin receives also means that Cervelli is unlikely to catch Nova's next scheduled start, which is set for Friday in Texas. Instead, he could end up catching Garcia.
"I think we'll mix them up," Girardi said. "If you look at the schedule, it won't necessarily work out that way this time through. Cervi is familiar with three of our starters. He didn't get to see a lot of Garcia or Colon because he was hurt, but he's familiar with three of our starters. It won't necessarily be like that."
Millwood opts out of deal with Yankees
NEW YORK -- The Yankees announced on Sunday that right-hander Kevin Millwood has opted out of the Minor League deal he signed with New York at the end of March.
Across three Minor League outings -- one start for Double-A Trenton and two for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre -- Millwood has posted a 2-1 record and a 4.50 ERA. The Yankees signed Millwood to provide rotation depth, but the capable performances of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon have left the team without much room in its rotation.
Millwood, 36, has a 159-137 record across 14 Major League seasons. He has pitched with the Braves, Phillies, Indians, Rangers and Orioles. Last season with Baltimore, the right-hander posted a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts. He has posted an ERA higher than 5.00 in three of his last four big league seasons.
Jeter, Gardner shedding slow starts
NEW YORK -- One week cannot erase the struggles they faced over much of the season's first month, but Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter have shown signs of life in the past seven days.
Entering Sunday's 5-2 win over the Blue Jays, Gardner had hit .294 with a .429 on-base percentage since April 24. Jeter entered Sunday with a .333 average and a .370 OBP over the same stretch. He is still looking for his first home run this season.
"We thought he got into his legs a little bit more yesterday," Girardi said of Jeter. "And that's always going to help a player. He got some balls in the air. If you're not hitting home runs on a consistent basis, you don't want to be a fly-ball hitter. You want to stick with line drives and ground balls. We thought he had some pretty good at-bats [on Saturday]."
Gardner has shown a splash of power and the patience that made him so valuable to the Yankees in 2010, when he hit .277 with a team-best .383 on-base percentage. This season, Gardner (.188) was still hitting below .200 entering Sunday's game, but he had drawn eight walks in 79 plate appearances.
"He was just in between, I thought, in his at-bats," Girardi said of Gardner, who has moved to the bottom of the order after starting the season as the team's leadoff batter. "He was a little late on fastballs and a little early on breaking balls. It just seems to me that he's gotten his timing down. He's gotten some more consistent at-bats. He's taken his walks. To me, Gardy looks like the player that we expected."
"He moved up closer to the plate," hitting coach Kevin Long said of Gardner. "They were pitching him away. He was coming out of his swing and not able to stay tight and compact on the outside pitch. So he's moved up on the plate, and it's helped him a great deal."
Batting eighth on Sunday, Gardner walked twice and singled in three plate appearances.
"The last couple of days, I felt pretty good at the plate," Gardner said. "It's kind of a silly game. When things aren't going good, you're, like, 0-1, 0-2, 1-2 every at-bat. The last few days, I felt like I've been 2-1, 1-0, 3-1. I'm seeing a lot of pitches and staying ahead in the count."
Right-handed starter Phil Hughes is still scheduled to visit Dr. Robert William Thompson in St. Louis on Monday for an examination to determine whether Hughes has been suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome. ... Alex Rodriguez returned to the starting lineup on Sunday after Saturday's day off. ... The Yankees will begin a seven-game road trip on Monday in Detroit. They have played a Major League-low seven road games this season -- three in Boston, two in Toronto and two in Baltimore. They are 12-6 at home.
Thomas Boorstein is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.