NYY@MIN: Gardner starts game with a leadoff triple

MINNEAPOLIS -- Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner is hitting .385 (5-for-13) with three RBIs over the past three games, but he was not in Saturday's lineup against the Twins.

Manager Joe Girardi defended his decision before the game.

"He's about the only guy who hasn't had a day off," Girardi said. "You get a little bit concerned, so you take the initiative, 'You know what? I'm going to give you a day off.'"

The 30-year-old Gardner has not taken a full day off since April 27, a span of 60 games. The last time he did not start was May 22, a span of 39 straight starts.

"A lot of times, when you have a guy who's 30 or 31 -- I've been on some teams where that's one of the older guys," Girardi said. "But on this team, he happens to be a young guy, and I don't remember the last time Gardy's had a day off.

"I think one of the things we deal with here is age. We don't have 25-, 26-year-olds running out there every day. You get your speed guys, and they're on the bases a lot. They're running a lot. Their legs get sore, and you worry about them physically."

Alfonso Soriano took Gardner's spot in left on Saturday afternoon.

Girardi hints at starting rotation adjustments

NYY@MIN: Girardi updates CC Sabathia's injury

MINNEAPOLIS -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi was happy that the Oakland A's landed Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in a trade with the Cubs.

The move means the prized Chicago pitchers won't be in the American League East, and Oakland doesn't appear on the rest of New York's regular-season schedule.

"I'm really glad," Girardi said. "And we don't have to play them anymore."

But after news broke Friday that CC Sabathia will likely be out for the remainder of the season, the trade also means there are two fewer options to improve the team's questionable rotation from the outside.

"We don't have the depth that we had," Girardi said. "Are there some adjustments we could possibly make if we had to? Yeah."

But the manager was hesitant to say that a trade will be necessary, deferring to general manager Brian Cashman.

"That's a decision for Brian to make," he said.

For the moment, the team is sticking with its arms, despite the Athletics' blockbuster transaction on Friday.

"They made a big move," Girardi said. "Obviously, they've had some injuries to their rotation, and went and got two pretty good pitchers. Guys who've had a lot of success. Hammel has pitched in a pennant race. He understands what it's like. For Samardzija, this is an opportunity to get into a pennant race, and I'm sure he's excited about it."

Progressing Pineda nearing mound work

CHC@NYY: Pineda tosses six shutout innings

MINNEAPOLIS -- Injured Yankees righty Michael Pineda is playing catch at a distance of 90 feet, and he will get some pitching work in soon.

"The hope is at the end of the week -- next week -- we start to get him on the mound," manager Joe Girardi said.

The Yankees placed Pineda on the 60-day disabled list on May 6 after the 25-year-old suffered right shoulder inflammation. He was 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA up to that point and proved that he still had the talent he showed as an All-Star with the Mariners in 2011.

Back on June 13, Girardi foresaw Pineda returning before the end of the season.

"I would think August is probably realistic," Girardi said. "You've got to build him up. That's the problem."

Bombers bits

Brian McCann was a late scratch from the Yankees' lineup on Saturday. Girardi had expected McCann to play in the game after the veteran catcher sat out Friday's contest with a sore foot.

"He felt pretty decent yesterday, but it was also a day game after a night game," Girardi said earlier on Saturday morning. "That's why we gave him the day off."

McCann is listed as day to day and is not expected to miss any more time. Francisco Cervelli replaced him in Saturday's lineup.