Girardi used Raul Ibanez in left Friday against right-hander Clay Buchholz and he went 1-for-4. Lefty Felix Doubrant starts for the Red Sox Saturday.
It was Ibanez’s fourth outfield start and second in left.
Eduardo Nunez is also a candidate to play left.
“Without Gardy being here the one guy you have to pay close attention to is [Curtis] Granderson because we don’t necessarily have a true center fielder besides Curtis,’’ Girardi said. “We have to check on him as much as we can.’’
Nunez, an infielder, has played sparingly in the outfield but never center field. Yet, Girardi informed the righty hitter to work out in the middle of the outfield.
“We have talked about it, it could be Andruw or it could be Nuney,’’ Girardi said. “I told Nuney to take fly balls in center field.’’
Girardi sounded as if he would go with Nunez over Jones, a perennial Gold Glove center fielder when he played with the Braves, but coming off knee surgery.
“The concern with Andruw playing a lot of center field would be his knees,’’ Girardi said.
Reliever Joba Chamberlain, who has resumed working out at the Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa, expects to be out of a walking boot for an injured ankle in about two weeks.
The righty played catch in the outfield Friday with his right knee on a stool. Chamberlain dislocated his right ankle bouncing on a trampoline with his son on March 22.
Chamberlain said his throwing arm, on which he had elbow surgery from which he was rehabbing, is 100 percent.
“[The ankle is] a little stiff, but good,” Chamberlain said.
Alex Rodriguez’s leadoff homer in the fifth inning pushed him into fifth place on the all-time list at 631. Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660) are ahead of Rodriguez, who will earn $6 million for catching each of the sluggers ahead of him and another $6 million if he passes Bonds to set the all-time record. … Derek Jeter’s second-inning, two-out single off third baseman Kevin Youkilis’ glove was the Yankees captain’s 3,111th career hit and moved him past boyhood idol Dave Winfield into 18th place on the all-time list. Tony Gwynn is next at 3,141.
Girardi knows Nunez has made two errors in 10 games playing the infield, but is encouraged he is improving over a year ago.
“Last year at times one error turned into two and we haven’t seen that,’’ Girardi said of Nunez, who made 20 errors last season.
“I see improvement because he hasn’t compounded those errors. It’s our job to clean up the rest of it. This kid can help us, he can play a lot of different positions.’’
Girardi is carrying 13 pitchers after adding reliever Cody Eppley to the staff when Gardner went on the DL on Wednesday.
“It’s possible we could stay with it through Texas [a three-game series which ends Wednesday]. It’s possible we could stay through it until Gardy gets back,’’ Girardi said. “We will play it day by day.’’
Michael Pineda is scheduled to throw two innings Saturday in an extended spring training game.
This is the first of what likely will be five or six rehab starts if Pineda’s shoulder problem doesn’t resurface.
Andy Pettitte made his third minor league start in the extended spring program against the Pirates in Tampa. In five innings, he allowed two runs, four hits, didn’t walk anybody and struck out five.
Girardi wore a wristband supporting the Will-To-Live Foundation (www.will-to-live.org), which works to prevent teen suicide. John Trautwein, a teammate of Girardi’s at Northwestern, co-founded the organization. Trautwein’s son, Will, killed himself.
Additional reporting by the AP