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Surprise, surprise: Jeter in for Yanks, Pillar stays in for Blue Jays

TORONTO -- There will be a bit of a surprise in the lineup on both sides of the diamond today in Rogers Centre if you tune into the Yankees-Blue Jays game (1 p.m. on YES).

The first is that Derek Jeter is again playing for the Yankees, even though it's a day game after a night game. The Yankees have Monday off, plus Jacoby Ellsbury is out today after suffering an ankle injury last year. So Brett Gardner is leading off and Jeter is batting second. Jeter is down to the final 29 games of the season and is probably loathe to sit any more with his team fighting for a playoff berth. He gets honored here tomorrow so we'll see if he plays short or serves as a DH.

(Be sure to read Jeter's thoughts on his final series in Toronto in my story in today's editions)

As for the Blue Jays, Kevin Pillar is getting another start in center field even though manager John Gibbons said flu-ridden Colby Rasmus is fine and could play. It's Pillar's fourth straight start since getting the call from the Bisons and he's 4 for 12 in his first three. Pillar had two hits last night -- plus a diving, highlight-reel catch in center field.

I spoke to Pillar prior to yesterday's game about the spectacular finish to his season in Buffalo, and about his shaky relationship with manager John Gibbons that I wrote about earlier this month. Both Pillar and Gibbons say bygones are bygones and Gibbons' lineup decision certainly proves that.

"I was excited to get back and have that conversation with Gibby to clear the air from last time. It was all positive on his end," Pillar said. "I was definitely nervous going into it but he embraced me with a warm smile and took all the fear away from the start.

"I learned from my mistake and I'm thankful he's not the kind of guy that will hold a grudge. There are people in this game who will and I would have never seen this locker room again. We've both been able to move on and I'm looking for a fresh start."

Be sure to read more from Pillar in my Inside Baseball column in Sunday's editions of The News.


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