SF@NYY: Mo retires Sanchez to seal the Yanks' victory

NEW YORK -- It's not often teams wear a patch to honor an active player, but that's what the Yankees will do during their final four home games this season.

Beginning with Sunday's game against the Giants, the Yankees will wear "Mariano Rivera Final Season" patches on the left sleeves of their jerseys and on their caps. They will also wear the patches during their three-game series with the Rays that will run Tuesday through Thursday.

The Yankees players haven't seen the patches yet, but they'll get a nice surprise on Sunday when they see the new uniforms hanging in their lockers.

The patch features a photo of Rivera jogging out of the bullpen, showing the No. 42 on his back. It also has his name and the years he's been in the big leagues (1995-2013) embroidered on it.

The first day of the Yankees wearing the patches coincides with Sunday's pregame ceremony to honor Rivera, who will retire at the end of the season. The club hasn't revealed much about the events of the pregame ceremony, but it has said that Monument Park will be closed to fans on Sunday and requested that fans be in their seats by no later than 12:30 p.m. ET for the 1:05 p.m. game.

Rivera said he doesn't know what the Yankees have planned for him on Sunday.

"I can't tell you anything about tomorrow," Rivera said. "After tomorrow, we talk about it. But right now, I don't know how it's going to be."

Sunday will also mark Andy Pettitte's final start in Yankee Stadium. The veteran left-hander announced on Friday that he would also retire at the end of the season, marking something of an end of an era for the Yankees.

"It's the end of us, yes," Rivera said. "It happens. You should know that this is not forever. The time will come, and that time has arrived. You have to embrace it and move on."

"These are two tremendous Yankees that have meant so much to this organization. Unfortunately, this game comes to an end for all of us," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's hard to see guys go, but I've always talked about how the reality really doesn't set in until you don't see them in uniform. I think tomorrow will be extremely special for both of them, and I'm looking forward to it."

Although cleared, Romine's season could be over

NYY@BAL: Romine exits the game after foul to mask

NEW YORK -- Austin Romine has been medically cleared to play, but manager Joe Girardi said on Saturday that there's a chance the catcher won't play again this season.

Romine has been sidelined since Sept. 10 with a concussion he suffered after being hit with a foul ball in a game against the Orioles. The catcher passed the ImPACT concussion test on Sept. 13, but he still hasn't been able to play in a game.

"After he exercises a little bit, he's still not 100 percent," Girardi said. "I don't know if he'll play the rest of the year. I'm not real sure."

Girardi penciled Romine into the Yankees' lineup on Tuesday, but he was scratched because he was still feeling post-concussion symptoms.

Outfielder Brett Gardner could also miss the rest of the season. Gardner has been shut down since suffering a left oblique strain on Sept. 13. Girardi said Gardner could begin doing light exercises soon, but he isn't doing much right now.

Last Sunday, Gardner said there might not be enough time remaining in the season for him to get healthy to return to the lineup.

Girardi hopes A-Rod can return to hot corner

SF@NYY: A-Rod becomes all-time MLB grand slam leader

NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi is hoping he'll be able to pencil Alex Rodriguez in at third base sometime soon, but the Yankees manager still isn't sure when that might happen.

Rodriguez, who was the Yankees' designated hitter on Saturday, has been limited to the DH role for 10 consecutive games since leaving a Sept. 11 game with left hamstring tightness and leaving Sunday's game with a tight right calf.

"I've just kind of been taking it day by day, series by series. I'm thinking that we'll get through this weekend and see where we are," Girardi said. "Hopefully he's available to us. If he's not, I'll just continue to do what we're doing."

Girardi said after Friday's game that Rodriguez looked like he was running "more freely," while Rodriguez said that his legs were feeling better and hopes he can play third base again soon.

"I'll have a conversation here with Joe hopefully in the next day or two," Rodriguez said. "I can get out there and make our lineup a little bit deeper."

Girardi said being able to put Rodriguez back at third base would give him more flexibility in putting together the lineup, because he could give other players a day at DH. Girardi also said he likes the experience Rodriguez brings to the position.

Mark Reynolds and Eduardo Nunez have been splitting time at third base while Rodriguez has been limited to DH duties.

Bombers bits

• Girardi said the Yankees have discussed keeping CC Sabathia on normal rest for his next start. Since they are off Monday, that would allow the club to start Hiroki Kuroda, Sabathia and Ivan Nova against the Rays next week.

If the Yankees do that, Phil Hughes' turn in the rotation would be skipped.

• With left-handed-hitting first baseman Lyle Overbay batting just .167 this month, Girardi started Reynolds at first against Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong.

• On this day in Yankees history, the Yankees played their final game in Old Yankee Stadium, beating the Orioles, 7-3, on Sept. 21, 2008.