Rodriguez returned to the lineup for Monday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles, and Girardi said Vazquez's next start has been pushed back to next Monday at Detroit to give him more time to find a way to snap out of his funk.
"We're just going to move him back a few days," Girardi said, "give him a couple bullpen sessions, see where we're at. ... He wants to get back out there and pitch, and that's how I would expect him to be. But I just thought he could use a little time to catch his breath."
Vazquez, who was in line to start Friday night at Boston, was acquired from the Atlanta Braves over the winter to strengthen the rotation. But the right-hander is off to a rough start in his second stint with New York.
Vazquez allowed five runs and seven hits over three-plus innings in Saturday's 7-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox, falling to 1-3 with a 9.78 ERA in five outings this year. His location and velocity has been inconsistent, but Girardi said he believes Vazquez is healthy.
The change removes Vazquez from the glare of a game against the Red Sox and gives Andy Pettitte an extra day of rest. The 37-year-old lefty is scheduled to pitch Wednesday in the series finale against the Orioles and Tuesday against the Tigers.
"At some point you've got to do something a little bit different when you've had I think it's five starts, and he's struggled," Girardi said. "The off day [Thursday] allowed us to do this."
Rodriguez said he experienced a little cramping in his right leg before he was lifted for a pinch runner in the ninth inning of Saturday's game. He stayed in the dugout during New York's 12-3 victory over the White Sox on Sunday and insisted Monday that he's fine.
"Everything feels good," said Rodriguez, who singled and scored in New York's 4-1 victory over Baltimore.
Girardi first said Rodriguez just needed a day off after playing in New York's first 23 games. After general manager Brian Cashman indicated Rodriguez felt something in his leg, Girardi said the three-time AL MVP was "a little bit stiff" but maintained he wasn't injured.
While Rodriguez returned Monday night, closer Mariano Rivera was sidelined with stiffness in his left side and catcher Jorge Posada departed before the sixth inning with a mild right calf strain. Both players are day to day.
Vazquez is coming off a solid year with the Braves, when he went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA. He has won at least 10 games and made at least 32 starts in each of the last 10 seasons.
"He's clearly better than this and he knows that, too," Cashman said.