Joe Girardi is hesitant to announce decisions before he has to, and he’s slow to rule out options until they’re obviously off the table. It might drive us writers crazy, but for a man in his position, it makes good sense. Today, he committed to one decision while leaving another option open.
Asked if Johnny Damon would be the starting left fielder tomorrow, Girardi said, “Yes.”
Asked if it was out of the question that Hideki Matsui might play the field, he didn’t exactly say one way or the other. “I’m going to look at somet thing today, watch a little bit, see how he moves around and see if we think that it’s physically possible for him to do it,” Girardi said.
Thing is, if Damon’s starting in left field, Matsui will clearly be the top pinch hitter off the bench. Girardi said “you don’t want to lose (Matsui’s) bat,” but pinch hitting Matsui and leaving him in the lineup to play left, takes Damon’s bat out of the lineup, which the Yankees don’t want to do either.
My personal opinion: I don’t see it happening. Putting Matsui in the field would be a very late, must-do scenario, and by that time it’s likely that Matsui will have already had his pinch hitting opportunity. Like Girardi, I wouldn’t rule it out, but it seems unlikely.
“At times, DHs have went to the field and a lot of times DHs were previously position players that you could put out at a position,” Girardi said. “You know, our club is not necessarily built to come to this ballpark, but our club is able to handle it.”