When spring training opened, Joe Girardi said the Yankees No. 1 concern was “ironing out out lineup.” He needs to decide where all the pieces fit in the batting order, and that process begins with the No. 2 hitter.
Curtis Granderson batted second today, and Girardi said he’s pretty sure — he hasn’t double checked — that Nick Johnson will be batting second tomorrow.
“You want guys who hit in the second hole to get on, to set the table for the big guys who hit behind them,” Girardi said. “That’s the most important thing.”
Clearly the Yankees are going to give Granderson a look in the No. 2 hole, but if on-base percentage is the most important factor, then Johnson seems to be the heavy favorite. The No. 2 spot typically has a lot of speed as well, but that’s not a significant concern with Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez batting third and fourth.
“You’d like to have guys who can run,” Girardi said. “But because of the guys behind them, that becomes less important. You don’t have to be a flier.”
As for Granderson, he expects to move around the lineup and around the outfield this spring. No matter where he hits, Granderson knows he needs to improve his numbers against left-handed pitchers, and he said he now needs more at-bats against lefties to gauge his offseason progress.
“I’ve seen a lot of good No. 2 hitters,” Granderson said. “Placido Polanco was a great one in Detroit. I think one of the best things he did, he was a great situational hitter. Whether it be moving runners, advancing runners or getting on base for the guys behind him. I think that would be the goal for a really good No. 2 hitter. Will I be there? I really don’t know.”