Ninth game of the season and we finally have our first major lineup change. For the most part, the Yankees have kept the same batting order this season, making minor tweaks depending on whether they’re facing a left-handed or a right-handed starting pitcher. Today, with lefty Scott Kazmir pitching for the Angels, Brett Gardner and Nick Johnson are out of the lineup and Randy Winn is making his first start.
“You want to keep all of your players active, and I thought today was a good way to do it,” Girardi said. “(Kazmir) can be tough on lefties, though. There’s no doubt about that.”
Winn is used to being an everyday player, but he’s moved into a bench role with the Yankees. He said the most difficult thing about taking so much time off is getting used to the timing and the speed of the game. It’s been eight-plus years since he played a bench role, but Winn said he remembers how to keep himself sharp.
He also said not to expect much when he gets his first Roll Call this afternoon.
“Probably in line with my personality, it’s going to be nothing spectacular,” he said. “It will not be anything like Swish does. I can assure you that.”
Here’s Girardi’s pregame media session
• That’s an AP shot of Derek Jeter with Matt Ryan, Wayne Gretzky and Landon Donovan at a Gillette event yesterday.
• Every Yankee will be wearing No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson tonight. The Yankees clubhouse seemed to be lined with nothing but Mariano Rivera jerseys. Rivera himself said the number he always wore as a kid was No. 5, though he has no idea why. As for Rivera’s thoughts on Robinson: “What he went through and what he did,” Rivera said. “I don’t think I would have done it.”
• Girardi said Phil Hughes is not on any different pitch count than any of the Yankees other starters. He can got a little over 100 pitches at this point.
• Girardi also said Hughes’ next start does not depend on this one. He’s the fifth starter for the foreseeable future. “It’s not like we’re going to push the panic button if tonight doesn’t go OK,” Girardi said.
• After Alfredo Aceves pitched an inning and two-thirds yesterday, Girardi said he would rather not use Aceves tonight.
• As for bullpen roles, Girardi said he’s a little closer to having some defined spots, but “there are still some things we have to see.”
• To make room on the roster for Kazmir to come off the DL, the Angels designated OF Terry Evans for assignment.
The Angels also made some changes to their lineup for this series finale.
Erick Aybar SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Torii Hunter CF
Hideki Matsui DH
Kendry Morales 1B
Howie Kendrick 2B
Mike Napoli 2B
Brandon Wood 3B
Reggie Willits LF
LHP Scott Kazmir