Brett Gardner was in the lineup even before he took batting practice this morning. Based on conversations with Gardner and the training staff, Joe Girardi felt confident he could pencil Gardner’s name into left field.
“He could go out and take BP and just say, ‘You know what, it’s not right,’” Girardi said. “But the trainer and Gardy both though he’d be able to play today, and that’s why he’s in there. We have a Plan B.”
As Sweeny Murti pointed out during Girardi’s pregame media session, this is a product of Gardner’s style of play. He’s an aggressive player. He slides head first. He sees enough pitches that he’s eventually going to get hit by a few. He dives for balls in the outfield. He’s going to be banged up from time to time.
“He’s going to play hurt,” Girardi said. “In L.A. he was playing somewhat nicked up. He got spiked Wednesday in Arizona, and he had a little swelling in his hand, but it didn’t seem to affect him and he kept playing. Guys that steal a lot of bases, that are on their stomachs a lot head first, are going to get nicked up. There’s no doubt about it, but he’s tough… I don’t want to take that style away from him because that’s what makes him who he is.”
• After losing two in a row and seeing this Seattle offense actually find something of a groove, it’s good for the Yankees to have their ace on the mound this afternoon. “Our home stand hasn’t gotten off the way we wanted it to,” Girardi said. “We’ve been shutdown a little bit the past couple of days, so CC could be really helpful in this situation, the way he’s pitching.”
• Sabathia didn’t win any of his last five starts in May, then went 5-0 in June. “I just see his command better,” Girardi said. “Some of the balls that we expect to sink or fade – his changeup – aren’t cutting. His command has been better is the biggest difference. It was different this year. April was good and May was a struggle.”
• Girardi talked to Alex Rodriguez on Saturday in Los Angeles and brought up the possibility of using today as a DH day.
• Mark Feinsand is reporting that the Dustin Moseley call-up will come tomorrow. As I wrote a couple of days ago, the sense in Scranton was that the Yankees were waiting to make a decision on what to do with Moseley as his opt-out approached.
• Girardi is starting to finalize his all-star decisions, including meetings with league officials who have given him a good idea of who will be voted in. “With some of these day games, some of my nights might be spent looking at numbers,” he said.
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chone Figgins 2B
Milton Bradley DH
Jose Lopez 3B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Josh Wilson SS
Josh Bard C
Michael Saunders LF
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith
UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.: Gutierrez is scratched from the Mariners lineup because of flu-like symptoms. Wilson will move up to sixth in the lineup and Ryan Langerhans will bat seventh, playing left field. Saunders moves from left to center.
Associated Press photos of Gardner from last week and Javy Vazquez from last night’s game.