Sounds like Brett Gardner might stick in the lead-off spot after all.
One day after indicating Gardner’s move to the top of the lineup was temporary, Joe Girardi said this afternoon that he’s considering it as a long-term option against right-handed starters. He would be less likely to do it against lefties.
“If Gardy could hit up there it would be great,” Girardi said. “His on-base percentage against right-handers is tremendous. He creates problems for the defense.”
Girardi said this has something to do with splitting lefties — he seemed to be basing that on the fact he could pinch hit Marcus Thames for Colin Curtis should the A’s bring in a lefty reliever — but hitting Derek Jeter first and Gardner second would have the same impact. Instead, this seems to have more to do with Gardner’s production. We’re past the middle of the season, and Gardner’s still getting on base consistently.
“Gardy has been tremendous against right-handers,” Girardi said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
• Alfredo Aceves got another epidural today. He’ll stay in New York for a few days with a physical therapist, then head back to Tampa. The Yankees are still hoping to avoid surgery.
• Sergio Mitre threw two innings in a rehab outing in the Gulf Coast League. He faced five batters and struck out six.
• Why Colin Curtis in right and Nick Swisher at DH two days in a row? “Swish has DHed in his career, Colin Curtis probably hasn’t,” Girardi said. ‘You want to put him in a position where he’s comfortable.”
• Now that Andy Pettitte is on the all-star roster, Girardi said he already has another pitcher in mind to take CC Sabathia’s spot. “For me the next guy is Jered Weaver, an Angel who’s had a tremendous year,” Girardi said. Of course, Weaver is also supposed to pitch on Sunday, so that’ll probably be a ceremonial selection, kind of like the Sabathia choice.
• There was a lot of Robinson Cano discussion today. Cano said he wants to participate in the Home Run Derby because it’s a honor to be invited, and Alex Rodriguez said he would advise Cano to do it. “Why not?” Rodriguez said.
That said, both Kevin Long and Girardi said they have some concerns about Cano participating, and it has more to do with fatigue than concern that Cano might change his swing. Long said flat out he would rather Cano not participate. “This will be the first time I’m not going to root for Cano,” Long said. “Any time you have one of your guys going in there, there is a concern and I think it’s warranted too because of what’s happened in the past.”
Associated Press photos of Gardner and Cano.