I wouldn’t expect anything too drastic, but Joe Girardi said this afternoon that he’s been discussing different lineup ideas, and we might see some different looks this spring.
“We’ll continue to talk about our lineup and how guys fit in,” Girardi said. “Right now we don’t expect a ton of changes. We’ve talked about some things internally that we might try to do. I don’t really want to get into it, but we’re not really sure exactly how our lineup’s going to break… We might play around a little bit in spring training.”
Girardi specifically mentioned Curtis Granderson’s strong finish as something that he’s been considering while thinking about the lineup. Girardi has already said he’s leaning toward keeping Derek Jeter in the leadoff spot. Asked about the 3, 4, 5 hitters, Girardi didn’t commit to anything, but he did say that last season he never considered switching Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano, despite the fact Teixeira was struggling and Cano was thriving.
“No, I didn’t,” Girardi said. “I have to manage people over the long haul. You can’t manage short term, when it’s April and May. You just can’t do it. It’s a lot more than what he does for you today. There’s personality, the feelings, the confidence, how it affects your lineup. It’s a lot. Managing people is different than managing robots.”
• Speaking of his lineup, Girardi said he thinks Alex Rodriguez can still be a guy who hits .300 with 40 home runs. “That’s obviously a monster year, but I don’t think he’s past that point,” Girardi said. He also said Rodriguez might benefit from being more comfortable with his surgically repaired hip this season. “I would expect that this year there will be more of a confidence in that hip, in the way it feels, and that he’s beyond this and he can move freely,” Girardi said.
• At the opposite corner of the infield, Teixeira seems fully healthy, and although Girardi knows he might need someone else to play first occasionally, he said he doesn’t feel the need to give Teixeira significant time off. “It’s something that I’ll watch,” Girardi said. “He’s an everyday guy, but maybe if you get into a real long stretch, maybe you give him a day off.”
• Speaking of first base, last season the Yankees opened with Nick Johnson as a backup at the position. This year Girardi said the team will look at Eric Chavez and Ronnie Belliard as possible backup options at first. If neither makes the team, the Yankees could always give Nick Swisehr — and maybe even Jorge Posada — a little bit of time at first.
• Hector Noesi is expected to be ready to jump right into the Yankees throwing program tomorrow. “Noesi actually will be in uniform tomorrow and ready to throw, which is good to hear,” Girardi said.
• I wasn’t on the field to see batting practice, but Brett Gardner was once again listed in the second hitting group. He wasn’t in camp yesterday, but Gardner has been hitting with the veteran catchers most of the week.
• In the back of the Yankees clubhouse, Nick Swisher has a locker right next to his old Oakland teammate, Eric Chavez. Swisher said he’s expecting a bounce back year from Chavez, and Swisher promised Chavez that he’d love playing in New York.
• Yesterday morning, Phil Hughes walked into the clubhouse completely drenched in sweat. I thought he’d been out throwing a bullpen, and didn’t get a chance to talk to him before the clubhouse closed. He seriously looked like he’d just thrown 100 pitches in a row. Turned out, it was all cardio. His bullpen yesterday was almost exactly like his bullpen on Wednesday, two sets of roughly 20 pitches with a very small break in the middle.
• Mark Prior threw one of the early morning bullpens, which is usually a green light to be one of the first guys out of the complex. Instead, Prior was still here pretty late, including some training work on the back fields.
Associated Press photos: Rodriguez and Eduardo Nunez; Gardner and Kevin Long