At this point, we all know how Joe Girardi rules out nothing and guarantees even less. It’s who he is as a manager in the spotlight.
Today, he’s using a lineup that might very well be his Opening Day lineup. His nine regulars are at their expected positions, and the order is pretty much the same as late last season.
“There are just some different ideas we’ve talked about,” Girardi said. “Most of (the lineup spots) are pretty set, they are. We might just do some different things here in the next two weeks as they start to play together a little bit, just to see how it looks.”
But ultimately, won’t this be the lineup on March 31?
“I anticipate seeing Verlander, and I anticipate seeing those nine guys in the lineup,” Girardi said.
But will they be in that order?
If I had to guess, I’d say this is the exact lineup you’ll see at Yankee Stadium for the opener.
• As much as he commits to anything, Girardi committed to keeping his 3, 4, 5 hitters the same. “I don’t have any changes that I plan on making (to that part of the lineup),” Girardi said. “Three, four, five has been pretty consistent for us.”
• Girardi said he expects his lineup to be different against lefties, but he already has Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner at the bottom of this vsRHP lineup. The change, it seems, will involved Andruw Jones. “We signed him to play him against lefties, but obviously you have to see how guys are doing,” Girardi siad. “If someone is swinging a great stick, you might not take him out.”
• Joba Chamberlain’s MRI showed an oblique strain, but Chamberlain said he feels no pain and can move just fine. “He feels good, so he’ll play catch tomorrow and we’ll go from there,” Girardi said.
• If this were the regular season, Chamberlain would probably land on the disabled list only because the Yankees wouldn’t be able to carry a short-handed bullpen for five to seven days. It doesn’t sound like an injury that should take 15 days.
• Girardi said he might have a rotation order for Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett by today, but he said he’s not ready to make his second-game starter public yet.
• Ivan Nova needs to bounce back from a short start his last time out. “He threw a lot of pitches in three innings,” Girardi said. “It think he threw 62, and he needs to be more efficient than that. He was up in the zone, he needs to be down in the zone.”
• Nova is cleared for 75 to 80 pitches, probably about five innings if things go well.
• Sergio Mitre has a side today. If that goes well, he could be cleared to pitch in a game soon.
• A.J. Burnett, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Andrew Brackman, Freddy Garcia and Pedro Feliciano also threw sides today.
• Out of the bullpen: Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Mark Prior, Dave Robertson, Ryan Pope, Eric Wordekemper, Steve Garrison and Romulo Sanchez. Everyone after Robertson is probably a backup.
• Off the bench: C Jesus Montero, 1B Eric Chavez, 2B Doug Bernier, SS Ramiro Pena, 3B Ronnie Belliard, LF Eduardo Nunez, CF Justin Maxwell, RF Jordan Parraz and DH Andruw Jones.
Associated Press photos