Greetings, Brian Heyman here at Yankee Stadium covering the workout for tomorrow’s season opener against the Tigers.
Joe Girardi has made his call on the leadoff situation, and we really can’t say it’s unexpected. Actually, it makes good sense. Wonder what you think. He’s going with a platoon, Brett Gardner against righties and Derek Jeter against lefties. Girardi talked to Jeter today and told him that Gardner will be batting first with Tigers righty ace Justin Verlander going in the opener. Jeter predictably told reporters it didn’t matter to him, considering how much he has batted second over the years.
“It was something that we talked about, the job that (Gardner) did against right-handed pitching last year,” Girardi said. “He was second on our club in on-base percentage. … His ability to disrupt defenses, the pressure that he puts on a pitching staff, his ability to score runs – we thought it was a pretty good fit. We talked about Jete leading off against lefties, and our lineup will change a little bit. But we’ll have consistency for right-handers and left-handers.”
So here’s the lineup Girardi announced for Game 1:
3. Mark Teixeira
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Robinson Cano
6. Nick Swisher
7. Jorge Posada
9. Russell Martin
The question mark is because he was waiting to see how Curtis Granderson felt coming out of his minor-league game this afternoon in Florida. If his oblique is OK, as it was yesterday after he played, he’ll be in there.
Also, Luis Ayala has beaten out Steve Garrison for the final slot in the bullpen. The Yankees added Ayala to the 40-man roster. The move was necessitated by Pedro Feliciano’s sore triceps.
Otherwise, the chatter, beyond Phil Hughes taking over Andy Pettitte’s locker, was about the Yankees being in an underdog role behind the Red Sox. We’ll have more on that later this afternoon.