Joe Girardi is going with a slightly different lineup tonight as you might have seen in the previous post. He decided to give Brett Gardner a seat on the bench with lefty Brian Duensing starting for the Twins and insert Andruw Jones in left in his place. Jones will hit eighth. And Derek Jeter, as planned, will bat leadoff against the lefty.
Girardi planned to sit Gardner or Granderson in this game and on Thursday when lefty Francisco Liriano starts the series finale. Gardner was off to just a 2-for-15 start with one walk at the top of the order, although Girardi said he wasn’t displeased with his at-bats in two of the last three games.
With Jones here as the righty-hitting fourth outfielder, Girardi said he will look at a number of different factors as to when to play him and sit Gardner or Granderson, including matchups.
“It’s a feel, but it’s calculated,” Girardi said.
Jones hit just .230 in 107 games last year with the White Sox, although he had 19 homers and 43 RBI. His average against lefties was .256. He said he’s hoping to be more consistent here and hit .270, .280 despite the sporadic use.
“I think last year I started really hot and went a week without playing and I started not feeling comfortable no more,” Jones said. “The average started dropping. But I think the power is still there. I hit a few home runs. … I think especially when you hit down in the bottom of the lineup, all those guys who get on base in the middle of the lineup, you have to go out there and produce and bring them in.”
Girardi had praise for how Russell Martin has done so far. And he said he wasn’t sure if he would use Joba Chamberlain in tonight’s game after his appearances in three of the first four games.