It seems some part of the lineup is always up for debate in spring training. In 2010, the Yankees were deciding what to do with Robinson Cano, ultimately deciding the time was right to bump Cano up to fifth in the order. In 2011, the question was at the top of the lineup, with the Yankees deciding — momentarily — to let Brett Gardner lead off and bat Derek Jeter second.
This year, most of the intrigue comes in the heart of the order.
Jeter and Curtis Granderson seem likely to return to the top two spots, Russell Martin and Gardner will probably see regular time at the bottom, and a few spots will certainly shuffle depending on matchups. But the bigger question facing Joe Girardi is what to do with Cano, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.
Late last season, Girardi showed a willingness to make a change. Having previously stuck with Teixeira, Rodriguez and Cano — hitting third, fourth and fifth — Girardi changed course at the very end of the regular season. His decision to swap Cano and Teixeira seemed to be an acknowledgement that Cano had emerged as the team’s best all-around hitter, while Teixeira had become more of an all-or-nothing slugger.
This winter, Girardi has been somewhat coy about his lineup intentions. He’s never been one to commit to something before absolutely necessary, but at the very least he’s seemed open to the idea of keeping Cano in the No. 3 spot. It could be a platoon situation, different against lefties than against righties, but it’s certainly possible — if not likely — we could see Cano becoming an even more prominent part of this lineup than before.
Associated Press photo