Although we never saw it spring training, Joe Girardi said he’s been considering this as his regular lineup against left-handed starters. He likes Nick Swisher’s on-base percentage at the top, Curtis Granderson’s power in the middle and Eduardo Nunez’s bat and speed at the bottom.
“Swish has had so much success, you look over the last two years, against left-handers getting on base,” Girardi said. “Grandy had a great year off lefties as well, but Swish has probably been on base against lefties more than any player we have, so I thought about flip-flopping them. Grandy has been extremely productive against left-handers, so get some guys on and maybe Grandy pops one.”
Girardi said he might change depending on how guys are playing, but right now, Swisher second and Granderson sixth “makes sense to us” against lefties.
As for giving Derek Jeter a DH day, Girardi has said since spring training that he likes the idea of resting Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and starting Nunez against left-handers. Today just happens to be Jeter who’s at DH. Girardi said there will be times when it’s not this exact same group — he plans to play Brett Gardner against lefties occasionally — but for now, this seems to be the regular vLHP lineup.
“Nuney played extremely well last year,” Girardi said. “We like what he’s done in spring training. He provides speed as well in our lineup, so it gives us some options. Maybe you don’t have to play certain guys as much as you would normally have to.”
• Because it’s early and the Yankees are on turf, Rodriguez might get a day off tomorrow — or a DH day — with Eric Chavez stepping into the starting lineup at third base. Girardi didn’t say that will definitely happen, but it’s a day game after a night game on a less forgiving surface, so it’s a possibility.
• Girardi is still deciding whether to start Chris Stewart Sunday or Monday. Stewart has caught both Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova in the minors, and he caught their bullpens the past couple of days. Sounds like whether Stewart starts Sunday or Monday depends entirely on how Russell Martin feels after tonight’s game.
• Michael Pineda is scheduled to do long toss tomorrow, then he’ll do it again either Monday or Tuesday (Girardi wasn’t sure which). Pineda will stay behind when the Yankees leave for Baltimore.
• Girardi didn’t want to use Boone Logan yesterday — just giving him an extra day, he said — but he expects Logan to be available tonight. Logan said he could have pitched yesterday.
• You might have noticed the extreme shift on Granderson yesterday. He didn’t see it a lot last season, but Granderson said he remembered seeing it against the Rays, Orioles and White Sox. “You’ve got to go up there and stick with your same approach and plan,” Granderson said. “If you get a pitch to go the other way, you do it. If not, you’ve got to go ahead and try to hit it hard.”
• The Rays took off the shift when Granderson was facing a left-hander, so they might not use it against him tonight. Granderson said he’s seen the shift more often against guys like James Shields who throw a lot of offspeed pitches.
• Last night was the first time Girardi ever used a five-man infield, thought it’s something he’s thought about in the past.
Associated Press photos