While Brett Gardner is shutdown with a sore elbow, the Yankees will essentially platoon in left field, with Raul Ibanez playing the outfield against right-handers and Andruw Jones going out there against lefties. Joe Girardi said that, for now, he’s comfortable with a 13-man pitching staff and a three-man bench.
“Without Gardy being here, the one guy that we probably have to pay the closest attention to is Granderson, because we don’t necessarily have a true center fielder besides Curtis,” Girardi said. “We’re going to have to check with him as much as we can.”
The backup center fielder is either Jones or Eduardo Nunez. Girardi has told Nunez to take fly balls in center field, but Girardi also said Jones is still physically capable of playing center field. Obviously he’s not the defensive player he used to be, but the Yankees believe he could go out there if Granderson were unable to play. As for giving Nunez a start in the outfield, Girardi said it’s possible, but for now he’s happy with the Ibanez/Jones platoon in left field.
Girardi said he might keep a 13-man pitching staff through Texas, and might even keep it until Gardner comes off the DL.
“I’m pretty comfortable right now with it, but my mood could change in a day or two,” Girardi said. “When I talked to Brian (Cashman), my thought was that we needed a 13th pitcher more than another outfielder.”
• Andy Pettitte’s minor league start has been moved to extended spring training because of rain in Daytona. Pettitte went four innings last time.
• Nunez made yet another error yesterday, and Girardi said it was all because he didn’t get his feet set properly. The Yankees have no plans of pulling Nunez out of his semi-regular role. Girardi said Nunez has done a better job correcting and adjusting this season. “At times, we would see one turn into two (last year), and we have not seen that this year,” Girardi said. “So you could say, he’s made a couple of errors but at times we would see one turn into two and it would turn into a couple of days in a row and that was a concern but we seemed to get him through that and we’ll get him through this other thing, I believe.”
• Girardi on what might lead him to put Nunez in center field ahead of Jones: “Let’s say Andruw’s DH-ing, you know? You don’t necessarily want to lose your DH in a sense, so you have to pick what you’re going to do.”
• Russell Martin’s slash line through 30 at-bats is .133/.395/.133, obviously an indication that he’s staying patient but not hitting. Girardi said today that Martin’s stride has been too long, but the Yankees believe they’ve corrected the problem the past few days. “Mechanically I think he was a little off for about the first 10 games,” Girardi said. “We seem to have cleaned it up a little bit the last day or so. I thought his at-bats were better yesterday even though he hasn’t gotten the base hits.”
• Off to an unthinkably bad start, former Yankees reliever Mark Melancon has been optioned to Triple-A by the Red Sox.
• As you probably know, the Red Sox have planned a pregame ceremony to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first game ever played at Fenway. Composer John Williams will conduct the Boston Pops for a composition Williams wrote for the occasion, all living former Red Sox have been invited and the 3:15 start time is the exact same as the start time for the first game ever player here. “I don’t think you can really pick one (Fenway memory),” Derek Jeter said. “We’ve had regular season games, postseason games, All-Star Game. There’s a lot of special moments. It’s kind of tough just to narrow it down to one individual game. But I’ve always enjoyed coming here.”
Associated Press photos