Remember all that talk about the Yankees bunting more often? Scratch that.
“That’s not really our approach,” Joe Girardi said. “We’re not the Bronx Bunters, and we really never have been. The one thing you can concentrate on is really good at-bats and making sure you grind out your at-bats. If you have to move a runner over, make sure you hit the ball to the other side or pull it or try to drive the ball. Take the extra base when you can. We’re not going to change our philosophy.”
Girardi basically dismissed everything Kevin Long said last night. Girardi said he has no plans of changing his team’s offensive approach. The isn’t designed for small ball. Most of the hitters have very rarely been asked to bunt in their careers. And they aren’t going to get their swings back by trying to do something different.
“If you have a club that has a lot of speed and you have a lot of hit-and-run candidates, you might do that,” Girardi said. “That’s not something that we’re really built on. I’m not going to ask our guys to change who they are. You can’t do that. I can’t make our guys world-class sprinters all of a sudden. That’s not going to happen. We need to hit and we know that.”
Last night, Long mentioned a situation with runners at first and second with no outs in the second inning, suggesting the Yankees might have Nick Swisher bunt in that spot. Girardi disagreed.
“I think about moving them by Swish getting a hit or by putting a good at-bat or walking again like he did the time before,” Girardi said. “That’s how, to me, because Swish is not a guy that bunts. … There are times that I do play for one run. You’ve seen us bunt before, but I’m not going to put Robbie Cano up there with a runner on second and nobody out and say, ‘Robbie, put down a bunt.’ It just doesn’t make sense. You think about the hitters we have in our lineup, I’ve got a bunch of (guys who) during their careers have been 3s and 4s. They have not bunted.”
For Girardi, the bottom line is this: “Just because you go through a tough time, doesn’t mean you change your philosophy,” he said. “… Then you’re asking our guys to do something they’re not accustomed to doing, and they’re never going to get their swing back if we bunt 10 times tonight. That’s not going to happen.”
• The Yankees had a team meeting just before they left the clubhouse for stretch and batting practice. It lasted roughly 20 minutes, and when it was over, the players came back into the clubhouse laughing and smiling. “Just wanted to talk about some of the things we’re going through. The importance of, you go through it, you’ve been through it, we’ll come out of it.”
• Depending on how guys feel after batting practice, Girardi said he might change the lineup so that Robinson Cano plays second base, Jayson Nix starts at third and Alex Rodriguez moves to designated hitter.
• Andy Pettitte was encouraged by a 15-16 pitch sim game this afternoon. He said his command was sharp, and the intensity was amped up based on how good Pettitte felt. He was supposed to throw batting practice — letting hitters know what’s coming — but he instead had simulated at-bats. “I felt like I threw the ball well,” he said. “I felt like I was pushing off full. I almost tried to make it like a game, so it was a good day.”
• Pettitte will throw another sim game in Baltimore this weekend, but the Yankees aren’t sure when he could be in a game. Girardi said he’d like to have Pettitte up to 60 pitches before he’s activated. Pettitte will return as a starter. Girardi said the Yankees won’t use Pettitte as a reliever just so they can get him back more quickly.
• One big concern for Pettitte: He hasn’t been cleared to run yet. That bothers him because it’s such a large part of his workout routine, and he needs to run so that he can start covering bases and making plays off the mound.
• Mark Teixeira is going to try to run tomorrow. “I wouldn’t call it a sprint, though,” Girardi said. Teixeira needs to sprint before he plays. Sounds like Saturday is the earliest he could be back.
• More positive news on Ivan Nova, who felt fine after yesterday’s live batting practice. “He felt good today,” Girardi said. “We’re going to have to talk about that internally, what we’re going to do with him next, but I was very pleased that he came out feeling good today because that’s always your concern. And I felt like all his arm strength was there yesterday.”
Associated Press photos