Each spring, Joe Girardi makes out his lineups several days ahead of time. He maps out who will play where, who’s going to get at-bats and when players will take time off. Yesterday, he made some adjustments.
Juan Rivera is at first base today. Girardi said he’s pretty sure Dan Johnson will play first tomorrow. Those two were primarily looked at as an outfielder and a potential third baseman when camp opened. Now the Yankees need to find out whether either one can help fill in for Mark Teixiera.
“You don’t replace guys like Alex and Tex and Grandy,” Girardi said. “But you’ve still got to figure out a way to get it done and win games with the guys you have.”
Girardi said he might put Kevin Youkilis at first base a few times this spring, but that was going to happen anyway (Girardi expected Youkilis to be the primary backup at first base this season). The in-house guys who are getting a real look at the position are Rivera and Johnson. Girardi said there’s no one else really in the conversation. There’s still a chance Youkilis could shift to first and leave room for a replacement at third, but in terms of getting a look at a new first baseman, Rivera and Johnson are the options.
“I’ll let this play out a week or two probably and see,” Girardi said. “I might throw (Youkilis) there one day. I don’t think he’s forgotten how to play first. … If it’s easier to put a guy at first and leave Youk at third, we’ll do that. Could it be a combination? Yeah, it could be a combination. (Youkilis) could play both.”
An impact bat via trade or waiver claim? Doesn’t seem likely given Brian Cashman’s comments yesterday.
“I know Brian talked about, you can’t go out and do too much,” Girardi said. “Then, what do you do after a month when Tex comes back? I think whatever you do, you have to be careful. For me, my job is to look from within because that’s what I know we have. So that’s what I’ll do.”
• Although Girardi didn’t completely rule out the idea of Eduardo Nunez playing third base — “We’ll have to re-think it,” he said — as of this moment, Girardi has no plans of giving Nunez any turns at third base this spring. For the time being, Nunez remains strictly a shortstop and DH. “I think part of that depends on Derek too, where we see Derek is in the next two weeks,” Girardi said. “Where’s he at and how much do you think you’re going to need Nuney? I believe he’s going to be ready to go, but until I can actually say that for sure, you have to prepare for it.”
• Speaking of Jeter, Girardi said he doesn’t think Jeter is doing anything different today. Not going to run the bases at full speed, or anything.
• Girardi said Jayson Nix will play some third this spring, but Girardi doesn’t really need to see him there. He knows Nix at third is viable defensive option.
• Mariano Rivera is flying back from New York today.
• Dave Robertson stayed behind in Tampa. “I’m not going to rush him,” Girardi said. “I don’t know how he feels today. I haven’t talked to Stevie about that. Hopefully he played catch.”
• No minor leaguers were brought up from the complex for this trip. It’s only the guys on the bus who will play today. That said, I didn’t see a list of backups or scheduled relievers posted, so I don’t have those assignments today. Looks like some of these guys, especially the infielders, might play the whole game.
• One out-of-the-box suggestion for first base: A big left-handed target named CC Sabathia. “Don’t give him any ideas,” Girardi said. “Anything to get his bat in the lineup, he’d say.”
Associated Press photos