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Tuesday morning notes: Jeter at DH on Opening Day?

Posted By Chad Jennings On March 19, 2013 @ 10:12 am In Misc | 248 Comments

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The video above is quick a few-days-late introduction to new outfielder Brennan Boesch.

This afternoon, Boesch is batting sixth in the Yankees lineup. Why does that matter? Because it’s a lineup that could be pretty close to an actual option for Opening Day (put Robinson Cano third, drop Corban Joseph and find a new spot for Ichiro Suzuki). If this were a normal spring training, this might be the time the Yankees started using their real lineup from time to time. But in this camp — even this late in spring training — any lineup speculation still requires significant guess work.

Today’s lineup could be close to an Opening Day lineup. Or it could be completely different.

“This is not a camp where you know the nine guys who are going to be starters on Opening Day,” Joe Girardi said. “You just don’t know, so I think this year you’ve got to do it a little different.”

Today’s lineup has Ronnier Mustelier at third, but he might not make the team. It doesn’t have Juan Rivera, who might be a regular at first base. It has Derek Jeter at shortstop, which still isn’t a lock. It has Travis Hafner at DH, who absolutely won’t play on Opening Day if the Red Sox start lefty Jon Lester. Girardi mentioned the possibility that Jeter could DH for the opener if Boston starts a lefty.

Jeter at DH on Opening Day. That’s how uncertain the lineup is with two weeks to go.

“Could be Jeter,” Girardi said. “Could be Nunez. Could be a lot of different people. Could be one of our right-handed hitting outfielders. … I’d like to have (Jeter) at shortstop on Opening Day, but if we collectively feel he could use a few more days, we’ll wait. But as I’ve said all along, we just kind of have to play it by ear.”

How would Jeter feel about being at DH on Opening Day?

“I could play short, too,” he said. “I could play center field. I could catch. I could pitch. … My job is to get ready to play. I think DH’d the second game last year. First of all, we’re not there, so it’s really not even a discussion topic right now.”

[2]• Speaking of Opening Day, we know CC Sabathia will be the Yankees starter on Opening Day, and we know Chris Stewart primarily caught Sabathia last season. But Girardi said Stewart will “not necessarily” be paired with Sabathia this season. Girardi mentioned the fact that Francisco Cervelli often caught Sabathia two years ago. Girardi said he’s still not sure how he’ll split playing time between Cervelli and Stewart. Girardi clarified that, despite specuation, he has not settled on Cervelli as his regular catcher.

• Boone Logan has been added to the travel roster. Looks like he’ll pitch in a real game today rather than his previously scheduled simulated game. That’s obviously a good sign for him being ready on Opening Day. This will be his spring debut.

• Today’s starter is Adam Warren, who’s technically already optioned to Triple-A. But Girardi said it’s entirely possible the Yankees will carry Warren if Phil Hughes isn’t ready to start the season. In that scenario, both Ivan Nova and David Phelps would be in the rotation, and Warren would seem to be the favorite to be a long man.

• Along those lines — and this probably goes without saying — but Girardi said he’s “somewhat” assuming that the loser of the fifth starter competition will go into the bullpen once Hughes is healthy. There are no plans of optioning either Nova or Phelps to Triple-A to keep them stretched out.

• After the WBC championship game, Robinson Cano is expected back in Yankees camp on Thursday but he probably won’t play until Friday.

• Ivan Nova, David Phelps, Matt Tracy and Hiroki Kuroda threw sides today. Shawn Kelley threw a sim game, facing Corban Joseph and Melky Mesa.

Today’s second string: C Bobby Wilson, 1B Dan Johnson, 2B Walter Ibarra, SS Gil Velazquez, 3B Addison Maruszak, LF Ben Francisco, CF Melky Mesa, RF Thomas Neal

Up from minor league camp: RHP Chase Whitley, RHP Ryan Pope, RHP Graham Stoneburner, C Kyle Higashioka, INF Casey Stevenson, OF Ramon Flores

Associated Press photo

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