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Pregame notes: “Guys are going to hit better against left handers”

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The Yankees are very nearly the worst lineup in baseball against left-handed pitching. As a team, the Yankees have hit .190/.262/.299 against lefties, good for an OPS of .561 that’s better than only the Pirates and Phillies.

By comparison, the Yankees are hitting .301/.366/.536 against right-handers. They’re the only team in baseball with an OPS better than .900 against righties.

“We haven’t seen that many lefties,” Joe Girardi said. “I still think it’s a small sample. We’ve had some people out of the lineup too, which is a problem, but I think our guys are going to hit better against left-handers. Some of the right-handers I think are going to hit better against the left-handers.”

The Yankees have only one right-handed hitter who’s hitting better than .211 against lefties. Vernon Wells is raking against them — .333/.379/.630 — but all of the other right-handers, including injured Kevin Youkilis, have been pretty awful. Brett Gardner has actually hit pretty well against them, and Robinson Cano has two homers against lefties, but the rest of the lineup is seriously depleted because of injuries. On days like this — with David Price on the mound and Youkilis still bothered by a sore back — the Yankees especially miss Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira.

“You feel it a lot,” Girardi said. “You definitely feel it a lot because of what they’ve done against left-handers in their careers. A leadoff hitter and a middle-of-the-order hitter, you’ve got those two guys out, that’s something substantial.”

Girardi said he’s considered using Travis Hafner as a designated hitter against lefties, but the Yankees planned to play Hafner only against right-handers at least partially to keep him healthy. For now, the vLHP DH job still belongs to Ben Francisco.

“I think he’s hit some balls pretty decent,” Girardi said. “We’re going to stick with him. That’s why we brought him here, so we feel that he’s going to get it done. He didn’t get to play a lot in the beginning because we faced a bunch of right-handers. He’ll get it done.”

[3]• Mark Teixeira said he has not yet progressed to tee and toss because his wrist is taking a while to get really loose. After weeks of inactivity, Teixeira doesn’t feel pain in the wrist, he just needs to regain range of motion and flexibility. “It’s not loosened up enough to be letting it go,” Teixeira said. “So we’re going to keep doing dry swings until it loosens up. Being immobile for a month, your wrist and your hand really tighten up.”

• Girardi said Youkilis probably won’t play again until Thursday. He’s seen a doctor but hasn’t gone for real tests and there are no tests planned. “He’s better today than yesterday after it tightened up again,” Girardi said. “But if you put him out there again it’s probably going to do the same thing so we’ve got to try to clear it up.”

• It sounds likely that Brennan Boesch will play tomorrow and Vernon Wells will get the day off. Brett Gardner continues to play every day, but he said this afternoon that playing on the turf really doesn’t affect him. He still feels fine.

• Derek Jeter will join the team Thursday in New York. Girardi said he’s pretty sure, but not certain, that Jeter is back in a walking boot.

• Andy Pettitte is still on track to make tomorrow’s start. “I’ve heard enough about backs the past week,” Girardi said. “I hope (his back problem is finished). He’s had no complaints. I think he’s back on his pretty normal routine.”

• Curious minor league note from my friend Donnie Collins: Tonight, Corban Joseph is playing first base [4]for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Joseph has never played there, and the Triple-A team actually has a ton of first basemen as it is.

Associated Press photos