Yesterday, Joe Girardi refused to officially recognize the obvious: That the Yankees are planning to active both Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis before tonight’s series opener against the Red Sox.
“I don’t like putting dates on it,” Girardi said. “If they’re here (on Friday), I’ll be happy. If they’re here the next day, I’ll be happy. When they get here, they’ll be here.”
Of course, Brian Cashman has made it clear that the Yankees expect to have their corner infielders back in the lineup tonight. And there’s little reason to think that plan has changed. It’s a significant moment for a team that’s been short on right-handed bats all season.
“You want to get your team back together,” Andy Pettitte said. “Youk was here early in the year, and Tex is a huge part of this club. He’s going to be here for a long time. To get him back and hopefully him not have any issues with that wrist, it’s important.”
Assuming things go as planned, Teixeira and Youkilis will bring two different kinds of impact.
Short term, the Yankees don’t have to do anything drastic with the roster. They’re carrying an extra pitcher, and Andy Pettitte is due to come off the disabled list on Monday, so the Yankees could get rid of two pitchers today. They could option Vidal Nuno — which is probably the easy choice — and then send one of Ivan Nova, Adam Warren, Preston Claiborne or Shawn Kelley to Triple-A. They’d still have a seven-man bullpen and could basically carry an extra hitter for a few days.
Eventually, though, the Yankees are going to have to choose a position player to take off the roster, and just two days ago on WFAN, Brian Cashman indicated that it won’t be the rookie third baseman.
“There’s a chance Adams stays here and fills a role,” Cashman said. “I think Adams has got a role here in the fact that, for me, we’re so anemic against left-handed pitching. … Adams is pretty safe right now.”
So if it’s not Adams, do the Yankees get rid of Reid Brignac and play without a backup shortstop, option Brennan Boesch and play without a fourth outfielder or cut Lyle Overbay and play without one of the season’s most pleasant surprises?
The Yankees are about to face, not only the Red Sox, but the Red Sox with back-to-back left-handed starters pitching tonight and tomorrow. The Yankees need right-handed bats, and they’re getting them. The timing couldn’t be much better.
Youkilis and Teixeira will surely take prominent spots in the lineup, and that should allow the Yankees to drop slumping Vernon Wells lower in the order (at least against right-handers). It would seem to also give the Yankees a chance to put Robinson Cano in the No. 3 hole, but Joe Girardi said that’s not necessarily in the cards.
“Your lineup against a right-hander could be different than your lineup against a left-hander,” Girardi said. “We could keep (Cano) in the two hole as well. The one thing about Robbie Cano is you want him to have as many at-bats as possible. That’s the bottom line. It’s very possible we could keep him there.”
Cashman floated the possibility of keeping Adams at third base against lefties, freeing Youkilis or Teixeira to DH on those days. That alignment would fill a glaring hole that’s existed all season (since the days of DH Ben Francisco).
Associated Press photo