Here’s the Yankees Opening Day lineup from last year.
Brett Gardner CF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Vernon Wells RF
Ben Francisco DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix 3B
Francisco cervelli C
The only connection between that lineup and tomorrow’s lineup with be Gardner, who’s playing a new position and batting six spots lower. Weirdly, tomorrow’s Yankees lineup will have more in common with last year’s opposing Opening Day lineup (last year’s Red Sox, just like this year’s Yankees, had Jacoby Ellsbury playing center and leading off).
“Our goal was to try to attack every area of weakness (this offseason),” Brian Cashman said. “We had a good offensive balance last year, but we never had a chance to run it out there. If those guys didn’t get hurt, we would have been one of the top offensive teams in the game. But we lost everybody. … Outside of Brendan Ryan, we had a good spring (this year) and we’re healthy. Almost everybody performed well this spring. We’re in shape and it was a great spring. I feel as good as you can in terms of mission accomplished getting through spring training with what you wanted to get through. You saw what you wanted to see from most people.”
You can see in the video above that Girardi talked a little bit this afternoon about his new lineup, including the decision to move Gardner into the No. 7 spot. Gardner wasn’t going to stay in the leadoff position, Derek Jeter is basically grandfathered into the No. 2 hole, and Girardi said he liked the idea of Gardner’s speed ahead of the bottom two hitters. He particularly liked having Gardner’s speed ahead of a patient hitter like Brian Roberts, who should take some pitches and give Gardner a chance to run.
Is Gardner more likely to run now that he’ll be on base ahead of Roberts and Kelly Johnson rather than Robinson Cano?
“I haven’t really thought about that,” Gardner said. “I guess you could make that argument, but I haven’t really put much thought into it.”