I would have sworn that I saw Brett Gardner play a little bit of right field back in Triple-A, but he says I’m wrong and I’ll take his word for it. In fact, Gardner says the only time he can remember playing right field was one inning, maybe two, during a spring training game years ago.
“Joe Torre was managing, I know that,” Gardner said. “(It was in) 2007 maybe, 2006 or ’07. It was like the seventh inning, we were in Winter Haven against the Indians, and he yelled, ‘Hey kid, can you play right field?’ and I said ‘Yes sir!’ and I went out there.”
The decision to put Gardner in right field tonight has everything to do with the dimensions at Fenway Park. Left field is small here, cut short because of the massive Green Monster. Right field is short right along the line, but it expands quickly.
“We had talked about doing it a couple of years ago and he got hurt right before we came here,” Joe Girardi said. “We had him work out there yesterday and we talked about it in Tampa. The other thing is, Sori is used to playing left field (and) is more comfortable in left field than possibly playing right. That’s why I chose to do it.”
Girardi was asked about just putting Ichiro Suzuki in right, but he said he wanted to go with his usual group of four outfielders. Gardner’s off to the slowest start of the bunch, but he’s still clearly a regular ahead of Ichiro, who’s played well in a part-time role.
Both Girardi and Gardner said they’re not too worried about the adjustment to right. Gardner’s spent enough time in center field that he’s seen balls hooking toward right field. He’s at least somewhat familiar with seeing balls go to that side of the field.
“It’s big,” Gardner said. “The pole, obviously is short, and it pretty much goes straight back from there. The bullpen kind of comes straight across, and short wall everywhere. Hopefully learn from what Carlos did in Tampa (when he flipped over the wall). That’s what not to do, I guess. So just treat it like you’re playing center field or (left) field. Line it up, and wherever they hit it, go get it.”
· Ivan Nova has told the Yankees he’d like to get a second opinion on his elbow from noted Tommy John surgery expert Dr. James Andrews. The Yankees are sending Nova’s MRI results to Dr. Andrews, but it’s unclear whether Nova will actually travel to Alabama for a fresh examination. It’s also not clear whether Dr. Andrews would perform a potential surgery, but I’d venture to say that’s a smart guess.
· The Yankees actually considered moving Carlos Beltran to left field for this series. “We had him take some balls in left field too,” Girardi said. “We were thinking about having him play left here, but with Sori doing it a number of times, we thought we’d do that.”
· Just a regular day off for Yangervis Solarte, who’s hit his first little slump lately. “You run into some pretty good pitchers, the guys that you see,” Girardi said. “And like I say, I want to keep everyone active.”
· Derek Jeter is hitting .298 and he’s been on base in every game he’s played this season. “I told you if he was healthy I thought he’d play well,” Girardi said. “It was just a matter of how healthy he was going to be, and for the most part he’s been healthy this year so I think it’s kind of what we expected.”
· Speaking of shortstops, Girardi said Brendan Ryan is still probably another week to 10 days away. He hasn’t moved as quickly as expected since getting into minor league games. “He’s playing,” Girardi said. “I don’t know what he did today, but he played yesterday. Doing everything. … He’s a had a little thing here, a little thing there. I don’t know (how much longer). We talked about him getting 50 or 60 at-bats, I’m not sure how many he has. It’s probably in the 20s.”
· Francisco Cervelli? “He’s in New York,” Girardi said. “He’s doing some light stuff. He’s walking. He’s not doing a lot yet.”
· Even with a big lead, the Yankees considered putting Dave Robertson in last night’s game just so he could get some action. “We talked about using him, but once it started pouring rain I thought it was probably best not to,” Girardi said. “Maybe giving him a hitter because he hasn’t thrown a lot in the last 15, 16 days.”
· Girardi said he’s not sure yet whether he’ll have Dellin Betances tonight.
· Girardi said he doesn’t expect to push Michael Pineda beyond the pitch limits we’ve seen so far this season. The Yankees are still taking it easy on him a little bit. “I’ll still be careful for a while,” Girardi said. “It’s chilly. He hasn’t pitched really in a couple of years. The goal for him is to make 30 to 32 starts. That’s what our focus is.”
· Finally, a quick congratulations to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Dave Miley. After a 5-0 win against Buffalo today — five scoreless innings from Chase Whitley, four scoreless by Alfredo Aceves — Miley has set the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise record for wins. He’s 575-445 since coming to the team in 2007. He passed former Red Barons manager Marc Bombard, who went 574-502 from 1997 to 2004. I covered both Bombard and Miley and learned a ton about baseball from each of them. I’ve been lucky to get to known Miley as well as I do. Very easy to respect that man. Congratulations to him. The guy keeps finding ways to win with all sorts of different rosters.
Associated Press photos