Girardi explains Gardner hitting seventh in potential Opening Day lineup

Brett Gardner 10

This was how the Yankees lineup shaped out today before the Spring Training finale was rained out:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alfonso Soriano RF
Brett Gardner LF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B

If you switch the positions between Beltran and Soriano, that would be your 2014 Opening Day Lineup.

Now, before the season began, there was a lot of speculation as to where Brett Gardner would hit in the order. Most assumed he would hit in the 9th spot to give the Yankees the double lead-off effect or probably second to have Gardner and Ellsbury back to back, but when Girardi put him seventh in the order for today’s game, it caused some confusion–until Girardi explained why.

“He’s a guy that we feel we could hit anywhere in the top or anywhere down to give some speed,” Girardi said. “He had a pretty good year offensively last year, and that’s where we decided to put him.”

Gardner had 51 extra base-hits in 2013, so when Girardi placed him a bit higher than expected in the order and explained his reasoning, everything made sense. He likes Gardner’s versatility in the lineup–he could be a lead-off man, he could hit second or he could hit anywhere from fifth to ninth. His bat and his speed changes the dynamics of the lineup which gives Girardi some freedom as to where he wants Gardner to go.

He couldn’t say that about other players last season when he was missing his shortstop, his left fielder (Curtis Granderson) and his first baseman (Teixeira). He can now say the Yankees have some freedom with the lineup, considering everyone is healthy and should be productive once Tuesday rolls around.

“Last year we left, we were missing the middle of our order, the end of our order, the top of our order,” Girardi said. “This year we leave with pretty much everyone in our order that we expected to be there. I think it was a very productive spring. I thought it was a very competitive spring. I really liked what I saw from our team. I do. I feel good about it.”

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12 Responses to Girardi explains Gardner hitting seventh in potential Opening Day lineup

  1. olie says:

    Not sure why he wants to bat Roberts ahead of Johnson!

  2. mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

    Yeah, if they really want to commit to having Gardner 7th, I'd put Roberts 9th instead of Johnson. It makes more sense to me.

  3. SA says:

    Because Roberts is a switch hitter and batting Johnson after Gardner would be lefty lefty. Joe staggered his lineup to avoid that very situation.

    • olie says:

      I would be tempted to bat Johnson 7th (against R.H) and move Gartner to 8th. Imagine Gartner, Roberts, Ellsbury and Jeter(he looks like he can still run) what a Track meet!

  4. Larry says:

    I love jeter but he's not a top if the lineup guy anymore. Sometes you have to put the team's best interests first.

    • John says:

      Two years ago he was a top of the lineup guy and he was hurt last year, who to say he don't have a 340 obp this year?

  5. tom says:

    Maybe Roberts will take more pitches or lay down bunts for Gardner with Johnson's deceptive power on deck.

    I would go with Jeter leading off the lineup. I would avoid all possibilities of Jeter hitting in front of speedy players due to him being a potential DP champ.

    SS Jeter
    CF Ellsbury
    RF Beltran
    C McCann
    1B Teixeria
    DH Soriano
    LF Gardner
    2B Roberts
    3B Johnson.

    • mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

      The Yankees didn't really sign Jacoby Ellsbury so he could hit behind Jeter. Ellsbury is probably the Yankees best bet at lead-off at this point (Gardner being the second best option). Jeter fits better from second to possibly third in the order.

  6. Arnie says:

    What happened to nunny ?did they finally give up on his lack of fielding?

    • mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

      Nunez was sent to Triple-A in favor of Solarte. Girardi felt Solarte had the better Spring.

  7. Gerry Gagnon says:

    Gardner should be batting second, and Jeter seventh…

    • mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

      The Yankees would never move Jeter down so low in the order.They just wouldn't ask that of him.