At first glance, the lineup seemed pretty normal. All of the big Yankees names were in there, so there was really nothing out of the ordinary. However, if you look closer, it turns out the positions are switched: Carlos Beltran is tonight’s DH, Alfonso Soriano is the LF and Brett Gardner is the RF. Yes, Brett Gardner will make his first career start at right field for the Yankees.
The Yankees have toyed with the idea of putting Gardner in right field in the past. He remembered Joe Torre asking if he could play right field in 2007 and he replied he could; he played for only an inning or two. Last season, the Yankees tinkered with where they could play Gardner and current New York Met Curtis Granderson. They liked the idea of Gardner in right field during Spring Training but nothing ever came out of it since Granderson got hurt the first week of the season and Gardner had to be the every day center fielder.
The logic Joe Girardi might have behind this is right field is bigger in Fenway, and you usually put your best defender in right field. Left field has the Green Monster, so playing left field wouldn’t really require much range, versus playing at Yankee Stadium where right field is shorter due to the porch. Playing LF would be easier on Alfonso Soriano, since he’s older than Gardner and there’s less ground to cover.
Regardless of the reason, the Yankees have elected to put Brett Gardner in right field and this game should be an interesting one to watch. The only thing I question is why Ichiro isn’t in the lineup since he has over 100 at-bats against Lackey with a .292 AVG.
– The Yankees said Ivan Nova will seek a second opinion on his elbow and will go to Dr. James Andrews for an evaluation. Nova had an appointment on Monday with the Yankees team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad who recommended Tommy John Surgery. Nova was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear in his last start against the Rays.