But there was a method to Girardi’s madness; it gave him a chance to slot Gary Sanchez second in the lineup for further evaluation.
How did Sanchez respond?
He hit an opposite homer against Rays starter Jake Odorizzi in the top of the first.
It was Sanchez’s fourth homer of the Spring, and even though it’s early, it’s becoming quite clear the rest of the league still hasn’t figured out Sanchez.
“He’s had a really good spring training,” Girardi said after the Yankees loss to the Rays 10-6 on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s important we get him through it healthy.”
Girardi has firm belief Sanchez can continue hitting at a high level, and at this point, it’s up to him to get the most out Sanchez whether it’d be in the two-hole or lower.
“I’m going to look at everything,” Girardi said. “I talked about maybe breaking up the left-hand hitters. It’s something that as we get a little bit further on, another week or 10 days when your lineups are completely together more, you’ll talk about doing what you foresee.’’
The Yankees had discussed moving either Gardner or Ellsbury down in the order, although judging from last season, all signs seem to point to Ellsbury. The Yankees might keep Gardner and Ellsbury at the top, especially if they both produce.
But if Gardner or notably Ellsbury struggles, Girardi might have to get creative with the lineup. That could mean batting Sanchez second or even using shortstop Didi Gregorius in the two-hole once he returns from the World Baseball Classic.
As Girardi said, he has another week to 10 days before he has to officially set his lineup. But if Sanchez keeps hitting like this, it’s going to be hard not to hit him second in the order.