Gary Sanchez continues to hit well from the two-spot

It was easy to notice manager Joe Girardi didn’t bring either Brett Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury to Port Charlotte on Tuesday for the Yankees exhibition series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

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.

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4 Responses to Gary Sanchez continues to hit well from the two-spot

  1. buckeye balls says:

    not a huge batting order guy-but if it means 15 more at bats a year, can't hurt. I am big on OBA, so Didi should bat far down in my book.

  2. Balt Yank says:

    I like this idea and I think it gives Sanchez some breathing room and also mission at this young age of being more than a Yankee slugger (which is desperately needed) such as getting on base, situational hitting, advancing the runner, and just hitting. Ellsbury, who of course has underperformed, has done so in a streaky manner, hitting 300+ for one month, then 130 for two months, then back again, which kills the team at the # 1 slot. I'd like to see him dropped down to 5-6. It also may light a fire under him which is good for veterans sometimes and maybe just what is needed here. On this team, he could be a productive 5-6 hitter at 280, 350 OBA with 20 homers.

  3. Jerry says:

    We wouldn't even be thinking about doing something like this if we had decent one and two hitters in place. Maybe Frazier and Fowler or a free agent to fill those voids.

  4. Olie says:

    I like the idea of Sanchez hitting 2nd as It also moves up Bird and Holliday in the order. I would however bat Ellsbury leadoff, Hitting .348 as opposed to Gardner .207.

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