Joe Girardi spelled out who will hit second for the Yankees this year. That man is Nick Johnson, as long as he’s healthy. I think eight and nine are pretty clear too: Nick Swisher at eight, Brett Gardner or Randy Winn at nine. So who will bat Nos. 5-7?
I’d almost certainly expect two different lineups for Joe Girardi this season (one vs. righties and one vs. southpaws). Here are my projections from both sides.
|vs. RHP||vs. LHP|
|Derek Jeter SS||Derek Jeter SS|
|Nick Johnson DH||Nick Johnson DH|
|Mark Teixeira 1B||Mark Teixeira 1B|
|Alex Rodriguez 3B||Alex Rodriguez 3B|
|Curtis Granderson CF||Jorge Posada C|
|Jorge Posada C||Robinson Cano 2B|
|Robinson Cano 2B||Curtis Granderson CF|
|Nick Swisher RF||Nick Swisher RF|
|Brett Gardner LF||Brett Gardner LF|
Posada’s career splits heavily favor hitting from the right side (.299/.268), so that gave me reason to put him fifth against lefties. I fully expect Granderson to make an improvement against lefties with the help of hitting coach Kevin Long, but pitchers still would definitely walk A-Rod to face him at this point.
But not against righties. Granderson is an exciting young player and is a huge producer vs. righties. With Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right, fans should expect another 30-homer season out of Grandy.
I chose to put Cano behind Posada against righties so there wouldn’t be back-to-back slow runners with Posada and Swisher.
In sum: These three spots are very tough decisions, and it might be that Girardi just plays it by the book all season and mixes it up every day.