CLEARWATER, FLA. (AP) - The New York Yankees keep tinkering with their leadoff hitter.
Brett Gardner hit first, with Derek Jeter No. 2, for the second time during spring training in Sunday’s road game against Philadelphia.
Jeter was the leadoff hitter 137 times last season, and the Yankees captain hit second on 18 occasions.
“The fans are into everything,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “You’re talking about Derek Jeter. Anytime his name is mentioned it’s going to be a big story.”
Gardner was first in the lineup in 25 games during 2010. The outfielder got most appearances (56) in the ninth position.
“The interesting thing is how they work together,” Girardi said. “With Gardy on and running, Jeter hitting to the right side a lot. It can open up holes. You can do it 9-1 (in the lineup) as well.”
Moving Gardner to the top spot could mean 50 or more additional at-bats for the left fielder. But Girardi says there’s added value in having Gardner hit ninth.
“Just because he is going to come up before the big boys,” Girardi said.
Nick Swisher’s solid performance at No. 2 could also impact the look of the opening day lineup.
“We have other options we can do,” Girardi said. “Swish did a very good job in that role. It’s something we have to decide.”
The manager expects no changes when it comes to Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano hitting in the 3-4-5 spots.
Notes: Yankees spring training instructor Reggie Jackson arrived in camp. The Hall of Famer had back surgery during the winter. … RHP Joba Chamberlain (upper-body muscle soreness) and LHP Pedro Feliciano (left arm tightness) said they felt fine one day after throwing off a bullpen mound.
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