It’s no big surprise to anyone that Mark Teixeira has found himself on the 15-day disabled list, this time with a Grade-1 hamstring pull. While all indications suggest that Tex will return when his DL stint is complete, the Yankees are moving forward, shuffling pieces around the lineup and on the 25-man roster to accommodate not only Tex’s injury, but the recent injury to closer David Robertson as well.
After a sluggish start to his Yankees’ career, Jacoby Ellsbury has picked up the pace–especially since he’s been inserted in the number three hole in the Yankees’ lineup. The new-look Yankees’ lineup features the speedy Brett Gardner leading off, followed by the Captain, Derek Jeter, then Ellsbury. It’s worked thus far, as the slumbering lineup has shown signs of life over the past few days. After a 2-for-4 effort in Monday’s home opener against the Orioles, Ellsbury’s average has risen to .414 on the early season. He feels confident in his spot in the order, and after initial concerns over a lingering calf issue during spring training, Ellsbury looks every bit the $153 million man the Yankees hoped he would be. He added:
I feel fine…I’m not really going to change anything, just go about my at-bats the same way. You can’t change the type of hitter that you are where you hit in the lineup.
Joe Girardi, after tinkering with multiple lineups throughout the spring, had hoped to run out a consistent group with the occasional change for rest purposes:
We thought we knew what our lineup was, but when Tex went down. If Tex wouldn’t have gotten hurt, we probably would have run out pretty much the same lineup every day. With him getting hurt, we had to change things a little bit.
Not knowing what to expect of Teixeira, as his injury issues continue, we could be looking at the Yankees’ number three hitter for the foreseeable future, and if this lineup clicks and puts lots of runs on the board resulting in wins, it shouldn’t matter if it’s a prototypical run producer or a former lead-off hitter.