For Girardi, Lineup Questions Begin


Mar 8, 2014; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Umpire Jeff Nelson (45) explains an instant replay review call to New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) in the second inning against the Houston Astros in a spring training exhibition game at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

While Sunday’s lineup had a few starters in the game against the Tampa Bay Rays, last Thursday’s game originally had all the starters but Jacoby Ellsbury scheduled to be in the lineup. Then the rains came, and the delay caused Carlos Beltran to get pulled from the lineup. Thursday’s game included Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano’s first spring training game, and the Yankees won 4-3, but it was the closest thing to a real dress rehearsal New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi has had so far this spring.

The lineup probably isn’t the most pressing issue for Girardi, but it’s certainly something he’s started thinking about it. Still early on in the Grapefruit League season, Joe is hoping to get the lineup ready for the season sooner rather than later. He eventually will have to get all the projected opening day starters more and more innings, especially together. Now the final roster is not set in stone by any means, but it’s safe to say we know who the majority of the players will be.

Now with a busy week of split squad games coming up and a trip to Panama, Girardi has to get the opening day or “A” team starters in the lineup and on the field together. We’ve seen Derek Jeter be able to play in some back-to-back games, and the pitching looks good. The only problem is knocking the remaining rust off of a few of the remaining starters, and getting some cohesiveness in the lineup.

The spring training lineup isn’t going to be the only issue for Girardi, he has to think about managing the lineup throughout the season. With a very crowded outfield, the DH becomes a role that Joe will have to use wisely. He’s got to give Jeter games at DH. He will also have to think about Tex and his wrist going forward, so he will probably see some days at DH. I don’t think it’s as big of an issue as some might think. But it is something Joe will deal with the entire season. Below is the projected opening day lineup as of right now.

1. Jacoby Ellsbury – CF
2. Derek Jeter – SS
3. Carlos Beltran – RF
4. Mark Teixeira – 1B
5. Brian McCann – C
6. Alfonso Soriano – DH
7. Kelly Johnson – 3B
8. Brian Roberts – 2B
9. Brett Gardner – LF

Having two potential lead off hitters is a big plus for the Yankees this season. They’ve added a lot a key pieces this offseason so there is no shortage of star players for Girardi to work with. Fans will be flocking in herds throughout the entire season to see the Captain’s farewell tour, so everyone should be aware that there will be days that Jeter will not be in the lineup. There’s nothing anyone, including Girardi can do about that. We have a lot to look forward to going into this season, so with the remaining spring training games Girardi still has time to work the kinks out, but it needs to be done sooner, rather than later.