Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Getting Aligned

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Getting Aligned

Article excerpt

TAMPA, Fla. - Jacoby Ellsbury's right wrist had healed enough by Sunday, allowing Yankees manager Joe Girardi to finally write in his A-lineup.

Opening day is a week away and "this is the week you want all your guys playing," Girardi said. "If you're going to miss some time, you don't want them to miss this week. To have all nine of them out there today was nice."

Sunday's enthusiasm was not reflected on the Steinbrenner Field scoreboard, though.

In six innings, ex-Yankee Phil Hughes limited the Yankees to a run on three hits in a 5-2 exhibition win by the Twins. But the way Girardi views his lineup, "I definitely think it's going to score some runs."

Here's how Girardi had them lined up Sunday:

1. Ellsbury, 2. Brett Gardner, 3. Alex Rodriguez, 4. Mark Teixeira, 5. Brian McCann, 6. Carlos Beltran, 7. Chase Headley, 8. Starlin Castro, 9. Didi Gregorius.

"Could be," Girardi said when asked if this were his preferred batting order against right-handed starters.

There will be more discussion by Girardi and his coaches about the order this week, particularly the merits of having Gregorius in the No. 9 spot - stacking three straight lefty hitters after the first time through the lineup.

But Castro's presence over Stephen Drew at second base, along with Gregorius' improvement, potentially makes it a deeper lineup than the 2015 version -- a team that finished second in the AL with 764 runs.

Of course, it was a distant second; the AL East champion Blue Jays scored 891.

Overall, Sunday was a day for optimism.

"It was good to have all the guys out there together and kind of get a preview of what to expect early in April," said Gardner, whose homer was the only run off Hughes. "I feel like we're capable of scoring a lot of runs this year.

"We've got a lot of guys whose goals are to have a big year."

Ellsbury seemed to be on his way to a big 2015, batting . …

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