Buster Oney had some thoughts to offer on last night’s ST game against the Reds, and one nugget in particular caught my eye:
Brett Gardner, competing for the club’s center field job, continues to have a great spring, with his average over .400. Gardner has a swing that actually reminds you a lot of Johnny Damon’s swing, with his back leg stepping almost on home plate as he completes his follow-through. If Gardner keeps getting on base, I wonder if the Yankees might be well-served to hit Gardner, Derek Jeter and Damon in the top three spots in their lineup to open the year, in front of Mark Teixeira, as they play the first month without A-Rod.
This is an interesting thought, one actually raised by a commenter in the last few days. It would have to depend on what Buster means by Gardner getting on base. If he reaches at a .350+ OBP clip, then I think it is something that the team would be forced to consider. You put Gardner in front of Jeter to stay out of double plays, while putting the more powerful Damon after two high OBP guys. The remainder of the lineup could then remain unchanged. However, if Gardner is more in the .300-.330 range, that is probably too low for a lead off hitter, and the club would be better served having Brett bat ninth.
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