NEW YORK (WFAN) – Does Brett Gardner have what it takes to usurp Derek Jeter as the Yankees’ leadoff man?
According to the NY Daily News, there “continues to be a push from some inside the organization” for Gardner to take over the leadoff spot from the Yankees’ captain.
“The lineup is best with Gardner leading off,” one source told the Daily News. “Don’t be surprised if it winds up that way.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been steadfast in his assessment of Jeter’s hold on the leadoff spot.
“We signed him to be our shortstop and we signed him to be our leadoff hitter,” Girardi said in February. “And he’s got a pretty good track history of what he’s done in the game of baseball.”
Gardner was hampered late last season with a sore right wrist. He decided to alter his swing after having surgery on the wrist in December.
“I was sitting around getting bored and I made a change,” Gardner, who now finishes his swing with two hands, said. “So far, it feels pretty good.”
Gardner slumped to .176 in last year’s ALCS loss to the Texas Rangers. His less-than-stellar finish was a fluke, according to Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long.
“His first half is more indicative of what you can expect,” Long said. “His wrist was so bad, a lot of players probably wouldn’t have played through it, but he did. To me, you can throw the second-half numbers out the door. He wasn’t even close to healthy.”
Gardner says the new swing will alter his explosion out of the batter’s box, but it’s worth it for the speedy lefty.
“This could slow me down by a tenth of a second getting out of the box,” said Gardner. “But ultimately, if it leads to me being more consistent at the plate, that’s what I’m shooting for.”
Who do you want to see batting leadoff? Derek Jeter or Brett Gardner? Let us know in the comments below…