Joe Girardi On WFAN: No Concerns About Slow Starts By Sanchez, Bird, Judge

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)The Yankees are 1-2 and Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird are hitting below .100, but manager Joe Girardi says he isn’t concerned.

In his weekly interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Thursday, Girardi said he’s been pleased with the quality of at-bats he’s been seeing from the team’s young stars, adding that Sanchez has hit several balls hard.

“I think his (Sanchez’s) at-bats have been good. They’ve been long at-bats,” Girardi said. “I think Birdie’s at-bats have been good. They’ve been long at-bats. I think (Aaron) Judge has had some really good swings at some breaking bells he’s just missed. It’s three days.”

NO. 5 STARTER

Girardi has been holding off on naming the fifth starter in the rotation because he won’t need one until April 16.

He said left-hander Jordan Montgomery was the front-runner coming out of spring training.

LISTEN: 30 With Murti Podcast: A Chat With Yankees Great Graig Nettles

“But I thought Greenie (Chad Green) was closing quickly,” Girardi said. “He started off just a little bit slow. And (Luis) Cessa has been really good the last couple of starts.”

The candidates for the role are continuing to compete in minor-league appearances.

DIDI UPDATE

The Yankees manager said shortstop Didi Gregorius who is out at least until May with a shoulder injury suffered in the World Baseball Classic, has been throwing and taking “dry swings” this week.

“He’s progressing fine,” Girardi said. “He feels good. He’s chomping at the bit, and he’ll continue to progress.”

KAPRIELIAN CONCERNS

Top pitching prospect James Kaprielian was put on the minor-league DL on Thursday and is set to undergo a pair of MRIs on his elbow.

Girardi is keeping his fingers crossed the injury is nothing serious.

“Oh my goodness, he is really talented,” he said. “He was a guy that we feel when he pitches and stays healthy, he’s going to move quickly. I mean, that’s how talented he is. And hopefully this is just a little bump and it’s nothing big.”

ELLSBURY STARTING HOT

Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is off to a good start, batting .455 with a home run through the first three games.

Girardi said it’s important for Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year, $153 million contract in 2014, to have a good season.

“When you sign contracts like that — I think Steve Kerr talked about it — there are things that you’re going to have to deal with, and expectations is one,” Girardi said. “And when you don’t get off to good starts, people are going to be on you. But that’s part of signing a big contract.”

To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.

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