10/02/2003 8:04 PM ET
Notes: Torre shuffles lineup
Johnson drops from second to eighth in Game 2
NEW YORK -- The Yankees scored just one run Tuesday in their American League Division Series opening-game loss to the Twins. As a result, New York manager Joe Torre shook up his batting order for Game 2 Thursday, reverting to the lineup he used for much of the season.
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
The biggest move in the batting order saw Nick Johnson drop from second to eighth, as the
25-year-old first baseman is mired in an 0-for-21 skid dating back to the last week of the
regular season. Johnson went 0-for-4 in Game 1, stranding runners on base in the fifth, seventh
and ninth innings.
"It's not really aimed at one person, it's more just to change it," Torre said. "When you change
it, people have to move, and that's where he wound up."
Johnson batted in the No. 2 hole for much of the final month, hitting .304 in 237 at-bats in that
spot. Batting eighth this season, Johnson was 9-for-24, a .375 average.
Derek Jeter, who has hit second for most of his career, was inserted into the familiar position.
This season, Jeter batted .310 in the No. 3 hole, while hitting .337 out of the two-spot.
"Mr. Torre switches the lineup around through the course of the year," Jeter said. "This is
Alfonso Soriano is leading off again, followed by Jeter, Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams, Jorge
Posada, Hideki Matsui, Aaron Boone, Johnson and Juan Rivera.
"They've been aggressive for us," Torre said of the one-two punch of Soriano and Jeter. "That's
been the lineup most of the time until we gave Nick a shot. He did well, but hopefully having
those two back-to-back will give us a little jump start."
He's the Juan: Juan Rivera gets his second consecutive start of the series on Thursday,
his sixth straight start in a Yankees postseason game.
Rivera, who spent most of the season with Triple-A Columbus, platooned with Karim Garcia
over the final six weeks of the season. Torre decided to go with the right-handed Rivera against
right-hander Brad Radke, even though he has never faced the Twins starter. Garcia is 1-for-9
with three strikeouts against Radke in his career.
"I didn't know what I was going to do. Even Ruben (Sierra) was in the mix for me, but last
night I settled on Juan in my mind," Torre said. "He played postseason for us last year, and at
Triple-A he wasn't a one-way player. If it comes to a situation where I need to do something
different, I can pinch-hit Ruben."
Rivera went 0-for-2 in Game 1 before Sierra pinch-hit for him in the seventh inning against
LaTroy Hawkins. Torre said he considered Sierra, Garcia and Rivera for the right-field start in
Game 2, but he decided to go with the 25-year-old.
"That's just who I decided to play out there," Torre said. "You never know if it's the right move
until the game is over, but I had to put somebody's name in there. He's the one I decided to
Rivera's defensive skills played a big part in Torre's decision, as he has more range than either
Sierra or Garcia, and his arm is the best among the three.
"He showed me last year how well he played defense, how quickly he got to the ball," Torre
said. "To me, that opened my eyes a little bit, because if you're going to have good pitching,
you have to support it with good defense.
"I'm aware of how important defense is," he added. "People think of what a person can do
offensively, but as a manager, you have to appreciate the ability to go get the ball and keep
guys from taking extra bases. It keeps the game in control."
King's court: Jim Leyritz, who forever cemented his place in Yankees' history with his
dramatic home runs in Game 2 of the 1995 AL Division Series and Game 4 of the 1996 World
Series, was taking in the scene during batting practice as the Yankees and Twins prepared for
Leyritz, who is serving as an analyst on MSG Network's postgame show, said the Twins have
the same feeling the Yankees did in '96, as the underdog looking to shock the world.
"They've got nothing to lose and everything to win," Leyritz said. "This time of year, emotions
That said, Leyritz believes that the Yankees have the right man on the mound for Game 2 in
Andy Pettitte, his former teammate who led the '96 team to a 1-0 win in Game 5 of the World
"Every game Andy pitched for us, we always had confidence," Leyritz said. "He's always been
a big-game guy. He's the perfect guy to be on the mound for them in Game 2."
Leyritz, who heard several shouts of appreciation from fans while on the field, said that the
feeling of a postseason game in the Bronx was still unlike anything else.
"It's October," Leyritz said. "It's Yankee baseball."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.