Yanks sorting out first-base mix
Manager Girardi finding at-bats for Giambi, Duncan, Betemit
BALTIMORE -- The Yankees have faced a left-handed starting pitcher 19 times this season, but Joe Girardi is still looking for the perfect fit to handle first base on those occasions.
The switch-hitting Wilson Betemit was in the lineup on Tuesday against Orioles left-hander Brian Burres, one day after the right-handed-hitting Shelley Duncan took an 0-for-4 collar against southpaw Garrett Olson and the Baltimore bullpen.
"You want to get everyone involved," Girardi said. "Other clubs have to do it as well. When you face left-handed starters, it's not like they just face us and nobody else. It turns people around, in a sense."
The left-handed-hitting Jason Giambi has primarily been the Yankees' starting first baseman, but serving as New York's designated hitter on Tuesday, he hit a second-inning home run off Burres onto Eutaw Street -- the second of his career and the 41st since Camden Yards opened.
Girardi said he liked the idea of playing Betemit, who has served two stints on the disabled list this season and did not appear in Monday's game, when he was activated from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Betemit was hitting .269 with one home run and three RBIs in 10 games for New York.
"He's powerful," Girardi said. "At any time, Wilson can hit a ball out of the ballpark. You want to get him involved."
The Yankees seem to view Morgan Ensberg -- with five hits in his last 30 at-bats -- as more of a pinch-hitter than a platoon player. Duncan's hitless afternoon on Monday dropped his average to .164, but he has hit lefties (.211, 8-for-17) much better than righties (.059, 1-for-17).
"Shelley's effort has been tremendous," Girardi said. "He hit the big three-run homer [on May 23] and he's going to get a lot of playing time against lefties. That's the bottom line with Shelley."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.