Teixeira may be Yanks' No. 3 hitter
Girardi leaning toward slotting A-Rod in the cleanup spot
TAMPA, Fla. -- At least the Yankees can scratch one Alex Rodriguez controversy off their Spring Training to-do list. It appears Mark Teixeira will bat ahead of the three-time MVP this season.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Wednesday that he is leaning toward slotting Teixeira third and A-Rod fourth in New York's lineup this season, believing that alternating lefties and righties in the order will frustrate opposing clubs.
"I went back and forth a little bit," Girardi said. "I just know from catching and managing, you hate teams that do that left-right to you. It's hard to bring in situational lefties. Obviously, [Teixeira] is a plus, because he's a switch-hitter.
"If you want to bring in a righty to face Derek Jeter, you've got to decide what you want to do against Tex. It just makes it harder to navigate through our lineup and set up an opposing team's bullpen."
Teixeira batted fourth behind Chipper Jones with the Braves, but after getting traded to Los Angeles, he then moved to third in front of Vladimir Guerrero with the Angels last season. Teixeira hit .358 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs in 54 games with the Halos, and he said that Guerrero's presence gave him more opportunities to hit for power and drive in runs.
Teixeira expects that hitting in front of Rodriguez will be a similar experience.
"You've got one of the best players in the history of baseball batting behind you -- I think you're going to get some good pitches to hit," Teixeira said. "I'm looking forward to that."
|"You've got one of the best players in the history of baseball batting behind you -- I think you're going to get some good pitches to hit. I'm looking forward to that."|
|-- Mark Teixeira, on hitting in front of Alex Rodriguez|
Girardi said that both Teixeira and Rodriguez would hit in either spot in the order, but going left-right made sense. Left-handed Johnny Damon would lead off, followed by right-handed Jeter, then the switch-hitting Teixeira and the right-handed A-Rod.
Hideki Matsui, a left-handed hitter, would likely be the No. 5 hitter, with switch-hitter Jorge Posada to follow, though Girardi said that is up for discussion depending on the spring performance and the health of both players.
Girardi said that the addition of Teixeira -- beginning a eight-year, $180 million deal with New York -- changes the dynamic of the lineup.
"It seems the Yankees have been a club that everyone wants to throw their lefties against," Girardi said. "He's a professional hitter, and he knows how to drive in runs. He knows how to run the bases, hit for average, take his walks. He's a tough at-bat -- you watch him grind things out -- and he's just a professional hitter."
Teixeira said that he is excited with the offensive potential of the Yankees' order.
"If any pitcher looks at our entire lineup, there's not any one guy you can pitch around," Teixeira said. "I'll still take my walks now and then, but it's not going to be as many as I would have had to take if I hit somewhere else in the lineup. With the guys that are hitting behind me, I'm going to get a lot of pitches to hit."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.