Jeter doesn't plan to change approach
Batting first or second 'makes no difference,' says captain
TAMPA, Fla. -- If the Yankees are going to take their re-jiggered lineup into the regular season, Derek Jeter said that he does not plan to change his approach due to the new marching orders.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi plans to tinker with the top of the order for the remainder of Spring Training, using Jeter as the leadoff hitter and Johnny Damon batting in the two-hole.
"The only difference is that, your first at-bat, there's no chance of anybody being on base," Jeter said Friday. "That's pretty much the only difference. The situation dictates -- whether you're hitting first, second, third or fourth, there's still ways to win games. I don't think it makes any difference."
Girardi said Thursday that the Yankees liked what they saw out of Damon in the two-hole when Jorge Posada was batting leadoff this spring, allowing the catcher to log more at-bats before he left games early.
Damon frequently pulls the ball to the right side, Girardi said, allowing him to move runners over. Girardi said the decision was not made because of Jeter's propensity for grounding into double plays, though Jeter ranked among the league leaders by hitting into 24 twin killings last season and 21 the year before.
Jeter, who memorably homered to lead off Game 4 of the 2000 World Series, has batted leadoff in 448 regular-season games, batting .315 and posting a .389 on-base percentage.
The numbers are comparable to his career production as a No. 2 hitter, where he has spent most of his career, batting .316 with a .386 on-base percentage.
"It makes no difference," Jeter said. "I don't change a thing. If you're in the eighth inning and there's a guy on second base, or you're up in the second inning with a guy on second base, you're still going to do the same thing. So I don't change."
Damon has hit second in only 85 games during his career, batting .277 with a .340 on-base percentage. His numbers are stronger as a leadoff hitter, where he has hit .289 with a .355 on-base percentage.
"I'm telling you from experience," Jeter said. "Besides the fact that you're a little bit earlier or later in the first inning, in my opinion, it doesn't really matter that much."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.