ST. PETERSBURG -- With just two games remaining in their regular season, the Yankees have pulled the trigger on a lineup shuffle that could carry over into the American League Division Series.
Mark Teixeira has been replaced by Robinson Cano in the No. 3 spot against right-handed starting pitchers. Teixeira will drop to fifth in the order, and he said that he agrees with the logic behind the move.
"I think we're going to see how it works; I don't see why it wouldn't work," Teixeira said. "We're trying to win games. And putting Robbie, the hot hand, in the third spot, it's a great idea."
The switch-hitting Teixeira is batting .244 with 37 home runs and 106 RBIs, but from his non-natural left side, he has hit just .221 (87-for-393) and has frequently hit into defensive shifts.
Manager Joe Girardi said that a change is something the Yankees have been talking about. He said the real motivation was the red-hot Cano, who entered play Tuesday hitting .305 with 28 homers and 118 RBIs.
"You kind of go by how guys are going, obviously," Girardi said. "Robbie, we saw what he did last year in the last two months and in the postseason. That's kind of Robbie's M.O.; it seems like he gets stronger as the year goes on."
Cano said that he recognizes increased responsibilities in hitting third, ahead of Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira.
"You have to do everything right," Cano said. "You're going to get pitches to hit, because you've got a guy behind you that they don't want to face, either.
"It's a situation now where I'm going to get better pitches, so I have to continue doing what I'm doing right now. That's not going to change my mindset; I'm going to keep playing my game and swing at strikes."
Teixeira had not batted fifth to start a Major League game since 2004, when he made 67 starts in that slot for the Rangers.
"Really, at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter at all," Teixeira said. "I've hit third, fourth, fifth, and I hit fourth behind Chipper [Jones], which was great.
"I've hit third the majority of the time here. Like I said, Robbie's really hot right now. As we go into the playoffs against right-handed pitching, why not have him there?"
Yanks' Triple-A team move to N.J. blocked
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees nearly moved their top farm affiliate to Newark, N.J., for the 2012 season, but the deal was blocked by the Mets, who invoked territorial rights to stop the team from moving.
The Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees need a temporary home while PNC Field in Scranton, Pa., is refurbished, and the Yankees were interested in moving to Eagles & Bears Riverfront Stadium.
"I went there, I reviewed the place, a request was made," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "They have territorial rights that they have a right to invoke. There's nothing more to it."
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo told The Associated Press that he was disappointed, because hosting the Triple-A club could have boosted the local economy and offered more kids a chance to see future Yankees play in person.
There is also history in Newark for the Yankees; from 1932 to 1949, the Newark Bears were a Yankees farm club, seeing players like Yogi Berra pass through the ranks. But a reprise will not take place.
"We'll find somewhere for us, rather soon, to play for Triple-A," Cashman said. "That's our responsibility."
Yanks weighing ALDS pitching possibilities
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees' decision-makers huddled in the visiting manager's office at Tropicana Field on Tuesday, conducting their first official meeting to hammer out the postseason roster.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that there was a "healthy dialogue," but the team will have more conversations and will resume going over advance scouting information on Tuesday.
"There are certain aspects of the roster that are a lot more discussable than others," Cashman said. "I know one thing -- it's going to be hard. We've got a lot of talent there."
Cashman strongly hinted that the team has already decided on its Game 3 starter for the American League Division Series. He would not name the pitcher, but Freddy Garcia has been thought to be a front-runner.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi noted that the team will not carry 12 pitchers for the ALDS. While an 11-man staff is likely, Girardi also floated the idea of having just 10 pitchers.
"You could," Cashman said. "But at the same time, it depends on how your pitching is pitching."
Cashman said the biggest debates concern carrying two extra starters in the bullpen or having two extra relievers, as well as the makeup of the bench.
The only decision that hinges on who the Yankees play, Cashman said, is whether to take Raul Valdes as a second lefty out of the bullpen. A stacked Rangers lineup may make that more appealing.
"It's a discussion point," Cashman said. "That's one area that it would probably apply, if you're playing an offense with a lot of lefties and stuff like that. That could necessitate something."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he plans to play all of his regulars in Wednesday's regular-season finale against the Rays. His starting pitcher, however, won't be announced until after Tuesday's game.
Entering play on Tuesday, second baseman Robinson Cano trailed center fielder Curtis Granderson by one for the league lead in RBIs, 119 to 118. The stat was not lost on Cano: "If it happens, perfect," he said. "If not, I'm happy I had a good year and helped the team win the division."
Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli (concussion) will travel back to New York with the team after Wednesday's game before having more tests performed. Cervelli did not work out at all on Tuesday.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.