Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gardner should be the everyday starter

Brett Gardner can impact a game in a way that no other player on the New York Yankees roster can. So why isn't he starting every day?

Joe Girardi has implemented an unofficial platoon with Gardner and Marcus Thames playing against lefties. Thames has done well when he's been in the lineup, batting five for 10 in the first two weeks of the season. But Thames has no home runs or ribbies and I doubt he'll be able to keep that average up for much longer. And his outfield play leaves much to be desired, with defense being a critical factor for a team so dependent on strong starting pitcher (Gardner usually relieves him later in the game).

Gardner's speed enables him to wreak havoc on the bases and the minds of opposing pitchers and infielders. Yesterday, he got three hits off balls that never left the infield and almost legged out another hit on a routine ground ball. Hitting in front of Derek Jeter, he's already scored eight runs, stolen five bases and driven in four of his own.

So why is Girardi so reluctant to play him every day? Beats me. I understand playing Thames against a really tough lefty as he did with Jon Lester and David Price. But routinely playing Thames against lefties and sitting Gardner baffles me. Why wouldn't you want to regularly use such a powerful weapon at your disposal? Maybe this is just an early season fluke and we'll see Gardner become the regular left fielder in the Yankees lineup.

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