- Posted: 2:22 PM, March 30, 2011
Jeter has been the Yankees' primary leadoff hitter since early in the 2009 season when Girardi flipped Jeter and Johnny Damon in the order because of the number of double plays Jeter hit into. Now, Girardi is moving Jeter back to the two-spot because of everything Gardner did last year.
Asked what went into the decision, Girardi said, "The job that [Gardner] did against right-handed pitching last year. He was second on our club in on-base percentage. His ability to disrupt defenses, the pressure he puts on a pitching staff, his ability to score runs."
Gardner's .383 on-base percentage led the team last year. His 47 stolen bases were the most on the team.
Girardi spent the second half of spring training experimenting with the top of the order before reaching the decision.
Jeter will hit leadoff against left-handed starters, and Girardi said the team will start the season with two different lineups.
"Our lineup will change a little bit but we'll have consistency for right-handers and left-handers," he said.