The Yankees brass still need to talk to both players about a possible switch, but manager Joe Girardi told the media in Tampa on Tuesday that the exhibition season would be the perfect time for such an experiment.
"It's something that, if we do start toying with it, we would do it very quickly," Girardi said as reported by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
Girardi went on to say how fortunate the Yankees were to have outfielders that offered the flexibility of changing positions. He specifically spoke of Ichiro Suzuki who can play all three spots in the outfield.
The question to be answered will be if the switch is made does it make the team better defensively. Curtis Granderson is in the last year of his contract, so the Yankees may be leaning more toward the switch because if Granderson walks Gardner would have already made the adjustment to center for the future.
The manager spoke of how anxious he was to get Gardner back on the field pointing out that his speed and defense was sorely missed last year. Gardner injured his right wrist diving for a ball on April 17 and never made it back on the field having three setbacks along the way. Subsequently, Brett needed surgery to remove bone chips in the wrist and now says he is ready for the season to get rolling.
Brett brings the added versatility the Yankees lacked last year making them one dimensional. When Suzuki was added we saw how much the speed game helped a power hitting club.The Yankees lineup will probably have Suzuki lead off and Derek Jeter hit second which leaves Gardner in the number nine hole helping turn over the lineup.
"My game has always been and always will be to try to get on base, no matter who’s hitting in front or behind me," Gardner said. "That’s my deal."
The key for Gardner this year will be to stay on the field and use his assets to help New York win another World Series title.
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