Manager Joe Girardi tweaked the Yankees lineup Tuesday in such a way -- replacing Carlos Beltran in rightfield with Chris Young -- that a reporter dropped the P-word during a pregame news conference.
Girardi stopped him right there.
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"Well, I'm not saying it's going to be a platoon," Girardi said before the Yankees' 3-2 victory over the Orioles. "I'm being somewhat careful [with Beltran]. He hasn't had a ton of righthanded at-bats lately. Got to work on his stroke and go from there."
Young's Jekyll and Hyde bat -- he entered yesterday hitting .360 versus lefties and .178 against righties -- has demanded his insertion into the lineup, but only against a southpaw.
Young went 2-for-4 in the game and 2-for-3 against lefthander Wei-Yin Chen. "I would think that against every lefty we face this year moving forward," Girardi said, "he's probably going to be in there, unless something changes."
So how isn't this a platoon?
Well, Girardi said Young's playing time would not come solely at the expense of Beltran. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner would also benefit from an extra day of rest, and Girardi said he planned to distribute off-days between them as well in order to get Young into the lineup.
"We have a number of long stretches coming up as we move forward with these last two-and-a-half months, so I'm going to have to pick days to give them days off," Girardi said. "Some day games after night games, possibly. Maybe take one guy out, DH another guy, that sort of thing. But I think it's important that we keep them strong."
Young has trouble explaining his splits. Whether it's a righthander or lefthander, his approach doesn't fluctuate.
"I literally feel exactly the same," Young said. "Just the results are very opposite.
"It's not like if I see a lefty on the mound, I'm like, 'Oh, this is an automatic 3-for-3.' And when I see a righty on the mound, I'm like, 'Oh, I'm going to get out. It's going to be a tough day.' I just don't visualize it like that when I'm going into a game."
However Young is doing it, Beltran isn't complaining about the time off.
"Once you get a day off, you can focus on doing other things," Beltran said. "In my case, I can go to the gym and do my workout routine and go to the cage. Keep working on my swing.
"You got to understand that you're not 22 anymore. So you have to be realistic with yourself and know that the manager also has a plan in his mind. The good thing with Joe is that he communicates, so I have no problem that."