Lineup shake-up has Nick Swisher sitting, Brett Gardner leading off

Yankees' Nick Swisher in the dugout dressed but

Yankees' Nick Swisher in the dugout dressed but not playing against the Detroit Tigers during ALDS Game 3 in Detroit. (Oct. 16, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

DETROIT -- Nick Swisher was on the bench and Brett Gardner was in the leadoff spot as part of manager Joe Girardi's shake-up of the Yankees' lineup for Game 3 of the ALCS.

Alex Rodriguez also was benched in favor of Eric Chavez. Eduardo Nuñez played shortstop instead of Jayson Nix for the injured Derek Jeter.

The only part that worked was Nuñez-for-Nix. Nunez homered off Justin Verlander leading off the ninth, but the Yankees still lost to the Tigers, 2-1, and can be swept out of the playoffs Wednesday night. Gardner went 0-for-4. Chavez went 0-for-3 and made an error that led to Detroit's second run.


ALCS box scores: Game 4 | Game 3 Game 2 | Game 1


Swisher, who was on deck to bat for Russell Martin when the game ended on Phil Coke's strikeout of Raul Ibañez, is in the midst of his fourth consecutive poor postseason. He is batting .154 in the first two rounds of the playoffs. "You want to be in there, but I back his decision," Swisher said. "I'll come back and be ready to go tomorrow. I think it was a good lineup. I wasn't in it. You've got to back your guys."

After Sunday's 3-0 loss in Game 2, Swisher expressed disappointment with Yankees fans who have been booing him at home.

"I was made aware of it today," Girardi said. "I think what you have in our room is you do have some frustration that we all have to learn how to deal with . . . But besides that I'm not really going to comment on it."

Swisher is a free agent at the end of the season. He said he did not know if he would be back in the lineup Wednesday night for what could be his final game as a Yankee.

The Yankees were hoping for a spark from Gardner, but he didn't get the ball out of the infield in four at-bats against Verlander. Gardner hadn't started a major-league game since April 17 because of a right elbow injury and had one at-bat in the Yankees' first seven postseason games. He spent Monday's day off hitting in a simulated game at Yankee Stadium. "I felt great in the box today," Gardner said. "I thought I had a couple good at-bats and saw the ball really well. When [Verlander] gets ahead in the count, he's got the stuff that he has, he can kind of have his way with you a little bit."

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