ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Joe Girardi said the plan is for the Yankees to leave highly regarded centerfield prospect Austin Jackson in the minors, but he made it clear that could change.
With Brett Gardner out at least two weeks with a broken left thumb, the Yankees find themselves short in the outfield.
Girardi said Sunday that Jackson, 22, hitting .313 in 352 at-bats for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, would be better served playing every day, but he hedged before last night's game.
"He's young and it's [coming up] not an everyday playing situation for him, and the development is important," Girardi said. "But sometimes based on need, you have to do some things."
Jackson, a righthanded hitter, has only four home runs and 39 RBIs in 93 games but has stolen 17 bases in 19 attempts.
A move with Jackson would be an attention-grabber, and it hasn't been ruled out. "He's playing very well in Triple-A," Girardi said. "We do have some concerns about centerfield and we'll talk about a lot of ideas."
On Sunday, the Yankees brought up reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, who made the trip here. "Right now, we feel we need the pitching," Girardi said yesterday. "We need the extra pitching because we have kind of a tired bullpen."
But Girardi acknowledged that at some point, he might have a tired outfield. He has used Melky Cabrera in left to spell Johnny Damon, who has had some nagging ailments this season, but that option is gone with Gardner out and Cabrera now the everyday centerfielder.
"It concerns me in a sense because it was a way to get Johnny a break," Girardi said. "And right now, we can't necessarily do that."
Ramiro Peña is an option. Girardi said the plan is for Peña, who started for the Yankees at second, third and shortstop earlier this year, to receive more playing time in the outfield this week for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.