Joe Girardi said “don’t read into that,” but it was hard not to.
A day after committing a costly baserunning mistake, shortstop Didi Gregorius found himself on the bench Thursday night, replaced by Ronald Torreyes.
Girardi said it was strictly a function of the A’s starting lefthander Rich Hill and a desire to pack his lineup with righty hitters.
Still, it was difficult to ignore the fact that Gregorius had started in two of the three previous games against lefty starters, including the season opener against Astros ace Dallas Keuchel.
Fresh in everyone’s mind was Girardi’s stern postgame scolding of Gregorius in the media Wednesday night, an action rarely employed during his eight-plus years as Yankees manager.
Girardi told Gregorius his benching was not related to the mistake from the previous night. As it turned out, the shortstop had something he wanted to talk to Girardi about anyway.
“I straight up admitted it was a stupid mistake,” Gregorius said.
When Aaron Hicks grounded to third with runners on second and third and one out in the seventh Wednesday night, Gregorius ran into a tag in what became an inning-ending 5-5-3 double play, costing the Yankees a run that would have cut their deficit to 3-2.
“I wouldn’t say it was a mental mistake, just stupid,” Gregorius said. “I tried to do too much. You have to be smarter on the bases, and I wasn’t yesterday.”
McCann a first option
Before the game, Brian McCann took some grounders at first base, an unusual sight but not unprecedented. The catcher has 11 career starts at first, all in 2014 with the Yankees. The lefthanded-hitting McCann, replaced behind the plate by the righty-hitting Austin Romine on Thursday night, is 2-for-20 since taking a foul ball off his left toe April 12 in Toronto.
Girardi: Hicks hitting in bad luck
Hicks, brought in to hit lefties, had not hit anyone entering Thursday night. He entered the night 1-for-20, including 0-for-13 against lefthanders. But he looped an RBI single to centerfield in the second inning.
“When you look at Hicksie’s at-bats, the at-bats are much better than the numbers indicate,” Girardi said. “He’s hit the ball pretty hard against lefthanders and hasn’t had a lot of success.”