Marcus Thames #38 of the New York Yankees makes the...

Marcus Thames #38 of the New York Yankees makes the catch for the out against the Boston Red Sox. (April 6, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

BOSTON - Brett Gardner's impressive Game 1 debut landed him on bench for Game 2.

Marcus Thames, whose success against lefties helped land him a spot on the team despite an inconsistent spring, started last night in leftfield in place of Gardner, who had two hits Sunday against Josh Beckett.

"Marcus, he's one of the guys we brought in that we like against lefthanders," Girardi said before the game. "Gardy swung the bat great the other day but we want to get Marcus into the mix."

Girardi redid the lower part of his order overall to match up against Red Sox lefthander Jon Lester, moving Curtis Granderson, who homered Sunday night, to ninth from seventh. Nick Swisher, who hit eighth in the opener, hit seventh, followed by Thames and Granderson. Girardi said two things impacted that decision.

"Last year was more difficult for [Granderson] against lefthanders," Girardi said. "Marcus has had a little bit of success against Lester [1-for-2], it's only two at-bats but then you get two guys that can run together, too."

Girardi said it "won't always be" Gardner sitting against lefties but . . .

"We expect Curtis to be an everyday player; we expect Swish to be an everyday player," Girardi said. "And I think Gardy can be an everyday player but this is why we went and got Marcus and we want to see him produce."

But Gardner could find himself in center, his natural position, on the occasional day Girardi wants to give Granderson a day off.

"I wouldn't hesitate to do that, no," Girardi said.

 

Nailing things down

Girardi said his preference is to have his setup man for Mariano Rivera - and the rest of the roles in the bullpen - settled sooner rather than later.

"I think it's important and that's why we want to get this ironed out as soon as possible," Girardi said. "To know when the phone rings it's probably going to me. It's not always going to be me but it's probably going to be me. That's one of the things we need to work out as quickly as possible."

Joba Chamberlain is assumed to be the front-runner to take the eighth-inning role, but Girardi said Dave Robertson has the stuff to end up there.

"He's one of the guys I believe could step up and be your eighth-inning guy," Girardi said.

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