Joe Girardi is making no guarantees.
A trickle-down effect of Greg Bird’s return Saturday is the impact on Chase Headley and Todd Frazier’s playing time.
Though Bird started at first base against the Mariners and Headley went back to third base and Frazier was a defensive replacement in the ninth Saturday, Girardi said results would dictate who sees the field more than anything. And that goes for all three players.
“It’s important to see how guys are doing,” Girardi said. “Let’s not forget we’re in the business of performance and you have to perform to play, so we’ll make decisions day by day.”
Girardi said he’ll use Headley, who quietly has been among the better Yankees hitters since mid-June, at first, third and DH. Headley entered Saturday with a .317/.399/.471 slash line since June 13, including .324/.402/.519 since being switched to primarily first base on July 20. He went 0-for-1 with two walks and committed a throwing error in the eighth Saturday.
Saturday marked Headley’s second start at third base since Frazier was brought in from the White Sox, the other being Aug. 16 at the Mets. Frazier, though a better defender than Headley, has struggled at the plate, producing a .218/.351/.382 slash line, with five homers and 15 RBIs since his start with the Yankees on July 19. Frazier, who did not start Saturday, had been a bit better of late, going 6-for-13 with two homers and a triple in a four-game stretch Aug. 18-22.
Two in a row for Kahnle
RHP Tommy Kahnle allowed an inherited runner to score but otherwise had a solid outing Saturday, which included a key strikeout of the first batter he faced, Mitch Haniger, with two on and none out in the eighth. That made two straight good outings for the reliever, who struck out the first three hitter he faced Thursday in Detroit before helping ignite a brawl by throwing behind Miguel Cabrera. Kahnle had allowed five runs in his previous three outings after posting a 1.54 ERA in his first 14 appearances with the Yankees.
Hitting with runners in scoring position has been a seasonlong issue for the Yankees, and Girardi said at times hitters have tried to do “too much.”
“Some of it could be inexperience,” Girardi said. “There’s a lot of different things that it could be. But you know, I think everything that you do on the field starts with the mental thought first: What do I need to do here? And that’s something I think we could be better at.”