TODAY'S PAPER
Clear 30° Good Afternoon
Clear 30° Good Afternoon
SportsBaseballYankees

Joe Girardi contemplates splitting lefties at top of Yankees’ lineup

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi looks on during

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi looks on during spring training batting practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida on Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

TAMPA, Fla. — Let the lineup speculation begin.

After the Yankees’ first full-squad workout of spring training Sunday, manager Joe Girardi said he was not against splitting up Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner at the top of the lineup.

“I like the idea of breaking up lefthanders,” Girardi said. “At times [last year], Didi [Gregorius] was hitting eighth, we had a righthander hitting ninth, and then two lefties at the top of the order, so it was somewhat of the ultimate time to bring in your lefthander against us. So it’s something that we’ve kicked around.”

Spring training will provide time to figure that out, but Girardi said moving one of them to the No. 9 slot likely won’t be an option — for obvious reasons.

“If we do split them up, I don’t anticipate them hitting one and nine,” Girardi said. “Because then you have the same issue you had before [hitting back-to-back]. It’s something we’ll have to see how it evolves.”

Gardner, 33, now the longest-tenured Yankee (he was drafted in 2005 and made his debut in 2008), said where he hits in the lineup isn’t a worry.

“I feel like he and I were one-two or two-one pretty much all year and we really didn’t have a great [2016] offensively,” Gardner said. “I think both of us can improve on what we did last year, no matter where we’re hitting in the lineup.”

Glimpse of the future?

Three of the top prospects in the organization — infielders Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and Jorge Mateo — hit in the same batting practice group Sunday. Each hit the ball hard, with Torres in particular showing impressive power to right-center, very much a feature of his minor-league career to this point.

Ellsbury to report soon

Ellsbury, excused the last couple of days because of the birth of a child, is expected to be on the field by Tuesday or Wednesday, Girardi said.

New York Sports