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Joe Girardi opts for Eric Chavez over Raul Ibanez

Eric Chavez competes with fans as he catches

Eric Chavez competes with fans as he catches a ball hit by the Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado for an out during the seventh inning of Game 3 of the ALDS. (Oct. 10, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

In figuring out the extra lefty bat to put in his lineup Wednesday night against Orioles rookie Miguel Gonzalez, Joe Girardi didn't have much in the way of sample sizes.

Eric Chavez, 3-for-6 with a homer and two strikeouts, won out over Raul Ibañez, who was 2-for-6 with a homer and one strikeout.

Chavez started at third and hit ninth.

"There's other things I look at, the types of pitches he hits," Girardi said. "And you look at Chavy, he's 3-for-6 and he's squared up four balls on this guy. I know it's a small sample but obviously he's seen him and sees the ball [well]."

Ibañez has had his share of big hits this season and Girardi likes the option of the 40-year-old as a pinch hitter.

"He's been a really big pinch hitter for us, and I like having that," Girardi said. "That's not the reason I didn't start him. It's just I looked at Chavy -- and Raul's at-bats were pretty good off this guy [Gonzalez], too -- but Chavy's at-bats were really good, so I decided to go that way."


Mariano Rivera, who hasn't pitched since May 3 when he hurt his right knee in batting practice in Kansas City, threw out the ceremonial first pitch Wednesday night.

New York Sports