PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — The Yankees signed Chris Carter as first base insurance in case Greg Bird wasn’t quite recovered from the shoulder surgery that cost him the 2016 season.
But with Bird hitting .432 with six home runs after going 1-for-3 with a double on Thursday in the Yankees’ 5-5, nine-inning tie with the Rays, Carter doesn’t seem to have a role.
Matt Holliday is having a stellar spring training, too, so there go the designated hitter at-bats. It doesn’t help that Carter is having a difficult time of it, to say the least.
Carter is batting .122 with 22 strikeouts in 41 at-bats after going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts on Thursday. The righthanded hitter tied for the National League lead in home runs with 41 and led the league in strikeouts with 206 last year.
“I felt good today,” Carter said. “I felt pretty good yesterday, too. Just didn’t get the results. Swinging at better pitches. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything like this [in spring training]. I’m just trying to stay positive about it and keep working and keep going. It’s kind of been a funny spring for me so far.”
Four of the in-house candidates to win the Opening Day shortstop job in the absence of the injured Didi Gregorius got in the game on Thursday.
Ronald Torreyes played third base and went 2-for-3 with a home run. Non-roster invitee Pete Kozma started at short and went 0-for-2 with a walk. He was replaced by rookie Tyler Wade, who went 0-for-1. Ruben Tejada replaced Torreyes and was hitless in one at-bat.
Joe Girardi said he still wants to get second baseman Starlin Castro some innings at short in case the Yankees decide to switch him to his natural position.
In the rightfield battle, Aaron Judge went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and Aaron Hicks had a double and walk in three plate appearances.
Girardi said decisions about both spots likely will go down to the wire.