Chase Headley batted second in the Yankees’ lineup for the first time this season Wednesday night and Joe Girardi indicated it probably won’t be for the last time.
“I’ve continued to try and spread my lefthanders out,” Girardi said before the series finale against the White Sox. “And he’s been an on-base machine when you look at what he’s done [this season].”
The move paid dividends right away. Headley hit a two-run home run in his first at-bat off White Sox rookie Dylan Covey to give the Yankees a 2-0 first-inning lead. It was Headley’s third homer — he didn’t hit his third homer last season until May 25.
Headley entered Wednesday hitting .409/.519/.614 in 14 games, his on-base percentage the best in baseball so far. Headley’s 10 walks tied him for team-best with Matt Holliday.
It is a marked difference from last April when Headley hit .150 (9-for-60), with a .268 OBP in 19 games
“He’s been on base half the time, patience is important [in the two-hole],” Girardi said. “And you start to think about, it’s something that probably makes sense in the National League ballpark as we move forward, too, because the Pirates have like 19 lefthanders in their bullpen.”
The Yankees start a three-game series against the Pirates Friday at PNC Park.
Good news on Gleyber
Top prospect Gleyber Torres, a last minute-scratch from Double-A Trenton’s lineup Tuesday night, was placed on the seven-day DL on Wednesday with mild right rotator cuff tendinitis.
“Probably won’t be down too long,” Girardi said.
The 20-year-old Torres, hitting .237/.341/.342 for Trenton, took BP before Tuesday’s game but experienced discomfort in the shoulder and was removed from the lineup.
In this weekend’s series, the Yankees are slated to start three pitchers measuring at least 6-6 in height — CC Sabathia (6-6) on Friday, Michael Pineda (6-7) on Saturday and Jordan Montgomery (6-6) on Sunday.
Jacoby Ellsbury entered Wednesday having reached base safely in 20 straight games with a plate appearance (dating to Sept. 26 of last season), the longest active on-base streak in the majors . . . Luis Severino, who struck out 10 in Tuesday’s loss, entered Wednesday tied for second in the majors in strikeouts (27) with Cleveland’s Danny Salazar. Boston’s Chris Sale leads with 29.