Chase Headley wasn’t quite as ecstatic as his teammates after Tuesday’s 8-4 wild-card victory over the Twins. He was happy the team was advancing, but wished he had played a part in it.
When it came to filling the DH role, Headley was not the designated survivor in Joe Girardi’s three-man competition between Headley, Matt Holliday and the eventual winner, Jacoby Ellsbury, who was hitless in four at-bats.
Headley has become the most likely Yankee to have his feelings hurt, despite his willingness to play different positions and never complain. This was just the latest setback.
“I was disappointed, I want to be in there,’’ he said after the champagne party in the clubhouse. “I want to do my part. It is what it is. You just gotta deal with it, put your feelings aside, be ready to go when they call upon you. But yeah, obviously, everybody wants to play in this situation. This is what you play for.’’
Girardi made his decision Monday, though it was not divulged publicly until the lineups were announced Tuesday afternoon.
“We felt that going into this, we had three players for two spots, and we knew it would be a very tough decision,’’ Girardi said. “Look at what Headley has done for us. He’s done everything we’ve asked. Ellsbury has done everything we’ve asked, as well, and our thought was runs are sometimes very tough to come by in playoff games, and we thought we’d put our fastest and most athletic team [out there] and see if we can do some things.
“And then from a defensive standpoint, [the Twins] are aggressive, and they like to take the extra base, and you get a bigger arm in centerfield [with Aaron HIcks] and that might prohibit them from doing some of that. It gives us more options off the bench because Headley is a switch hitter, and you have Holiday that could [pinch hit], if we want.”
Headley said he was informed by Girardi on Monday.
“He told me what he was thinking, that was it,’’ Headley said. “I understood what he was saying. I mean, it doesn’t mean I agree with it. At the same token, I mean, it’s his job. He’s gotta make those decisions, I don’t think there’s anything that he’s gonna say that’s going to make you feel better at the moment. You play this game a long time and haven’t had a lot of opportunities to play in the playoffs. I think he probably knew that I was going to be disappointed and understood it.’’
The Yankees advanced to the best-of-five ALDS against the Indians. Does Headley expect some DH time?
“I would assume, but I don’t know,’’ he said. “I have no idea what to expect with that.’’