DETROIT — If you happen to see Joe Girardi walking around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on Friday, best not to ask him if he’s thinking about radically changing his lineup.
The Yankees’ manager reacted harshly to a question Thursday about the team’s struggling offense and whether he had contemplated any unusual lineup alterations.
One thought that was brought up was to follow the lead of teams such as the Blue Jays and Indians, who have used power hitters Jose Bautista and Carlos Santana, respectively, as their leadoff batters.
It’s not a real good fit for the Yankees, who have Jacoby Ellsbury embedded in the leadoff spot, but it was mentioned as an example of unconventional change.
Girardi did not seem to appreciate the suggestion — at all.
“Who do you want me to lead off?” Girardi snapped before the Yankees played a makeup game against the Tigers at Comerica Park before heading to Baltimore for a weekend series against the Orioles.
“I mean, tell me,” Girardi said. “You guys have these questions . . . You want me to lead Tex [Mark Teixeira] off? You want me to lead Alex [Rodriguez] off? You want me to lead Carlos [Beltran] off? I mean, Ellsbury’s done a pretty good job, hasn’t he?”
When the reporter suggested moving one of the power guys to the second spot, Girardi misunderstood the question.
“Move Ellsbury to second and put Carlos in front of him?” he asked. “So when they both get on first and second he can’t bunt? I mean, I have shaken up the lineup, haven’t I? Carlos has hit third or fourth most of the year.
“It’s one thing if you have one or two guys struggling and you shake the lineup up. But when you have five or six, there’s not a whole lot of shaking you can do because our No. 1 hitter’s doing really well and he’s hitting first, our No. 3 hitter has been doing really well and he’s hitting third. So now what? I’m listening. Everyone’s got all these ideas. I’m listening, but when you have six guys in your lineup struggling . . . Maybe I can ask if we can just hit one, two and three.”
Entering Thursday night’s game, the Yankees had scored five runs in the previous four games. They had scored two or fewer runs in 23 of their 52 games, compiling a 2-21 record.
Girardi later seemed to take offense to another question, this one asking if Boston’s hot start has given the Yankees an increased sense of urgency.
“There’s urgency here every day,” he said. “You don’t take anything for granted. Perception is not reality. That’s one of my least favorite statements. Perception is perception. There is urgency in me every day. There is urgency in that clubhouse every day. And if there isn’t, they should go home.”