Shakeup in the Bronx!
Even though manager Aaron Boone said repeatedly "nothing has changed," the Yankees’ lineup had a very different look on Tuesday night against Atlanta at Yankee Stadium.
Aaron Hicks took a seat, as did Clint Frazier. Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman were in center and leftfield, respectively, with Gardner in the No. 3 spot against Atlanta righthander Charlie Morton.
Three batters behind Gardner was Mike Ford, who was recalled from the alternate site before the game to replace the retired Jay Bruce at first base.
Boone said he expects Ford to get a good look with Luke Voit not due back from the injured list until next month. The manager said he expects the struggling Frazier to be back in the lineup on Wednesday, although he plans to give Hicks two games off "to take a step back."
Was it the shakeup Yankees fans have been clamoring for despite Boone and general manager Brian Cashman expressing unwavering faith in their roster? The Yankees were 5-10 entering Tuesday, so Boone probably figured doing nothing wasn’t an option.
"I would say, nothing has changed for me as far as my confidence in our guys and what our team is capable of being," Boone said. "Whether we’re going through a tough stretch -- obviously like we are here to start the season -- or when we’re rolling. I know what those guys are capable of in the room. And I know that they know what they’re capable of.
"But -- and we talk about this all the time as a group in there -- there’s a reason we play 162 . I mean, it’s the ultimate separator and ultimately the cream has to rise to the top. Along the way, whether we go on and win 100 games and have a great season or struggle or whatever, there’s going to be bumps along the way and you’ve got to be able to face them, handle them, deal with them, roll with them. This group, I feel like, is absolutely equipped to handle that. I look forward to us breaking out and getting through it."
Going into Tuesday, Hicks was batting .160 with a .476 OPS. Frazier was batting .167 with a .472 OPS. Bruce, before he abruptly retired on Sunday, was batting .118 with a .466 OPS and had lost at-bats to Rougned Odor, who was playing second with DJ LeMahieu at first. That didn’t work either, as Odor was batting .125 with a .442 OPS.
Boone certainly had his pick of struggling players to bench, but you can’t bench ‘em all. Tuesday’s lineup included Giancarlo Stanton (.176), Gleyber Torres (.196) and Gary Sanchez (.237).
Some people even want Boone fired, but Cashman made clear on Monday that he is not considering a shakeup in the manager’s office.
Boone, asked if he needed to hear that vote of confidence, said: "I don’t know about that. Look, we’re a close-knit organization that communicates, I think at a high level and are kind of walking through these things and scenarios and talking through our roster and trying to get our guys in the best spot to go out and thrive. I guess it’s nice to see him go out there on an off day and kind of run to that, but I feel like as the staff, we’re highly focused on getting these guys . . . and unwavering on our belief that we’ll get this thing turned around."
Boone also said he understands the fans’ frustrations.
"We’re the New York Yankees," he said, "and with that comes humongous expectations and giant interest and giant care, and I understand that . . . We share in that. We want it really bad, too."