The 2016 season for the New York Yankees is starting the same way the 2015 season ended. After Monday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather, the Yankees and the Astros will open the season on Tuesday, April 5. Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka will start against Astros 20-game winner last season Dallas Keuchel.
Manager Joe Girardi was faced with the decision to bench one of his left-handed catalysts in the American League Wild Card Game, and decided to bench Jacoby Ellsbury in favor of Chris Young. When the lineup was released, another left-handed hitter at the top of lineup was benched. Girardi decided to bench Gardner for switch hitter Aaron Hicks. Gardner went 0-4 with three strikeouts in the Wild Card Game against Keuchel.
“I get it,” Gardner said about the decision. “I didn’t look too good against him.”
Gardner was dealing with a wrist injury that kept him out of the first half of Grapefruit League games, paving the way for Hicks to get more playing time.
Gardner was also the subject to trade rumors all offseason, but Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman decided to keep Gardner as the team’s starting left fielder. Hicks will slide right into Gardner’s spot in the order, batting second for the Yankees. Girardi also mentioned in his press conference that Hicks will play often to help give outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran rest. Other than Gardner, the Yankees will be playing all of their regulars.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Aaron Hicks, LF
Alex Rodriguez, DH
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Brian McCann, C
Chase Headley, 3B
Starlin Castro, 2B
Didi Gregorius, SS