Yankees Notebook: Girardi changes lineup, Lowe impresses

Derek Lowe.
JEFF ZELEVANSKY/GETTY IMAGES

Manager Joe Girardi’s decision to bat Robinson Cano fifth and Mark Teixeira fourth was a move that was widely panned by fans calling into talk radio even though the Yankees won.

Cano had his eighth straight multi-hit game Tuesday, but twice came up leading off an inning while Teixeira went 0-for-6, hit into two double plays and stranded nine.

A day later, Girardi had Teixeira hitting sixth against Daisuke Matsuzaka and Swisher was placed in the fifth spot. It was Swisher’s 21st start as a fifth place hitter and Teixeira’s 38th career start there. It was his first start in that spot Buck Showalter put him there for Texas on May 1, 2004 against Boston.

In two games since returning from a calf injury, Teixeira is 1-for-9 with a walk and a strikeout. During those plate appearances, Teixeira has seen 36 pitches.

“I just wasn’t seeing the ball; I was late,” Teixeira said.

“They’ve been OK. I have not seen him chase a lot of pitches,” Girardi added.

The primary reason for the move pertained more to Nick Swisher, who has batted in six of the nine lineup spots. In his last 15 games, his production is similar to Cano’s as he has gone 22-for-56 (.392) with four home runs and 14 RBIs in his last 15 games.

One thing that will not change Girardi said is Alex Rodriguez being his third place hitter. Rodriguez is batting .250 (27-for-108) with just five extra-base hits but his on-base percentage of .349 is similar to where it was when he broke his hand in Seattle.

Lowe pitching toward playoff roster

Derek Lowe’s stint with the Yankees began with four scoreless innings for his first save in over a decade. He followed that up by allowing five runs and 14 hits in his next six outings, spanning 5 1/3 innings.

Since that point, it has turned around. Lowe has pitched 14 1/3 innings during that time and he has allowed just three runs and six hits.

The biggest of those appearances was Tuesday when he pitched the 11th and 12th, getting four ground balls, including an inning-ending double play in the 12th. That put the Yankees in position to win it on Raul Ibanez’s single and gave Lowe his first victory since July 4 when his earned run average was 4.43.

Lowe’s victory Tuesday followed up Sunday’s strong outing in Toronto. Lowe came into the fifth inning with the Yankees down 5-1 and runners at the corners. He got five outs with four coming via ground balls and when he departed the Yankees began their comeback.

“He can get a lot of groundballs and when you get in those tight games, those ground balls are important,” Girardi said. “He gets the big double play. Keeping the ball in the ballpark, that’s something that he’s able to do because of his sinker.”


Valentine: Regrets, I’ve had a few

Wednesday may have been Bobby Valentine’s final pregame media session as manager of the Red Sox and it lasted for nearly 15 minutes.

The reason for the length was comments that he made on WEEI in Boston, where he said that some coaches undermined him during the team’s worst season since 1992 and first 90-loss campaign since 1966.

“There were times when I didn’t think it was one-for-all,” Valentine said, “I just felt once in a while we weren’t on the same page.”

Asked if he believed that strained relationship impacted the team, Valentine said, “Very little. I don’t think it had anything to do with anything.”

Valentine did not name any of the coaches, but his uncomfortable relationship with Tim Bogar, Gary Tuck, who coached for Terry Francona.

Valentine did say that while he hasn’t heard about his status, he felt he had the support of ownership. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Wednesday that Valentine was likely to be fired after the season.

“Ownership has been incredible,” Valentine said. “It seemed like when things got worse, one of them would always be there to say hang with it.”

Valentine’s session ended with him expressing two regrets about his early criticism of Kevin Youkilis and his bullpen management following Andrew Bailey’s thumb injury.


Bomber briefs

» Girardi confirmed Andy Pettitte would make the start if there was a one-game playoff Thursday in Baltimore. Pettitte last started on Saturday in Toronto and made three starts after returning from the DL.

Follow Yankees beat writer LarryFleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


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