By Chad Jennings LoHud
An interesting thing happened these past two days.
The Yankees designated hitter spot opened up, and Derek Jeter filled it on back-to-back games. He’s been the Yankees DH six times this season, and a third of those came over the weekend.
It’s worth wondering: In this final month and a half, are we going to see a little more Stephen Drew at shortstop and a little less Jeter in the field?
“That’s not a discussion that I really want to have right now,” Joe Girardi said. “With Carlos being able to play the outfield, I can obviously do some different things. But Jeet’s my shortstop.”
Girardi was clear about that. Jeter is still the Yankees shortstop. But Carlos Beltran has been cleared to play right field, and the Yankees can now use the DH spot to give a few other players a rest — even relatively young guys like Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury might like a half day off now and then — and it’s hard to ignore the current roster and the way Girardi used it over the weekend.
Drew and Brendan Ryan are considered awfully good defensive players. Metrics suggest they’re better shortstops than Jeter, who’s 40 years old and coming off a series of lower-body injuries last season.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Girardi uses his infielders down the stretch. Drew, Ryan and Martin Prado provide quite a bit of flexibility. Jeter is obviously considered the starting shortstop — makes little sense to expect Girardi to label him any other way — but we’ll see whether the Yankees become tempted into using other players to regularly handle the position.