10/31/09 6:00 PM EST
Swisher back in right field for Game 3
Slumping outfielder returns after Hairston started vs. Pedro
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
"Swish has been our right fielder all year long," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Swisher was not the right fielder for Thursday's Game 2, however, when Girardi attempted to exploit a matchup by starting Hairston over a slumping Swisher. It worked. Hairston, who entered the game with a .370 lifetime average off Phillies starter Pedro Martinez, singled to spark a key rally in the seventh inning, giving the Yankees a two-run cushion and knocking Martinez out of the game.
Girardi made the move in part because Swisher was batting .114 in the postseason, and was just 1-for-17 dating back to Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
Though Swisher has never faced Saturday's Phillies starter, Cole Hamels, he has fared relatively well against left-handers all season long. And Hairston is just 2-for-10 in his career off Hamels.
"In Game 6 against the Angels, we thought his at-bats were real good right-handed," Girardi said of the switch-hitting Swisher. "So that's why we chose to do what we did."
As expected, the Yankees also elected to sit designated hitter Hideki Matsui, who did not play an inning in the outfield all season. Even if the Yankees have designs on using Matsui in the field at some point in Philadelphia, they were unlikely to do so against a left-handed pitcher.
Instead, Jorge Posada moved up to the fifth position in the lineup, where he has batted regularly against lefties this postseason. Shortstop Derek Jeter led off, followed by left fielder Johnny Damon, first baseman Mark Teixeira and third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Posada was behind the plate, with Robinson Cano at second base, Swisher in right field, Melky Cabrera in center field and Andy Pettitte on the mound.
The presence of Pettitte in a National League-style lineup prompted more than a few jokes during Friday's workout day at Citizens Bank Park. An NL pitcher for three seasons with the Astros, Pettitte is a .134 career hitter. He is 2-for-16 in postseason play, his most recent hit coming in the 2005 NL Division Series.
"I feel pretty comfortable bunting," Pettitte said. "That's the big thing. And then you're just trying to fend for yourself up there because you don't have time to get ready, you know, try to worry about anything as far as trying to get any timing down or anything like that. Hopefully, I can get a ball that I can handle and get some barrel on it, and it will be a base hit maybe somewhere if I can get one."
The Yankees could use the help. Like the Phillies, their high-powered offense has stalled over the first two World Series games, due in large part to the increased quality of opposing pitchers.
"On both teams, the pitching has been very good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's been outstanding. And that's why you see good hitters making outs, because they get ahead of the hitters and they try to make the hitter hit what they want him to hit. That's the whole object of pitching."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.