"Early in the season, you don't want guys sitting too long and having a hard time getting going," Girardi said.
Girardi started Andruw Jones in left field, with Alex Rodriguez taking a half-day as the designated hitter. The Yankees will see another southpaw on Tuesday, as the Orioles plan to send Wei-Yin Chen to the hill for his Major League debut.
"We're getting a lot of lefties here, and it's a way to keep [Jones'] bat in the lineup," Girardi said. "Eventually, Gardy is going to play against some of the lefties, and I'll get [Curtis Granderson] a day off, but it's so early in the season, I just try to get guys in there."
Girardi also explained that with Rodriguez getting a half-day at DH, he wanted to keep Eduardo Nunez in the lineup as the third baseman. Nunez booted the first ball hit to him this season on Saturday, but Girardi thinks that Nunez is largely over the defensive concerns that saw him commit 21 errors last year.
"For this team to be successful, I think he has to play well," Girardi said of Nunez. "I think he's a big part of it."