Girardi not afraid to implement the shift

Girardi not afraid to implement the shift

NEW YORK -- For years, the Yankees have seen a growing number of instances in which teams shift their infield against New York hitters. Now, the Yankees are starting to turn the tables.

It seemed more often than not in the Yankees' opening series in Tampa Bay, the Rays shifted their infield against sluggers like Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has used a little bit of that strategy this week against the visiting Twins' sluggers.

"I don't think it's a reaction to what happened to us," Girardi said. "I think it's actually kind of to all the data that's being put out now that we're all seeing. Some of it is the kinds of pitchers we have, too, and how they'll affect it with how they pitch."

The Rays' Joe Maddon has made the shift a bit more mainstream, whereas just a year or two ago it was reserved for some of baseball's select few most notorious pull hitters. Now, it seems, anybody -- right-handed or left-handed, hitting for power or average -- might see a shortstop on the wrong side of second base.

"I think it's getting guys comfortable," Girardi said of the recent shift surge. "When you ask a guy to play on the opposite side, it's different. You hear guys talk about how you're looking at someone in a mirror, in a sense, when you're playing on the other side of a base."