Playing matchups, Girardi puts Chavez at hot corner

Playing matchups, Girardi puts Chavez at hot corner

NEW YORK -- The Yankees may not have much data on Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, but what little they do have told manager Joe Girardi that Eric Chavez should be in his lineup for Game 3 of the American League Division Series.

Chavez is 3-for-6 with a home run against the 27-year-old right-hander, and as Girardi reviewed video of Chavez's at-bats and saw four well-constructed at-bats, he couldn't resist plugging Chavez in as New York's starting third baseman on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

"Chavy is 3-for-6 and squared up four balls on this guy in six at-bats," said Girardi, who batted Chavez ninth. "I know it's a small sample, but obviously he's seen him and sees the ball."

Chavez did not play in the first two games of the ALDS in Baltimore. With Chavez manning the hot corner, Girardi was freed to switch Alex Rodriguez to the designated-hitter role while keeping Rodriguez in the No. 3 spot in the lineup.

The switch meant that the Yankees had left-handed hitting Raul Ibanez on the bench as a potential late-inning power threat. Ibanez served as the DH for Game 1 before sitting in Game 2 against lefty Wei-Yin Chen.

"He's been a really big pinch-hitter for us, and I like having that," Girardi said. "That's not the reason I didn't start him. It's just that I looked at Chavy -- and Raul's at-bats were pretty good off this guy too, but Chavy's at-bats were really good, so I decided to go that way. But it's nice to have that."