{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

In rare start vs. lefty, Pronk takes advantage

|
In rare start vs. lefty, Pronk takes advantage play video for In rare start vs. lefty, Pronk takes advantage

NEW YORK -- As it turned out, Yankees manager Joe Girardi picked the perfect time to give Travis Hafner his first start against a left-handed pitcher on Saturday.

Hafner, who typically gives way to Ben Francisco against southpaw starters, belted a three-run homer against Jays starter J.A. Happ on Saturday and later delivered a decisive RBI triple in the seventh inning against fellow lefty Brett Cecil.

"I thought it was time to give Haf a shot at it [Saturday]," Girardi said. "I won't do it every time because I think, for him, who's had some injury problems, off-days don't necessarily hurt him. I have to be careful, but I thought it was a good day to do it and he made it work."

For Hafner, it was important to get that first start under his belt, considering he's bound to face his fair share of lefty specialists late in games. Though he had yet to start against a left-hander, Hafner was 1-for-7 with three strikeouts and three walks prior to Saturday's 2-for-4 performance.

"It's nice to get some starts in there, because you face them late in games and it's nice to have some at-bats off them," Hafner said. "I think I will get some starts, but I know they have my best interest in mind, too. Whenever they want me to play, I'm ready."

As far as whether or not Girardi will start using Hafner more against lefties, the skipper said the decision will be based more on Hafner's durability than his statistical numbers. After all, the 35-year-old designated hitter has played more than 100 games just once in the last five seasons due to a myriad of injuries.

"We'll see. Part of it is managing him, too," Girardi said. "When you have some guys that have some age and some history of health problems, you have to manage that. You pick your days and [Saturday] I picked to put him in against a left-hander and he was great."

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español