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Girardi elects to keep Matsui at DH

Girardi elects to keep Matsui at DH

NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi could have asked Jorge Posada to start at designated hitter Friday for Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

He simply likes his odds with Hideki Matsui.

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"Matsui's been our DH most of the year, and is familiar with that role," Girardi said. "That is not a role that Jorge has done a lot in his career. It wasn't much of a decision because of what Matsui's done in the DH role."

And so Matsui was slotted in Friday's lineup, batting fifth, and Posada sat on the bench. The move allowed the Yankees to make room in the lineup for Jose Molina, who is quickly becoming A.J. Burnett's personal catcher.

Posada has hit just .250 with one double in 28 at-bats as a designated hitter this season. Matsui has hit .269 with 27 home runs in 435 at-bats in that role.

Rather than shift Robinson Cano, who is 0-for-8 lifetime off Twins starter Nick Blackburn, up in the lineup, Girardi bumped Nick Swisher (3-for-12 off Blackburn with three walks) into Posada's usual sixth spot. The move also prevents the Yankees from having two left-handed-hitting batters, Cano and Matsui, bat back-to-back.

The top of the order is identical to that of Game 1, with Derek Jeter leading off and playing shortstop, followed by left fielder Johnny Damon, first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Matsui. Center fielder Melky Cabrera, who typically hits ninth, is batting eighth in front of Molina.

New York last used this lineup variation on Sept. 26, in a 3-0 win over Boston.

Division Series
Gm. 1NYY 7, MIN 2WrapVideo
Gm. 2NYY 4, MIN 3 (11)WrapVideo
Gm. 3NYY 4, MIN 1WrapVideo

Dating back to the beginning of that series, a span of nine regular-season games and one postseason contest, the Yankees have averaged 5.5 runs per game. They lead the Majors with 51 comeback victories, including 36 at home and 15 walk-off victories.

Statistically speaking, they continue to employ the most prolific offense in the Major Leagues.

"We want to keep the game close," Burnett said. "The way these guys swing the bat one through nine, it's possible for a comeback any night."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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