TORONTO -- Aaron Boone spent a good portion of this past weekend tinkering with his first batting order as a big league manager, but most of the important decisions were locked in as the Yankees bid farewell to Florida and boarded their first charter flight of the season.Boone and the
TORONTO -- Aaron Boone spent a good portion of this past weekend tinkering with his first batting order as a big league manager, but most of the important decisions were locked in as the Yankees bid farewell to Florida and boarded their first charter flight of the season.
Boone and the Yankees unveiled what is arguably the Majors' most anticipated Opening Day lineup on Wednesday, with reigning American League Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge, reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton and power-hitting catcher Gary Sanchez set to be stacked 2-3-4 against the Blue Jays when they open their season in Toronto this afternoon (first pitch scheduled for 3:37 p.m ET).
"I'm excited," Stanton said. "I'm focused, excited, just ready to get some games that mean something here. I'm looking forward to going out there and fighting with the guys."
After experimenting with Judge in the leadoff spot this spring, Boone shied away from that move for the opener, explaining that he felt comfortable having the left-handed-hitting Brett Gardner lead off against left-hander J.A. Happ, particularly due to Toronto's righty-heavy bullpen.
"I feel like for the most part the guys are in a really good place and ready to go as we tee it up tomorrow," Boone said.
The absence of Greg Bird contributed to Boone's process, with the Yankees featuring only two true left-handed bats in the order. After Judge, Stanton and Sanchez, switch-hitter Aaron Hicks will bat fifth, followed by the left-handed Didi Gregorius, the right-handed Brandon Drury, switch-hitter Neil Walker and the right-handed Christopher Austin.
Boone said that though he decided to have Walker in the lineup at second base, Tyler Wade should play at least two of the games in this series. He added that Austin's thump presents what the Yankees expect will be a good matchup against Happ.
"Wade is going to play a lot -- whether it's two, three games -- I'd imagine," Boone said. "This felt like the best way to go, matchup-wise, for the first day."
No matter how Boone arranges his lineup, scoring runs should not be the Yankees' issue in 2018. After being acquired from the Marlins in the blockbuster trade of the winter, Stanton said that his first spring with the club lived up to expectations.
"It's been fun getting to know all of my new teammates, the new cities, new everything," Stanton said. "It's been fun. It's an adjustment, but one that I prepared myself for and have looked forward to. I'm just ready to get started here."
Stanton's transition will include preparing for extended duties in the DH spot. He will shelve his fielding glove for the opener, marking the 14th time in his career that the lifelong National Leaguer has done so, and Stanton said that he expects the reps as a DH will be frequent.
"Hitting is a big part of my craft," Stanton said. "It's basically the same thing, just I don't have to worry about defense every day. When I'm put out there, I have to be more locked in because I have less reps. It's different that way.
"When Aaron and Gardy need a blow, however the pitching staff is going to be, starters and whatnot -- it'll vary. But I have an idea of how it's going to be. A couple of times [each week]. It just depends who we're playing and how it goes. I'll have good notice of what the next couple of days look like and that will be pretty much how the season goes."
Here, in full, is Boone's lineup for the Yankees' 3:37 p.m. ET matchup against the Blue Jays today in Toronto.
1. Brett Gardner, LF
- Aaron Judge, RF
- Giancarlo Stanton, DH
- Gary Sanchez, C
- Aaron Hicks, CF
- Didi Gregorius, SS
- Brandon Drury, 3B
- Neil Walker, 2B
- Tyler Austin, 1B
Starter: Luis Severino, RHP
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com.