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Struggling Gardner replaced by Hicks Saturday

Special to MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi juggled his lineup Saturday, benching left-fielder Brett Gardner and replacing him with Aaron Hicks.

Gardner, who is the longest-tenured Yankee, was hitting .192 after going 0-for-4 in Friday's 6-3 loss to the Pirates. He was 4-for-36 since April 8.

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PITTSBURGH -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi juggled his lineup Saturday, benching left-fielder Brett Gardner and replacing him with Aaron Hicks.

Gardner, who is the longest-tenured Yankee, was hitting .192 after going 0-for-4 in Friday's 6-3 loss to the Pirates. He was 4-for-36 since April 8.

View Full Game Coverage

Hicks, a switch-hitter who lost out to slugging phenom Aaron Judge for the starting job in right field, came into the game 9-for-28 with four home runs and nine RBIs.

It wasn't just sitting Hicks "but trying to keep Hicks going, too," Girardi said. "Jacoby [Ellsbury] is swinging the bat really well, he's trying to keep Hicks going. He's played extremely well. I'm gonna rotate those guys like I've said all year long. Stay with your hot hands a little bit."

Signs of improvement 

Friday, first baseman Greg Bird pulled two foul balls that ended up whacking the Pirates Charities sign atop the right-field bleachers. In each of the at-bats, the Yankees had two runners on base. Had Bird straightened out his swing a bit, the balls might have landed in the Allegheny River and Bird might have had six RBIs.

Although Bird came into Saturday's game hitting just .122, Girardi said he is getting close to putting up better numbers.

"I think his at-bats have been pretty good, I think he's hit the ball hard," Girardi said. "Now, some of them have been foul. I think he's hitting the ball hard, I think he's centering the ball. It seems like the pitches he's fouling straight back, he's on those, as well. I think he's really close and I think he'll get going."

Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner