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Yanks experimenting with Sanchez in No. 2 spot

Catcher goes 1-for-3 with a home run, 3 RBIs against Tigers
MLB.com @BryanHoch

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Spring Training offers a prime opportunity for experimentation, and so the Yankees are using this time to see how Gary Sanchez looks as their No. 2 hitter.

While Joe Girardi cautioned that he would not make too much of it at this moment, the Yankees' manager said that he is open to considering everything. Sanchez batted second in the Yankees' 11-1 Grapefruit League win over the Tigers on Saturday at Publix Field.

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LAKELAND, Fla. -- Spring Training offers a prime opportunity for experimentation, and so the Yankees are using this time to see how Gary Sanchez looks as their No. 2 hitter.

While Joe Girardi cautioned that he would not make too much of it at this moment, the Yankees' manager said that he is open to considering everything. Sanchez batted second in the Yankees' 11-1 Grapefruit League win over the Tigers on Saturday at Publix Field.

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"I'm going to look at it," Girardi said. "In the first inning, I think I'd prefer to have two guys in front of my best hitter sometimes. Then you start going through the other three times in the lineup and you get a few more at-bats during the course of the season. I can see both ways."

There has been sabermetric analysis in recent years to suggest that a team benefits from hitting its most productive player second.

Sanchez, who hit a two-run homer off Detroit's Anibal Sanchez and threw out Anthony Gose stealing at second base from his knees in Saturday's contest, said that he would leave the lineup decisions to the manager.

"I feel fine wherever they put me," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "Wherever the manager wants to have me in the lineup, I'm fine with that. Just being in the lineup is a good feeling. You feel good to be in the lineup, so wherever that is, I'm happy."

Sanchez hit .299/.376/.657 in 53 games for the Yankees last season, finishing second to the Tigers' Michael Fulmer for the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury each logged 228 at-bats as the Yankees' No. 2 hitter last season, and Girardi has spoken about the idea of breaking up those two left-handed hitters at the top of the order.

In total, Yankees No. 2 hitters produced a .264/.337/.369 split last year, while logging an extra 23 plate appearances over the No. 3 hitters (726 to 703). Sanchez hit third 40 times, logging 176 plate appearances in those games.

"A lot of my lineups have to do with trying to get guys the most at-bats they can get now," Girardi said. "I'm going to look at the lineup. When we get closer, I'm going to look at doing a lot of different things and come up with what we think is the best lineup."

Sanchez said that his mindset would not change if the Yankees ultimately decide to keep the shuffle into the regular season.

"Not at all. The approach is the same," Sanchez said. "I go out there to do what I know how to do. I have the same approach: very good contact."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez