On Opening Day, the starting left fielder for the New York Yankees will be Brett Gardner. However, the Yankees want to keep Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton‘s bats in the lineup whenever Gardner needs a day off.
That’s why new first base coach and outfield instructor Reggie Willits wants to test Judge and Stanton’s comfort level in left field.
“It’s going to take some time to learn to do it,” Willits said to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “It’s going to take time to see repetitions of a ball moving a certain way. It’s pretty similar. It’s just going to take repetitions. The kind of work ethic that both of those guys have, I think they’re going to pick it up pretty well.”
Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone stated he wanted to rotate Judge, Stanton, and catcher Gary Sanchez in the DH spot. Adding the fielding flexibility to Judge and Stanton’s repertoire could be a blessing for the Bombers.
Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman recently gave the scenario of the team resting Gardner against Red Sox lefty Chris Sale at Fenway Park, and have Stanton play left field while Judge patrols right. Even though it will be an adjustment for Gardner, Judge, and Stanton, all three are on board and will do whatever it takes to help the Yankees reach their 28th World Series championship.
“The beautiful thing about it is, the outfielders that we have, they’re all-in on winning,” Willits said. “With guys doing roles that may be a little bit different, when you’ve got guys that are all-in and just care about winning, it sure makes it a lot easier.”