days until pitchers and catchers report to Tampa. Four days until Joe Girardi makes his first spring training media address. Two days before most of the writers jet south, and one day before we begin to wonder where we stored the cotton polo shirts.
How would your 2008 Yankees lineup look? Assuming the opposing pitcher is a right-hander, we could be penciling in this opening day order:
1. Johnny Damon, LF; 2. Derek Jeter, SS; 3. Bobby Abreu, RF; 4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B; 5. Hideki Matsui, DH; 6. Jorge Posada, C; 7. Jason Giambi, 1B; 8. Robinson Cano, 2B; 9. Melky Cabrera, CF.
That's a lot of left-handed bats. That's also a tough place to bat Robbie Cano, especially if Damon, Abreu or Matsui gets off to a slow start. You wonder how much Girardi would consider potentially bruising the egos of his veterans (Matsui batting eighth? Giambi?) if Cano is tearing it up while others are not.
You get the feeling that Shelley Duncan could see a lot of at-bats, and that a guy like Morgan Ensberg - or even Wilson Betemit - could get significant playing time, allowing Girardi to occasionally spell his veterans and balance out the order.
As usual, Giambi is the Mystery Factor here. Can his body hold up? How much first base could he really be expected to play? Could he handle the role of being mostly a bench player/pinch-hitter? The look of this Yankee lineup is bound to be influenced heavily by Giambi's role.