NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury are both out of the New York Yankees lineup for the Sunday afternoon game against the Chicago White Sox. With tough left-hander Chris Sale starting for the White Sox, that's not a huge surprise.
But Joe Girardi said Sunday morning that Gardner might not have been able to play, no matter who the opposing starter was. Girardi said Gardner's ankle remained sore after he was hit there in Saturday's win.
"I'm hoping it's just [Sunday]," Girardi said.
Girardi also described Ellsbury as "pretty beat up," but said there's no concern with him going forward. With the Yankees in a stretch of 13 straight games without an off day, it's a good time to give him a break, anyway. Ellsbury struck out in all three of his at-bats against Sale when the Yankees lost to the White Sox lefty in May in Chicago.
Besides being one of the best pitchers in the game, Sale is especially tough on left-handed hitters. Lefties have just 14 hits in 104 at-bats (.135) against him this year, with 13 singles and one double.
Girardi doesn't have enough right-handers and switch hitters to give all his lefty hitters a day off at the same time, so Ichiro Suzuki is starting in center field.
Even starting as many right-handers as possible is no guarantee of success against Sale. Ellsbury was the only left-hander in the Yankee lineup in May, and Sale allowed just one hit in six shutout innings, with no walks and 10 strikeouts.
The Yankee lineup:
Derek Jeter, SS
Martin Prado, LF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Carlos Beltran, DH
Chase Headley, 3B
Zelous Wheeler, RF
Ichiro Suzuki, CF
Brendan Ryan, 2B
Chris Capuano, LHP
NOTES: Prado makes his first Yankee start in left, his fourth different position in 20 games. Prado has made 252 major-league starts in left, more than at any position but third base. . . . Jeter is leading off for just the third time this season.