DENVER (AP) -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi batted starting pitcher David Phelps eighth in their lineup Wednesday night instead of the more traditional ninth spot in an interleague game against Colorado.
Girardi took the unusual step to help protect his left-handed heavy lineup against a Rockies bullpen filled with left-handed relievers. Righty hitting catcher Austin Romine batted ninth.
"Our lineup has not been traditional this year because of all the injuries and we've had to do some things," Girardi said prior to the game. "We don't have the switch hitters we've had in the past to divide guys up, so I'm just trying to make it harder for other teams to navigate through our lineup."
The Rockies started right-hander Juan Nicasio.
The Yankees lose the designated hitter for the matchup in a National League ballpark.
Girardi says he borrowed the idea of batting his right-hander eighth from Tony La Russa. He spoke to the former St. Louis Cardinals manager a couple of years ago asking him when he employed the tactic and what the benefits were.
"It's not something that I just off the cuff did," Girardi said. "I've had discussions with Tony La Russa I've talked to our people about it and I just thought it made sense tonight. ... Just because of the way their bullpen is set up with our lefties, and not having a whole lot of right-handed pinch hitters."
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