Gardner won't be in lineup against lefty Keuchel

Yanks left fielder struck out three times against Astros ace in Wild Card Game

Gardner won't be in lineup against lefty Keuchel

NEW YORK -- The last time that the Yankees had to face Dallas Keuchel, Jacoby Ellsbury was benched for the American League Wild Card Game. On Tuesday, it will be Brett Gardner's turn to sit out.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he had to scratch one of the Yanks' two left-handed-hitting outfielders so switch-hitting Aaron Hicks could slot into the lineup against the Astros left-hander. Last October, Girardi opted to play the right-handed-hitting Chris Young over Ellsbury under similar circumstances.

"It's definitely disappointing," Gardner said. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I don't want to start Opening Day, because obviously I do, but I understand where Joe's coming from and respect his decision."

Gardner was 0-for-4 in the Yankees' season-ending loss to Houston, striking out all three times he faced Keuchel. He is hitless in seven career at-bats against the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.

"If I had looked a little better against him, we wouldn't be sitting here talking about that," Gardner said. "I can handle that. It's kind of on me. If I want to play every single day and not come out of the lineup, play a little better."

Girardi broke the news to Gardner while the team was playing a pair of exhibition games in Miami over the weekend.

"If it's the second day of the season it's not a big deal, but because it's Opening Day and what Gardy has meant to this organization, it is a big deal," Girardi said. "I feel for him, but this is the reason that we traded for Hicks.

"On days we face lefties, Ells or Gardy, probably one of them is going to get a day off. It keeps them fresh and strong. Obviously you don't worry about where they are physically on Opening Day because they haven't played 100 games but it's why we went and got him."

Lineup set

The Yanks had settled on the lineup that would take the field behind starter Masahiro Tanaka prior to Monday's postponement. Girardi is expected to use the same batting order on Tuesday, which is as follows:

Ellsbury, CF
Hicks, LF
Alex Rodriguez, DH
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Brian McCann, C
Chase Headley, 3B
Starlin Castro, 2B
Didi Gregorius, SS

Girardi said that he believes that Castro's addition has made the lineup deeper.

"I think he's going to have a really good year," Girardi said. "You try to deepen your lineup as much as you can, and I think he can do a lot of different things. He's hit in a lot of different spots in the lineup in his career. This is a kid who's hit third, so I think our lineup's really deep."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.