Starlin may earn permanent spot high in order

Off to blistering start in first season with Yankees, 2B moved from No. 8 to No. 3

Starlin may earn permanent spot high in order

DETROIT -- Part of what attracted the Yankees to Starlin Castro was his experience hitting in a variety of lineup spots. They saw that flexibility lengthening the bottom of the order, but a hot start is forcing manager Joe Girardi to consider a promotion.

Girardi slotted the slugging second baseman in the No. 3 spot Friday as New York opened a three-game series with the Tigers, and he suggested that if Castro were to keep up his current pace, a permanent change would be necessary.

"He'll be MVP, so I think you'd have to think about a lot of things," Girardi said before Castro went 0-for-4 in the Yankees' 4-0 loss.

Castro's four-hit, five-RBI game

All joking aside, it has been a debut for the record books: Castro's eight RBIs are most by any player in his first three games as a Yankee since RBIs became an official stat in 1920.

Having batted eighth in each of the team's first three games, Castro is the third Yankee with as many as eight RBIs in the team's first three games of a season, joining Babe Ruth (1932) and Bill Dickey (1934), who each had nine.

"He's been swinging the bat well. You want to try to separate your lefties somehow in the lineup," Girardi said. "We talked about some different ways to do it. Starlin has done it in his career. He's swinging the bat well, so it just made sense to us."

With the Cubs from 2010-15, Castro hit in every lineup position, but the majority of his plate appearances came as the No. 2 hitter and in the top five spots of Chicago's lineup.

"It doesn't matter; whatever is good for the team," Castro said. "Whatever they want me to be, I'm going to be there and try and do my job and help the team."

Girardi said that he has been pleased by the early returns of the lineup, with the swap of Castro in place of Stephen Drew looming as the team's biggest upgrade.

"We're better on paper than we were last year at this time, but paper doesn't mean a whole lot," Girardi said. "But I like this group. I like how they came together in Spring Training with the addition of some guys and how well they fit in our clubhouse. I think it's a close-knit group that's going to fight all the time."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.