MINNEAPOLIS -- The Yankees have only one left-handed reliever in the bullpen for the American League Division Series vs. the Twins, and manager Ron Gardenhire said that could factor into how he structures his lineup for Game 3 against Yankees right-handed starter Phil Hughes on Saturday.
Gardenhire had Delmon Young batting cleanup behind Joe Mauer in the lineup for Game 1 against left-hander CC Sabathia on Wednesday. But Gardenhire said he could change that for Game 3 and use either Jason Kubel or Jim Thome, both left-handed hitters, in that spot depending on who is swinging the best.
"Right now, Delmon is fine with the lefty going, and you can move your lefties around," Gardenhire said. "This is really good [now], because they bring in a left-hander to face Joe and they have to go through a right-hander to get to the next lefty."
Kubel was moved down to the seventh spot in the Twins' lineup for Game 1, although he spent the majority of the season batting somewhere between the Nos. 4-6 spots. Gardenhire went with Thome in the fifth spot for Wednesday's contest.
Kubel had been struggling at the plate. After missing five days because of a bruised left wrist in mid-September, Kubel batted .196 with two home runs and seven RBIs in his final 12 games, although he went 4-for-8 in his final nine plate appearances.
"I wanted Thome up there for his chance to hit the long ball, and late in the season, I've moved Kubel [down in the order] and he was swinging better," Gardenhire said. "He probably quit thinking about as much. We had backed him up a bit [in the lineup], and he swung better his last two times. So thought maybe try that again."