Girardi sets starting lineup for All-Star Game
Manager calls organizing AL stars his toughest task
ANAHEIM -- It was perhaps the most difficult assignment that Joe Girardi had on his plate in preparing for Tuesday's All-Star Game, and it happened to be the same task that he tackles each day as the manager of the Yankees.
Girardi finalized his lineup for the American League All-Stars on Monday, announcing his decisions in a news conference alongside National League counterpart Charlie Manuel at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel.
"The lineup is probably the toughest thing to make out," Girardi said. "We spent time talking about it. There were changes, additions, subtractions. It's the hardest thing."
The AL All-Stars will look to remain unbeaten since 1996 with the following lineup:
Ichiro Suzuki leading off in right field, Derek Jeter at shortstop, Miguel Cabrera at first base, Josh Hamilton in center field, Vladimir Guerrero at designated hitter, Evan Longoria at third base, Joe Mauer behind the plate, Robinson Cano at second base and Carl Crawford in left field.
"We're going to play the game hard and we expect guys to play the game right," Girardi said. "They know how to do that, or they wouldn't be here. We're going to do whatever it takes to win."
Girardi selected Tampa Bay's David Price as his starting pitcher, saying that Price's numbers -- 12-4 with a 2.42 ERA in 17 starts -- "speak for themselves."
In the process of figuring his lineup, Girardi said he leaned heavily on stats, something he also does during the course of Yankees games with a thick analysis binder in the dugout by his side.
"You look at numbers and how guys have performed during the course of the year," Girardi said. "We have some big RBI guys in the middle of our lineup, we have speed at the top and the bottom."
There was also more than a hint that Girardi figured Manuel would be tabbing Rockies standout Ubaldo Jimenez for the start.
"You look at who's starting against you," Girardi said. "You have an idea who Charlie has in his back pocket, who he can bring into the game, and you put your lineup together."
Girardi said that it was a "hard lineup to make when you have two guys at the bottom like Carl Crawford and Robinson Cano," and there could have been an argument that perhaps Crawford would have been a better fit in the No. 2 hole.
But Girardi went with the bat he knows the best, allowing 11-time All-Star Jeter to assume the honors in that spot after hitting leadoff for New York most of this season.
"I look at their careers. I also look at this year as well," Girardi said. "The thing about Carl Crawford, with him at the bottom you basically have two leadoff hitters. ... Derek Jeter has been to this All-Star Game many, many years in a row. We just thought he deserved to be second."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.