Manager Joe Girardi pinch hit Gary Sanchez for Headley in a big spot in Friday’s loss
NEW YORK — Chase Headley got it.
When Yankees manager Joe Girardi told him Gary Sanchez would pinch hit for him in a crucial spot with two outs in the ninth inning of Friday’s 4-1 loss to the A’s at Yankee Stadium, Headley understood.
“If I want to hit, I need to hit better. Know what I mean?” Headley said.
It didn’t work out. Sanchez popped out with runners on first and second base to end the game.
But the message was clear. Girardi didn’t trust Headley in a big spot with the game on the line.
“Obviously,” Headley said, “I wanted to take that at-bat. But his job is to make the decision he thinks is best for the team. Personally, I want to be in it. But if he thought that was what’s right, then that’s his decision.”
Girardi, however, said the move was more about Sanchez than Headley.
“It’s a power bat,” Girardi said. “With two outs, you’re looking for a home run there, and that’s why I went to it.”
Said Headley, “I’m not blaming him for making a decision. I’m saying I would have liked to have hit right there. But I’m not swinging the bat very well. And if I want that at-bat, I need to swing the bat better.”
Headley has been in a slump that’s reaching serious levels.
After hitting .409 thought his first 19 games, Headley’s numbers have plummetted. Entering Friday, he hit .162 with one home run and 16 RBI in 28 games. Add in his 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Friday, Headley’s batting average has fallen to .228.
Questions of whether top prospect Gleyber Torres, who was just promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the first time, should start over Headley have begun and they’ll continue until Headley snaps out of it.
Earlier in the day, Girardi said Headley has hit into some bad luck lately.
Headley agreed, but only somewhat.
“Before the last three or four games,” he said, “I thought I was swinging the bat pretty well. Or better than what it was showing. Maybe the first week, week and a half of this slide I thought it was pretty good. But the the last three or four days haven’t been as good as I think they need to be. I just got to find a way to dig myself out and get going.”