Originally written October 16, 2012 on The Other Paper:
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With the New York Yankees offense continuing to sputter, manager Joe Girardi will attempt to jump start his flatlining team by bringing in the bench.  Does he really have a choice? The Yankees manager made a few radical changes to the lineup — for tonight's Game 3 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander — and announced that he will bench Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher for Eric Chavez and Brett Gardner, respectively. Throw in Eduardo Nunez — who will play shortstop for the injured Derek Jeter — and ALDS hero Raul Ibanez in the designated hitter spot, and you have to wonder if old George Steinbrenner is rolling in his grave. The $29 million A-Rod is batting an anemic .130 in the playoffs and has looked hopeless at the plate.  He already rode the pine during Game 5 of the ALDS. Swisher isn't much better with a .154 average under his playoff belt and a costly error in right field in Game 2. Gardner will bat leadoff despite only three plate appearances since April 17 — before he underwent elbow surgery. Here's what tonight's Yankees lineup will look like with Phil Hughes on the mound. Brett Gardner, LF Ichiro Suzuki, RF Mark Teixeira, 1B Robinson Cano, 2B Raul Ibanez, DH Russell Martin, C Eric Chavez, 3B Curtis Granderson, CF Eduardo Nunez, SS Hopefully, for Yankees fans, Jeter will there in spirit.
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