After losing Alex Rodriguez to hip surgery this offseason, the Yankees made a point of finding a right-handed hitting third baseman to counter left-handed pitching. In 2012, the team struggled against lefties, while Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson regressed against same side pitchers. The organization made a point of finding some right-handed bench players, but Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera did not pan out. When Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter were expected to miss opening day, you could start to see the panic in the Yankees' moves. Ben Francisco and Vernon Wells were the best two options, and now on Monday we were left with an opening day lineup that was hard to look at. Eduardo Nunez batted second, Francisco was your DH, Jayson Nix found himself at third base, and Kevin Youkilis was batting cleanup with Wells as his protection. Against lefties, the Yankees' lineup is nothing short of a mess.
Fortunately, Jeter should return sometime in April. Meanwhile, Teixeira is growing more optimistic about his wrist injury, and could start swinging a bat with two hands in a couple of weeks. It's possible that both of these lefty-killers are back by May, but one month of losses can be the difference between making the playoffs or playing golf in October. To see the left-handed pitchers they'll face in April, I've compiled a schedule of probable starters, assuming each opposing team maintains their rotation.
The Yankees are scheduled to see left-handed starters around 9 times in April, or 8 times after Lester's game last Monday. Of those, David Price is probably the only one more difficult to hit than Jon Lester. Wade Miley and Wei-Yin Chen are also beginning to develop their own reputations, though they're far off from 2012's Cy Young winner. Mark Buehrle has put up strong numbers in the past, but he's much easier to hit than is led on, and consistently leads the league in hits allowed. Patrick Corbin, Scott Kazmir, and J.A. Happ are the final three, and each had their own struggles over the last year.
The only real games to worry about here are against David Price, although it is possible to see Matt Moore if the Rays change up their rotation. Outside of Miley and Chen, the Yankees should be able to survive with the line up they have. April will be full of right-handed starters that the Yankees' lineup will be much more prepared to handle. The Yankees are lucky to have such a light schedule against lefties in the first month of the season, and assuming there are no set backs for Jeter or Teixeira, they shouldn't need to make any serious moves. Casper Wells should be sitting on the waiver wire at the moment, and he could be an upgrade, but I wouldn't expect any major moves.