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Joe Girardi says Gary Sanchez likely to hit second in Yankees' lineup

TAMPA, Fla. -- The New York Yankees likely will bat power-hitting catcher Gary Sanchez second in their lineup at the start of the season.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday that he was leaning toward having Brett Gardner bat leadoff, followed by Sanchez, Greg Bird, Matt Holliday and Jacoby Ellsbury.

Girardi said he had been thinking about breaking up the left-handed-hitting Gardner and Ellsbury.

"It makes it harder to navigate through our lineup," Girardi said. "We feel like it's a better situation for all of us. This could very well be similar to our Opening Day lineup."

Sanchez hit 20 homers in 53 games last season after being recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in early August. Bird has shown a power swing during spring training after missing all of last season with a shoulder injury.

Girardi said it's likely that Ronald Torreyes will start at short in place of Didi Gregorius, who will begin the season on the disabled list with a shoulder strain.

Adam Warren, who was in the mix for the fifth starter spot, will work out of the bullpen.