Girardi confident in slumping Gardner

New York Yankees left-fielder Brett Gardner is in a slump.

Gardner, who went 0-for-5 on Thursday night, has just one hit in his last 19 at-bats.

Manager Joe Girardi decided to give him Friday night off, opting to go with right-handed

batter Andruw Jones against Texas Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison.

Jones went 0-for-3 in the Yankees' 5-3 loss. Gardner came in to pinch-run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

“He’s struggling,” Girardi said of Gardner, who is batting a mere .150 (6-for-40) and getting on-base just 22.7 percent of the time. “His at-bats have been tough. He’s been behind in a lot of counts: 0-1, 1-2. And then the pitcher has a chance to nibble and make you hit his pitch. He’s just struggling a little bit. At times I thought he’s been close, he’d hit a couple line drives, I thought he was coming out of it. And then kind of got back in. It’s no fun when you’re going through it, but he’ll turn it around.”

Girardi said Gardner’s struggles have nothing to do with the fact that he’s been moved up to the leadoff spot in the batting order. Gardner hit .290 out of the leadoff spot last season in 93 at-bats, but has hit just .135 out of the one hole in 37 at-bats in 2011.

“I don’t think that has a lot to do with it, I don’t,” Girardi said. “You’re gonna hit anywhere. The only time you hit first is the first at-bat of the game.”

Girardi said he’s considered moving the 26-year-old down in the order, but for now, he’s going to stick with Gardner at the top.

“There’s some things you can try to do to get players going,” Girardi said. You do talk about those kinds of things. But right now Jones is playing left field against the left so we’ll see what we do.”