State of Girardi: Sad about DJ, eyes change

Did Joe know what was coming from Derek Jeter? Girardi says he had no idea. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

TAMPA, Fla. -- Joe Girardi said he had no idea Derek Jeter would retire. When he heard, he was "saddened" by the news.

"I think we were all a little bit taken by it," Girardi said. "You are never sure how someone is going to do it, but I had no inkling that is what he was thinking, so I was little taken aback by it. ... In the [Facebook] article he had written about how it is more difficult to get ready, and when it becomes more than a job than just playing, then it is something [he has] to think about.

"I remember Kevin Tapani telling me that it wasn't the day he pitched, it was the work the four days prior to pitching. It was difficult for him. [Jeter] has played for a long time. He has been so important to this organization. We are going to miss him."

Girardi said he will not go out of his way to play Jeter more, even if fans who have tickets for each Yankees game -- home and away -- will want No. 2 to be in the lineup.

"I got to do with what’s best for our team and what’s best for him, is the bottom line," Girardi said. "As I said, he’s going to play as much as he’s capable of playing, that’s the bottom line for me. We want him out there every day. As I said, it won’t be every day but I want to run him out there most of the time."

Girardi said he will likely bat Jeter second.

"That would be the ideal thing if you could break up your left-handers but we'll just have to see," Girardi said.

Girardi plans on talking with Jeter face to face. Since the announcement, the two have exchanged texts, the manager said.

TRANSITION YEAR: On Opening Day 2014 -- April 7 against the Orioles -- the Yankees will likely have no players in the same position as on Opening Day 2013. Only probable starter CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner figure to be in the lineup against the Astros when the Bombers open the season on April Fool's Day in Houston. Gardner probably will be in left instead of center.

"It is different," Girardi said. "I do believe, as a manager, this is the biggest transition I've been through."

Here are the before and (potential) after lineups:

2013: Gardner, CF; 2014: Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

2013: Eduardo Nunez, SS; 2014: Jeter, SS

2013: Robinson Cano, 2B; 2014: Carlos Beltran, RF

2013: Kevin Youkilis, 3B; 2014: Mark Teixeira, 1B

2013: Vernon Wells, LF; 2014: Alfonso Soriano, DH

2013: Ben Francisco, DH; 2014, Brian McCann, C

2013: Ichiro Suzuki, RF; 2014, Brian Roberts, 2B

2013: Jayson Nix, 3B; 2014, Kelly Johnson, 3B

2013: Francisco Cervelli, C; 2014: Gardner, LF

"I have to learn a lot of new faces fairly quickly," Girardi said.

Girardi said without Cano, he doesn't feel he has one hitter to build the lineup around. Instead, the 2014 Yankees should be deeper.

BACKUP FIRST BASEMAN: There is no obvious reserve first baseman on the roster, so who would it be right now? Johnson, Girardi said. Of course, Johnson is penciled into a platoon at third. The backup could become important with Teixeira returning from his wrist injury.