Joe Girardi: Stop picking on Derek Jeter

NEW YORK -- Facing rapid-fire questions about moving the struggling Derek Jeter down in the order, Joe Girardi admitted that there aren't a lot of hot hitters to choose from in his 2014 lineup and essentially asked people to stop picking on Jeter.

"He is going to be the focal point because of who he is, but I think people are talking about moving him. But in saying that, you say, 'OK, well, look up and down our numbers and there are a lot of .230s and .240s,'" Girardi said before the Yankees played the Red Sox on Tuesday night. "I'm not so sure why he is the one that is necessarily picked on here. He has been a money player his whole career, and we need him to be that the last month."

Jeter had a .487 OPS in August, which included an on-base percentage of just .226. He batted .207 during the month with a homer and nine RBIs. Overall, Jeter is batting .261 with three homers and 36 RBIs in 121 games.

Girardi swatted away the notion that he is managing a "farewell tour," declaring he would move Jeter down in the order if there were someone else in the lineup who deserved to take his spot.

"I've said it a number of times: If I had eight other guys hitting .300, it probably wouldn't be difficult," Girardi said. "If you look up and down at our numbers, we've had a number of guys have tough years, years we wouldn't have projected. So I move him? Who am I going to put there? That's my question. Who are you going to move there that's been more consistent during the season? We haven't hit collectively as a team. To single him out is unfair.

"We are 14 out of 15 in runs scored. That's not all Derek's fault. That's collectively we haven't hit."

In the American League, the Yankees have scored more runs than only the Red Sox entering Tuesday night.

Girardi is relying on Jeter's clutch gene, if there is such a thing.

"I consider us to kind of be in playoff mode right now," Girardi said. "We obviously need to win games. Throughout his career he has been clutch in the playoffs. So we are leaving him. He is a hot topic always, just because of who he is. There are other issues that we have in our lineup that we have to be better at as well."

Ellsbury back, Gardner third: With Jacoby Ellsbury returning and thriving in the leadoff spot, Girardi has Brett Gardner batting third for the first time in his career. Why now?

"I left Jake in the 1-hole," Girardi said. "My concern when they both were going well. They are both going well, why move them? I put Jake in the 1-hole when Gardy got hurt. He did extremely well so I'll leave him there and put Gardy third."

Roster moves: The Yankees called up John Ryan Murphy, Preston Claiborne, righty Bryan Mitchell, Chase Whitley, Rich Hill, ex-Met Chris Young, righty Chaz Roe and the speedy Antoan Richardson. Matt Daley was released while Zoilo Almonte was designated for assignment.

Slade Heathcott (knee surgery) and Masahiro Tanaka were moved to the 60-day DL, but those were just procedural moves to free up space on the 40-man for all the call-ups.