Via Mark Feinsand -
Not so fast, said Joe Girardi, who declared on the first day of camp that [Nick] Swisher would be given an opportunity to challenge [Xavier] Nady for the right-field job. The only problem was no one ever told Nady that his position was up for grabs.
“I haven’t met with anybody,” Nady said Saturday. “This is the first I’ve heard of it. I’m planning on helping this team win and being a part of the lineup.”
Girardi reiterated Saturday that the job is there for the taking, a competition that he feels is an integral part of any spring camp.
“It’s something that I have to balance and juggle, and possibly make some tough decisions when spring training ends – or the decisions might be made for us,” Girardi said. “To me, when you come to spring training, you’re all competing. You have to prove yourself in this game over and over and over. We expect all our players to do that.”
“You know that they want to play, and that’s how you want it,” Girardi said. “X had a great year for us and showed us a lot. For us to know what’s going to happen April 6 right now, you’d like to be able to predict but we can’t. Players get ready and we’ll make the decisions. The more great players we have on the team, the better team we’re going to be.”
“It’s important that, as players, you understand that you’re doing what’s best for the team,” Girardi said. “When I played here, that’s the way the team was. You had veteran guys that didn’t necessarily play every day, but we thrived as a team. That’s why the team concept is so important. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the good of the team and it’s important that players buy into that.”
“I’ll just play the game like I always do,” Nady said. “Whether it’s a competition or not, there’s always someone out there that’s behind you, coming up that can take your job. If you don’t produce at this level, you’re going to find yourself somewhere else.”
Actually, I think the true spring battle will be between the loser of Swisher/Nady and Hideki Matsui’s knees. And, if Godzilla was 100% sound now, either Swisher or Nady would be on the Atlanta Braves right about this time.