Yankees: Gio Urshela starting at shortstop against the Detroit Tigers

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela
Apr 7, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela (29) throws to first base during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s spring training, perhaps the perfect time to perform lineup experiments and try players in positions they are not particularly familiar with. The New York Yankees have certainly done it, and they are trying it today as they are set to face the Detroit Tigers starting at 1:05 pm ET.

Gio Urshela, the Yankees’ starting third baseman, is sliding over to shortstop as the Bombers try to have a look at how his defensive range adapts to the position, at least for one game. The move isn’t expected to be recurrent, much less permanent: it’s likely just manager Aaron Boone trying to see how he responds to the most difficult position in the infield.

If he does look good, maybe the Yankees can consider Urshela their emergency shortstop, but it’s not a given.

The Yankees are trying new things

Urshela does have some experience at shortstop, but the last time he played a major league game there was three years ago, in 2018, when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays. He played eight games there, with one fielding error but a -3 mark in Defensive Runs Saved, or DRS.

Urshela is coming back from offseason elbow surgery to remove bone chips, and he has had a slow start at the plate with a .133 spring training batting average.

Big things are expected from him this season as he was a revelation in 2020 (and 2019) for the Yankees.

Last year, Urshela hit six home runs in 43 games for the Bombers, finishing the year with a formidable .298/.368/.490 line with a .365 wOBA and a 133 wRC+.

Here is the rest of the Yankees’ lineup for today’s game, against right-hander Michael Fulmer:

RF Brett Gardner

1B Luke Voit

DH Aaron Hicks

LF Clint Frazier

SS Gio Urshela

3B Derek Dietrich

CF Mike Tauchman

2B Tyler Wade

C Rob Brantly