Joe Girardi made it official today- Brett Gardner will be his starting center field when the Yankees "real" season gets under way.
Girardi made the announcement after the Yankees 9-8 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates today. Melky Cabrera finished second in the running, despite a recent hot streak that saw his spring average rise to .340.
But Girardi cited the quality of Gardner's at-bats, which has translated to a .385 exhibition average. Gardner's speed and ability to steal bases also gives the Yankees a tremendous weapon at the bottom of the order.
For now, Cabrera will be on the bench as a reserve, filling in defensively for Johnny Damon and giving each of the outfielders some rest when needed. The Yankees will still entertain offers for the Melkman since he is out of minor league options and a trade would open more playing time for Nick Swisher.