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June 4, 2013

What You Need to Know

Petite Outfield Behind Pettitte

by Zachary Levine


The Monday Takeaway
As the time ticked away toward Andy Pettitte’s return to the Yankees, they had plenty of options for which hitter they’d have to send down to make room. And it was as much a philosophical question as it was one of performance.

Remove Lyle Overbay and you’d probably lose him to waivers, but it was the position-prudent thing to do. Mark Teixeira was back, and how many first basemen do you need? Send down David Adams and at least you’re preserving a roster with four outfielders.

The Yankees did neither, though. Unwilling to part with an offense-only player like Overbay, they went all in on offense, sending Brennan Boesch to Triple-A Scranton. As a result, Overbay became an outfielder for the first time in his major-league career and the first time since he was a 24-year-old El Paso Diablo in 2001.

He hadn’t played right field since his professional debut in 1999 with the Missoula Osprey, but he didn’t embarrass himself Monday night. The most anxious moment came in the fifth inning when Yan Gomes lofted a bases-loaded fly ball to shallow right, but Overbay came in on it fine.

If there was a perfect time for the Yankees to try this, it was Monday night. They were facing a right-handed pitcher in Justin Masterson, and getting the extra lefty power in the lineup was ideal especially in Yankee Stadium. Also, the Stadium features a short right field and Brett Gardner, who is a 22.5 FRAA player in the equivalent of 3 ½ seasons, was right next door.

Having three outfielders will hurt the Yankees at some point, perhaps as soon as tonight when they face a lefty (Scott Kazmir) and it’s Vernon Wells, Ichiro Suzuki, and Gardner with no backups. Or maybe when they leave tiny Yankee Stadium and Overbay would have to navigate Safeco Field, The Coliseum, and Angel Stadium on the next trip.

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<< Previous Article
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