Boesch: Thanks, Tigers

March, 16, 2013
3/16/13
10:47
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- Throughout his professional baseball career, Brennan Boesch had known only one organization. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2006, came up through their system, played all of his first three big-league seasons for them.

So when earlier this week, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Boesch that Detroit no longer had a spot for him, Boesch was admittedly surprised, if not quite blindsided; Jim Leyland left him off the postseason roster last year. Still, it was a blow for the 27-year-old outfielder/DH.

That is, until his agent, Scott Boras, called him on Friday to let him know the Yankees were interested in signing him to help fill their void in the outfield. that's when the reality dawned on Boesch.

"They did me a favor," he said of the Tigers. "That goes without saying. I'm thankful for them to have done that. They could have done a lot of other different things probably, but here I am now in a Yankees uniform. Couldn't have turned out better for me."

By "other different things," Boesch meant a minor-league assignment, since he still has all his options left. Instead, he is in the Yankees lineup for Saturday's game against the Phillies, and having been signed to a major-league contract worth $1.5 million plus another $600,000 in performance bonuses, is virtually assured a spot on the 25-man roster when the team heads north.

With Curtis Granderson out until May and no one having emerged in camp as a legitimate everyday outfielder, the most likely scenario is a left field platoon consisting of the left-handed hitting Boesch and the right-handed hitting Ben Francisco.

Boesch said he wasn't really aware of the Yankees' outfield situation or of the team's needs when Boras approached him with the offer.

"This organization speaks for itself," Boesch said. "That's the bottom line. I wasn't looking at depth charts or opportunity. My agent told me they were interested and I said, 'Just get it done.' And I'm here."

Boesch is a career .259 hitter who has averaged 14 homers and 58 RBIs over his three big-league seasons. Yankees fans will remember Boesch's first visit to the Stadium, as a rookie in 2010, when in the course of a four-game series, Boesch had a home run, a bases-clearing triple and a double, knocking in five runs to help Detroit take three of the four games. Last year, he fell to .240/12/54, but his left-handed swing has always found the cozy right-field fence at Yankee Stadium an inviting target.

"It's pretty attractive," Boesch said. "Obviously you have to stay within yourself and can't get too greedy, but I've always loved playing there. It's just a fact. I don't know what my numbers are in New York, but I've always loved playing against the Yankees and playing in New York. It's definitely my favorite place to play."
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146