Boesch moving on up?

April, 10, 2013
CLEVELAND -- Joe Girardi gave Ichiro Suzuki a day off, for the second time in the first nine games of the season, because, he said, he wants to get Brennan Boesch's bat into the Yankees lineup.

And yesterday, there was Boesch, using a first baseman's glove belonging to Lyle Overbay, taking grounders on the field and learning the fine points of playing the position.

Because, Girardi said again, he wants to get Boesch's bat into the Yankees lineup. If the game gets played tonight -- and it still raining here in Cleveland -- Boesch will play right field and bat sixth.

Girardi, in fact, did get Boesch's bat into the lineup in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's 14-1 blowout of the Indians, sending him up to pinch hit for Overbay. Boesch took full advantage of his opportunity to blast a two-run homer.

With both Ichiro and Overbay struggling early in the season, Girardi is clearly looking for ways to replace one or both of them with Boesch. Ichiro is hitting .185 so far and his on-base percentage is a woeful .233. Overbay is hitting .250 but has hit few balls with authority. Interestingly enough, both homered Tuesday night as well, but it appears Girardi thinks Boesch's youth -- he's 28 -- and left-handed stroke are more attractive in his lineup than that of the 39-year-old Ichiro or the 36-year-old Overbay.

"I'm trying to keep everyone involved," Girardi said. "I'’m going to try to rotate these guys a little bit and give each one of them a day off every once in a while. You might see Boesch in there tomorrow, too."

Boesch, who hasn't played first base since high school, said he is willing to do whatever Girardi asks in order to fight his way into the lineup. Although he, too, is hitting just .250, with three hits in 12 at-bats, one of those hits was a triple and another a home run.

"It's fun," Boesch said. "It's a new challenge for me, as if in baseball you need a new challenge. But I want to play, so here you go."
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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