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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Brennan Boesch: First instincts

By Wallace Matthews

CLEVELAND -- The last time Brennan Boesch played first base was as a senior at Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles, more than 10 years ago.

Still, if an emergency arises and the Yankees suddenly find themselves without Lyle Overbay, the team's first baseman might just turn out to be Brennan Boesch.

"Probably wouldn't be the first thing I would do," Joe Girardi said. "But any time you have a guy that can play multiple positions, it helps. It helps a manager."

Boesch was out on the field taking grounders at first base before Tuesday night's game with the Indians, a routine he has been going through for the past few games. With Mark Teixeira out until May at least and Kevin Youkilis, the only other experienced first baseman on the roster, playing third in place of Alex Rodriguez, Boesch is being groomed for possible duty at first.

And although Girardi wouldn't say so specifically, it is possible that Overbay's .174 batting average this season has something to do with the move.

"Maybe we can find a way to get (Boesch) in the lineup a little more," Girardi said.

Boesch, who has played 75 percent of his major league games in right field, said that if Girardi asked him to, he could play first base Tuesday night.

"That's the kind of guy that I hope I am," he said. "I guess normally I might panic, but I'd like to say I could do it right now."

Then he added, "If I'm being honest, I'd tell you I'd like to have a couple more cracks at it."

Boesch has been working with one of Overbay's backup gloves, fielding the generally friendly grounders off the bat of infield coach Mick Kelleher.

"I haven't read too many live balls off the bat," Boesch said. "I've really only done some fungo work, which doesn't necessarily simulate game action as well as a rocketed ball off a left-handed-hitter's bat."

So far, Boesch said, his biggest cheerleader has been Teixeira.

"Tex is telling me I'm doing great, but he is like the most positive guy ever, so I don't know that what he's saying is actually true," Boesch said. "I think the coaches are more honest, and they're saying, 'It's getting better.' It's not perfect, obviously, but it's getting better and that's all I can ask for."