Thursday, June 6, 2013
First Pitch: Who do you want in right?
By Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- Who do you want in right field?
Lyle Overbay has started the last three games there for the Yankees. And despite never having any experience at the position at the MLB level prior to Monday, he hasn't made any mistakes.
"The biggest thing is repetition," Overbay said after handling his only opportunity -- a fifth-inning fly ball -- in Wednesday's 6-4 victory over the Indians.
"It's fun. This is the time of my life ... the icing on the cake."
Overbay (.251, 8 HRs, 29 RBIs, .295 OBP) is getting more playing time because Ichiro Suzuki (.266, 2 HRs, 10 RBIs, .303 OBP) has been struggling and Curtis Granderson is injured.
Suzuki, who singled in his only at-bat Wednesday after entering for Overbay in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement, will return to Seattle on Thursday for the second time since he was traded to the Yankees.
The luxury-tax conscious Yankees decided to let Nick Swisher leave in free agency because they figured Suzuki would do a competent job in right. After all, the Japanese star did hit .322 with the Yankees in 67 games in 2012.
But Suzuki, who was the only player the Yankees signed a multi-year contract (two years, $12 million) in the offseason, has struggled ever since.
Defensively, Suzuki is the guy you want out there. No question about it.
But with the Yankees being so inconsistent with their bats, it may make sense to sacrifice defense for offense and play Overbay, who is more of a power threat.
If you were Joe Girardi, who would you want playing right: Overbay or Suzuki? Let us know in the comments section below.
UP NOW: Johnette Howard's column about A-Rod, Andrew Marchand with the latest news surrounding the third baseman and my blog on CC Sabathiapicking up the bullpen on Wednesday afternoon.
ON DECK: Yankees at Mariners at 10:10 p.m. Thursday night. Phil Hughes (2-4, 5.37 ERA) vs. righty Aaron Harang (2-5, 5.82). Wallace Matthews will be out West and will have you covered.