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Thursday, June 6, 2013

REINVENTING LYLE OVERBAY

You have to give credit to the Yankees, they are crafty. All season fans have been wondering what would happen to Lyle Overbay once once some of our regular players started coming back from injuries, especially Mark Teixeira. Considering that Overbay has never played any other position besides first base, it was a very interesting challenge to have. How do you cut a guy that has been such an important part of your lineup?

The Yankees answered that question.....you don't. Instead, reinvent him and give him the opportunity to show what he can do with it. No one was more excited to have Mark Teixeira come back than me. I have been waiting on pins and needles to see him back on the field. When he was put on the disabled list I was scratching my head wondering how the Yankees were going to fill that void in the lineup. Overbay stepped up and he answered that question. He delivered, and now he is still here, but this time in the outfield.

I give Overbay props. It can't be easy spending 11 years playing one position only to take on a new one at the drop of a hat. It's different now. In the minor leagues teams try players out in different positions to teach them several skill sets, and make them more versatile. Once players find their niche, well....change can be a little intimidating. Overbay even said it was a little intimidated himself, read that HERE but he made it look easy. That is what makes a baseball player so valuable.

The Yankees need Overbay for more than one reason. Most importantly right now, they need his bat. He is one of the few players right now who is consistently hitting. Sticking him in the outfield strengthens the outfield's offensive capabilities. Some people may think he is a defensive liability, but he hasn't been in the three starts that Joe Girardi has put him there. He may not have a gold glove out there, but right now his bat is what the Yankees are concerned with....and I am too.

We need him out there while players like Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki struggle. One stat that is really scary is how the Yankees are on the bottom of the totem pole with runs scored since May, only the White Sox are doing worse than we are. Isn't that hard to believe? I mean, think about other teams out there that are supposed to be weaker offensively, like the Houston Astros. It boggles my mind.

Of course, fear of injuries is another reason to keep him. I think the Yankees are cursed. I really do. There is a dark gray cloud hovering over the Yankees this year. Everyday there is some new injury in the news whether it is a pesky, nagging issue that isn't serious but affects game time lineup....or the Yankees are moving yet another player to the 60 day disabled list and making more roster moves.

It's good to finally have Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira back, but will it last? I hope so, but the track record doesn't look so good. I think about Derek Jeter who was ready to come back. We were ready for him to come back, and then he has another setback. Right now, we don't know when he will come back. I also think about Curtis Granderson. He played in a couple of games only to get hit by a pitch and then he is back on the disabled list again. If this isn't bad luck I don't know what is.

Risking Overbay right now just isn't a good idea. If the Yankees try to demote him then they risk losing him all together. If the Yankees designate him for assignment we will lose him. He has been to consistent for another team to just ignore him. Someone would take him. He is the best insurance policy the Yankees could have right now, and he has lived up to all of the challenges so far.

I'm really not surprised that the Yankees are finding a way to keep him in the lineup. The Yankees are masters at making the best out of any situation. They also know how to mold a player into taking on a new role.
Look back at Eric Chavez. When he signed with the Yankees we were counting on him to take some stress off of Alex Rodriguez. Next, he is working with the great Tino Martinez and became a solid first baseman. He may not be a gold glove first basemen like Tex is....but look at how he is contributing for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Yankees molded him into a diverse player, and they will do the same thing for Overbay.

I tip my cap to the Yankees. It has been a very challenging season so far, and there is so much baseball left to play. Good teams find a way to win with the players they have on the field. We have heard Joe Girardi say that many times this season. It's become the Yankee slogan this year. As long as we have Overbay in the lineup we have a much better chance to continue to win.

I like the way you think Girardi.....GAME ON!





--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ



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