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MLB New York Yankees

New York Yankees’ Lyle Overbay Gets First Career Start in Outfield

Debby Wong-USA Today Sports

There has been a lot of talk about if it was ever going to be possible to have Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner in a lineup together once Mark Teixeira returned. Well, tonight we’ve found out the answer is yes.

With Brett Gardner, Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki, it seemed the New York Yankees outfield was set in stone until Curtis Granderson returned from the DL for the second time. However, with the struggles of Wells and Ichiro, Yankees manager Joe Girardi penciled in Overbay in right field on Monday for the first time in his career.

With the Yankees lineup in the midst of the biggest slump they’ve faced thus far in 2013, scoring just 15 runs in their last eight games, this is the perfect scenario for Girardi to experiment with Overbay in the outfield.

First off, even though Overbay has never played the outfield at any level of baseball, I think he can be serviceable defensively in the small right field at Yankee Stadium. Of course it’s a step down from the solid defense of both Wells and Ichiro, but I think it’s a worthwhile move with Andy Pettitte on the mound against a  Cleveland Indians lineup which will feature seven right-handed bats.

Also, with Justin Masterson on the mound, who dominates right-handed batters to a .191 batting average against, finding a way to get another left-hander in the lineup is a much needed and welcome addition.

If he proves to be able to handle the assignment, this may be a move Girardi continues to use when facing right handed pitchers. Look for Girardi to go to this only when the Yankees have a left hander on the mound, as that decreases the importance of an elite defensive right fielder.

Expect Overbay to be pulled for Wells in the later innings if the Yankees get a lead or if the Indians bring in a left-hander.

 

Matthew Cermola is a New York Yankees and MLB writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MCermolaRantMLB and add him to your network on Google.