The New York Yankees made some more changes to the constantly-vacillating lineup late Friday night, placing Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list and optioning Adam Warren to Triple-A. In exchange, the Yanks called up outfielder Thomas Neal and pitcher Chris Bootcheck.
Youkilis is back on the DL with a persistent back problem after being reactivated less than three weeks ago. In the games he played in since, however, Youk was hitting just .146 with no homers and just one RBI. If going back on the DL means that he wasn’t fully healed when he returned, hopefully this second stint will get him healthy and ready to contribute, otherwise he was a virtually useless signing.
Warren, on the other hand, pitched extremely well in the marathon 18-inning loss to the Oakland Athletics. In the incredibly disappointing extra-inning loss, one thing that stood out was the strength of the bullpen. With a team who recently seems allergic to scoring runs, they kept the Yankees in the game inning after inning, giving them chances to win.
Perhaps Bootcheck can be of use in the bullpen, although his previous track record is mediocre at best. In Triple-A Scranton, he went 5-2 with a 3.32 ERA, but his Yankee debut was less illustrious, as he walked two and allowed one run in an inning of relief to cap off the Yanks’ fourth straight loss.
Neal had a slightly better debut with the team. Starting in right field, Neal went 1-for-2 with a walk and a single before being replaced by Ichiro Suzuki. He had an excellent Spring Training with the Yanks, and has been performing well in Scranton Wilkes-Barre as well, averaging over a hit per game and batting .339 on the season.
A couple injuries have postponed his call up to the majors, but he is here now and excited, so we will see if he can add any spark to the lifeless Yankees offense.
The new call ups are yet another stopgap measure by GM Brian Cashman to find a way to win some games, as the team has gone unequivocally cold as of late. They are hoping that they will find a combination that works sooner or later.