In the final days of spring training, first baseman Lyle Overbay was released by the Boston Red Sox. Subsequently, he was given a three-day tryout with the New York Yankees to see whether he would be a better option than Juan Rivera to temporarily replace Mark Teixeira, who injured his wrist during the World Baseball Classic. Overbay made the team and has been kept around as an insurance policy even when Teixeira came back.
With Teixeira experiencing another setback after once again aggravating his previous wrist injury and the rest of his season in question, the decision to keep Overbay seems like a smart one.
When Teixeira originally returned about three weeks ago, Overbay looked to be the odd man out. With no position for him, even he knew a left-handed, first-base-only bench player did not have a long lifespan. The Yankees had Overbay play outfield for the first time in his career to keep his bat in the lineup, and he did not embarrass himself. The main reason, though, they really had him hang around for the exact scenario that seems to be presenting itself.
If Teixeira were to go down again, the Yankees would need a capable first baseman. Overbay is that man again.
Recently, Overbay has not hit as well as he did the first two months of the year. His OPS went from as high as .718 in May down to .618 in June. He has yet to hit a homer this month in 44 at-bats. In the first two months, he was hitting a homer every 22.25 at-bats. Still, considering Teixeira’s OPS has dropped every year since 2009 and Overbay’s defense is only slightly worse than Teixeira’s, the Yankees might not lose that much going from Teixeira to Overbay.
The Yankees have had to be more creative than ever in 2013 considering how many injuries they’ve had to key players. They’ve had to take fliers on veterans on the scrap heap in order to try to keep their heads above water in the American League East. Overbay has proven to be a risk well taken because he has performed decently on the field and kept himself available in all situations.