Lance Berkman was the Yankees big-name traded deadline addition. Kerry Wood was the veteran reliever brought in to solidify the late innings.
Austin Kearns was the other guy.
Kearns made sense for Yankees for two reasons: He’s right-handed, and he can play defense. It’s Kearns who gives the Yankees the ability to sit either Brett Gardner or Curtis Granderson without putting Marcus Thames in the field. These are good things for the Yankees.
Since coming over from Cleveland, Kearns is 6-for-19 (.316), and he hit his first home run last night. The night before, he made a shoestring catch in right field to keep the tying run at third base. The night before that, he had two-hits as an emergency fill-in as the No. 5 hitter.
“He’s been swinging the bat really well for us,” Joe Girardi said. “… He’s gotten to play four days in a row, and I think that helps as well because he’s used to playing every day.”
Kearns won’t play every day for the Yankees. That’s not what he was brought here to do, but in his specific role, he’s given the Yankees a boost. And considering all the left-handed talent in the American League, that role could be vital in October.
Associated Press photo of Kearns with Derek Jeter