Dewayne Wise plays almost every day. Seriously. The Yankees have played 22 games this month, and Wise has played in 19 of them. He’s played in more games this season than either Chris Stewart of Jayson. He’s played in nearly twice as many games as Eduardo Nunez, and he’s played only four games fewer than Andruw Jones.
But he never hits.
“It’s tough,” Wise said. “I’m pretty much in the game every day as a pinch runner or a defensive replacement, but I haven’t been getting many at-bats lately. Attitude’s been good. I still come here every day and prepare myself just in case I have to go in the game.”
Last night, Wise got a rare start and went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and an RBI triple. That gave him a total of 33 at-bats this season (five more than Brett Gardner had in his nine games this season). It’s a role that plenty of young players have struggled with, but Wise has grown used to it.
“Extremely difficult,” Joe Girardi said. “He has not had a lot of at-bats. He has been a defensive replacement and a pinch-runner for us and has done a tremendous job for us to give us three RBIs and tack on to that 2-0 lead in the second inning. It just shows you that he knows how to do his job and he prepares well.”
Despite played nearly every day, Wise is clearly the last man on the bench, with a remarkably limited role. But he’s tied for the team lead in stolen bases and he’s the only Yankee other than Curtis Granderson to play center field this season. That’s his job, and he’s done it well.
Games like last night were only a bonus from a veteran player who knows what he’s doing.
“Everybody was just happy for me,” Wise said. “It’s been a while. I’ve been trying to get my work in every day just in case I do get an opportunity to get in there. I’m just glad I was able to have a good game today. … I know my role. These guys in front of me have to play every day, so I just have to stay ready and wait on an opportunity.”
Associated Press photo