Just a few random nuggets and notes while I’m flying back to New York…
• Yesterday, Brian Cashman told Jack Curry that he wouldn’t rule out the idea of trying Lyle Overbay in right field. In an email, Cashman clarified that there are currently no plans to have Overbay take fly balls, it was simply a notion that Cashman didn’t immediately reject. For whatever it’s worth, Overbay laughed off the very idea of moving to the outfield, but said he’d be more than willing to try it if the Yankees ask him to do so. “Absolutely,” Overbay said. “I’ll do whatever. If they want me to catch, I’ll catch.”
• Speaking of Overbay, right now he’s hitting .250/.291/.476, sparking some questions about whether Mark Teixeira can match his production. The past three years — when Teixeira’s been “awful” according to some — he’s hit .252/.347/.484. Hard to see the overall production lagging, but it is worth wondering whether Teixeira can match Overbay’s overwhelming numbers against right-handers. Then again, it’s also worth wondering whether Overbay himself can match this level of production against right-handers. He’s never before hit them for power quite like this.
• One last thing about Overbay: I think it makes sense to find some way to keep him on the roster when Teixeira first comes back — it’s worth having that insurance in case of a Teixeira setback — but it would be hard to carry Overbay, Teixeira and Travis Hafner for an extended period. At some point, Kevin Youkilis might have to be the regular third baseman and the insurance policy at first (with David Adams available to play third if Youkilis has to change positions).
• And speaking of Youkilis, he’s had back issues in the past, but this is what he said about this year’s back injury: “It’s different. The symptoms this year are different from the ones I’ve had in the past. I’m not a doctor. I can’t justify what they’re doing and all that. But it’s definitely different symptoms than I had last year. It was more on my left side last year, and I had stuff on my right side (this year). So, basically, for me, I’ll go through all the treatments, go through all the strengthening. That’s basically what I do every day. I probably got close to 17 at-bats so far. I feel like I’m ready there, so I think it’s more a case of getting in the games.”
• I wonder if the Yankees will carry a 13th pitcher until Teixeira comes back. If Teixeira does replace a pitcher, it would leave the Yankees with a choice when Youkilis comes back: Either send Adams back to Triple-A, cut Overbay, or send Brennan Boesch down and make Jayson Nix the fourth outfielder (perhaps with Overbay playing some kind of outfield role, but I still have trouble buying it). It’s worth noting that Reid Brignac has a very little bit of outfield experience and could probably play out there in an absolute pinch.
• Not sure how long he’ll stick around, but I do think it’s cool that new Yankees reliever David Huff used to pitch against Phil Hughes when they were kids. I’m confident saying that no two players from my Little League have ever wound up on the same major league roster. “He had better stuff growing up,” Huff said. “He was the righty who threw 95 with a nasty changeup. I think I faced him a couple of times. Lifetime I’m probably 0-for off of him, but I’m not a hitter. It was a fun little competition between the two of us growing up.”
• Let’s say Joba Chamberlain is activated tonight, who do you send down? Preston Claiborne because he’s not going to get many innings? Shawn Kelley because you don’t believe he’ll keep up this hot streak? Huff because you weren’t impressed by yesterday’s showing? Vidal Nuno because Ivan Nova/Adam Warren can handle the starting job on Thursday, and Nuno’s surely going down when Andy Pettitte is ready anyway? Or maybe Nova because you’re not buying the whole “get straightened out in the bullpen” idea?
• Even after yesterday’s start, I’d still be more surprised to see CC Sabathia continue to struggle than to see him find a way to consistently pitch with his current velocity. I think Joe Girardi is right that Sabathia has enough talent and is smart enough — and experienced enough — to make it work. “His track record is because of his competitiveness and his makeup,” Larry Rothschild said. “That’s what leads you to believe that he will pull out of this and pitch well again.”
• Although City Field is in New York, Mariano Rivera said he plans to treat it just like every other road stadium. It’s his final stop there, so he’ll do his usual meeting with fans and employees to say thank you for their dedication to the game. “That will be the only time that I will be there, so yes, definitely I will do something there,” Rivera said.
• Maybe it’s because I’m not originally from New York — and maybe I shouldn’t admit this — but I don’t get too worked up about the Subway Series. Last week’s road trip through Baltimore and Tampa Bay carried much more weight. That said, I do enjoy any games that fans get worked up about, and I’m sure we’ll see that this week. “I’m looking forward to it,” Vernon Wells said. “Obviously being in New York now, you’re either a Yankees fan, a Mets fan. Or you just hate the Yankees period.”
Associated Press photos