11:31 am Aug. 28, 2012
You have to hand it to the New York Yankees: they've actually started making trades to address injuries just before they happen.
Witness Monday, when the Yankees added Steve Pearce, a right-handed hitter who can handle first base in the afternoon, only to see first baseman Mark Teixeira sidelined by a calf injury just a few hours later during an ugly 8-7 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pearce, who had been playing for the Houston Astros, came for essentially nothing, and had been playing in meaningless games. Now, he's likely to be the primary first baseman in a tightening American League East pennant race.
Following Monday's games, the Yankees lead the Baltimore Orioles by 3.5 games and the Tampa Bay Rays by four games. After playing Toronto Tuesday and Wednesday, the Yankees have their next ten games against the Rays and Orioles. So losing Teixeira for an estimated two weeks is happening just as the Yankees can either put the division away, or see their playoffs hopes, seemingly assured for most of the season, put into genuine peril.
Pearce should be just fine as a temporary Teixeira, with his career O.P.S. of .831 against lefties a reasonable facsimile of Teixeira's .880 O.P.S. against lefties this year, though Teixeira easily outpaces Pearce against righties, .772 to .603. Eric Chavez would make a lovely platoon partner for Pearce at first, but he's currently part of the group holding down the fort for Alex Rodriguez, currently injured, at third.
Don't be surprised if Steve Pearce becomes a short-term folk hero in the next two weeks before the regulars return and lead the Yankees deep into October.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
Daniel Murphy's shoulder is okay, say the Mets.
Scott Hairston will not be traded this year. Worth explaining: the Mets could trade him to anyone before July 31, which is the non-waiver trading deadline. After July 31, he needed to go through waivers, meaning any team could claim him. The Mets could either let him go for nothing, work out a trade, or pull him back. They did the third. They didn't need to trade him, but likely put him through waivers so if a team claimed Hairston and bowled the Mets over with a deal, they could have made one. Not a make-or-break decision for the Mets, but I still think they should have traded him for something back in July.
The Mets are aiming for third place. This reminds me of the old joke about a hated man who dies, and despite a rabbi's pleadings, no one will eulogize him at a funeral. Finally, a voice from the back: "His brother was worse!"
Nick Folk has won the kicking job, on a team that has scored only field goals in the preseason.