The Yankees finished off an impressive weekend road sweep with a 20-6 shellacking of the Atlanta Braves yesterday, and they head to Boston to open another road series tonight in a much better spot than they were a few days ago. They'll also head into Boston not knowing whether injured first baseman Mark Teixeira will be able to play and considering playing A-Rod there against one of Boston's lefties should Teix continue to be unavailable. Yesterday's offensive breakout being what it was, there are still a few guys in the lineup who have looked tired and could probably use another day or 2 off similar to what A-Rod got over the weekend. The Yankees' unwillingness to put Teix on the DL has left them with a short bench, which has made it more difficult for Joe to give those tired guys a spell and still put a decent lineup out on the field. That's where Dustin Ackley comes in. He's been playing in MiL rehab games and should be activated on Tuesday. Given the Yankees' current injury/slump problems, could Ackley be just what they need?
He'd certainly provide some position flexibility on the bench. Ackley has played corner outfield and second base in his 4 rehab games with Triple-A SWB, and he's got limited experience playing first base in previous years. Ackley rejoining the roster would give Joe another late-game pinch hitting option in L/R matchup situations, another right field option if he wants to give Beltran a day off and not playi Chris Young against a righty pitcher, a second base option if he wants to give Didi a day, and even another first base option if he doesn't want to play Greg Bird and doesn't want to risk playing A-Rod there. Hell, he could stick Ackley in left for a game or 2 and try to get Brett Gardner an extra day here or there.
None of this is very sexy, but the Yankees don't need help in the sexy parts of the game. They need some reinforcement on the bottom tier of their active roster, and Ackley gives them that reinforcement in more than one area. He might actually be the most useful player the Yankees call up when rosters expand tomorrow. Ackley was brought in to be a movable bench part and he got hurt before he really got the chance to perform in that role. If he can produce in that role when he comes back, he could be a bigger boost than people realize. For what it's worth, he's 5-13 with a homer and 3 RBI in his 4 MiL games. I can't believe I'm writing this, but I think I might be looking forward to Dustin Ackley's return.