Lyle Overbay earns an extra day, has inside track at first
TAMPA, Fla. -- Lyle Overbay is making the most of what Brian Cashman on Tuesday called a "three-day contract.''
Released by the Red Sox Tuesday and signed by the Yankees the same day, Overbay played well enough in the next two days to convince his new team that it could release Juan Rivera, who hit well throughout spring training but was suspect in the field.
Cashman joked Thursday that Overbay had earned a "one-day'' extension and will play in Washington on Friday. That's when the Yankees will make a final call on the 36-year-old first baseman, who has gone 3-for-6 the last two days. "He's got the inside track,'' Cashman said. "But a decision hasn't been made yet.''
The Yankees will monitor waivers, but a better alternative between now and when rosters need to be set at 3 p.m. Sunday is unlikely.
Rivera, who went 0-for-2 in Thursday's 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh, hit .295 with a .317 on-base percentage in spring training. He said he was somewhat surprised by the move but "these are the New York Yankees.''
Rivera was brought in to compete for a spot as a backup outfielder, but when Mark Teixeira suffered a wrist injury, he began to see more time at first. One scout said "almost anyone'' would be a better pick to play first base every day in Teixeira's absence and called Overbay an "obvious upgrade'' in the field.
The decision to dump Rivera also bodes well for Ben Francisco, brought in earlier in spring training after the Indians released him. Francisco has hit .314 with a .397 OBP in 21 games for the Indians and Yankees.
Overbay, whose wife, Sarah, had to bolt 21/2 hours back to Fort Myers -- where the Red Sox train -- to retrieve clothes for the Washington trip, isn't counting on anything. "Not yet,'' he said with a smile. "I've been around this game enough. Things change real quick.''
Rivera can attest to that. So can Overbay, especially if he ends up starting for the Yankees against the Red Sox less than a week after being discarded by Boston.
"I'm just along for the ride and see what I can do,'' Overbay said. "It's hard to know what to expect and what to show them. Just try and be as professional as you can, have good at-bats and show them what you've got in a short amount of time.''