The Yankees think enough of first baseman Mike Ford that they used him as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning of Game 5 of the Division Series against the Rays.
The game was tied at 1 and the winner would move on to the ALCS. Manager Aaron Boone sent Ford in to lead off the top of the inning against righthander Diego Castillo.
Ford struck out looking, capping off a terrible 2020 season.
But opportunity has a way of knocking, and it did again on Tuesday when the 28-year-old Ford was recalled from the alternate site to replace the retired Jay Bruce and inserted into the Yankees’ lineup in the sixth spot against Atlanta at Yankee Stadium.
Ford, who showed power and patience in a breakout 2019, will get a decent chance to earn a larger role with Luke Voit still weeks away from returning from the injured list.
In 2019, Ford hit .259 with 12 homers, 25 RBIs and a .909 OPS. In 2020, he hit .135 with two home runs, 11 RBIs and a .496 OPS.
The Yankees are desperate for offense after their Plans A and B for first base fizzled. Bruce was overmatched at the plate and in the field and retired with a .118 batting average.
The Yankees traded for Rougned Odor and played the former Texas Ranger at second base with DJ LeMahieu at first. But Odor hit just .125 in his first seven games as a Yankee.
Boone said the Yankees haven’t given up on Odor, especially since the team opened a stretch of 13 straight days with games on Tuesday.
"[He’s] still going to play a role here," Boone said. "Obviously, we enter a stretch now of 13 games in a row . . . so they'll all kind of figure in that mix as you try and kind of plan out this next 13 days."