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With return of Tex, for Lyle Overbay, what's next?

Yankees' Lyle Overbay, right, high-fives third base coach

Yankees' Lyle Overbay, right, high-fives third base coach Rob Thomson after hitting an 11th-inning home run off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Josh Lueke. (May 25, 2013) Credit: AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- As sure as Florida humidity surges in June, Lyle Overbay's stint as Joe Girardi's regular first baseman is nearing an end.

But that might not stop Yankees fans from screaming for an encore. Even as Mark Teixeira packs his shaving kit for an imminent return to the Bronx, Overbay keeps 'em wanting more.

In what evolved into a 4-hour, 3-minute microcosm of his season, the 36-year-old journeyman both spawned and sealed the Yankees' rally Saturday in their 11-inning, 4-3 win over the Rays.

His solo home run to rightfield with two outs in the 11th, off Josh Lueke's 1-and-0 fastball, was the clincher. Two innings earlier, with the Yankees down 3-1, he drew a two-out walk off reeling Rays closer Fernando Rodney to start a game-tying comeback.

"He's just been doing it for us all year,'' Girardi said.

A year that, for Overbay, ended nearly before it began. "That's why I want to kind of take it and enjoy it because I could be sitting at home right now,'' he said.

Saturday's effort occurred nearly two months to the day after the Red Sox released him in the twilight of spring training. Hours after that, the Yankees scooped him up as first-base insurance in the wake of Teixeira's trip to the disabled list.

Likewise, Saturday provided a few more hours of somber ebb, followed by surreal flow.

With one on in the seventh, Overbay appeared to misplay Matt Joyce's sharp grounder down the first-base line -- it was ruled a double -- in a two-run inning as the Rays took a 3-1 lead.

"I thought I could get in front of it and I should have back-handed it,'' he said. "That cost us. Those are two runs right there. I mean, that was an easy double play because he hit it so hard that you just make the play.''

Two innings later, he drew the critical walk that set up Brennan Boesch's run-scoring double, which set up Brett Gardner's tying single to shallow center off Rodney. Two innings after that, Overbay belted a 370-foot prelude to Mariano Rivera.

"We call him 'Laser' for a reason,'' Gardner said.

"Big at-bats for us all day long,'' Girardi added.

The question now is, how many at-bats are in his future? Teixeira and perhaps one or two others are set to come off the DL, and soon. Overbay understands the numbers game involved. But can the Yankees afford to lose his numbers?

"I want [Teixeira] back,'' said Overbay, 3-for-9 with three RBIs and two extra-base hits in this series. "He's really good. He's going to give us a good chance . . . I just hope I can co-exist with him. We'll soon find out.''

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