As the Yankee world gasped at the sight of star third baseman Alex Rodriguez writhing in pain in the Safeco Field batter’s box last night, clutching his wrist, one can imagine the thought’s going through the minds of those infielders playing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre who may have been watching. As a former Yankee utilityman banished to Triple-A in favor of first Eduardo Nunez, and then Jayson Nix, it was Ramiro Pena who got the call to rush to the airport this morning in Charlotte, hop on a plane, and be in Seattle just in time for the first pitch.
But Pena will never stick. He’s a light-hitting utilityman who will last all of a free plane ride back to the New York area with the team before being sent back upstate to Triple-A. Instead, they have a pair of options down on the farm who could probably find success if given the opportunity to do the job. A perfect example is Corban Joseph, a 23-year old second base prospect who some think can get by playing third. However, the biggest drawback on Joseph is that, much like Eric Chavez, he hits left-handed. So in all likelihood, it won’t be Joseph to get the call to the big leagues this weekend.
Instead, it may very well be 24-year old Brandon Laird. Laird made his major league debut with the Yankees last season, going 4-for-21 in eleven games while flashing a decent glove at third base. After not making the team out of spring training, Laird was banished to the band of traveling gypsies that is the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (or, for this year, the Empire State) Yankees. Adjusting to life constantly on the road, with no home stadium, Laird struggled out of the gate, hitting .231 with just seven home runs in the first half of the season. However, he’s picked up the pace of late, hitting .313 with three home runs after the break and still flashing a pretty decent glove at third base.
As a right-handed, more durable version of Eric Chavez, Laird could be the best option to stick in the Bronx. He could be used in a platoon with Chavez, and also has the ability to play first base and the outfield in a pinch if necessary. This would help the Yankees significantly, as Chavez has already played the most games in a season that he has since 2008 and is as fragile as they come. Laird has certainly earned a chance at a platoon with Chavez, and could show enough bat in the big leagues to give the Yankees a reason to keep him around for a while.
Follow Dan on Twitter @danpfeiffer74 for more insight and analysis regarding the New York Yankees and the Yankee farm system.
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