The Yankees continue rolling to the starting line of the 2014 season with several questions still unanswered. One of the more pressing concerns is who will be the back-up for Mark Teixeira at first base this season. The picture is still murky but one decision has been made. Alfonso Soriano’s brief stint at first base has come to an end.
Soriano, who came up with the Yankees as a second baseman and shifted to the outfield later in his career, has never played a regular season game at first base. Now 38-years-old, it probably wasn’t the best idea to consider a career change. You know what they say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
Soriano has always been known for his bat and he should really be concentrating on transitioning to DH at this point in his career. Early in spring training, he was spotted with a first base glove and he practiced there a bit throughout March. Joe Girardi officially put an end to any rumors this past Wednesday and said Soriano won’t play at first this spring.
That currently leaves no official back-up first baseman on the Yankees’ roster. Kelly Johnson, with all of three career games at first base, is who they have pegged to relieve Teixeira on his off days. Johnson, however, seems slated to be the opening day third baseman. Girardi wants Johnson to embrace the role and be the everyday third baseman without a platoon. So what the Yankees really need is someone that can step in at first should Teixeira go down again for an extended period of time. Tex is no spring chicken (he will be 34 shortly after opening day) and there are no guarantees coming off a wrist injury like he endured last season. Corban Joseph was cut a few days ago and that leaves Russ Canzler as the only true first baseman left on the roster competing for the last infield spot. With the springs that Yangervis Solarte, Zelous Wheeler and Eduardo Nunez are having, he will be hard pressed to crack the roster.
Girardi has a tough decision. It’s comforting to know Kelly Johnson can step in and spell Tex at first, however, should he have to replace him at first, the Yankees will need a new third baseman. The Yankees skipper has less than two weeks to figure out a solution but we know for sure it won’t be Soriano. That is probably best for everyone.