In 2013, Zoilo Almonte spent the second half of the summer in the Bronx. He opened some eyes before spending significant time on the Disabled List. He appeared in 34 games total last season for the Yankees, hitting .236 with a home run and nine RBIs.
However, his final stats don’t tell the full story. He burst on the scene injecting life into a injury ravaged lineup last July before going on the DL. Then when he came back with the expanded rosters in September he struggled to crack manager Joe Girardi‘s lineup which limited his production.
He was one of the last players cut in Spring Training, hitting over .400 in camp. However, the Yankees were seemingly stocked with outfielders entering the season with Jacoby Ellsbury. Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Beltran, and Brett Gardner. The Yankees had no choice but to send Almonte to AAA. While in Scranton, Almonte hit .237 with six home runs and 24 RBIs in only 33 games.
The switch hitter can play either corner outfield spot and will likely remain with the team until Beltran is healthy enough to play. An MRI revealed a bone spur in Beltran’s elbow and he received a cortisone shot before Tuesday’s game. It he bounces back, then Zoilo may be back in Scranton by the weekend. However, keeping in mind that Beltran is a 37 year old that is not known for his durability, a DL stint appears to be likely. In that case, Zoilo will likely be the fourth outfielder going forward with Ichiro moving into the starting lineup.
Players like Zoilo and Yangervis Solarte can spark a lineup. The influx of young blood into a sometimes stagnant clubhouse could be exactly what the Yankees need. Too often this season the Yankees have gotten runners on base only to be stranded by the failure to get a hit with the runners in scoring position. Young, hungry players can sometimes provide the jolt needed to reverse that trend. It could be getting a big hit to spark a rally or other things that might not show up in a box score, like going from first to third on a single or stretching a single into a double.
Right now the Yankees need a jolt. They have been ravaged by injuries to key players for the last month. Ivan Nova is done for the year. CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Francisco Cervelli, and Shawn Kelley are currently on the DL.
The Bombers have lost David Robertson, Brendan Ryan, and Mark Teixeira this season for time as well. The offense has been struggling to score runs, the rotation is in shatters and the bullpen has been overworked. A kid like Zoilo could be just the jolt the team needs to get past this current slide having lost four straight and get the Bombers back to their winning ways.