The Yankees have been playing for the last week at a distinct disadvantage. They have had only two bench players with Mark Teixeira hurt and unable to play and by carrying an extra pitcher in the bullpen. The time has come for them to make a move. If Teixiera cannot play in Texas on Monday, the time has come for him to go on the DL. In addition, they need a fourth outfielder who actually has some experience playing the outfield. They need to call up both John Ryan Murphy and Zoilo Almonte.
Francisco Cervelli has caught the last seven straight games. He will not be able to catch the next three straight games in the Texas heat on top of that. By calling up Murphy, Cervelli can get a well deserved day or two off, while allowing Brian McCann to continue to play first base. McCann has been on a tear at the plate lately, and while his infield defense is nowhere near the level of Teixeira, he is doing an adequate job, and better than the other choice that the Yankees have (Kelly Johnson). Murphy, meanwhile, has also been tearing the cover off the ball in Triple-A, batting .324 over his last 10 games.
The Yankees played Zelous Wheeler in right field on Sunday because they currently only have three outfielders on the roster who can actually play the field, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki. Carlos Beltran is still weeks away from being able to play the field. Wheeler and Johnson have been called upon to fill-in but both are really infielders. Almonte had a three home run game last week, and would make a lot of sense in a platoon role with Ichiro. In order to make room for Zolio, the Yankees should DFA Jeff Francis, who has been used very sparingly in the back-end of the bullpen.
The Yankees are being hurt by playing shorthanded. Cervelli can’t catch everyday. The outfield needs to be rotated. The defense, which is already below average with the regulars in the lineup, can be downright bad with so many players out of position. Both Almonte and Murphy are on the 40-man roster, and playing well for Scranton. It is time to reward those players and give manager Joe Girardi the flexibility he needs to continue to make a big playoff push in the second half.