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Lyle Overbay hopes to make the most of a potentially quick Yankees showcase

03/26/2013 10:22 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Lyle Overbay hit .220 this spring before being released by the Red Sox on Tuesday. (AP)
Hours after being released by the Red Sox Tuesday morning, first baseman Lyle Overbay signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees and drove from Boston’s spring home in Fort Myers up to Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, arriving shortly before the Bombers’ game with Houston on Tuesday night.

It was a quick turnaround, and it didn’t take long for Overbay to make his first appearance; wearing No. 55, the 36-year-old replaced Juan Rivera at first base in the seventh inning, making a pair of nice defensive plays and nearly hitting what would have been a game-winning sacrifice fly in his only at-bat.

A solid debut for sure, but the question is whether that will be the first of many appearances in pinstripes or one of very few.

Overbay confirmed in his first meeting with the New York media that his deal contains a similar out clause to the one he had with Boston – namely, if he isn’t guaranteed a Major League roster spot by Friday, he can opt out and become a free agent once again – so he knows nothing is certain.

“It’s kind of like a three-day tryout; I don’t know what kind of shot or whatever (I have), but they’re giving me that opportunity to do something,” Overbay said. “Hopefully I can show them something that they hadn’t seen before or something.”

The Yankees are searching for a short-term replacement at first base while Mark Teixeira recovers from a strained wrist. Rivera, a non-roster invitee who also had the retention bonus clause in his Minor League deal with the Yankees, has seen a lot of time there of late and seems to be the favorite for the job, but Overbay could either supplant him or be used as part of a righty-lefty platoon in Teixeira’s absence.

Even with that uncertainty, Overbay, who hit .220 this spring for the Red Sox and has hit .270 for five MLB teams over the last dozen years, knows anything can happen, and he hopes to make the most of his time in pinstripes.

“I know (the Yankees) have been watching me, and there’s not a lot of opportunities out there, so I wanted to jump on this,” Overbay said. “Go out there and see what I can do, and who knows? Stranger things have happened.”

Manager Joe Girardi later said that he knows what Overbay can do both offensively and defensively, but the next 72 hours or so will be a matter of seeing if and how the veteran fits with the team.

“He knows how to play the position, and he’s played it at a pretty high level over the years,” Girardi said. “We’ll see how he moves around, see how he swings the bat and try to make a quick judgment; that’s what we’re going to have to do. We don’t have a lot of time.”

Whether it works out or not is to be determined, but either way, Overbay is grateful.

“It’s an opportunity,” said Overbay, “and that’s all that matters.”

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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