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Top Nine Notable Yankees Injury Fill-ins

The Yankees have been back at or near the top of the AL East for two decades now, and one of the unheralded storylines of that run is the notion that even when a superstar goes down, the team seemingly finds someone to fill the gap more than adequately.

Last year, for example, Eric Chavez put up great numbers while manning third base almost every day in place of Alex Rodriguez, and in 2013, it will be one-year signee Kevin Youkilis tasked with that position until A-Rod returns. This season, the Yankees will now also have to find someone to replace Curtis Granderson for the first month-plus of the season while the "Grandy Man" sits out with a fractured forearm.

But if the gentlemen below are any indication, the Bombers may just strike gold with whoever starts beside Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki on Opening Day.

  • BABE DAHLGREN (1939)
    We start off this list with the Yankees' other Babe, who had the tough task of replacing Lou Gehrig on the day the "Iron Horse" bowed out of the lineup after 2,130 games. Dahlgren had two hits that day, posted a .235-15-89 line that season and remained with the Yankees through 1940.
  • MELKY CABRERA (2006)
    After a cup of coffee in 2005, "The Melk Man" was called up in May 2006 when Hideki Matsui broke his wrist. That year, Cabrera hit .280 with seven homers, 50 RBIs and 12 steals in 130 games, and ended up staying in the Bronx as part of the outfield scene until 2009.
  • ERICK ALMONTE (2003)
    When Derek Jeter dislocated his left shoulder on Opening Day 2003, the Yankees called upon the 25-year-old Almonte, who hit .260 with a home run and 11 RBIs in 31 games ... and then wasn't heard from again until a cup of coffee with the Brewers in 2011.
  • IVAN RODRIGUEZ (2008)
    Acquired in July 2008 when Jorge Posada went down for the season, "Pudge" struggled with a .219 average in his 33 games as a Yankee, but will go down as another surefire Hall of Famer to spend at least part of his career in pinstripes.
  • ICHIRO SUZUKI (2012)
    The Yankees went in-house to replace Brett Gardner in the short-term last year, but when he ended up missing almost the entire season, Brian Cashman instead imported Ichiro. After a .322-5-27-14 SB line in 65 games, he was rewarded with a two-year deal to return to the Bronx in 2013 and 2014.
  • NICK SWISHER (2009)
    Swisher became a huge fan favorite and hit .268 with 105 home runs in four years in pinstripes ... but if it wasn't for Xavier Nady's season-ending elbow injury in 2009, the "Swisher Salute" may never have become a full-time sight.
  • SHAWN CHACON/AARON SMALL (2005)
    The Yankees' rotation was besieged by injury in 2005, with only Mike Mussina and Randy Johnson making more than 17 starts. Enter Chacon and Small, who went a combined 17-3 with ERAs of 2.85 (Small) and 3.20 (Chacon) to help the Yanks win their eighth straight AL East title.
  • RAFAEL SORIANO (2012)
    Soriano was already in his second year with the Yankees when he became the closer following Mariano Rivera's knee injury ... but as hard as it must be to step into the shoes of the greatest reliever ever, Soriano excelled en route to 42 saves and a 2.26 ERA. Untuck!
  • LOU GEHRIG (1925)
    Depending on which version of the tale you believe, Lou Gehrig may have been inserted into the Yankees' lineup on June 2, 1925, because regular first baseman Wally Pipp had a headache. Pipp may still have the franchise record for sacrifices, but surely he'd love to have that one back.
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