All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Close, but no cigar

July 6, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 10, Cleveland 4

Pretty easy game. Randy Johnson cruised for the first six innings or so, then ran out of gas. But by then, the Yanks had such a solid lead it didn't matter.

Bubba came in as a defensive substitution in the bottom of the 7th, taking over CF from Bernie. He got one at-bat in the top of the ninth. Ball, swinging strike, then a looooooong out to right center. He whaled on it. But it's a big park, and it fell just short. Would have been a homerun in Yankee Stadium for sure.

Didn't do Bubba's batting stats any good, but I thought it was a positive sign. I think he's coming out of his slump, with the hit the game before and that almost-homer last night. Not only did he hit it hard, it was against Perez, a tough lefty.

Perhaps Joe was impressed, too. Bubba's starting in CF tonight, against Tampa. With Damon injured, and a huge park with slick turf, Joe decided to go with the good glove.

I just wish Bubba would relax and play his game. He had another "too much hustle" moment last night. He dived for a ball, which dropped in, then got past him. He did slow it down at least, but it would have been better if he'd played it on the hop.

Not to mention the risk of injury. Matsui broke his wrist diving like that. Bubba himself pulled his hamstring on dive like that. The Yanks had a solid lead and a shortage of OFers; there was no need for heroics.

I know he's fighting for playing time. Once Damon is healthy, it will be Bernie and Guiel platooned in right, and Bubba on the bench.

But I think it'll be okay. Torre clearly respects Bubba's glove. Bubba doesn't have to prove anything on defense. Joe never put Thompson or Reese in as LIDRs, but he always puts Bubba in. I think Bubba will get a chance to play almost every day, if only in the late innings. Plus, Damon being as old and broken down as he is, he'll likely be needed time off even when the current injury heals. If Bubba calms down and plays well, he'll get his chances to prove himself. It's what happened last year. They tried Womack and Lawton in the outfield, but ended up going to Bubba down the stretch.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:12 PM


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