Yankees’ Brian Roberts ‘beat up,’ Joe Girardi says
ARLINGTON, Texas – Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts has played 91 games this season, by far the most he’s played since 2009.
His manager, Joe Girardi, gave him his second game off in three days, and Girardi thinks the workload might be catching up to the 36-year-old.
“I think that’s possibly going on,” Girardi said. “He’s been beat up this year, physically.”
Girardi said Roberts’ problem is that he’s dealing with general soreness.
“Legs get beat up,” he said. “You hit balls off your feet, your shins. It’s all part of it.”
Girardi said he’ll likely give Roberts “a couple of days” off — Brendan Ryan was slated to start in Roberts’ place Tuesday against the Rangers — and see how the longtime Oriole feels. But, Girardi said, he expects Roberts to feel better soon, and added that Ryan won’t be the answer at the position the rest of the season.
Girardi might be onto something. Roberts hasn’t hit particularly well all year — he’s got a .237 batting average with five homers and 21 RBI. But over his last 11 games, the North Carolina native has hit just .171 and hasn’t been particularly good defensively.
That could the drawback, Girardi said, of the health he’s had in 2014. Roberts has missed a few games due to various minor injuries, but nothing like the concussions and other maladies that kept him off the field in Baltimore.
While Girardi said he expects Roberts to return soon, he added that he wouldn’t be against playing Kelly Johnson — a natural second baseman — at the position if necessary when Johnson gets off the 15-day disabled list in the next week.
Zelous Wheeler could also play second base.
The Yankees have a second baseman who has been hitting very well in Triple-A in Robert Refsnyder, but general manager Brian Cashman has said he doesn’t believe Refsnyder would be a big upgrade over Roberts at this point. That’s because of Refsnyder’s limited second base experience — he was a college right-fielder.
Roberts signed a one-year, $2-million deal with the Yankees this offseason. The deal includes incentives that could boost it by another $2.6 million if he reaches 650 plate appearances with the team. He’s already at 348.