Red Sox’ castaway Overbay steps it up for wounded Yankees

TORONTO — The Globe and Mail

In this file photo, Toronto Blue Jays Lyle Overbay (left) is congratulated by teammate Vernon Wells after scoring on a Reed Johnson single during fourth inning AL action in Toronto against the New York Yankees on Wednesday Sept. 20, 2006. The two both hit home runs for the New York Yankees in Friday’s 9-4 win over Toronto. (AARON HARRIS/CP)

Discarded by the Boston Red Sox late during spring training, Lyle Overbay admitted to having thoughts that his Major League Baseball career might be over.

Then Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees went out and injured his wrist getting ready for the World Baseball Classic in early March and the baseball gods once again smiled on the 36-year-old first baseman.

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In desperate need of a first baseman on the eve of the regular-season, the Yankees put in a call to Overbay, who was only too happy to comply. He was not yet ready to close out a 13-year Major League Baseball career, 5 1/2 years of which was spent in the uniform of the Blue Jays.

And so far the association is working just fine.

Overbay joined a New York team that had just traded for another old shoe in 34-year old outfielder Vernon Wells, who was a teammate of Overbay's while in Toronto.

Their reunion in New York spelled trouble for the Blue Jays Friday night as both stroked home runs as the Yankees routed Toronto 9-4 at Rogers Centre.

For Overbay, the home run was his second of the season and he is now hitting a solid .260 while filling in for Teixeira.

"You think that," Overbay said when asked if he thought his career was s was over when the Red Sox cut him. "It's hard to get two to tango. I feel good but it's hard to get other teams that aren't showing any interest to give interest.

"That's the reality of it so you kind of throw that in your mind. It's in your mind, but until they tell you it's over I don't want to think that. I feel like I've got something to offer still."

The Yankees have been decimated by injuries this season and their lineup resembles a used car lot with a lot of old parts.

Yet there the Yankees are in a familiar spot, near the top of the American League East, their record a credible 9-6.

The Pinstripes were mighty relieved in what they saw from Andy Pettitte - their starter on Friday who missed his last scheduled outing after suffering from back spasms.

Pettitte got stronger as the game progressed, and pitched into the eighth inning, allowing three Toronto runs off six hits to move to 3-0 on the year.

The left-hander was worried that having missed a start he would be too strong with his pitches coming in, and he struggled in the first inning, allowing a leadoff triple to Rajai Davis, who would come in to score.

"I felt like I hadn't pitched all year to tell you the truth," Pettitte said. "It was just trying to control my emotions and stuff like that. It took me a few innings to settle in. I was overthrowing a little bit early but it was a good game. The guys scored some runs and it helped me to be able to relax a little bit and settle in."

As for Overbay, he is just happy that he has found another home -- at least for the time being.

When Teixeira is ready to return to the Yankees, and right now that appears to be by mid-May at the earliest, Overbay could be the odd man out.

"Your guess is as good as mine," Overbay said when asked what might happen to him once Teixeira returns. "I know that is the most important thing and hopefully when he gets back, he's healthy.

"Hopefully he feels like he doesn't have to rush it and hopefully I can kind of help in that way."