New York Yankees: Role Players Have Been a Pleasant Surprise in First Half

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New York Yankees: Role Players Have Been a Pleasant Surprise in First Half
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Eric Chavez has been productive as part of the Yankees supporting cast.

Michael Pineda, the future staff ace, didn't make it out of spring training. Mariano Rivera, the closer of all closers, was sidelined for the season by a freakish injury suffered while shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City.

Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are putting up numbers that would be acceptable for players making half their salary, and catcher Russell Martin is struggling to hit his weight.

And yet here are the New York Yankees sailing along with the best record in baseball at the All-Star break.

Why?

Well, because Derek Jeter carried them through a difficult first month or so of the season. Andy Pettitte came out of retirement to solidify the starting rotation. Rafael Soriano stepped in admirably for Rivera. And a cast of extras on the bench and in the bullpen has responded with timely hits and shutdown relief work.

The Yankees are winning even though Robinson Cano and perhaps Jeter will finish the season with a batting average near or above .300. The Bronx Bombers are winning because they are living up to their nickname by leading the majors in home runs.

So while CC Sabathia may be the only starter you may bet the house on every time he pitches, the Yankees are getting contributions from all 25 players on the roster. One of their strengths is their depth, and that has enabled them to survive injuries to key players such as Rivera, Brett Gardner and Pineda.

Let's give props to some of those who have played a supporting role.

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