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On July 24, the first-place Yankees ran into some rough luck. Just as the Rays were about to have their All-Star third baseman rejoin the team from injury, 37-year-old New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez suffered a fractured hand on a pitch up and in from Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez.
In 94 games prior to the injury, A-Rod had been showing some signs of age, although he did seem to be heating up in the latter weeks. He was batting a modest .276, albeit with a respectable on-base percentage of .358.
The team quickly implemented vet Eric Chavez as the starter at the hot corner, and he provided an offensive spark. From July 25 to August 15, Chavez batted at a .422 clip in 15 games, going 19-for-45 with five homers and 11 RBI.
At the July 31 trade deadline, the team acquired infielder Casey McGehee from the Pirates. Since pulling on the pinstripes for the first time, McGehee has hit only .226 with a homer and driven in five runs in nine games.
McGehee's struggles date back further than this month; this season with Pittsburgh, McGehee hit only .230, and all of last year with Milwaukee the 29-year-old batted a mere .223.
The acquisition of McGehee may not pan out as Yankees brass may have wished, and it would be a safe assumption that Eric Chavez—in his 15th MLB season—won't be able to keep up his sky-high stats.
Rodriguez will be set to return in September, according to the team. Until then it won't be surprising if the Bombers show some signs of weakness at third base.