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Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones Making Most Of Opportunities

Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones are two veterans who at one time had all-star careers. Both gold glove quality fielders with big time bats. Both are now relegated to back up roles with the New York Yankees. Both Chavez and Jones have played important roles in pinstripes already and they are making the most of their chances.

Jones has platooned in left field with Brett Gardner for the most part, playing when the opposition throws a left handed pitcher. His defensive skills are still there. When watching Jones, you can tell he still has the centerfielder type skills while roaming left field for tthe Yankees. This is important in left field, particularly in Yankee Stadium.

The veteran outfielder has also come up big with the bat. In 12 at-bats this season, Jones is hitting .333 with a double, home run, and two runs batted in. Jones will continue to play against left handed starters.

Chavez made the roster as a backup corner infielder after a very hot spring training. His hot hitting has continued into the regular season. While backing up Alex Rodriguez at third base, Chavez has appeared in six games so far. The veteran is batting .467 with two doubles and three runs batted in. Chavez consistently makes contact, striking out just once in 15 at-bats.

Bench production is someone most teams lack. The Yankees are fortunate to be getting contributions for veterans coming off the bench this season. This could go a long way in determining the success of the team in 2011.

Not only are these two players getting hits, many of them are big hits in key situations for the team. An example of that was last night when Eric Chavez’s 8th inning RBI single proved to be the winning hit in the Yankees 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi does not need to hesitate to give his starters a day off here and there when the bench is producing the way it has so far. Chavez and Jones give Girardi options many teams do not have. Most teams have guys on the bench that can hit, or play good defense. In Jones and Chavez, the Yankees have both.

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