Rafael Soriano, the King of Relievers and the Reliever of Kings, has hit the disabled list, clearing the way for the Yankees’ offense to be saved by… Chris Dickerson? The reward for Sergio Mitre has had 527 major-league plate appearances and has hit .267/.356/.403 with eight home runs in 454 at-bats. He played well over his head in his 2008 debut, so his subsequent rates, .256/.339/.344, are probably more indicative of what he can do. He’s walked 62 times, struck out a generous 135 times, and has stolen 20 bases in 26 attempts. A left-handed hitter, he has averaged .273/.362/.420 against right-handers and .227/.321/.303 against left-handers. He has hit only .248/.370/.354 at Scranton this year.
None of this sounds like much, but Dickerson has three things going for him right now:
His average performance, while nothing special, is better than that of several Yankees.
He’s not Nick Swisher, who has hit .185 over the last month and is ill today.
He buys time for the team to separate any promotion of Jesus Montero from the current Jorge Posada ugliness.
That last is the most important. Dickerson is a fourth outfielder at best, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not important right now. He might as well be named Henry the Human Placeholder, because that’s his function here. Barring a new-to-the-league hot streak or short-term luck on balls in play, he’s not going to stake a claim to playing time without a major injury to one of the starters, but again, that’s not his function. He’s just saving space and killing time.