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Eric Chavez Starts Today, But It Is Not 2002

Look, I don't mean to criticize the quality of Brian Cashman's bench players. He's blown off the bench in the past and been burned for it; this year the Yankees have primarily had Chavez, Andruw Jones, Eduardo Nunez, and Francisco Cervelli as their primary benchies, and that's a group that is strong on paper and in reality. Given what a good player Chavez was back before his constitution quit, a left-handed slugger and Gold Glove fielder, that seeing if he had just a little more in the tank was a worthwhile proposition. And he does, sort of: his .267 average is his highest since 2005. His power, though, is gone. He's got one home run in 120 at-bats, four in 350 at-bats going back four years. He's also hit 22 doubles in that span, so there's something of the old pop lingering, but the ability to lift and clear the fences has gone with the wind.

By the standards of bench players, hitting at a level of about 80 percent of what the average regular does is typical, and Chavez has been just a little better than that. That's not a reason to give him playing time. I realize the Yankees have been on an odd, crowded, wet schedule and they need to give A-Rod a break by DHing him, but I wish there was another way.