It was such a magical April/May for Vernon Wells. Blasting home runs at Rogers Centre and out-hitting his Angels replacement in Josh Hamilton. It was the perfect start to an improbable season. Of course, like many things both wonderful and completely absurd, Vernon’s hot start came to an abrupt end. Ideally, Wells would have simply reverted to his feeble 2012 self. As you are all well aware, it was so much worse than that.
From the point of his last home run, May 15 against the Mariners, up until his pinch-hit, three-run double against the Rays on June 22, here is what Vernon contributed:
107 PA 13 H 2 BB 3 XBH 21 SO
Yup, that's good for a .123 AVG and .142 OBP. That production makes Los Angeles Vernon Wells look like Hank Aaron. But finally, after over a month of futility that would rival that of the great Austin Romine, Wells has finally started hitting at a good clip. Not for power, mind you, but considering how starved for production the Yankees are, it is a most welcome sight. Here’s his production beginning with the aforementioned Rays game, through last night's game against the Royals:
36 PA 14 H 0 BB 2 XBH 7 SO
Okay, so it wouldn’t kill the guy to take a walk. And his strikeout rate is almost exactly the same. But that’s a .389 average right there! He's already got more hits in three weeks than he did in over five. And considering his .747 OPS against lefties this year, it looks like it might actually be a good idea to keep the guy around for the rest of the year rather than tethering him to the locker room radiator.
Unfortunately, thanks to Travis Hafner completely falling off the face of the Earth, he’s probably going to be seeing some more time versus righties in the coming days. Maybe the imminent return of Derek Jeter from will prevent Joe Girardi from riding Wells into the ground again. Ideally, he would be able to settle into a lefty/righty platoon with Ichiro Suzuki and pinch hit from time to time (or possibly assist at first base), which is probably what should have been done since day one. But I can’t say I blame Girardi for getting confused into thinking Vern was an everyday player back in May. He really did look the part.
And if this really is just a "dead cat bounce", so be it. Because for a while there, it looked like the cat wasn’t going to bounce at all.