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Raul Ibanez has provided a clutch bat for his new team all season long
Just like in the military, it takes achieving certain tasks and an individual proving their reliability in order to earn their place and certain rankings among their peers and superiors in uniform. It’s really no different when it comes to baseball in the Bronx. It’s a sacred tradition to suit up in those white with blue pinstriped uniforms and those that are privileged enough to do so, are expected to perform at an extremely high level. Some are unable to handle this pressure and are quickly dismissed, others however, answer the call and earn a spot in history as unforgettable Yankees, some even as undying legends.
This season the Yankees welcomed a few new players to the clubhouse and given the opportunity to prove their worth, they’ve been coming through in big ways and showing they’re deserving of sporting those infamous stripes.
First proven pickup for the club has been Raul Ibanez. Nobody was really sure what the organization’s intentions were for making this offseason signing, considering the team’s outfield seemed to be pretty well set. The thought was he could still provide some decent at-bats in a DH position and possibly see some time filling in on the field, but not much. However, it’s been the total opposite for Ibanez.
With an early-season injury to key outfielder, Brett Gardner, the Yankees looked to Ibanez to fill that void and he’s been making an obvious impact on the teams success. Besides contributing a good glove on the defensive side, he has been even more productive on the offensive end of things at times when the Yankees needed it most.
Last night he did it again for his new team. With the game tied at two in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays, Ibanez dug into the batters box with the bases loaded and hit a decisive grand slam the put the Yankees ahead for good. He’s come through in clutch spots like this all season long. When runners are on, Ibanez is batting .241 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs. Even more clutch, he’s batting .242 with runners in scoring position with five homers and 29 RBIs. If this continues through the remainder of the season, he’ll undoubtedly earn his stripes along with possibly another contract to suit up in them again next year.
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Hiroki Kuroda has had his ups and downs during this first year with the Yankee. But for the most part he’s provided them with some pretty solid starts.
Hiroki Kuroda is another newbie to the club in 2012 and after a rocky start it was uncertain if he’d be able to live up to the high standards in New York. But as of late he’s really settled into his new home and has been finding plenty of success. He began the season with a disappointing 4-6 record but since June, he’s turned it around and has been steadily improving. In June Kuroda went 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA.
He’s had a slight setback to start out July though and is 0-0 in his two starts with a 7.62 ERA. He’s already shown he’s capable of handling the task at hand and has to finish of the rest of the year strong to prove he’s worthy of his stripes.
Although Rafael Soriano isn’t exactly a new addition to the roster, as he was acquired by the Yankees last year, he is however been asked to take on a new role for the team this year.
When the team took a devastating blow losing closer, Mariano Rivera, for possibly the season, they weren’t quite sure who would
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Soriano isn’t new to the Yankees, but in his second season there, he’s succesfully taken over a new role.
be able to take over that role. After giving a few pitchers from the bullpen a tryout, it looked like Soriano would be the best fit as he’s been virtually perfect coming to the mound in the ninth inning with the pressure on.
Soriano earned 23 saves thus far out of his 24 save opportunities and held it down strongly with a 1.49 ERA as well. This is a much needed boost to the club, knowing they can rely on someone when the game is on the line.
As the postseason rapidly approaches these key acquisitions will have many more opportunities to prove themselves, but as of now, it’s looking like they’re deserving of the stripes they’re wearing.