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Ryan Theriot Makes Sense for New York Yankees

Veteran Would Provide Infield Versatility, Winning Attitude

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Ryan Theriot Makes Sense for New York Yankees
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Ryan Theriot won a World Series ring with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 and added a second with the …

COMMENTARY | As the New York Yankees stumble through the opening week of the season with 44 percent of their projected everyday lineup on the disabled list, there are some players available on the open market who could help the ballclub.

Foremost among those would be infielder Ryan Theriot, late of the San Francisco Giants and the only player in baseball with two World Series rings from the last two seasons.

Theriot hit .272/.321/.342 in 483 plate appearances with a homer and 47 RBIs while playing both middle-infield positions for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. He was a key performer for the Cardinals in the postseason, never more so than when he went 6-for-10 with a pair of doubles as St. Louis dropped the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Division Series.

Theriot signed with the Giants in January 2012 and saw considerable playing time for San Francisco at second base ... at least until the Giants acquired infielder Marco Scutaro from the Colorado Rockies before the waiver trading deadline in July.

Scutaro was out of his mind at the plate down the stretch for the Giants, rendering Theriot an afterthought by hitting .362/.385/.473 in 268 plate appearances with 44 RBIs in just 61 games. His torrid hitting continued into the postseason. Scutaro was 21-for-64 with eight RBIs while helping San Francisco to its second World Series crown in three years and was named Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series victory over the Cardinals by going 14-for-28 in the seven-game series.

When San Francisco opted to re-sign Scutaro, it left Theriot a man without a country ... or at the very least, without a team.

Theriot won't remind anyone of Ozzie Smith or Luis Aparicio with the glove at shortstop, but with Derek Jeter's return from a broken ankle shrouded in mystery, Theriot would provide the Yankees with another veteran presence in the locker room and in the lineup. He couldn't be any worse defensively than the eternal prospect, Eduardo Nunez.

The caveat is this: Any team that can't guarantee Theriot substantial playing time needn't bother trying to find him down on the Louisiana bayou.

Theriot told the San Francisco Chronicle last month that he doesn't want to be a backup.

"I like to play. I'm a busybody," Theriot said. "I like to go out there and do it. I'm counterproductive when I'm just watching. I like to contribute in some way, shape or form other than in the clubhouse and feel needed on the field."

The New York Yankees could use a Ryan Theriot on the field; certainly, at least in the interim until Jeter is ready to go.

Phil Watson is a freelance journalist and commentator based in upper Michigan who covers the New York Yankees for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

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