NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Better late than never, Jose Pirela is set to make his season debut for the Yankees.
After missing about six weeks with a concussion, Pirela was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday and inserted into the lineup for the rubber game of New York’s series in Toronto.
He took infielder Gregorio Petit’s spot on the roster, Petit, who was hit by a pitch on the right hand late in the Yankees’ 6-3 win on Tuesday night, was placed on the 15-day DL, the team announced.
Off to a somewhat surprising start following an extremely disappointing 2014 season, the AL East-leading Yankees are currently on pace to score around 150 more runs than they did last year.
They look like they may seriously challenge for a playoff spot because the top of the lineup — Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner — always seems to be on base and the Bombers are bombing again, hitting home runs with regularity.
Now they have another table-setter in Pirela ready to do his thing. The 25-year-old Venezuelan was to start at second base and bat ninth on Wednesday.
Pirela came up at the end of last season and hit .333 (8-for-24) with a .360 on-base percentage in seven games. The performance garnered him a lot of attention and had many thinking he would at the very least challenge for the starting job at second in spring training, or, if that didn’t work out, be a utility player off the bench.
Pirela hit .370 (10-for-27) with a .433 on-base percentage in 15 spring games, before a collision with the center field wall in Port St. Lucie, Florida, on March 22 sidelined him with a concussion.
Following a three-level rehab stint that saw him hit .364 (12-for-33), including 10-for-15 over the last three games, Pirela is ready to make his season debut with the big club.
With Stephen Drew struggling mightily at the plate, Pirela, considered a solid fielder, could at some point become the team’s full-time second baseman. Drew is hitting just .167 in 24 games, seemingly a carryover from last season when he hit an abysmal .162 in 85 games with Boston and New York.