When the New York Yankees open the second half of the season Thursday night across the border against the Toronto Blue Jays Alex Rodriguez will not be with them. Rodriguez, in fact, won't be with the Yankees until somewhere around the end of August following his Monday knee surgery.
How will the Yankees replace A-Rod? Truth is, there really is no way to replace what a Hall of Fame third baseman who hits cleanup and has 626 career home runs means to the lineup. The Yankees do, however, have to place Rodriguez on the disabled list and add a 25th player.
I have stumped for this previously, but I think this would be the perfect time for the Yankees to bring Jesus Montero, the highly-touted crown jewel of the their farm system, to the big leagues. Why not? Montero is a right-handed hitting slugger, something the Yankees have a dearth of with Rodriguez hurt, Jorge Posada hitting poorly against left-handed pitching and Andruw Jones being, well, generally awful.
Why not? I know Montero is a catcher and not an infielder, but that should not matter. Eduardo Nunez played well offensively while replacing Derek Jeter at shortstop for three weeks, and he should be fine getting the bulk of the playing time at third base in A-Rod's absence. Ramiro Pena is already on the roster as a backup infielder, so the Yankees don't really need to add another one.
Bring Montero to the big leagues and he could be in the lineup as designated hitter Thursday night against Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero. Let him DH against lefties and catch once per week to rest Russell Martin.
Will the Yankees actually do this? I doubt it. More likely I think you will see someone like the often-shuffled Chris Dickerson brought back to the big leagues as a spare outfielder, especially with Nick Swisher having missed a little time before the All-Star break with a quad injury.
I believe, though, that not bringing Montero to the majors now would be a missed opportunity for the Yankees to find out more about exactly what they have in the 21-year-old Montero.