The New York Yankees acquired Jerry Hairston Jr. from the Reds for catching prospect Chase Weems on July 31. That was the only move the Yankees made at the trade deadline, and so far, it’s worked out very well, MLB.com reports.
Hairston is playing well and enjoys playing in the Bronx. On Wednesday, Hairston hit his 10th home run of the season — the first year he’s reached double-digit homers since beginning his career in 1998. But his increased offensive production isn’t the only reason why he’s enjoying his time in pinstripes.
“It was a pretty smooth transition," Hairston told the Web site. "I knew when I got traded over here, I was getting traded to a first-place team. For me, I was just trying not to mess it up. I just tried to fit in, and whenever my name is called, I try to contribute."
If it’s offense that’s needed, he’ll provide it. If it’s defense that’s needed, he’ll most certainly provide that. As a utilityman, he’s had to display his versatility on more than one occasion. He’s started five games at third base and five games in the outfield for the Yankees.
Indeed, one of the reasons the Yankees were so attracted to him was because of his ability to patrol center field. Manager Joe Girardi appreciates that kind of versatility.
"It's a pleasure to have a guy like that … because he can do so many things for you," said Girardi, who would feel comfortable playing Hairston anywhere on the field except catcher. "He allows us to spell a lot of guys, and you know he's going to be productive and give you quality at-bats and play good defense. He has been great for us since we got him."
Hairston recognizes that playing for a contending club is accompanied by its fair share of pressure, but he doesn’t let that bother him and takes a game-by-game approach.
"We realize what's at stake, but we also realize we have a very talented team,” he said. “Hopefully, we can do something special together."