Lyle Overbay, a 36-year-old veteran of 12 major league seasons, has never played a position on the diamond other than first base in his big league career. It appears he has at least talked about changing that in 2013.
Overbay has discussed with the Red Sox the possibility of playing some outfield, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. It’s unclear how serious either side is about going in that direction, but if Overbay is able to hold his own in the outfield, it would make him much more valuable to the club going into the season.
The Red Sox had a major need for a backup first baseman before signing Overbay to a minor league deal with an invite to major league spring training. Mike Napoli‘s hip issue immediately makes the role an important one, and Mauro Gomez and Mark Hamilton — each of whom has limited major league experience — were the only two options until Overbay signed. The Red Sox also want a left-handed hitting outfielder on their bench, though, mainly to share some at-bats with Jonny Gomes, who has fared much better against left-handed pitching throughout his career. If Boston is able to enter the season with a left-handed bat capable of playing both first base and the outfield, it would allow the club to perhaps look to other areas when filling out the roster.
The most important development regarding Overbay, however, has nothing to do with his position. Cafardo also reports that Overbay feels as though his swing is back, thanks to Don Baylor.
Photo via Wikipedia/Lyle Overbay