Versatile Wells ready to man first when needed
CHICAGO -- Vernon Wells made his first career start at first base against the White Sox during Monday night's 8-1 Yankees loss. Wells, who has played outfield, second base and third base over his 15-season career, said that while there's definitely a learning curve, he's getting more and more comfortable at the position.
"I avoided running in circles, which was my main goal," Wells said, jokingly. "All in all, it was a great experience."
Wells made a nice play stretching to catch Alex Rodriguez's wide throw on the third baseman's first defensive play of the season. But later in the game, Wells had trouble determining how far to go out of position to try to field a ground ball to his right, resulting in first base being left vacant on an Alexei Ramirez ground ball.
"That's the one play that's -- even talking to guys that play the position -- that's the hardest play," Wells said of the grounder between first and second. "Your instincts tell you to go get the ball, but when you're over [at first], you have to think opposite of that. It happened, and hopefully if I'm out there again, I won't make that mistake."
Wells said that prior to Monday, he had never played first base at any level, even Little League. But he also said he'd be comfortable going back out to first if asked to by manager Joe Girardi.
"Definitely," Wells said. "The more I'm out there, the more I'll get comfortable. Those first couple of innings, there was so much going on with base hits and different things going on, it kind of gave me a crash course in playing the position.
"It's amazing. You don't think there's that much going on at first base, but with every pitch, you're paying attention to so many different things. It's an involved position, that's for sure."