NEW YORK -- Before the Yankees' 6-3 win over the Blue Jays on Monday night, general manager Brian Cashman was asked three times if he plans to upgrade at third base as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.Each time, Cashman replied that the Yankees are sticking with third baseman
NEW YORK -- Before the Yankees' 6-3 win over the Blue Jays on Monday night, general manager Brian Cashman was asked three times if he plans to upgrade at third base as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.
Each time, Cashman replied that the Yankees are sticking with third baseman Chase Headley.
"It's certainly nice to hear," Headley said. "The reality is, regardless of what he says, it's not going to change how I prepare and what I'm trying to do. This isn't about one guy. This isn't about me. This is about the Yankees, and I'm just trying to do my part."
Headley undoubtedly did his part, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored. He delivered the big blow in the eighth, with the Yankees leading by a run, when he ripped a bases-loaded, two-run double into the right-field corner for a 4-1 lead.
Then with one out, Ronald Torreyes dribbled a grounder to Blue Jays pitcher Dennis Tepera, whose throw home was dropped by the catcher. Didi Gregorius scored from third on the error. Headley, who was running hard on the play, rounded third and hustled home to score.
"I knew that Didi was going on contact, so as soon as the ball's put in play, I'm going to third," Headley said. "And then when everything comes together, there's a lot of chaos at the plate. Anything can happen when the ball squirted away, and I was able to take advantage of it."
Headley has seen his share of struggles this season, especially in May, when he batted .165 (14-for-85) with a .211 OBP. During that stretch, one of the Yankees' biggest stories became whether they would call up their top prospect, Gleyber Torres, to replace him.
When Torres suffered a season-ending injury June 17, the conversation for Headley's replacement shifted to outside the organization. Meanwhile, after making some adjustments at the plate, Headley had a much better June, in which he batted .296 with a .410 OBP.
It became explicitly clear that Headley will be the Yanks' starting third baseman when Cashman gave him three votes of confidence.
"Who do you want me to play there?" said Cashman in response to the third question regarding third base. "Headley's our third baseman. Sorry you don't like it."
The three runs Headley was responsible for in the eighth -- the two RBIs and the run scored from second -- made the difference in the game after Albertin Chapman allowed two runs in the ninth.
Headley also made two important plays on defense. In the eighth, he tagged Josh Donaldson out trying to steal second base to end the inning. Headley received the throw because the Yankees were shifting on lefty Justin Smoak.
He also backhanded a liner by Russell Martin to end the game, preventing a hit that would've brought the tying run to the plate in Jose Bautista.
"If that's a base hit, the tying run comes to the plate," manager Joe Girardi said. "He had a big night for us."
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.