'Ready to go': Odor's quiet impact on Yanks

October 5th, 2021

Throughout the 2021 season, has done whatever the Yankees needed -- filling in at third base or second base, or delivering off the bench. No matter his role on any given day, his attitude never changes. It’s all about helping the Yankees go far in the postseason.

With DJ LaMahieu fighting a sports hernia and ruled out for the American League Wild Card Game, as well as the AL Division Series should the Yankees defeat the Red Sox on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, Odor has never been more important.

The 27-year-old was an integral part in the Yankees edging the Rays, 1-0, on Sunday to earn a Wild Card berth. Starting in place of LeMahieu, Odor led off the ninth inning with a bloop single -- his first hit since Sept. 1 vs. the Angels -- to center field off Rays left-hander Josh Fleming, sparking the rally that ended in a walk-off celebration.

“I was trying to get on base to keep the energy going to win the game,” Odor said “[Fleming] made a really good pitch inside. Thank God I got the base hit up the middle. …

“Today, I was in the lineup and I was ready to go. I know I don’t play too much, but I don’t care. I’m ready to go. They needed me [Sunday], and I [gave] them 100 percent.”

Odor was lifted for pinch-runner Tyler Wade, but that was no problem for Odor. Three batters later, with right-hander Andrew Kittredge on the mound, Wade scored on an infield single by Aaron Judge. Odor was the first to greet Judge and then joined teammate Joey Gallo in pouring water on Judge as he was heading towards the dugout.

“It started with Rougy,” Judge said. “It starts with the first guy in the inning. That’s what the Rays were able to do a lot, especially [in] this series. With Rougy getting on board there and then Wade pinch-running … it’s a quality inning. Everyone was doing their job in front of me.”

Although he hit .202 for the season, Odor provides power (15 homers) and is a solid defender at both second and third base. During the month of September, Odor was on the bench from Sept. 13-24. With LeMahieu out, Odor could see action at third.

“I think everyone that has covered us has seen the impact that Rougy has on our team,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He has been an awesome person in our clubhouse. Through this season, we have had our peaks and valleys and ups and downs, he is such a consistent person. That’s a big deal to me, and it’s something I have a lot of respect for.

“There have been stretches during the season where he has been impactful for us. … I’m just happy for Rougy. Whether he has been playing every day or hasn’t played a lot, nothing has changed as far as who he is, what kind of teammate he is, how he prepares and he was ready to go [on Sunday].”