Sunday, August 8, 2010

Berkman Getting Noticed for Wrong Reasons

Had old George still been around, it was an incident that would obviously led to a public flogging. Maybe even an old-fashioned water boarding, military aficionado that The Boss was.

Instead, the BP liner Lance Berkman scorched off Alex Rodriguez's shin was nothing more than a cringe-worthy incident that succinctly summed up Berkman's first week with the Yankees.

Serves A-Rod right, you may think to yourself. Taking his eyes of the field to banter with Joe Buck, a noted douche, warrants some kind of penalty. But the timing couldn't have been worse for Berkman, who just wants to blend into the background these days.

It didn't help matters that Berkman had another hitless day, getting booed off the field twice. He's 2-for-22 since joining the Yankees, numbers that make fans long for the salad days of Juan Miranda.

To Berkman's credit, he's saying all the right things. He told reporters after Saturday's win over the Red Sox that he's "booing himself", which would actually be kind of funny if true. He has a fine resume, and the sample is still way too small to call him a washout in New York just yet.

But I can't seem to shake the nagging feeling that Berkman will eventually be viewed on the wrong end of the Yankee Thirty-Something Veteran Trade Scale that has David Justice on one side and Pudge Rodriguez on the other.

I still believe Johnny Damon would be an attractive option for the Yankees, and with the Tigers all but out of contention in the AL Central, it's possible he'd be available via the waiver-and-trade route.

But it's more likely that Brian Cashman will stay put with the team he's assembled, and give Berkman every chance to succeed in his current role against right-handed pitchers.

Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter were cracking up as Rodriguez writhed in pain on the Yankee Stadium turf after Saturday's mishap. Let's hope this doesn't become the most noteworthy aspect of Big Puma's tenure in pinstripes.

Dan Hanzus writes the Yankees blog River & Sunset and can be reached via e-mail at Follow Dan on Twitter @danhanzus.