July 8th, 2012
Kevin Russo impressed Joe Girardi with his hustle and versatility during the team’s 2010 spring training season. That’s why when Nick Johnson made his much anticipated trip to the DL in May of that season, Girardi asked for Russo to be added to the big league roster. It sure looked like a stroke of managerial genius at the time, because in his first-ever start as a Yankee, Russo drove in both runs in the New York’s 2-1 victory over the crosstown Mets. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the highlight of Russo’s first tour in the big leagues and unless something drastic happens, this West Babylon, NY native, who was raised in Colorado, will probably not be returning to the Bronx in a Yankee uniform.
He can play second, third and anywhere in the outfield but his offensive skills, though sufficient for Triple A level play, are not quite good enough to keep him in the big leagues. He also turns 28 years old today, which is considered young in most professions but bordering on senior citizenship if you’re a minor league baseball player. I just checked his 2012 stats and he’s hitting in the high .280’s in Triple A with 79 hits, 13 stolen bases and 35 runs scored in the 68 games he’s played thus far this season. But the Yankees this year seem to have decided that they will use their farm system when they need pitching but if the need to replace a position player, they prefer signing out-of-work big league vets like Jason Nix, DeWayne Wise and most recently, Darnell McDonald.