Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Miller are two huge cogs in the Yankees' machinery, and their return to the roster yesterday went a long way in securing hope for a return to the playoffs. Ellsbury proved his legs were fine when he legged out an infield hit, and Miller notched his 18th save, as the Yankees beat the Athletics 5-4, setting up a rubber game at the Stadium this afternoon.
Assuming Chase Headley's calf is only a minor setback, the Yankees are now at full strength, and it looks as if their 2.5 game division lead might hold steady, or even increase in the near future. But, wait. Can a team with Stephen Drew on its roster be considered to be at full strength?
Drew's solo home run turned out to be the difference in the game last night, but he is still hitting well under .200. At this point in the season, "full strength" might not mean including Drew. It might mean Rob Refsnyder, who has been playing much better lately at AAA.
After about 90 games last season, the Yankees released Brian Roberts. Is the same fate awaiting Stephen Drew? No. The difference between the Roberts and Drew situations is that, last year, the Yankees were languishing in the middle of the division, and this year, they are in first place, expected to make a playoff run.
In other words, Drew's not hurting anyone, so leave him alone.