Everywhere Oswaldo Cabrera has played lately — left field Saturday, right field Friday, first base last week — the rookie jack of all trades has hit.
Cabrera’s push continued on Saturday with a two-run, go-ahead fourth-inning home run in the Yankees’ 7-5 victory over the Red Sox in the Bronx, as he strengthened his record to be a playoff contributor.
With one swing, Cabrera turned a one-point deficit into a one-point lead that the Yankees did not give up. Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta left a slider on the plate, and Cabrera lit it and sent the offer about 376 feet into the right field seats. He watched him pass and gestured toward the Yankees dugout before beginning his trip around the bases after his third dinger in his last six games.
“Really mature, has a really good understanding of the game. He’s not scared,” manager Aaron Boone said after Cabrera’s 33rd major league game. “He likes the competition of it all.”
In Cabrera’s first 21 games, the 23-year-old went 14 for 75 (.187) without a home run. In Cabrera’s last 12 games — since Sept. 10 — the switch hitter has gone 13 for 42 (.310) with his four major league homers.
Cabrera, who also walked a 1-for-3 afternoon, started in left field, where he competes with Aaron Hicks for playing time. Hicks has struggled throughout this season, although he’s shown his recent life, going 7 for 15 with a pair of home runs in his last five games and contributing to a pinch walk on Saturday.
During the final days of the season, there could be a competition to determine who will be the Yankees’ starting outfielder in the playoffs.
“We’ll see,” Boone said before the game of his left-field dynamic. “It will kind of stay smooth every day.”
Cabrera’s glove opened that door for him. The utility man has typically played the field with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, getting most of his starts at second base and shortstop.
With the Yankees, however, Cabrera saw time everywhere but receiver, pitcher and center fielder.
“Keep in mind, he’s a really good infielder playing in the outfield right now,” Boone said of Cabrera, who has nine RBIs in his last six games. “His makeup has been one of his calling cards throughout his minor league career.
“I think her makeup has served her well to handle everything we threw at her.”
— Additional reporting by Greg Joyce
New York Post