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Yankees' Marwin Gonzalez Has Earned an Opportunity to Play Every Day

Gonzalez has been swinging a hot bat lately, showing why he deserves more starts this summer.
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NEW YORK — Marwin Gonzalez's introduction to the Yankees organization was overshadowed by question marks. 

The 33-year-old was coming off his worst MLB season (hitting.199 with -0.9 bWAR over 91 games with the Red Sox and Astros in 2021). Would Gonzalez bounce back in a Yankees uniform?

Besides, even if he made the team, could Gonzalez fit in New York's clubhouse? We're talking about a key figure in Houston's recent run of success, a player that was involved in their sign-stealing scandal.

Three months into the regular season, any doubts about Gonzalez's ability to contribute in pinstripes have been erased. In fact, he's performed so well in the month of June that he's earned consistent playing time going forward.

Before going 0-for-3 against the Athletics on Wednesday, Gonzalez was hitting .375 in his last nine games, homering three times with five RBI in that span. In June, leading up to Wednesday, he's batting .342 (13-for-38) with seven extra base hits and a 1.059 OPS.

"Just quality contact. He's squaring balls up routinely now, really from both sides of the plate," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said on Wednesday morning. "He's gotten some big hits for us. He's playing really well in the field wherever we put him. Just to have that comfort level with a guy that you can plug in at shortstop and you know he's gonna go catch the ball and as well as playing the corner outfields."

Playing right field on Wednesday, Gonzalez made his seventh start in New York's last 12 games. He's manned every position on defense except center field, catcher and pitcher this season, playing errorless defense along the way.

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"I think he's so valuable in what he brings to the table with his defensive flexibility and the ability to have a guy with his level of experience with the success he's had," Boone added.

As much as Gonzalez's presence on the bench in a super utility role is beneficial for Boone and this team—think of him as a slower-but-more-powerful version of Tyler Wade—those aforementioned numbers and his recent uptick in playing time are no coincidence. 

Joey Gallo is having a miserable season in the outfield and Aaron Hicks has cooled off significantly since his hot start to the month of June. Corner outfield might not be Gonzalez's primary position (he's played shortstop more than anything else in his career), but he's shown he's capable of holding it down out there, providing a solid switch-hitting bat to the bottom of the order. Plus, with Isiah Kiner-Falefa (finger) and Gleyber Torres (wrist and ankle) banged up these last few days, he's been a security blanket in the infield, too.

Odds are Gonzalez will continue jumping around the diamond, filling in when necessary. Unless they get rid of Gallo or suffer an injury that forces Gonzalez into an even more consistent role, he probably won't factor in as a starter. Regardless, it's going to be tough for Boone not to use him on an everyday basis if he continues playing like this. 

Gonzalez's presence is poised to help this club down the road either way. He has plenty of experience in October—39 games over six years in the playoffs—albeit with one of New York's biggest rivals.

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