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Overbay starts in outfield; Ichiro passes Williams

Overbay starts in outfield; Ichiro passes Williams

Overbay starts in outfield; Ichiro passes Williams

NEW YORK -- Moving Lyle Overbay's bat to the outfield has given Yankees manager Joe Girardi more flexibility when making the lineup.

Overbay started in right field for the third consecutive game in Wednesday's finale against the Indians, giving Girardi ample chance to give one of the Yankees' three normal starters a day off. Vernon Wells sat out Monday, Brett Gardner had the night off on Tuesday, and on Wednesday it was Ichiro Suzuki's turn.

"We're going at it day game after a night game, long day yesterday, so it's just a way to give Ich a little break," Girardi said. "He'll be back out there tomorrow."

Ichiro replaced Overbay, who went 1-for-3 with a run scored in the Yankees' 6-4 win, in the seventh inning and notched a single, passing Ted Williams and moving into No. 72 all-time with his 2,655th Major League hit.

Girardi said it was important to give players time off over this long stretch, during which the Yankees are playing 17 games in 17 days.

It also helps to get Overbay in the lineup on consecutive days. The career first baseman is playing a position at which he has little prior experience, and Girardi said he'd rather play him in the outfield three days in a row than three non-consecutive games in a week.

And if that's the Yankees' plan going forward, Wells, Gardner and Suzuki will likely all continue getting days off to keep fresh.

"If you're going to run a guy out there in a long stretch, you kind of like to do it bang, bang, bang," Girardi said. "He's in the feel of the game. If you're in a 17-game stretch, you're not going to do it on the second day, the seventh day and the 12th day. I would rather do it bang, bang, bang. ... That way they're in the feel of the game."

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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