If the Yankees need one thing these next five years, beyond deep starting pitching, an ace, a closer, a shortstop and timely hitters, it is certainly youth.  Who knows if the new phenom Zoilo Almonte will be anything?  

But isn't it worth it to keep playing him and find out?  Almonte, really, has been fun to watch.  He brings a youthful presence to an old, crumbling Yankee team surrounded by albatross contracts and age and drama.

And the numbers are pretty good so far.  Plus, Almonte is fearless with runners in scoring position.  He had a big RBI hit late against Minnesota on July 1 and as of July 2, before game two of a four-game set with the Twins, the Dominican product's average was .342 and the youngster had 13 hits.  His glove is solid in the outfield and his arm is above average.

Even if and when Curtis Granderson comes back, Joe Girardi needs to find a spot for Almonte.  Like the bullpen youngsters, Almonte COULD be the future of the team at a very important position, corner outfield.  You can still platoon him with Ichiro and hit Almonte towards the bottom of the lineup.

Almonte is 24.  The Yanks have him under arbitration control until 2016.  If the Yankees waited this long to see if Phil Hughes was going to be something, doesn't Almonte deserve a shot too?

The answer is yes.

By:  Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," 1-4, Yankees pre/post game on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/MikeLSports.