When Derek Jeter re-injured his surgically repaired right ankle during spring training, it opened the door for Eduardo Nunez to show the New York Yankees that he had what it takes to man the position that No. 2 has been positioned at for years. The only concern with having Nunez take over shortstop was that fact that he’s had his issues in the past handling plays on defense; wild throws and botched balls, he did it all.
But surprisingly, Nunez did a pretty good job in Jeter’s place while he was out for nearly half the season. Although Nunez himself spent some time on the DL, he still proved worthy while he was on the field.
The Yankees see Nunez as the apprentice to Jeter’s throne at shortstop, and I can’t blame them.
Nunez has the speed to run the bases, he’s improved his play in the field and he can handle the bat pretty well at times. That said, as long as Jeter is a member of the Yankees, there isn’t anywhere for him to play. At his age, though, Jeter will likely spend more time at DH than in the past, giving more room for Nunez to play short.
For the time being, the Yankees have started using Nunez at third base to get him on the field, while also addressing a hole in the lineup.
I know the Yankees have desperately needed to do something to upgrade at the position, and at the moment, no one really has a clue in the world what is going to happen to Alex Rodriguez over the next couple of days — he said after his rehab game with Double-A Trenton that he expects to be with the team Monday in Chicago, but anything can happen.
This isn’t something that’s been in the works for awhile either, as Nunez began doing work at the hot corner while the Yankees were in Los Angeles earlier this week.
We’ve seen the Yankees trying to adjust Nunez to other positions in the past — most notably when they thought they could move him to left field — but it just never worked out. Now they’ve got him playing third base, a position that isn’t exactly the easiest to play.
Third base isn’t a position that Nunez has played, and throwing him into big league action in uncharted territory could be dangerous, especially for a player known to have mental lapses in the field. I understand that Nunez has the talent to play baseball, and I have no hate towards to the Yankees for trying to put him in the lineup. However, I don’t agree with the Yankees playing him at third.
Of course, having Michael Young would have been a nice piece, but rumors suggest it’s very unlikely that Young will be wearing pinstripes this season. David Adams always played well at third, but became less of a hitter with every at-bat.
The idea of Nunez playing at third base may not be a good one, but it’s really the only option … unless Vernon Wells wants to make his one inning at third base back in May a full-time thing. Whatever it takes to win, I guess.
Gavin Ewbank is a Yankees writer for RantSports.com. Follow @GavinEwbank2013 on Twitter for more Yankees talk.