Last night, Jayson Nix had a night to remember, hitting a game-tying home run and a game winning base hit two innings later. Now, the New York Yankees utility infielder is likely done for the season after suffering a broken hand after getting hit by a pitch from Toronto Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey.
The loss of Nix, who has been bitten by the injury bug already this season with a hamstring issue, comes at a time when the team is just starting to get healthy. Derek Jeter is set to begin another rehab stint in Triple-A beginning tomorrow. Curtis Granderson is back in the lineup. Alex Rodriguez is back from his second hip surgery. The Yankees’ lineup which once featured Lyle Overbay as the number four hitter, now splits first base between Mark Reynolds and Overbay and Overbay now hits eighth. Losing Nix will still hurt though because if the Yankees have proven anything this season it is health is not something to take for granted.
However, the loss of Nix will hurt the Yankees as they fight to make the playoffs. Nix was often overlooked but his ability to play anywhere gave manager Joe Girardi options. Nix could play second, short, third and the outfield. If needed he could play anywhere and now the Yankees are left with Eduardo Nunez to back up at shortstop and nobody who can spell Robinson Cano at the moment at second base.
Nix’s bat was nothing to be amazed by but the three home runs prior to last night’s game-tying shot came off of brand name pitchers Jon Lester, Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish dating back to last season. Nix’s .236/.308/.311 line is not going to blow anyone away but Nix stepped up when the Yankees needed him the most this season and he has appeared in 87 games and gave the Yankees a little pop in a lineup that was completely devoid of it. He also set a career high in stolen bases with 13, three more than his previous career high of 10 set in 2009.
While most Yankee fans will barely notice the loss of Nix his loss could impact the team negatively down the road. The Yankees have to hope that when Jeter comes back, probably by the weekend, that he stays healthy and that Cano, Rodriguez and Reynolds all stay healthy, something that the Yankees can’t take for granted this year.