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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Pregame notes: Nunez remains Plan A off the bench

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on May 06, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Joe Girardi didn’t phrase it exactly this way, but he made it pretty clear that Eduardo Nunez remains his top utility infielder. Ramiro Pena is the backup to the backup.

“Nuney was here when the season started,” Girardi said. “It might have to do with right-hander or left-hander. If I had to tell you today, I’d probably lean toward putting Nuney out there, but I can’t tell you that. There might be something more that goes into it. Pena might have great numbers off a guy or a type of pitcher that we might choose Pena, but I would lean toward Nuney right now.”

For Pena, it’s just nice to be back. He spent most of the past two years in the big leagues, but Nunez beat him for the utility job this spring. Pena got off to a terrific start with the bat in Triple-A, but he said his swing got a little long and he’s been working to shorten it. He was happy with the way he was swinging the past few days.

“A little bit sad (not making the team out of camp),” Pena said. “But the other thing, I knew I was going to be playing every day. That’s the other thing I was looking for, just playing every day and try to get better because it’s kind of tough when you’re not playing.”

Girardi said familiarity and versatility played a role in the decision to call-up Pena. It was the first name mentioned when Girardi spoke to Brian Cashman about who to add.

Without Chavez, the lineup will take a bigger hit on days Alex Rodriguez needs a day off, but Girardi said he won’t change his plan for Rodriguez.

“I don’t think you can change your plan because of that,” Girardi said. “You still need to give Alex his days. You’ll probably see Nuney at third base some of those days. He’s swung the bat really well for us.”

• The Yankees believe Chavez’s broken foot is less serious that Francisco Cervelli’s. “He’s going to be in a boot for two weeks,” Girardi said. “Then they’ll make an evaluation after that. We’ll see if it’s healing and what our next step is.”

• Girardi said Nick Swisher has a head cold. “He’s been sick,” Girardi said. “But today is the worst he’s been. He came in, Geno came and saw me. You start playing in this heat, it even runs you down more and it’s something that’s going to linger. He didn’t sleep much last night, so I decided to give him the day.”

• Without Chavez, Girardi said he’ll ask Jorge Posada to take more ground balls at first, and Swisher is now No. 2 on the first-base depth chart.

• Consider Jorge Vazquez? ??“His name was brought up,” Girardi said. “We just decided to go with Pena.”

• Girardi said he’s not worried about Derek Jeter’s hip. “He just said he felt like his hip caught, like it just needed to pop (on Wednesday),” Girardi said. “Yesterday he felt better. Yesterday he said he was fine, and today he’s fine, so I put him back out there. We didn’t necessarily have an injury, but he just felt like it was like stiff.”

• The Chavez injury cost Alex Rodriguez a day off, but Girardi said he won’t necessarily give Rodriguez a day off this weekend to make up for it. An off day Monday provides an automatic rest. “I will check to see if I need to give him a DH day here,” Girardi said.

• Girardi said he doesn’t know much about Jess Todd, the reliever claimed off waivers this afternoon. “Not a whole lot, no,” Girardi said. “I know he was an Indian. I’m not sure if we saw him last year.”

• It’s actually warm and sunny, something new this season. “I have to watch the guys to see if anyone feels like they’re cramping or dehydrated,” Girardi said. “But I have to believe the night games are going to be pretty pleasant.”

Ian Kinsler 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Michael Young DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
David Murphy LF
Mike Napoli C
Mitch Moreland RF
Chris Davis 1B
Julio Borbon CF

Associated Press photos




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