Eduardo Nunez remembers that CC Sabathia was on the mound when he made two errors in one game in New York in April, and he remembers that it was A.J. Burnett on the mound when he made two errors in Detroit in May. He remembers these things, because those early season mistakes affected him.
“Early in the season I lost a little of my confidence,” he said. “In the first month, I think, when I made like six errors in two games, with Burnett in Detroit and CC at home. Now I feel great. I feel ready. I have my confidence back. Making errors is part of the game, you know? If you’re not making errors, you’re not playing.”
Although Nunez battled errors throughout the minor leagues — he had more than 30 three times in four years — his cleanest season was last year in Triple-A (14 errors in 452 chances). He has the range for shortstop, and he has plenty of arm for either short or third, but he’s made mistakes regularly this year. In part-time duty, he leads the Yankees in errors. By a lot.
It was suggested last night that the pressure of replacing Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter might get to him.
“No,” Nunez said, sounding as if he’d never even considered the possibility. “I feel it’s another opportunity for me to show I can play third base too, not just short. I’ll be fine. I feel OK. I feel good. Keep working.”
For now, the Yankees have no plans to change. Joe Girardi said he’s planning to stick with Nunez at third base, and the fact the Yankees didn’t call up Brandon Laird or Kevin Russo or Jorge Vazquez on Thursday tells you that they’re expecting Nunez to do the job.
“Let’s not make too much of one of his starts,” Girardi said. “He played great third base the other day, but that goes unnoticed when you do it the right way. He made an error today. This is a little different for all of us, playing on this AstroTurf. We haven’t been on it for a while, and we didn’t play great defense on it.”
Associated Press photo