Lucas will tell his son that Mariano Rivera pitched in that game, and why should it matter that The Greatest gave up a run? He’ll tell his son that Derek Jeter went 3-for-3, and why should it matter that the Captain wasn’t playing shortstop that day? He’ll tell his son that Robinson Cano hit a grand slam, and why should it matter that the Yankees nearly coughed up that four-run lead?
It was a 6-5 win in the middle of August, and most of us will forget all about it — if we haven’t forgotten it already — and all that will matter to Lucas is that his little boy saw the Yankees, in person, for the first time.
When I looked back at the box score, though, this is what I noticed: Not only was Jeter at DH, but Alex Rodriguez was also on the disabled list, leaving Eduardo Nunez and Eric Chavez to both step into the starting lineup that day. The way the Yankees are configured right now, that’s an impossibility this season.
Jeter and Rodriguez are going to need some DH days, and both spent considerable time on the disabled list last year. Once upon a time — before the DH spot was wide open — finding a backup corner infielder seemed to be a real priority for the Yankees. It’s no less significant today.
If it’s not Chavez, it needs to be someone like him. The Yankees need to be in a position to fill more than one spot at a time on the left side of the infield. The team has a deep bullpen, more starters than it knows what to do with, a solid catching prospect to stash in Triple-A and four legitimate outfielders. But the Yankees infield depth chart is one name:
Eduardo Nunez (2B, 3B, SS)
Maybe Brandon Laird will have a bounce back year in Triple-A. Maybe Corban Joseph or David Adams will emerge as a big-league ready bat. Maybe Jayson Nix will be a viable fill-in if necessary. There are some possibilities out there, but the Yankees clearly have a left side of the infield that requires depth, and so far, that depth is uncertain.
Another infielder shouldn’t be as important as an everyday designated hitter. But what if it is?
Associated Press photo