Eduardo Nunez might have a playoff roster spot locked up.
Jayson Nix has been sent to New York for an MRI on his left hip flexor, which became sore after making a play to his left on Thursday.
“He didn’t mention it Thursday night, he mentioned it yesterday,” Joe Girardi said. “There’s a possibility we may not have him for a while, and that’s why Nuney becomes all the more important.”
Nunez is back at shortstop this afternoon to give Derek Jeter a break on this turf, and Girardi said he has no plans of playing Nunez at other positions in preparation for returning to a utility role. Girardi said he “absolutely” expects Jeter, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez to be available to play the field every day in the postseason, so Nunez would be strictly a backup at second and short (Eric Chavez would backup at third).
“This is a kid that, when we first brought him up, he played very well at shortstop,” Girardi said. “We know that Jeet needs a day off on the turf. We have to be smart here, we can’t hurt Jeet, so he’s going to have to get it done. … I have (seen improvements from Nunez in the field). We think his ability to turn the page is important, and we think he’s improved on that too.”
• Obviously Robinson Cano’s X-rays came back clean with no break. He showed his left hand in the clubhouse pregame, and it really didn’t look swollen at all. He said it’s fine, but he was initially worried when the pitch hit him. “I’m sure he has a little bit of soreness,” Girardi said. “But there’s not broken bones so we don’t have to worry about that.”
• No matter what the MRI shows, Nix will not rejoin the Yankees here in Toronto. If he’s healthy enough to play, he’ll simply rejoin the team in New York on Monday.
• Of course Jeter will downplay the bruised ankle no matter what, but there is a sense that he’s feeling a little better lately. “I think he’s moving better than he was,” Girardi said. “But it’s still something we have to monitor every day.”
• Girardi said he’s expecting 95-100 pitches from Pettitte today, “depending on how he’s doing.”
• Mark Teixeira will play his instructional league game today. As far as I know — and as far as Girardi knows — it hasn’t happened yet.
• Russell Martin is sitting because it’s a day game after a night game. Girardi said he wanted to give Martin one of these days off in the final week, and this one simply made the most sense.
• Girardi said he absolutely will not rest players if the Yankees clinch a wild card spot but not the division. He’ll keep playing guys as usual as long as the division is in doubt.
• Speaking of which, there’s a chance the Yankees could clinch a playoff spot — wild card — while Girardi is at dinner tonight. “Maybe I’ll have dessert,” Girardi said.
Associated Press photos