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Sunday notes: Nunez set as Jeter’s replacement

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For at least one position, Joe Girardi left no doubt about his plans for Opening Day.

“Nuney will play shortstop,” he said.

Derek Jeter has not been officially placed on the disabled list, but that move is coming, and even Jeter himself seems to know it.

“I know Derek extremely well,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “I’ve been with him a long, long time, and I can read his face. And his face today tells me the reality of this circumstance is starting to sink in; that this disabled list situation might be necessary.”

Right on cue, Nunez went 2-for-3 today. He had an RBI triple, drew a walk, stole a base (and got caught stealing) and played error-free defense including a nice charging play for a tough out. There have been several times this spring that Nunez has bounced a throw to first, and Girardi said that’s been intentional. Nunez is letting the ball skip rather than letting it sail.

“We’ve been pleased with the way he’s went about his business,” Girardi said. “He’s worked very hard on his defense. He’s swung the bat well. He’s run the bases well. He provides a speed option that we really didn’t have last year, a whole lot. You get him and Gardy in the lineup, and it could create some problems.

[3]• Jeter will likely stay in Tampa when the Yankees break camp. “We have to get him to be able to play shortstop,” Cashman said. “DHing for us isn’t going to get him where we need to be.”

• Mariano Rivera was sent for tests because of recurring headaches, [4] but those tests came back negative. “Not worried at all,” Cashman said. “We have to follow certain protocols. He mentioned he was having some migraines, so there’s a fire drill you have to run through just to be cautious, so we did that expecting the results to be negative, and they were, so there’s no issues. He might have the migraines, but they’re not anything (more serious). All those tests were good.”

• Rivera allowed two hits today, but ultimately pitched another scoreless inning.

• Brennan Boesch is expected to play after tomorrow’s off day. “Boesch is feeling good,” Cashman said. “He thinks we’re overly cautious.”

• Two home runs today for Kevin Youkilis, including a go-ahead two-run shot in the eighth inning. “I’m having good at-bats, getting in a good hitter’s position and staying there as long as possible,” Youkilis said.

• Of course, the big home run was Ronnier Mustelier’s walkoff in the 10th. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Yankees do with Mustelier. The Jeter injury could open a door for at least a short-term role in New York serving as a backup infield and occasional starter at third.

• Travis Hafner is hitting just .135 this spring, but he did hit his second home run today.

• Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan and Cody Eppley each pitched a scoreless inning today. … David Aardsma blew a save in the ninth, giving up one run on two hits. … Vidal Nuno was brought into the game in the middle of the fourth inning. Preparation for a big league relief role? … Adam Warren was charged with five runs, but only one was earned. He pitched 3.2 innings and had his most trouble after a Youkilis error in the fourth.

• Francisco Cervelli threw out two base runners today. He also had a base hit. At this point, I’m fully expecting him to be the regular catcher. Maybe not quite everyday, but at least three out of five.

Associated Press photos