Twenty four hours ago, both Jayson Nix and Joe Girardi were downplaying the seriousness of Nix’s hamstring injury. Now Nix is on the disabled list, Luis Cruz is on the roster, and the Yankees are starting their fifth shortstop of the season, none of whom have been Derek Jeter.
“We did an MRI today just make sure we knew where we were at and it turned out to be a Grade 2,” Girardi said. “Nixy’s tough, and he plays through a lot of stuff, and he didn’t necessarily want to go on the DL. We just felt that no one we’ve ever had that’s had a Grade 2 has ever not gone on the DL. It’s awful risky, and you risk making it a long time.”
So Nix is out through at least the All-Star break. Quite often, a Grade 2 strain takes longer than 15 days, but Nix seems thoroughly convinced he’ll be back as soon as he’s eligible.
“I felt like it improved,” he said. “It happened two nights ago, was sore after that game, then the next morning it was better and improved all day yesterday. It felt good waking up this morning. I had an MRI to see what it looked like and it didn’t come back good.”
Of course, it’s curious that Cruz said his agent called him yesterday to say he’d reached an agreement with the Yankees. Cruz was at Disneyland for his son’s third birthday, found out about the deal, flew out of Los Angeles this morning, and now he’s in the Yankees lineup. He was wearing bright blue shoes and had a bright blue glove in the Yankees clubhouse, clearly still working with his Dodgers gear. Obviously the Yankees had some sort of plan for him before Nix had that MRI.
“I think I need a fresh start,” Cruz said. “Regroup myself. I think this is a good place. … I had too many things in my head at the beginning of the season, outside baseball. Thank God everything is good now and I’m ready to play.”
Cruz said his father was sick early this season, and that had him distracted, helping lead to the .127/.175/.169 that got him designated for assignment. Just last year he hit .297/.322/.431, which suggests significantly greater offensive upside than any of the Yankees other shortstop options. He’s also considered a very good defensive player.
“I got a call from Cash this morning that we’ve got another shortstop,” Girardi said. “I want to get him in right away and you want to see what you have.”
• Eduardo Nunez is eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, and he’s playing another rehab game tonight, but Girardi said Nunez will need more than two more days before coming off the disabled list. “You’ve got to make sure he’s ready,” Girardi said. “We don’t want to bring up a player that’s not ready and that’s not ready to produce. I think that has to take its course.”
• Also, as you know, Alex Rodriguez is playing another rehab game tonight. He’s back at third base and batting second again in Charleston (Nunez is back at shortstop, leading off). “He said he felt good today,” Girardi said. “I talked about him about the difference of being out there in that type of situation compared to simulated, and he said he felt good. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
• Girardi said he’s not sure what the plan is for Rodriguez tomorrow.
• Also no update on Derek Jeter. Girardi said he hadn’t heard what Jeter did today. “Every day he goes out there I would say he’s closer (to a rehab assignment),” Girardi said. He’s done a lot more, so hopefully it’s pretty soon.”
• No update on Hiroki Kuroda. He’ll be examined again when the Yankees get home on Friday. That’s when they’ll decide what’s next for him.
• Something to keep in the back of your mind about Cruz: He’s played some outfield in the past as well, and he said that he even did some work behind the plate back when he was in the Pirates system. I can’t find any evidence of that in his game logs, but I guess he could be — in theory — the new emergency catcher if it ever comes to that.
Associated Press photos