Thanks to the photographic efforts of our good friend Dan Barbarisi, here we have the scene of the crime where Eduardo Nunez was struck down by the Dr. Evil of Canadian artificial playing surfaces.
Nunez was scratched from tonight’s lineup, but his injury doesn’t seem too terribly bad — and didn’t seem serious at all pregame — which makes it a lot easier to laugh at the absurdity of last night’s situation. Jogging toward a ball that was rolling into center field, Nunez simply fell down. There was no one around him, nothing to trip over. He was up and running one second; sprawled on the ground the next. Replay showed that his leg twisted violently, which created a fairly scary situation, but it’s Nunez.
“Weird things always happen to me,” he said.
They really do. Today, some nameless Yankees put a wheelchair in front of Nunez’s locker. I wasn’t there, but I feel comfortable saying Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano or Alex Rodriguez — and perhaps all three — had something to do with it. Nunez always has been the kind of little brother to those three; the young backup to three of the most established players in the game. He constantly gives them credit for helping him improve in the field and at the plate, but all of that tutelage comes at a price.
Nunez is the butt of the joke. A lot.
The fact Nunez is always smiling and laughing — quick to laugh at himself and perfectly willing to take a joke — makes him an easy target for good-natured kidding, and Nunez actually seems to enjoy it. Makes him one of the guys in its own way.
Andy McCullough’s description of Nunez’s reaction to seeing the wheelchair: “(Nunez) laughed, swore and wandered off into the distance mumbling about Jeter.”
Of course he did. Such is the world of Eduardo Nunez. Even when he nearly hurts himself pretty badly, he manages to do it in a goofy way that’s open to ridicule.
• Nunez was in the initial Yankees lineup, but he came off the field during batting practice and was scratched. The fact he was in the lineup to begin with is obviously a pretty good sign that this isn’t an overwhelming injury, just something the Yankees would rather not risk. Not a good situation, but after the way he went down last night, perhaps not the worst-case scenario.
• Mark Reynolds will start a Major League game at second base for the first time in his career. He played second base a handful of times off the bench, and he played there with some regularity in the minors, but this will be his first start in the big leagues.
• Why not start Alfonso Soriano at second? He actually hasn’t played there any more recently than Reynolds, and Girardi has said in the past that he wants to disrupt the fewest players possible. Could still pretty easily make a case for Soriano — just put Granderson in left field and Reynolds at DH — but it’s also worth considering that the Yankees can hardly afford to lose Soriano right now. Last thing they need is him making an awkward turn on a double play.
• Eight Yankees have played second base this season: Cano, Nunez, David Adams, Corban Joseph, Jayson Nix, Francisco Cervelli, Vernon Wells and Reynolds. Somehow, Luis Cruz, Brent Lillibridge, Chris Nelson and Alberto Gonzalez never played there, but Wells, Cervelli and Reynolds did. It’s been a weird year.
• Joe Girardi said Phil Hughes is still scheduled to start on Sunday. “We could address it,” he said. “But right now, it’s what I have.”
• With Nunez scratched, the outline of his “body” was removed. It’s always sad when the joke’s over.
Associated Press photo of Nunez