In the Yankees final game before roster decisions are announced, utility infield candidates Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte had one last chance to make an impression. Nunez had the best game of the bunch, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a nice charging play at third base. Anna played well at shortstop, helping turn three different double plays and nearly starting another. Best overall spring of the bunch clearly belongs to Solarte, who’s hitting .415 even after today’s 0-for-4.
The Yankees have room for two of the three (technically Zelous Wheeler is also part of this discussion, but the fact he doesn’t play shortstop and hasn’t spent a full season in Triple-A makes he seem like a relative outsider). The Yankees are expecting to meet tomorrow to finalize their decision, and it won’t be until then that Nunez, Anna and Solarte find out whether they’ve made the team or will end up back in the minors.
Here are the three primary utility candidates talking about their feelings heading into tomorrow’s announcement.
“This was not a great spring training for offense, but I’m learning a lot. I got my confidence at third base, and second base too. But I don’t worry about my hitting because I can do better with that. … (There’s no extra pressure) because I do it every time the same thing every year, the same situation. Try to make the team. So nothing difference. Nothing. The last two years, they tell me the last two days of the camp. So, for me, it’s not a surprise. I’ve always been in this situation. Surprise for me would be if they tell (after) a week. Just kidding. Just kidding.”
“I worked hard all offseason to get to where I’m at right now. I don’t expect to go into my first big league spring training and just get cut the first week. I’m not real shocked, but it’s definitely nice to be at the end, and fighting for a spot. … It’s (my) first big league spring training. You’re going to press a little in the beginning, and that’s normal. But you want to be ready for the season. I feel like I’ve progressed through the whole spring training with my swing, and that’s what I’m really happy about is that I’m peaking where I should be ready for the season, wherever I’m at.”
“This is the second time I’ve felt like this (at the end of spring training). My first year with Texas I did it that way. I feel like this is one of the best ones because of the opportunities that have been available in the team. Not only because of my performance, but together with the opportunities available on the team. … It gives me more motivation to keep working if I don’t get one of the spots. But it is something that has happened continuously during my career. But I do know that I have to keep working. But it’s better late than never.”
Associated Press photo