Thursday, May 5, 2011

Changes Coming Yankees Way

Eric Chavez has been on the disabled list more times in his career than he would care to remember and unfortunately for him and the Yankees, the team's corner back up infielder is headed to the DL again. Chavez broke the 5th metatarsil bone in his his foot this afternoon while legging out a triple against the Detroit Tigers.

Chavez was in obvious pain as he slowed towards third base, but wanted to stay in the ball game. It became obvious as he walked off the field with some assistance that was never a possibility. Initial diagnosis was a small fracture of the bone that connects the pinky toe to the ankle.

There's no word on a call up yet, but possibilities include "El Chato", Jorge Vazquez, who tore up spring training and has continued to do so at Triple-A Scranton. The right-handed hitting first baseman (with some third base experience) has nine home runs, 27 RBI and a .906 OPS thru 25 games. Another possiblity could be good glove/no bat Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo, who has gotten off to a slow start, and good bat/no glove Brandon Laird. The brother of Cardinals catcher Gerald Laird had an outstanding season for Double-A Trenton last season, but has just a .508 OPS for Scranton thus far.

A second, non-injury move may be necessitated by the play of Eduardo Nunez. The Yankees like his bat and his speed, but the utility infielder is not getting it done in the field. His two throwing errors today on routine plays led to a pair of Detroit runs that put the game out of reach for the Yankees. All five of Nunez's errors have come at shortstop in a limited number of chances. Though he made just 10 errors in 101 games at Scranton last season, the Yankees need a more reliable utility man in the field. Perhaps Nunez would be better served playing every day in the minors to continue to hone his craft.

The Yankees lackluster offense continued this afternoon in a 6-3 loss to the Tigers that also gave Detroit the series win (3-1). The Yankees have split their last 10 games, and except for a 12-run outburst against the White Sox, have scored more than four runs just three times in the other nine games. A fine effort by A.J. Burnett was wasted when the Yankees couldn't build on their 2-1 lead. Burnett had a no-hitter through five innings before the Tigers tied it up in the 6th. One inning later they broke it open with the help of Nunez's second error.

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez were given routine days off though Joe Girardi may have actually sat Jeter due to a sore hip. A-Rod entered the game as a pinch-runner when Chavez had to exit the ball game in the 4th inning.

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