Eduardo Nunez’s body is live and the bat is loud. Manager Joe Girardi started Nunez in Games 3 and 4 of the ALCS last season down 0-2 to the Tigers and he responded by going 2-for-6 with a homer, a triple, an RBI and a stolen base. So as the Yankees’ roster took shape early this winter, some believed the team had to find a way to get Nunez 400 to 500 at-bats in order to take advantage of his speed and hitting ability. Nevertheless, it doesn’t sound as if that’s the Yankees’ plan. In fact, there is a chance Nunez doesn’t make the Opening Day roster. “He has to earn it,’’ Girardi said Tuesday. “We have toyed with some different options, but we liked what he did at the end of last year. We know he provides a lot of excitement. Our plans are to keep him at short for the most part, but he has to go out and earn it.’’ Because Travis Hafner is a designated hitter and doesn’t play defense, Girardi doesn’t have the flexibility he had a year ago when Raul Ibanez was around. Signed to be the left-handed hitting DH, Ibanez played the outfield more than expected. Jayson Nix, who played well as the utility infielder last year, is in camp on a minor league contract, but is a strong candidate to make the team because he can play short, second and third. Girardi might have to decide if he can carry a third reserve infielder, even if Hafner isn’t going to play first base. Though Nunez’s speed and bat have impressed the Yankees, his defense is questionable. In 38 games last year, he made seven errors. He was sent to Triple-A Scranton /Wilkes-Barre May 11 one day after making two errors at third for the Yankees. He suffered a thumb injury and wasn’t recalled until rosters expanded Sept. 1. He batted .292 and swiped 11 bases in 13 chances.
Girardi: Nunez has to earn his roster spot
New York Post | Feb 20