First Pitch: The Olympian and the deadline

July, 30, 2012
7/30/12
6:00
AM ET
Jayson Nix can watch the Olympics with a different perspective than any other Yankee.

Derek Jeter may have 3,000 hits. Alex Rodriguez might own 600 homers. And Ichiro Suzuki may be one of the best hitters of all time. However, only one guy in the Yankees clubhouse can look at London right now and say, "Been there, done that."

In 2008 in Beijing, the Colorado Rockies let Nix leave the organization to play for Davey Johnson's U.S. team. Nix helped Johnson win a bronze medal.

Now Nix, 29, is trying to hang onto something even more precious to him than the medal he has tucked away at his home in Dallas.

"It was a different experience for me," said Nix, who enjoyed the Games. "Growing up, my dream was to play in the big leagues, not the Olympics."

Yankees GM Brian Cashman is open to adding a right-handed hitting third baseman to the team along with lefty Eric Chavez. The Padres' Chase Headley has been discussed as a guy who may be able to fill in at other spots as well -- like Nick Swisher's in right field -- in the future. Guys like Ty Wigginton have been floated as well. But Cashman will have to ask himself, how much better will they be than Nix?

Chavez, if he stays healthy, will play against righties, while Nix is the man versus lefties. Joe Girardi has been impressed with Nix, who has stepped up lately with his go-ahead bases-clearing, eighth-inning double in Oakland, and a homer on Saturday night against the Red Sox. Nix has fielded at third well enough that the Yankees should be able to survive with him.

"It is not on my radar," Nix said.

Nix is a serious sort of fellow. He is all business, and said he is not completely satisfied with how his career has gone since he was a Rockies first-round pick (No. 44 overall) in 2001. He fits in with the Yankees because he is so focused, and he can move all around to fit Girardi's needs. By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, he will find out if it is enough to play a significant role with the Yankees until Rodriguez comes back.

UP NOW: Ian O'Connor on Bobby Valentine. Andy Pettitte had a setback. Joba Chamberlain takes a step forward. Buster Olney talks with Ichiro Suzuki about his first week. Suzuki needs more than 24 hours in a day. Buster also says that the Yankees will only do something minor, if they do anything at all, at the trade deadline.

ON DECK: Katie Sharp provides a YankeeMetrics at 10:30 a.m. and a What2Watch4 at 11:45 a.m. At 1:30 p.m., Matt Ehalt has a look at the Yankees without A-Rod. Johnette Howard, Matt and I will be in the clubhouse. So keep checking the blog. The clubhouse opens at 3:20 p.m.

IN THE HOLE:The second-place Orioles are in town. Here are your pitching matchups:Freddy Garcia (4-4, 5.16 ERA) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 4.28); Tuesday, Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.08) vs. Chris Tillman (3-1, 1.66); Wednesday, Phil Hughes (10-8, 4.08) vs. Zach Britton (1-0, 5.74)

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Should the Yankees made a deal for a third baseman?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Brett Gardner
BA HR RBI R
.281 14 47 68
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 18
RBIM. Teixeira 50
RB. Gardner 68
OPSB. Gardner .813
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135