First Pitch: Nunez to DH?

September, 18, 2012
Although it seems like months ago, it was only Friday night that Eduardo Nunez allowed a routine ground ball to get past him -- costing the Yankees a game against the Rays, and a crucial game in the standings to the Orioles.

Since then, Nunez has come back to hit a key home run on Saturday and steal three bases on Sunday. Even though he remains a disaster waiting to happen in the field, there's no doubt Nunez adds a much-missed dimension to the Yankees offense: Speed. Not to mention he's fairly proficient with the bat, as well.

So much so that Alex Rodriguez, one of Nunez's biggest boosters on the club, went so far as to proclaim him "one of the finest offensive players on this team, without a doubt."

I needn't remind you that no one is saying that about Andruw Jones these days. His average is down to .197, he hasn't hit a home run since Aug. 16, and his one real value to the club -- his ability to hit left-handed pitching -- no longer exists, since he is now hitting a puny .201 against them.

(Easy) Question of the Day: Assuming Derek Jeter will return to playing shortstop this week -- although probably not Tuesday night, from what Joe Girardi said after Sunday's game -- isn't it about time to send Jones out to pasture and install Nunez as the permanent right-handed DH?

In typical fashion, Girardi brushed off the question Sunday with one of his patented, "That's one of the things we'll have to talk about" non-responses. But really, what is there to talk about? Nunez is a liability in the field but an asset at the plate. There aren't too many lineup changes the Yankees can make at this stage, but this is the one they should make as soon as possible.

Agree or disagree?

Up Now: My column on why the Yankees gambling on 40-year-old Andy Pettitte may not be such a bad gamble at this stage of the season.

Coming later: A W2W4 on Tuesday night's matchup between the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, the beginning of a six-game homestand that brings the red-hot Oakland Athletics to the Bronx this weekend. Pettitte (3-3, 3.22) makes his comeback after 11 weeks of inaction due to a broken ankle, facing lefty Ricky Romero (8-14, 5.87), who hasn't won a game since June 22. I'll be there when the clubhouse opens at 3:20 p.m. with the lineups and all the pregame news. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Check in this afternoon, and as always, thanks for reading.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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Masahiro Tanaka
13 2.77 141 136
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146