Jayson Nixed, Cruz in at SS

July, 3, 2013
7/03/13
7:19
PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Another Yankee made what is virtually a daily trip to the DL before tonight's game with the Twins when it was announced that Jayson Nix, who had a mild case of hamstring tightness on Tuesday, in fact has a Grade 2 hamstring strain on Wednesday and will be out of action for at least 15 days.

In his place, utility man Luis Cruz -- who was designated for assignment by the Dodgers earlier this week, opted for free agency and was signed as infield insurance by the Yankees -- was thrown into tonight's lineup, playing shortstop and batting eighth.

"I think, for me, it's like a new start," Cruz said. "I just want to help this team win, hit some balls hard and pick every ball at shortstop."

Cruz, 29, was ranked the lowest of all major league players in four major categories -- batting average (.127), on-base percentage (.175), slugging percentage (.169) and OPS (.344). But he had a decent 2012, hitting .297 with six home runs and 40 RBIs in 78 games for the Dodgers. Cruz played 28 games for the Dodgers at 3B, 2B at SS and one each at 1B and LF.

Joe Girardi explained his decision to bench Alberto Gonzalez, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in Tuesday night's 7-3 over the Twins, in favor of Cruz as follows: "I want to get him in right away and you want to see what you have. This is a guy who had some pretty good numbers last year playing a lot for the Dodgers. We'll see where he's at."

No one is sure where Nix is at right now, especially after an MRI performed this morning revealed the strain, a day after both player and manager expected him to miss no more than a game or two. "From the way he described it, I didn't suspect it was anything greater than maybe a Grade 1 or maybe some tightness," Girardi said.

“I felt like it was improving pretty good from the first day," said Nix, who injured himself legging out a double in the ninth inning of Monday's 10-4 Yankees victory. "I was surprised."

Now, Girardi said he is not sure even the minimum of 15 days will be enough to get Nix back on the field.

"It's hard to predict because each guy heals different, and Nixy, he’s played through a lot," Girardi said. "Our hope is we get him back after the All-Star break, but we’re going to have to wait and see."
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .277
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 55
RB. Gardner 77
OPSB. Gardner .788
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135