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Tuesday, September 11, 2012
First Pitch: Start Nunez!

By Andrew Marchand

On Sept. 1, Joe Girardi's lineup card posted in the Yankees' clubhouse had Eduardo Nuņez at shortstop. Nuņez had just been recalled and Girardi decided to put him in the field right away.

A few minutes and one captain-manager conversation later, Derek Jeter was at short and Nuņez was the DH. Nuņez went out and had a key RBI single in a comeback win over the Orioles and looked as if he could provide some help.

Instead, nothing. He briefly appeared in one game in Tampa last week and pinch hit in the ninth of Sunday's laugher, but, besides that, there has been nada for Nuņez.

I think tonight is a chance for Girardi to put Nunez in the lineup. With a day off and the game on Fenway's grass, it seems as if the old men on the left side, Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, should be up for playing the infield. In the outfield, Girardi could go with Nick Swisher, Ichiro Suzuki and either Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, Chris Dickerson or the just called-up Melky Mesa, a right-handed hitter. Steve Pearce could play first.

That could leave the DH spot open for Nunez. The Yankees' offense was good in Baltimore. Nunez is a better option at DH than someone like Jones, who has seven hits in his past 54 at-bats (.130). If Girardi wants to play Jones because of his big weekend at Fenway in July (four homers in three games), that's fine; he has done OK versus lefty Jon Lester (.259, 1 HR, 6 RBIs in 27 at-bats).

But if it is a choice between Jones or Nunez, Nunez should be the call at DH.

UP NOW: News story on Mark Teixeira being out at least 10-14 days. We'll see if he is back in the regular season. That's still up in the air, considering the 10 games he missed the last time resulted in one game played before he needed another two weeks off.

Wallace Matthews has five reasons the Yankees are in the driver's seat and five more about how they are about to be run over.

ON DECK: The Yankees and Sox without all the intrigue, but with all the importance for the Yankees. Matthews will be on the ground in Boston and has you covered. Mark Simon will set the table with a What2Watch4.

IN THE HOLE: The pitching matchups in Boston are scheduled to be: Hiroki Kuroda (13-10, 3.14) vs. Jon Lester (9-11, 4.99) on Tuesday; David Phelps (3-4, 3.55) vs. Aaron Cook (3-9, 5.17) on Wednesday; Phil Hughes (14-12, 4.13) vs. Felix Doubront (10-8, 5.21) on Thursday.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Should Nunez start at DH tonight against Jon Lester?