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Thursday, May 2, 2013
Nelson once was a "Sheffield-type," now ...

By Andrew Marchand

The Yankees acquired Chris Nelson from Colorado on Wednesday night because they needed someone who can play third with Kevin Youkilis now out.

"He is a filler guy," an AL scout said Thursday morning. "He is an extra guy. He can't hit with enough power to be a regular third baseman. His value as a utility man is hurt because he can't play short."

But Nelson is a good fit for the Yankees at the moment when you consider what is available in the marketplace. They predominately just need Nelson to backup Jayson Nix.

Nelson, 27, was the ninth overall pick in the 2004 draft, chosen three picks before Jered Weaver went to the Angels and 14 selections prior to a young righty out of California named Phillip Hughes.

Nelson was billed as "a smaller version of Gary Sheffield," according to a scouting report on MLB.com. Nelson made it to the big leagues in 2010 and 2011, but only had an OPS in the 600s.

In 2011, he had an OPS of .810, but he was much better in the Colorado air with a .911 OPS compared with .709 on the road. Six of his nine homers did come away from Coors.

This season, rookie Nolan Arenado, the Rockies' top prospect, made Nelson available. Nelson had a .600 OPS so far and nowhere to play. So now he is an upgrade over Corban Joseph, who is much more of a second baseman than a third baseman.