Eduardo Nunez made two errors at third base in the first two innings of Thursday night's 5-3 victory over the Rays, and afterward manager Joe Girardi indicated the Yankees may have to re-examine Nunez's role as the team's utility player.
"I think we’re gonna have to evaluate it a little bit, how much we move him around in a sense," Girardi said. "Maybe it’s just difficult for him, all the different throws."
Nunez booted a routine ground ball in the first inning, which paved the way for the first Rays run of the game. Then in the second inning, a Nunez throw to second base on a fielder's choice sailed into the outfield, leading to another unearned run.
The errors were Nunez's third and fourth of the season in 14 starts, after committing 20 of them a year ago.
In his defense, Nunez came up from the minor leagues as a shortstop, but has already played five different positions this year alone -- second base, shortstop, third base, left field and right field.
"We’ve basically asked him to play three or four different positions that he had never played before really until he got here," Girardi said. "We’re just gonna have to keep working with him."
Nunez did his best to redeem himself at the plate, with a pair of singles, a walk and two stolen bases. But in the top of the sixth, right after the Yankees scored three runs to take a 5-2 lead, Girardi replaced Nunez at third with Jayson Nix for defensive purposes.
"Obviously, you can see how valuable his bat is, and his speed is," said Girardi. "It’s just been difficult for him, the adjustments."
SPEAKING OF ROUGH STARTS: Mark Teixeira went 0-for-3 with a walk on Thursday night, lowering his batting average for the season to .212, with four home runs and 17 RBIs.
Teixeira visited a chest specialist on Wednesday, and was diagnosed with severely inflamed bronchial airways, which may partly explain his struggles so far this season. Nevertheless, the statistics are a little troubling, considering Teixeira -- a career .280 hitter -- batted a career-low .248 last season.
CLOSING BELL: Rafael Soriano got the save on Thursday night, giving up one run in the ninth inning.
Girardi confirmed after the game that David Robertson was unavailable, after pitching the past two nights. "No, I was not gonna use him," Girardi said.
Soriano had also pitched the past two nights, but he had pitched three days in a row before. Robertson had never done so in his major league career. "Sori’s done it before, that’s the difference," Girardi said. "He has a track record of doing it, and being OK."
Soriano will be unavailable for Friday night's game against the Mariners.
CHAVEZ UPDATE: The Yankees are still waiting to hear back from Major League Baseball on the concussion test reserve infielder Eric Chavez took on Wednesday.
Chavez needs to be cleared by MLB before coming off the seven-day concussion disabled list and returning to action.
Girardi is hoping to get good news on Chavez by Friday night's game. "As soon as he’s cleared, I’ll probably put him in there," Girardi said.