THE NEWS: Derek Jeter has been scratched from this afternoon's game in Clearwater, Fla., because of what Joe Girardi described as a "cranky" ankle.
WHAT IT MEANS: Well, it is too early to tell, for sure. One thing is for certain -- it ain't good. Jeter has spoken very confidently throughout spring training that his surgically repaired ankle felt as fine as ever. He says he is going to be OK, which is what he would say if his foot was detached from his ankle. So, while noble, it doesn't mean that much.
WHO'S ON SHORT: This morning, Girardi offered no guarantees that Jeter will be the starting shortstop for the April Fool's Day opener against the Red Sox. He brought up Eduardo Nunez as a possibility. I don't think you can count out Jayson Nix either, though Nix may be used to play third if the Yankees move Kevin Youkilis across the diamond for the first game.
I'm not even entirely sure that Nunez will make this club. Nix could serve as the backup shortstop or the Yankees could look outside of the organization to bring in a more sure-handed fielder. This spring, GM Brian Cashman has played down the idea that Nunez could be an explosive offensive player. We already know that he is an explosive defensive player -- and that is not a good thing. In the spring, Nunez has not really done much to calm any nerves about his defense. He has looked uneasy fielding the position.
If Jeter is forced to DH or is unable to play and the Yankees turn to Nunez at short, then the adventures of Nuneeee become a central theme for the club.
QUESTION: If Jeter is limited at short, then whom would you start?