Is the Yankees' defense better with Eduardo Nunez at shortstop?
Well, that is quite a question, isn't it?
But after the initial reaction of "Are you nuts?" … it is not that crazy.
When -- if? -- he returns to the lineup, he will be 39. The thought of a 39-year-old shortstop is rather unheard of. The idea of a 39-year-old shortstop coming off a debilitating ankle injury is uncharted territory.
So if Nunez makes the routine plays at short, the Yankees might be better defensively. Heading into Thursday night, Nunez had only two defensive misplays and no errors in 68 innings, according to Baseball Info Solutions.
His improvement is stark. In the previous two seasons, Nunez averaged an incredibly terrible error or misplay every 16 innings. In other words, he couldn't go a full two games without doing something bad on defense.
Nunez has looked more confident in 2013. He says the more games he plays, the more faith he has in his skills. The fact that he is staying at short helps.
Will it last? Who knows? On Thursday night, Nunez looked the shakiest he has looked all season. He had his first error of the year on a throw in the eighth. He missed a tag at third in the ninth, though replays showed that might have been a blown call. He threw another ball in the dirt to first that Lyle Overbay scooped. And he couldn't field a hard-hit but playable ball.
Still, in his previous 10 games Nunez looked solid enough. If Nunez can make the routine plays, the question up top here may not be so ludicrous.
ON DECK: The Yankees are in Toronto for a three-gamer with the Blue Jays. Andy Pettitte starts for the first time since suffering back spasms a week-and-a-half ago. The matchups: Pettitte (2-0, 1.20) vs. Brandon Morrow(0-1, 4.60); Hiroki Kuroda (2-1, 2.87) vs. Mark Buehrle (1-0, 7.31); Ivan Nova (1-1, 5.59) vs. Josh Johnson (0-1, 6.91). Friday's game is a 7:07 p.m. start, while Saturday and Sunday are set for 1:07 p.m. We are throwing one of our aces as Wally is on the trip.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Can the Yankees be better on defense with Nunez at short rather than Jeter?