While New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra is missing one of the very few spring trainings he has ever missed this spring, he continues to check in on the progress as camp is in its early stages. With his abundance of experience, he will also offer knowledge and insight, and as per Bill Madden of New York Daily News, one of his early messages has been getting a certain youngster more at-bats,
“According to one of the group, who talks to him all the time, Yogi has had a recurring theme all winter: “They better find a way to get that kid 500 at-bats.” ”
The "kid" that Berra is referring to is 25-year-old shortstop Eduardo Nunez. Coming off of an impressive final month of 2012, Nunez displayed the moxy needed to succeed at the major league level from an offensive perspective. However, it has long been his defense that is deemed his "Achilles heel,'
“Cashman and Girardi probably don’t dispute the energy factor with Nunez. It is his defense — the 20 errors he committed in 90 combined games at short and third in 2011 and the six he made in 25 games at those positions last year — that has caused them to be wary. It’s why they want Jayson Nix, whom Girardi loves and trusts implicitly in the field, to be the primary utility infielder.”
Needless to say, if it is the defense that the organization is worried about, as Nunez can be considered a heir apparent at some point at shortstop or third base, then it would be in the Yankees best interest to set aside the youngster and work on any defensive shortcomings.
Best case in point, just take a look at last year's inept showing of the Yankees offense as they were easily swept in the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers. As the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher mustered up nothing offensively, Nunez scored two of the Yankees six total runs in the series. Moreover, his solo shot in Game Three of the series turned out to be the only offense of the night, as the Yankees lost that game 2-1.
While Nunez figures to make the big club out of spring training, albeit in a reserve role, a little work defensively could make Berra's high expectations of Nunez come to fruition.
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