America learned yesterday that Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez has a small tear in his right meniscus. A-Rod has two options regarding his injury: he can choose to play through it, or he could opt for surgery that would land him on the DL for about a month’s time, allowing him to come back for the playoff run. Rodriguez has yet to make his decision, instead seeking a second opinion this afternoon.
If A-Rod opts for surgery, odds are Eduardo Nunez is going to be the first in line for playing time at the hot corner in New York. Nunez stepped in for Derek Jeter after The Captain landed on the DL, and he played relatively well. We only have a little more than 180 plate appearances to judge Nunez with, but his skill set appears pretty evident within that small sample.
Nunez, 24, has done a great job of limiting strikeouts in his major league career, allowing him to have a solid batting average despite lower BABIPs. Nunez also has some speed on the basepaths, stealing ten bags in fourteen tries this season, but he is no burner who is going to win you the steals category. All in all, Nunez will probably give you a .275 average with a handful of steals if A-Rod misses a month, along with good runs scored and RBIs thanks to the Yankees lineup. Even if you have a solid third baseman, Nunez is eligible at SS, so he’s not just a one trick pony.
If A-Rod does decide to play through his injury, Nunez will still have some value for certain owners in deep leagues. We all know third base has been a pretty poor position the last couple of years, so options on the waiver wire tend to be few and far between. If A-Rod is playing hurt, then owners will likely want a solid backup option in case he breaks down, or for when he is forced to take a day off. Nunez will likely play if A-Rod breaks down or gets a day off, and could even see time if the Yankees choose to rotate A-Rod through the DH slot once or twice a week to limit his discomfort, and you could slot Nunez into your shortstop spot on those days if you were so inclined.
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