‘Rabbit’ finds Nunez, but he’s ready
“That white rabbit will find you” is a time-honored baseball phrased used by managers when trying to hide a defensively-challenged player. For years before the designated hitter rule, the position most often played by those with faulty gloves was left field, which was where Eduardo Nunez found himself Monday night.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasn’t necessarily trying to hide Nunez, an infielder by trade. With Nick Swisher sidelined for several days because of a strained left hamstring and Brett Gardner still on the 15-day disabled list due to a right elbow strain, the Yankees are short on outfielders.
In Nunez’s role as a utility man, playing some games in the outfield is part of the job description, and he got his first taste of it against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. And, yes, the white rabbit sure did find him.
It started right away as Nunez had two of the three putouts in the first inning. In the second, he made a fine play at the wall to take down a drive by Chris Davis that became a sacrifice fly. The next inning, Nunez made an impressive diving grab of a liner by Robert Andino.
Nunez played some outfield during spring training, but as Girardi pointed out, “When we put him in left field during spring training, nobody hit the ball to him.”
That definitely was not the case this time.
Davis’ sac fly gave Baltimore a brief lead. The Yanks made it 2-1 in the bottom of the second as Eric Chavez drove a first-pitch fastball to right field for a two-run home run. It was the third homer of the season for the injury-plagued Chavez, who had not hit more than two in a season since 2007 with the Athletics.