The Yankees are just a game and a half behind Boston for the American League East lead, but with the way the Red Sox have been rolling and the amount of injuries piling up in the Bronx makes it hard to imagine things will change course soon.
Ayala, 33, is a veteran who has played for the Expos, Mets, Twins, and Marlins, but the Yankees still managed to grab him off the scrap heap this offseason. He has done well putting up a 1.33 ERA over 20.1 innings, but still has not gotten important innings, pitching mostly when the game has already been decided.
However, with Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain out with injuries Ayala will get a to be the Yankees 7th inning man. At least for now. He’s shown enough to at least get the opportunity. Depending on how well he does should determine how desperate Brian Cashman is to trade for a reliever.
Nunez, 24, is considered a so-so prospect despite the fact that it was the Yankees insistence in not including him in a deal with the Mariners that kept them from landing Cliff Lee a year ago. With Derek Jeter on the DL, he will get a chance to show what he can do at short over the next two weeks. With three years still left on Jeter’s deal a sucessful stint here could mean increased playing time even though he won’t likely be the everyday shortstop anytime soon.
Then there is Brian Gordon and Hector Noesi. I link them together because it seems as if Gordon swooped in and grabbed a spot thought to be Noesi’s in the wake of Bartolo Colon‘s groin injury. Still, one or both of these pitchers will be given a pretty good chance to land a spot in the Yankees rotation. It might only be until Phil Hughes comes back in July, but if one of these out pitches Ivan Nova between now and then, they might be in the rotation longer than we think.
I’m not necessarily predicting anything great for any of these players mentioned. Just that they are in a position that most of us probably didn’t think they would be in back in March. Now that they have this opportunity, it is their chance to grab it or…maybe an all expenses paid trip to Scranton, PA.
What do you think? Which of these players is the most likely to really make a positive impact? Will any of them make a big impact? All three?