Nunez: I have to prove I can play defense

It wasn’t always fun watching Eduardo Nunez play defense last season and this year he wasted no time reminding us why. After he muffed a play during his first inning of work against the Rays, he continued his poor defense against the Orioles as he miss played a ball that was ruled a single and gave everyone a scare circling around a pop-up in the 9th inning Monday night.

The Yankees continue to stick with Nunez in the field though because of his potential at the plate and the hope that his strong athleticism eventually overcome his inability to field routine grounders. For his part, Nunez knows he has a lot to improve defensively and he worked hard last offseason to improve.

“He helped me a thousand percent, seriously,” Nunez told Chad Jennings of the Journal News of the coach he hired in the offseason to help him with his defense. “So confident. My throw is so quiet, a quality throw. … I have to prove, show (Joe Girardi) I can play defense too. I don’t want him to take me out in the bottom of the eighth, bottom of the seventh, (saying) ‘Hey Nuney, you can’t play defense.’”

Fans have mostly lost patience with Nunez at this point, but Girardi will continue to use him in hopes that he’ll eventually improve. Derek Jeter has never been especially strong defensively and as he continues to age it might not be too long until he becomes a clear liability out there himself.

The thing is, Jeter’s biggest problem is range, which often isn’t so obvious while Nunez has trouble with his hands, leading to errors that are all too obvious. At some point though, if it hasn’t happened already, Nunez’s superior range will make up for his lack of hands as he’ll get to more balls that Jeter wouldn’t even get a chance to field.

There is no guarantee that will happen and eventually Nunez will have to prove he can play defense.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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4 Responses to Nunez: I have to prove I can play defense

  1. Its pretty obvious he's going to get more time in the field this season and i think he'll get better as the season goes along. He's 24 years old, lets not give up on him yet.

  2. NYYinATL says:

    Nunez is the perfect example why ridiculous stat companies are worthless. This kid has range galore….but if the ball was hit to SS in a playoff game, who would you want to field it….Jeter or Nunez?

    Give me the guy with the sure hands who makes all the plays he needs to …..over the kid with sick range who can't catch a cold ANY day.

    • Actually you have it backward. This is why the stats are good because it will show us exactly what's going on. If Nunez is making 20 errors again this year, but would be getting to 30 or more balls that Jeter won't get to than we know that it's actually better to have Nunez out there.

      • Gonzalo says:

        I agree with NYYinATL if Nunez can't get better defensively we don't need him.
        Errors bring frustations, sometimes you don't know how the pitchers performs after that, you could say that a pitcher could perform better after an awesome play but It's always worse giving runs for free and I bet you must feel horrible after watching the other team scored because of you.
        Fisrt Nuñez won't be a HUGE difference over Jeter getting those balls, second are we forgetting batting stats?
        I bet any 99% of the MLB pitchers prefer facing Nunez over Jeter.

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