Nunez right in the middle
Tampa, Fla. - Eduardo Nunez might find himself in the middle of things come opening day.
Nunez got a hit, drove in a run and made an error while filling in at shortstop for Derek Jeter as the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 4-0 Wednesday.
Before the game, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he didn't know whether Jeter will be available to play in the opener on April 1. The 38-year-old captain got an anti-inflammatory shot in his surgically repaired left ankle and missed his second straight exhibition game.
Nunez said he feels no added pressure, saying there will be "nobody like Derek Jeter."
"I'll do my best," Nunez said.
Nunez was charged with his third error this spring for misplaying an in-between hop on Drew Sutton's one-out grounder in the fifth. He then started a 6-4-3 double play when next batter, Jose Iglesias, hit a groundball.
"I think he's made a lot of progress," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's played a pretty decent shortstop. I know he had a tough play today. I think his throwing has been more consistent, which I think has given him confidence."
Nunez has a career fielding percentage of .926 at short, committing 18 errors in 77 games.
Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis went 0-for-4 playing against his longtime former team. One Boston fan yelled "traitor" when Youkilis came up to bat in the first.
Red Sox starter Felix Doubront allowed four runs and seven hits over 4 1-3 innings. All four runs came during the second.
"It was just one inning," Doubront said. "I'm still happy. I threw so many quality pitches, and I feel good about it."
Boston prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. continued his strong first big league spring training, getting two hits in four at-bats. The center fielder is hitting .444 (20-for-45) overall.
"You can see the polish to his game," Boston manager John Farrell said. "A guy who's got just one full year in the minor leagues. His decision making on the field and his approach at the plate is very consistent. His reads and routes in center field are on the spot."
Four Boston relievers, including Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey, held the Yankees hitless over the final 3 2-3 innings.
Yankees ace CC Sabathia pitched in a minor league game and gave up one run in six innings. He's set to start the opener against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Sabathia felt it made more sense to pitch in the minors than face Boston this late in spring training.
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