Eduardo Nunez has struggled defensively at every position he’s tried for the Yankees, which recently includes starts in left field for the first time in his professional career.
That has limited his playing time despite a decent .728 OPS and today the Yankees decided he’d be better off starting regularly at Triple-A, demoting him to the minors to make room for Eric Chavez’s return from the disabled list.
This time last year Yankees fans who didn’t know better were getting excited about Nunez as the long-term shortstop after he played well subbing for an injured Derek Jeter, but now Jeter is back to hitting and Nunez is back to looking like a long-term utility man his minor-league track record suggested.
He’ll be back, if only because the odds of Chavez staying healthy are always slim, and also because the Yankees are unlikely to feel comfortable with Jayson Nix as their backup shortstop for very long. So far, though, Nunez has hit .271 with a .320 on-base percentage and .380 slugging percentage in 450 plate appearances as a big leaguer and turns 25 years old next month, so not playing regularly might simply prove to be his best role.
Last we heard from Shelby Miller, the Diamondbacks’ right-hander was contemplating Tommy John surgery for a partial UCL tear in his right elbow. Now, he appears to have decided to go through with the procedure.
Miller decided to skip Tommy John alternatives like plasma-rich platelet injections or stem cell treatment, which have been used to varying degrees of success by other major league pitchers with similar injuries. The surgery will set him back an estimated 12-18 months, FanRag Sports’ Tommy Stokke reports, which puts Miller’s estimated return date somewhere in 2018 if all goes well.
The 26-year-old starter was off to a rocky start this season, posting a 2-2 record and 4.09 ERA through 22 innings and striking out just 20 of 99 batters faced. This was his sophomore campaign in Arizona after muddling through the 2016 season with a 3-12 record, 6.15 ERA and 0.5 fWAR over 101 innings with the club.
Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.
While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.
Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.