Could be. He’s certainly a strong candidate, as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com explains in his latest. Hoch notes that Johnson didn’t play third base in the bigs until last year, but he did play a little in the minors — and a lot of shortstop in the minors — so it’s not totally foreign ground. And, of course, he’s been all over the field in the past and has never really embarrassed himself anywhere.
The key, though, is his bat, as that’s probably the best shot he has at distinguishing himself from his competition in Yankees camp this spring. He has some plate discipline issues, but he does have a bit of pop. He’s a .253/.335/.427 career hitter at the major league level and he averages 19 homers per 162 games. Scott Sizemore is something of a wild card, but Johnson is better than Eduardo Nunez.
In any event, it should be an interesting competition.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Yankees are contemplating Mark Reynolds, Michael Young and Brian Roberts as they seek to add to their infield.
Reynolds would be a re-signing after finishing last season with the Bombers. He hit .236/.300/.455 with six homers in 36 games with the Yankees and .220/.306/.393 with 21 homers in 445 at-bats overall. Young came in at .279/.335/.395 in 519 at-bats with the Phillies and Dodgers, while Roberts hit .249/.312/.392 in 265 at-bats for the Orioles.
As things stand now, the Yankees are looking at Kelly Johnson at second base, Eduardo Nunez at third base and Derek Jeter at shortstop, with Brendan Ryan in a reserve role, assuming that Alex Rodriguez’s suspension is upheld. Ideally, they could find someone capable of challenging both Johnson and Nunez for at-bats, but there really isn’t anyone like that left in free agency, unless they want to go the Yuniesky Betancourt route. Of what’s left, Eric Chavez would probably be their best option. However, he’s a big injury risk. Reynolds and Young would both be more attractive if they weren’t such poor defenders. As is, the return of Reynolds seems the most likely scenario.
Yankees starter Andy Pettitte shut down the Astros tonight in his final start of his career. The left-hander allowed one run on five hits and two walks while striking out five in a complete game effort. The lone Astros run came on a Chris Carter ground out in the fourth inning.
Second baseman Robinson Cano helped the Yankees tie the game in the sixth with an RBI single. The go-ahead run would eventually score on a wild pitch when catcher Matt Pagnozzi had a snafu behind the plate. Pagnozzi attempted to pick off Cano at second base, but spiked his throw into the ground and the ball bounced behind home plate, allowing Eduardo Nunez to score.
Pettitte will finish his career with a 256-153 record, a 3.85 ERA, and 26 complete games in 3,316 innings over 18 seasons.
Bothered by a sore left hamstring, Alex Rodriguez will make his fourth straight start out of the DH spot this afternoon against the Red Sox. He’s nowhere close to 100 percent at the moment, as he had the chance to score the go-ahead run last night on a double by Robinson Cano, but had to pull up at third base.
As Rodriguez told David Lennon of New York Newsday, he’s taking precaution against suffering what could be a season-ending injury. And after losing Brett Gardner to an oblique strain on Thursday, that’s the last thing the Yankees need.
“I’m just trying to go where it doesn’t blow out,” Rodriguez said after Friday night’s 8-4 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park. “That’s pretty much it.”
Rodriguez is expected to remain in the DH spot through the weekend, which means more of Eduardo Nunez and Mark Reynolds at third base. Reynolds is making the start at the hot corner today.
Rodriguez is batting .287/.387/.492 with six home runs and 13 RBI in 142 plate appearances since joining the Yankees on August 5.
Derek Jeter was removed from Saturday’s loss to the Red Sox with soreness in his surgically-repaired left ankle. A CT scan came back negative, but the veteran shortstop is going to be out for a little while.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Sunday morning that Jeter’s ankle will be reevaluated after a few days of rest. There has been no talk of shutting the 39-year-old down for the remainder of the season.
Jeter has appeared in only 17 games this year for fourth-place New York and is batting just .190 with a .542 OPS in 73 plate appearances. Eduardo Nunez will start at shortstop in Sunday’s series finale with the Red Sox, who have an 8.5-game lead in the American League East standings.