Zoilo Almonte left tonight’s game against the Red Sox before the bottom of the fifth inning due to a sprained left ankle. While Luis Cruz took his spot in the lineup and Alberto Gonzalez took his spot in left field, Almonte had x-rays taken on his ankle, which came back negative. According to Bryan Hoch, manager Joe Girardi says Almonte will be placed on the disabled list.
The Yankees dropped tonight’s game 4-2 as they lose yet another player to the disabled list. Curtis Granderson is expected to start a rehab assignment some time in the next week to ten days, but you have to wonder if the Yankees will add an outfielder to their shopping list as they approach the July 31 trade deadline. There was some speculation that Alex Rodriguez would take Almonte’s roster spot, but Andrew Marchand says that will not be the case.
After missing the first 90 games of the season Derek Jeter returned from a broken ankle last Thursday, only to injure his quadriceps midway through his first game back. Jeter used the All-Star break to rest up, hoping to avoid a return to the disabled list, but the Yankees have placed the shortstop back on the shelf.
Because the move is retroactive Jeter is eligible to return on July 27, but obviously that’s far from guaranteed. He’s been diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain, which is the lowest possible grade, but at age 39 and given how much time he missed with the broken ankle who knows how quickly Jeter will heal this time around.
To replace Jeter on the roster the Yankees called up journeyman utility infielder Brent Lillibridge from Triple-A and they’ll turn to Eduardo Nunez and Luis Cruz at shortstop.
You often hear of the times when scouts and stats are in disagreement, such as last year’s AL MVP debate between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. One area in which the two happily agree is the defense of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), found at FanGraphs, rates him as the best defensive third baseman in baseball, ahead of Evan Longoria and Nolan Arenado. He leads all American League defenders in defensive Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference. And the scouts say he’s the best in the business at the hot corner, too.
Today, he showed that in a big way. With the Yankees up 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Luis Cruz hit a ground ball down the third base line. Machado ranged to his right but the ball kicked off of the heel of his glove. He stuck with it, corralling the ball almost immediately in foul territory, then fired an off-balance throw to first baseman Chris Davis for the out. Judging from the naked eye, the throw might have been 135 feet.
Shades of Brooks Robinson.
He went 0-for-4 at the dish, but still leads the league with 39 doubles, putting him on pace for 71 over 162 games. That puts him on pace to break Earl Webb’s single-season record of 67 doubles set in 1931.
After numerous setbacks in his recovery from a broken ankle Derek Jeter has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Jeter will play tomorrow at Triple-A and is scheduled to log at least five innings defensively at shortstop in his first game action since last October.
In his absence Yankees shortstops have hit just .205 with two homers in 85 games for the third-worst OPS from the position in all of baseball, with Eduardo Nunez, Jayson Nix, and now Luis Cruz serving as the primary starter.
Barring more setbacks a return shortly after the All-Star break seems likely.
Derek Jeter has yet to play this season, his shortstop fill-in Eduardo Nunez is on the disabled list with an oblique injury, and now the fill-in’s fill-in, Jayson Nix, is on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Nix has been the Yankees’ primary shortstop since mid-May, but has hit just .236 with two homers and a .607 OPS in 73 games. Of course, that looks like pretty solid production compared to the infielder the Yankees just signed to fill his roster spot, Luis Cruz, who was let go by the Dodgers earlier this week after hitting .127 in 45 games.
So now the Yankees are on their fourth-string shortstop and Cruz has gone from being employed by the team with MLB’s second-highest payroll to being employed by the team with MLB’s highest payroll.