Before any of you think I’m hitting the panic button due to Alex Rodriguez leaving last night’s game, don’t worry, I’m not. This is merely a reaction to the very slow start Ramiro Pena has had as the utility infielder.
No one’s expecting him to hit much as his .699 OPS last year with the big club was his highest at any level, but after going 0-2 last night, his OPS is .479, and even as a back up, that’s unacceptable. It’s time to consider sending him back to AAA to get some more PT to try and get him into a groove.
So, who could replace him? Like I mentioned yesterday in the OF version of this post, there’s an internal solution. Kevin Russo could be made the UTI and an outfielder could be called up, but that’s unlikely. The Yankees likely don’t think Russo can play short, and that’s pretty necessary for a utility guy. We should also note that there’s a case to be made for sending Russo down. Putting aside whom they could possibly send down, let’s look at whom could be called up:
The first name that comes to mind is Eduardo Nunez. Despite a .380 slugging going into play last night, he’s leading the SWB Yankees with 71 hits and has a .301 average and a respectable .341 OBP. His fielding is iffy, but he’s a shortstop and he’s on the 40-Man roster. He also has the exact same birthday as I do, so you know he’s a winner.
After that, there’s Reegie Corona, who’s having a very down year in the International League. He’s got a .622 OPS and has only played eight games at short this year. He can, however, play second and third.
Neither one of these guys represents a significant upgrade over Russo or Pena, but if the two of them continue to slump, it’s worth considering giving them a shot. If A-Rod has to miss time, which is unlikely because he says he feels no pain, though, the Yankees IF depth will be tested and I’m not too confident in it.
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