Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Could A-Rod Replace DJ At SS?

It's an idea which had always been discarded before even digesting its repercussions. The thought of Derek Jeter being replaced by Alex Rodriguez during an extended absence has always been taboo which Joe Torre refused to dignify.

Names like Wilson Betemit, Miguel Cairo, Felix Escalona, Andy Cannizaro and Alberto Gonzalez have spelled Jeter during A-Rod's Yankees tenure. Soon after A-Rod was acquired, the question was posed whether he would ever move over a few feet should the Captain end up on the disabled list. This potential scenario was quickly defused and every baseball fan knew for a fact Rodriguez would play out his days at the hot corner.

Until now...

Joe Girardi would not reject the possibility of Rodriguez manning shortstop should Jeter be placed on the DL. Expressing his prerogative to sort out all possible solutions, the new skipper reminded fans of how much better talent Rodriguez could show in Jeter's stead. Instead of playing Betemit at shortstop [or Morgan Ensberg at first] and becoming a major question mark, he would be moved to his natural position - third base - as A-Rod returned to his natural spot in the infield.

Should Jeter recover in the next handful of days, such speculation becomes fruitless chatter, but it is an interesting topic and already a signal of the difference between Girardi and Torre. From the Yahoo! article:
Joe Girardi didn’t say no. Joe Torre would have.

Now, this is not to compare Girardi and Torre, not in a mano-a-mano fashion at least, but one that deals with today’s reality in the New York Yankees universe: Suggestions that Alex Rodriguez move to shortstop if the strained left quadriceps that forced Derek Jeter out of a game Monday lingers.

“There’s a lot of different scenarios we’ll talk about as a club and decide what we’re going to do,” Girardi said, and even though there was little substance to his words, it felt frighteningly candid – and, considering the other options, a rather sensible idea. Because under Torre’s watch, no matter how damaging to the Yankees in the short or long term, he wouldn’t dare place someone of consequence at Jeter’s position for fear of upsetting the captain’s chi.

Jeter first felt a twinge in his quad during the Yankees’ Sunday game and iced it before Monday’s game. That didn’t help, and Jeter ended up in an MRI tube to rule out extensive damage. Doctors found a low-level strain, nothing like in 2001, when Jeter missed Opening Day because of his right quad.

“That was worse,” Jeter said. “This is a mild strain, from what I was told. The other one was a lot worse than that. It was something you could feel moving your leg, period. This one is more when I put for a little effort. I really start running before I feel it.”

Aside from Betemit and A-Rod, there’s not another person on the Yankees’ active roster who can play shortstop. They could call up rookie Alberto Gonzalez, who is on the team’s 40-man roster, or Cody Ransom, who would require a roster move but bring more experience. Or, of course, they could put A-Rod at short and use Morgan Ensberg, a natural third baseman, to fill in.

Like Girardi said, plenty of scenarios.

Mark Teixeira missed approximately five weeks of last season with a quad injury, leading one to believe they are an unpredictable health woe to forecast. The two major question marks remain: would Jeter yet feel secure enough for Rodriguez to man his position and is the 2007 MVP still physically capable of playing quarterback of the infield. Updates on Jeter's condition should begin to emerge today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

put Ensberg or Betemit at third and let Arod take short if thye need it. Jeters not a 10 year old, if its best for the team he wont care