Toolsy Yankees' Shortstop Eduardo Nunez Must Be Patient




 

NEW YORK—Derek Jeter is not the only obstacle to the ascension of Double-A Trenton shortstop Eduardo Nunez.

"He has big tools," farm director Mark Newman said. "He can run, throw, hit with some power and he can really play the position."

The 22-year-old Nunez, who bats from the right side, was hitting .316/.341/.421 with eight home runs and 21 doubles through 449 at-bats. So what's not to like?

"He has to become a more disciplined hitter," Newman said. "You have to swing at good pitches and do something with them. It's the foundation of our hitting program. Some guys get it faster."

Nunez signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2004 and batted .251/.305/.348 over the course of his first five pro seasons. So in that light, he was showing signs of improvement.

"He has worked at it every day to get better," Newman said. "He is determined to get better at it."

Nunez had batted more than .300 only once before, when he batted .313 for short-season Staten Island in 2005.

"His hitting has improved a lot," Newman said. "He is a line-drive hitter with some power. He uses the whole field and has come around as a hitter."

Despite an organization-high 30 errors in 108 games, Nunez gets high marks for his defense. "He has an above-average arm, is an above-average runner," Newman said. "His physical tools are first rate."

"He has the kind of tools Cristian Guzman has," Newman said of the Nationals shortstop who originally signed with the Yankees back in 1994. "He is not a switch-hitter but he has those tools."

YANKEE DOODLES

• Dominican righthander Jairo Heredia, 19, returned to action after missing the first three months of the season with a shoulder injury. In his first two starts for high Class A Tampa, he allowed one run over 12 innings.

• When the Yankees promoted Trenton second baseman Reegie Corona to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in early August, they did so with an eye toward increasing his versatility. Though he had batted just .169/.209/.242 through 34 games, he had spent 17 games at second and shortstop. "We want to get him some experience there so he can be versatile," Newman said.