Brendan Ryan is not expected to be ready for Opening Day

The only spots that are not locked up to come north to the Bronx right now are the bullpen behind David Robertson and Shawn Kelley, the fifth starter position (it appears to be Michael Pineda) and the back-up infielders. Brendan Ryan, who came into spring training as the slick-fielding back-up shortstop, is not expected to be ready for Opening Day.

Ryan, signed a two-year, $5 million contract over the winter after coming to the team in September, has not played in game action since March 4. It was initially called an oblique injury, but after further evaluation it turned into a lower back ailment. Even worse, he still has the pinch in his upper back that he sustained after throwing a baseball a half hour before Thursday’s game.

He will not play this upcoming week and when asked if there was a chance that he would Ryan said, “I don’t even think they’ll let me if I wanted to.” Since it seems like the might have to start the season on the disabled list as a result of his back injury, their options as backup infielders include Dean Anna, Eduardo Nunez and Yangervis Solarte.

The decision should be between Solarte and Nunez. Anna should be sent to AAA based on his subpar .265 average in spring training. The 27-year-old career minor leaguer did hit .331 last season in AAA in the Pacific Coast League, but offensive numbers are usually higher in that league than in the rest of AAA. Even though he has versatility, he should start at Scranton and be called up eventually if he plays well.

Yangervis Solarte, who was a non-roster invitee before spring training, has come out of nowhere to hit .471 in 34 at-bats so far. He has two homers, nine runs scored and eight runs batted in. The 26-year old can play every second base, third base, shortstop and left field.  Solarte played on the Triple-A team of the Rangers last season, and has been in the minors since 2006. It is unknown what he can do on the major league level, but his numbers in so far in Florida are promising.

Nunez definitely has the most impressive career out of the three so far. The major question mark with him is his defense, which has often been suspect while with the Yankees. However, he has shown the ability to make the routine and remarkable play, and he has the ability to hit for contact and for some power as well as steal bases. In 2012, in 38 games played, he had a .292 average, 11 RBI and 11 steals. Last season, his average dipped to .260, but he hit .295 with two homers and eight RBI in 78 at-bats during September.

Something Solarte has against him is that he is not currently on the 40-man roster, but his versatility and offensive skills could be hard to ignore. They could remove Nik Turley or Bryan Mitchell, who are currently on the 40-man and replace one of them with Solarte. It would make sense to have Solarte and Nunez come north, and then send Solarte down to Triple-A once Ryan is healthy.


It is important for the backup infielders to play well, to go along with Mark Teixiera, Brian Roberts, Derek Jeter and Kelly Johnson in the infield, but it is just as important that the starting pitching performs well and stays healthy. If the starters can do this, and the offense stays healthy, they will have a chance of winning the division.

You have the defending champs (Boston Red Sox), but if we pitch well, I think we have the guys to over take them,” CC Sabathia said on Pride Power and Pinstripes.

One comment

  1. Joe

    Spring training stats are a small and unreliable sample size. However, if you are going by spring stats then Solarte and Anna should be on the roster, Nunez in AAA. Also, you’ve diminished Anna’s PCL stats (331 B.A.) saying it’s a hitters league, but failed to mention that Solarte hit 276 last year in the same league! Anna’s on base skills (410 obp) compared to Solarte’s OBP of 323 last year, along with Anna’s 177 minor league games at SS (30 for Solarte) should be considered as well. Anna wins, and the Yankees know that. I’ll put all of my money on that for opening day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s