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Nunez leaves game with tightness in rib cage

05/05/2013 3:58 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Eduardo Nunez is day-to-day after an MRI revealed tightness in his left rib cage.(AP)
New York Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez is “day-to-day” according to manager Joe Girardi, after an MRI performed on Nunez after he left Sunday’s game against Oakland with tightness in his left rib cage was negative.

“He’s day-to-day with irritation in his side, so we’ll see where he’s at on Tuesday,” Girardi said. “Not sure he’ll be a player then but we’ll see where he’s at.”

Nunez left Sunday’s game between the fourth and fifth innings and was replaced by Chris Nelson, with Nelson going to third base and Jayson Nix moving over to shortstop. According to Girardi, Nunez had told him shortly before that point that he felt some irritation but wanted to continue, so Girardi let him stay in the on-deck circle while Lyle Overbay batted in the bottom of the fourth inning to test out how he felt.

“He wanted to try to go so we sent him up in the on-deck circle, and I told him to take a couple swings; when the last out was made I asked him how he felt and he said it was still irritated, so I said ‘you’re done’,” Girardi said. “You don’t want to make that a six-week injury if it can just be a couple days.”

Nunez was lifted at that point and taken for the MRI, which revealed only some inflammation. After the game, Nunez said that he was unsure how the tightness may have come about, saying he felt it early in the game but thought it might have just been something minor, so he tried to play through it.

“I felt it in the first inning, thought maybe it was from food or something like that, so I didn’t tell anyone,” Nunez said. “After I started throwing, it hurt a bit, and after my at-bat in the third, when I swung, it hurt even more.”

Nunez said that it continued to get worse until he told Girardi and was eventually lifted – adding that Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue might say, even if he wouldn’t, that continuing may have exacerbated the injury – but now that he knows it’s simply irritation, he’s hoping he’ll be back sooner or later.

“It’s disappointing, but hopefully I can get back out there soon,” Nunez said. “We have an off day tomorrow, so we’ll just go out there and see.”

If Nunez is unable to play for a day or two, Girardi will likely go with Sunday’s late-game alignment of Nix at shortstop and Nelson at third, a lineup he intimated he’s comfortable with short-term.

“I think for a couple days, we’re okay; sometimes you have to be a little creative, but we’re okay,” Girardi said.

Should Nunez need to be placed on the disabled list, the recently-optioned Corban Joseph is still the only available only infielder on the 40-man roster, but he could be recalled before the normal 10-day waiting period because of injury. Addison Maruszak and veteran utility man Gil Velazquez have handled shortstop duties at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre all season, but neither is on the 40-man roster and would require an extra transaction to be activated.

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