Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Filling a Void Just in the Nix of Time

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Filling a Void Just in the Nix of Time

Article excerpt

SEATTLE - Alex Rodriguez vowed to return from a fractured left hand this season "and come back strong," though he might not be swinging a bat until September.

"The one good thing here is we play through the end of October," A-Rod said.

Once more, the Yankees must fill a void while a significant player is sidelined. And in a critical moment Wednesday afternoon at Safeco Field, utility man Jayson Nix came through splendidly.

As a pinch hitter in the eighth inning, Nix lashed a go-ahead, bases-clearing double that vaulted the Yankees to a 5-2 victory against the Mariners.

That concluded a riveting West Coast trip that saw the first- place Yankees (59-39) drop four straight games at Oakland, pick up Ichiro Suzuki, and lose Rodriguez.

"If you take [the negative] with you, that's when you get in trouble and things snowball," Derek Jeter said after the Yanks took two of three from the moribund Mariners (43-57). "You have no choice but to forget about it."

In A-Rod's absence, Nix and veteran Eric Chavez will form the third-base platoon unless general manager Brian Cashman can spin another surprising deal - such as the Monday afternoon trade that sent Suzuki from one clubhouse to the other at Safeco Field.

Manager Joe Girardi rearranged his lineup, restoring Suzuki to the leadoff spot with Jeter batting second. Curtis Granderson moved to the No. 5 spot, following Robinson Cano and cleanup hitter Mark Teixeira.

"We just thought we'd give this a shot and see how it works out," said Girardi, who notified all parties before posting his A-Rod- less lineup.

The lefty-hitting Chavez, 34, batted seventh and is expected to see the bulk of playing time at third, though Girardi is proceeding with caution.

Chavez won six Gold Gloves and averaged 29 home runs and 96 RBI from 2001 through 2006, until a variety of injuries, including back and shoulder problems, ended his run with the Athletics and turned him into a part-time player. …

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