On-Base Perception

Newsday's new all-encompassing baseball blog on the Yankees, Mets, MLB and more from around the sport.

The most dangerous Yankee

Jayson Nix.

Jayson Nix. (Credit: AP)

Look at the photo above -- it might as well be a mugshot. The guy's a Yankee killer in pinstripes.

Maybe one of the worst moves of the offseason. Certainly the most dangerous.

He is Jayson Nix, and his on-field play has almost nothing to do with the trouble he's caused the Yankees.

Sure, Nix is 0-for-7 with no walks and two strikeouts, but that shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Nix is just a .205 hitter in parts of five seasons with the Rockies, White Sox, Blue Jays, Indians and Yankees. He's got some power (30 home runs in 876 plate appearances), but doesn't bring much else to the table (.278 career on-base percentage). So when he signed a minor league contract with the Yankees this year it raised few eyebrows and was on the lips of few fans.

With Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher injured and the Yankees in need of another fielder (Nix can play the infield and outfield), Nix was called up on May 3. He made an immediate impact.

During batting practice that day, Nix hit a deep drive towards right field. Mariano Rivera, shagging fly balls for exercise, ran back to make the catch and then disaster occurred: the greatest closer in the history of the game tore the ACL in his right knee, a season ending injury that left the back end of the Yankees' bullpen a question mark for the first time in over a decade.

Nix went 0-for-3 that night during the game.

Friday he struck again.

Eduardo Nunez, the Yankees' primary infield option who was hitting .294, was having a typically error prone season. He made two errors on Thursday during a game against the Rays, leading to two unearned runs in the first two innings. Nix was sent in to replace Nunez in the top of the sixth inning.

With Nix on the roster playing competent defense, Nunez—and his more potent bat—suddenly became expendable. When Eric Chavez was activated from the disabled list before Friday's game, Nunez—not the hitless Nix—was sent to the minor leagues.

In the span of eight days in the majors this year, Nix has certainly made his presence felt.

Just ask Mariano Rivera or Eduardo Nunez.

Tags: Eduardo Nunez , Mariano Rivera , Jayson Nix

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