Dean Anna suddenly is an important Yankee
Dean Anna's phone hasn't stopped buzzing since Thursday night. "I think I need to change my number,'' the utility infielder said before the Yankees faced the Red Sox on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.
Especially now that it looks as if Anna, 27, will be hanging around for a while.
He got his first major-league home run and first hit at the Stadium on Thursday. Now he's the Yankees' starting shortstop, at least for the moment.
Derek Jeter was held out of a second consecutive game Sunday night because of a tight right quadriceps. Joe Girardi said Saturday was a scheduled day off and that Jeter is likely to return to the lineup Tuesday night against the Cubs. The Yankees are off Monday.
Anna doesn't know how long he'll be in the lineup, but he started three of the four games in the Red Sox series, playing second base Thursday night.
Replacing Jeter, one of the greatest Yankees of all time, hasn't entered his mind. "I don't think about that,'' he said. "There's enough pressure out there. I really don't. I just try to get the job done and go to the next day.''
The Mokena, Ill., native was acquired from the Padres' organization in the offseason to add depth to the infield. He wasn't supposed to make the team, but he has a solid glove and hit a respectable .262 in spring training.
Anna hit a home run off Clay Buchholz on Thursday night and had a double Saturday. Just seeing his name on the lineup card with the likes of Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Jacoby Ellsbury has been a thrill for him. When he got back to the dugout after his home run, Jeter was the first to greet him.
"I'm excited to be teammates with those guys,'' Anna said. "It's awesome.''
This weekend also was the first time Anna was part of the roll call from the Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures. He relished hearing his name chanted by the fans, but he's still working on his gesture that signals that he hears them.
"I knew it was coming,'' he said. "I got to figure out if I'm going to do something different. I don't know yet. We'll see.''
He might have to put some thought into it. It was assumed that Anna -- who can play second base, shortstop and third base and even saw some time in the outfield in the minors -- would be demoted after Brendan Ryan (back) returns, but Ryan doesn't seem close. Brian Roberts missed Sunday night's game with a back problem and backup first baseman Francisco Cervelli suffered a leg injury Sunday night, which could affect the overall makeup of the infield. So Anna knows this is his opportunity to stay in the big leagues for the foreseeable future.
"You have to do your job,'' he said. "That's what matters around here.''