Peña brought in to take Chavez's spot

New York Yankees Ramiro Pena knocks RBI triple New York Yankees Ramiro Pena knocks RBI triple during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers. (Aug. 18, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alex Rodriguez bluntly put into words what Eric Chavez's injury means to the Yankees bench.

"Obviously, it's a big blow for us," Rodriguez said Thursday in Detroit after Chavez broke a bone in his left foot during that day's game. "He was swinging the bat extremely well since camp and provided a lot of depth for our team. When I didn't play or Tex [Mark Teixeira] didn't, you didn't feel like we were losing a lot."

The Yankees brought up Ramiro Peña from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, a good, versatile defender but not much of a hitter.

Chavez was hitting .303 with two doubles and a triple -- the play he was injured on -- with six RBIs in 17 games.

Peña played mostly short, and some second, in Scranton, hitting .233 with two homers and seven RBIs in 24 games.

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Girardi said some consideration was given to calling up Jorge Vazquez, who hammered the ball much of spring training, but the Yankees decided to go with the player they know.

"He was the first guy that came to Cash's mind," Girardi said of general manager Brian Cashman.

Peña played in 69 games with the Yankees in 2009, hitting .287, and 85 games last year, hitting .227.

"It definitely factors in because you have a really good idea of what he can provide for you," Girardi said. "The experience that he's had. You know he's not going to be overwhelmed by his surroundings."

Though Chavez's injury history has been often discussed -- he played in a combined 64 games the previous three seasons -- Girardi expressed some optimism he could be back from his broken foot before Francisco Cervelli returned from his.

Cervelli was out nearly two months after breaking his left foot March 2. Girardi said Chavez will be in a boot for two weeks, about two weeks less than Cervelli has to wear his.

"We hope so," Girardi said of it maybe being less serious than Cervelli's break. "I think you'll have a much better idea after two weeks."

In the meantime, the Yankees will have to make do with much less of a punch coming off the bench.

Girardi said Eduardo Nuñez, who has hit but not fielded especially well -- he had two throwing errors at short Thursday afternoon -- would probably be his first choice to replace Rodriguez at third.

But Peña could get time there, as well, and Girardi said not having Chavez would have zero impact on when he decides to give A-Rod a day of rest.

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"I don't think you can change your plan because of that," Girardi said. "I think you still need to give Alex his days, and as I said, you'll probably see Nuny [Nuñez] at third base some of those days, and he's swung the bat really well for us."

Chavez's injury also hurts Girardi's flexibility if he decides to rest Teixeira at first. Girardi said Nick Swisher would get the call there and that he would also have Jorge Posada, who worked a bit at first during spring training, take some balls there during pregame infield.

Peña was disappointed when Nuñez beat him out for one of the backup infielder spots in spring training but headed to Scranton knowing what he had to work on.

"I had to be better at that," Peña said. "I just tried to concentrate more on my game at the plate, selecting good pitches."

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