Yankees soldier on without captain Jeter

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Yankees soldier on without captain Jeter

NEW YORK -- And on the day after, the Yankees kept playing.

Hours after Derek Jeter, their starting shortstop and longtime captain, saw his season end with a gruesome ankle fracture in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS, the Yankees had no choice but to go about their business, even as Jeter underwent further tests to determine if surgery was necessary.

Sunday marked the first time since 1995 that Jeter wasn't in the lineup for a Yankees post-season game and the first time since 1981 that both Jeter and Mariano Rivera have been absent from a playoff lineup card.

"It's not a player you want to lose,'' said manager Joe Girardi. "There's no secret to that. He means a lot to this club and we understand that. There are other guys that we have lost during the course of the season that meant a lot to our club and we found a way. That's what we need to do.

"I know you're probably hearing me say it a lot today. But if you want to move on, you have got to find a way. You're still throwing nine guys out there in the lineup that are very capable.''

In the short term, the Yankees activated Eduardo Nunez to take Jeter's spot on the 25-man roster, but Girardi went with Jayson Nix as his choice at shortstop for Game 2.

"I'll just go day-by-day,'' said Girardi, "which I always do. I don't like getting ahead of myself. I don't think there is a lot of value in that. Yet (Nunez) can provide some excitement. Does anyone remember how (Nix) swung the bat in the last series? Pretty darned good. He missed winning one game with a home run, he had a double. I like his at-bats and he's a grinder.

"He's one of the guys that got us here, and that's what I'm doing it.''

As for the batting order, Girardi elevated Ichiro Suzuki from second to leadoff, Jeter's customary spot.

Suzuki hit a two-run homer in the ninth Saturday night to key the Yanks' four-run comeback rally and had three other hits.

"Eventually, I had to move somebody up,'' explained Girardi. "If you lose somebody in the fifth spot, there are only four guys below you. But when you lose the guy in the one spot, you have move everybody up. That's basically what we did.''

As crushing as the loss of Jeter is to the Yankees, it's not their first injury of this magnitude. Early in the season, closer Mariano Rivera went down for the year with a knee injury while shagging fly balls in batting practice in Kansas City.

"We had to move on from a lot of different things this year,'' Girardi said. "We've lost the greatest closer of all-time where people left us for dead . . . And what would Derek say? 'I'm great, let's go.' And that would be his message. We have to find a way. We've done it all year long and we're going to have to do it again.''

Meanwhile, Joe Torre, who managed Jeter to four world championships, said the Yankees must find a way to solider on without him.

"They have to,'' said Torre. "That's the mentality of teams that play in the post-seaosn. This is obviously a setback that good clubs in the post-season have to fight their way back from.''

Torre, who works for Major League Baseball, was on hand Saturday and knew immediately that the injury was serious when Jeter didn't get up off the infield dirt.

"He lays there for a while, and you know it's something more than getting the wind getting knocked out of you,'' said Torre.

He recalled Opening Day 2003 when Jeter suffered a separated shoulder after Toronto catcher Ken Huckabee landed on Jeter at third base. Jeter ended up missing two months.

"I went out there at third base,'' recalled Torre, "and he turned over and said, 'I'll be in there in tomorrow.' I said, 'OK.' It takes a lot for him to be helped off the field.''

Top prospect Yoan Moncada will join Red Sox on Friday

Top prospect Yoan Moncada will join Red Sox on Friday

BOSTON - The Boston Red Sox have announced they will call up top prospect Yoan Moncada when rosters expand from the current 25-man limit.

Earlier Wednesday, Farrell wouldn't officially confirm the imminent promotion but hinted that the Red Sox appeared ready to call up their top prospect.

Farrell first noted that the Red Sox "need better production'' at third base, where both Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill have struggled mightily at the position.

Moncada, a natural second baseman, was shifted to third base earlier this month at Double A Portland. Moncada has a slash line of .285/.388/.547 with 11 homers and 27 RBI in 44 games.

Asked specifically about the potential of a call-up for Moncada, Farrell said: "We've talked about Yoan. And not just as a pinch-runner. It's an exciting young player, an extremely talented guy. There's all positive reviews and evaluations of him.

"When that major league experience is going to initiate, time will tell that. But in terms of playing the position of third base [in the big leagues], that conversation has been had.''

Previously, the Red Sox had resisted bringing Moncada to the big leagues, worried that he wouldn't be in the lineup often enough to continue his development. The Sox didn't want him to miss out on additional experience in the minors by playing only part-time in the majors.

But now that the minor league seasons are about to end -- Portland finishes Labor Day -- there's nothing in the minors for Moncada to miss.

"This is a different scenario than if it were July or early August,'' said Farrell. "The minor league season ends [soon], so is there benefit to him just being here? The answer to that is yes. Do you weigh playing 'X' number of games per week versus what he could be doing at Portland or Pawtucket? Well, that goes away [with the minor league regular seasons end].

"So, again, by all accounts, there's nothing but positives that could come out of experience here -- if that were to happen.''

 Moncada's promotion is similar to the one experience by Xander Bogaerts in 2013, who was brought up in the final week of August 2013 and remained with the club all the way through the end of the team's World Series run that fall, taking playing time from struggling third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

 "For those who have been around this team for a number of years,'' said Farrell, "teams that have had success have always had an injection of young players late in the season that have helped carry the team through the postseason. I think Yoan would be in a similar category to when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia], when Jake [Jacoby Ellsbury] came into the picture. And Andrew (Benintendi) is already here, so I wouldn't separate [Moncada] out from that at all.

"In fact, he's a direct comparison [to those cases].’’

Farrell agreed that the arrival of a young, highly-touted player can inject some energy into a team in the throes of a pennant race.

"Absolutely, there is,'' said Farrell. "You've got a newness element. You've got, likely, above-average speed. You've got athleticism. You've got the unknown across the field on how does a given [opposing] team attack a given guy.

"In the cases we've talked about, it has been beneficial to us for the young player to come up. They find a way to contribute in a meaningful role. "

Without saying that Moncada's promotion was a definite,  he said "there's a lot [of positives]going for it.''

Farrell also acknowledged that the Sox held internal discussions about how Moncada would be utilized, given that the switch-hitter has been far more productive from the left side of the plate.

"We've talked about what's strong side, how do you look to best ease him in, so to speak,'' said Farrell. "We thought that with Benintendi, how do we best ease him in. Well, he blew the doors off of that one [with his early success]. So, if it happens, and if begins here soon, you'll all be aware.''

Farrell said the reports of Moncada's transition to third base have been encouraging despite three errors in his first nine games there.

"He's shown good range, an above-average arm,'' said Farrell. "Where there will be ongoing work and continued development, just as there was at second base, is the ball hit straight at him. That's just pure technique and fundamental positioning with hands and feet.

"But as far as range to his glove side, moving to third base, that seemingly has not been that big of a challenge for him.''