If Alex Rodriguez Is Out For An Extended Time, Who Will Play Third Base?

Alex Rodriguez came out of Thursday night’s game with a sore groin. He is not in Friday’s lineup either.

He was to meet with New York Yankee doctor Dr. Christopher Ahmad Friday, and will like to see his hip specialist, Dr. Marc Philippon.

First, I do not believe that Alex’ groin is going to be a big issue. He said there was discomfort, but no pain.

But, what if Alex’ tight groin is related to his hip injury? How will an extended period of time on the disabled list, not for the minimum of 15 days but say a month, affect the Yankees lineup?

For tonight, manager Joe Girardi is using Ramiro Pena at third base, further weakening an already light Yankee lineup. I say already light because Francisco Cervelli has not hit in the last week or so, and Jorge Posada has gone 3 for his last 27 (.111 BA/.294 OBP/.111 SLG) since coming back off the disabled list.

Who will play third base if Alex is out for an extended time? He was diagnosed with tendonitis of the hip flexor, and is probably out until Tuesday when the Yankees play the Philadelphia Phillies.

That will give Alex four days off the hip. But what if it is not enough?

Pena and Kevin Russo are the only guys on the 25 man roster capable of playing third base. That fact doesn’t send shivers down American League pitchers’ spines.

In Triple A Scranton, there is Matt Cusick, but he is not ready, mostly a filler type of player.

In Double A Trenton, the minor league RBI leader, Brandon Laird, is hitting for average and power. He has 56 RBI on the season.

I was at last night’s Thunder game and Laird had a couple more hits.

But according to Trenton Thunder manager Tony Franklin, he has been instructed to play Jorge Vazquez more at third base. This move from above indicates that Vazquez, a 28-year-old Mexican League veteran of nine seasons, might be primed for a promotion to Triple A Scranton.

After all, Vazquez is hitting .432 BA/.447 OBP/.541 SLG since returning from a stint on the disabled list from an appendectomy. He hit .329/.357/.578 last season, his first year playing in the United States. The former four-time Mexican League All-Star put up nearly similar numbers in his final season in Mexico.

Vazquez is obviously too good of a hitter for Double A and soon will be moved to Scranton.

Interestingly, Vazquez did not get a chance to finish the game last night against the Binghamton Mets as he was tossed from the game in the bottom of the 7th.

During a Mets pitching change, Mets pitching coach Mark Brewer thought Vazquez was too close to the plate during the pitchers warm ups, and began screaming at Vazquez. Manager Tony Franklin, coaching third base, tried to intervene, but Vazquez had begun to hear Brewer (tough as Jorge does not speak much English) and began to move towards the Mets bench.

Vazquez was restrained, but not before the home plate umpire (who had several members of both teams squawking at him all night), threw Vazquez out of the game.  Both benches and bullpens emptied, but nothing more ensued.

Franklin said Vazquez will be a third base tonight.

That also means Laird will likely stay the entire season at Trenton, a good move since Laird has made the normal progression of one level per season, and continuing to impress his way up the ladder.

Laird is a tremendous hitter, with good balance and an innate ability to stay inside the baseball.

He will be a good major league hitter, but not this season.

Jorge Vazquez will eventually be the New York Yankees right handed bat off the bench, and I hope at a minimum, be there to replace Marcus Thames, who is now showing he can not even hit left handed pitching anymore.

However, if things get a little troublesome for Alex Rodriguez, Vazquez could see some time at third base, too.

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