Vidal Nuno pitched three scoreless innings in his first game up from Scranton Wilkes-Barre, but is he the answer for the New York Yankees as the second left- hander in the bullpen? Certainly one outing is not conclusive evidence, but there are several encouraging signs that point to a bright future for Nuno.
First is his control. He did not walk a batter in the outing. He appeared in complete command of his pitches. He kept the
ball away when necessary, and was able to drop the pitch down and in to right-handed batters. Nuno showed the same control at Scranton Wilkes-Barre this season. In 23.1 innings he handed out only two free passes.
Another encouraging sign is his ability to get the strikeout when needed. He struck out two in his three innings. Altogether, he fanned 26 before coming up, giving him 371 K’s in 385 total minor league innings. So, he has the ability to keep base runners on third base with less than two outs.
Perhaps the most pleasant sign was his composure. Granted, he did not enter the game in a pressure situation, but he did handle the emotional aspect of his opportunity without panic. Hopefully, this composure will carry over to the big stage in the post-season.
At first glace, there is a legitimate concern over his ability to perform consistently as a reliever, since his four minor league appearances this season were all as a starter. But he basically split time as a starter and a reliever in his minor league career. So his flexibility is actually a plus to his chances of sticking on the major league roster.
Certainly, the Yankees need a lefty alternative to Boone Logan in the bullpen. While Logan is dependable, manager Joe Girardi needs to feel confident that he can bring one in and still have a reliable option remaining.
Should Nuno not prove himself as the answer,the Yankees may need to start looking around. They can’t allow teams to use left-handed hitters to take advantage of the Yankee Stadium right field porch.