Derek Jeter: 5 Yankees Who'll Need to Step Up While the Captain Is on the DL

Teresa RocaCorrespondent IIJune 20, 2011

Derek Jeter: 5 Yankees Who'll Need to Step Up While the Captain Is on the DL

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    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 13:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees grimaces as he flies out in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians on June 13, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Jeter suffered a sore right calf on the pl
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    When Derek Jeter takes himself out of a game, you know it has to be serious.

    The captain was one step closer to reaching his 3,000th hit in Monday's game against the Cleveland Indians. Reaching his 2,994th hit, many believed Jeter would reach his long-awaited milestone during a home game before the Yankees leave for their six-day road trip.

    Unfortunately, Jeter injured his right calf in the fifth inning during Monday's game, forcing the shortstop to be placed on the disabled list and worsening his chances of reaching his 3,000th hit at home.

    Although Jeter has come up short this season, recording a .260 batting average and giving one of his worst performances at shortstop, he has had his share of contributions to the team on and off the field.

    During his absence, the Yankees have been playing well, winning four out of five games without the captain. For the Yankees to continue their strong play, the players who are currently in a slump need to start improving.

    Here are five New York Yankees who need to step it up while Derek Jeter is on the disabled list.

No. 5: Nick Swisher

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    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16:  Nick Swisher #33 of the New York Yankees in action against the Texas Rangers during their game on June 16, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner have been alternating as leadoff hitter in the lineup while Derek Jeter is on the disabled list. Although Gardner has been filling this position adequately, Swisher needs to step it up.

    During Saturday's game against the Chicago Cubs, Swisher went hitless. In Tuesday's game against the Texas Rangers, he got his sixth home run of the season during the bottom of the third and a double in the bottom of the fifth. The next day Swisher doubled again, allowing Ramiro Pena to advance to third base.

    On Thursday, in Swisher's first at-bat of the game, he drove a single to left fielder Josh Hamilton. Swisher also drove a double during Friday's game against the Cubs.

    Although Swisher has been getting runs while his captain is on the DL, he needs to step it up even more and perform like the hitter he was last season.

No. 4: Alex Rodriguez

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    CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 17: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees flips his bat after striking out to end the 8th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on June 17, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Yankees 3-1. (Photo by Jonathan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Alex Rodriguez has been known to step up in big moments. Unfortunately, the power hitter has barely contributed in the captain's absence.

    In Tuesday's game against the Texas Rangers, A-Rod singled during the bottom of the second and doubled during the bottom of the 4th, allowing Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira to score. He also aided the Yankees' 4-3 win against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday with two singles. However, that is nothing compared to what other players such as Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson have contributed.

    A-Rod was hitless during Wednesday, Thursday and Friday's games, unable to aid the Yankees offensively.

    For the Yankees to continue winning, A-Rod needs to step up like his fellow teammates.

No. 3: Eduardo Nunez

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    NEW YORK - JUNE 14: Eduardo Nunez #26 of the New York Yankees hits a RBI  single in the bottom of the second inning against the Texas Rangers on June 14, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Rangers 12-4.
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Finding a player to replace Derek Jeter for the time being is a difficult feat, especially after his noteworthy game-saving plays as shortstop throughout the years. However, because of Jeter's inconsistency at shortstop this season, many believed this was an opportunity for Eduardo Nunez to shine and give aid to the Yankees. This, unfortunately, has not been the case defensively.

    However, Nunez has been playing brilliantly offensively.

    In Tuesday's game against the Texas Rangers, Nunez singled a line drive to left fielder Josh Hamilton during the bottom of the second, allowing Alex Rodriguez to score. Nunez displayed even more promise Wednesday when he homered to left field during the bottom of the fourth, his second home run of the season.

    On Saturday's game against the Chicago Cubs, Nunez hit a double, allowing Robinson Cano to score. These are just a few out of the many hits and contributions from Nunez so far.

    Despite his performance on the plate, he needs to step up defensively. Since taking over Jeter's position, Nunez has committed two errors and almost made a third in Saturday's game, causing Mark Teixeira to save the play.

    Hopefully Nunez will be able to find a balance and step up as the shortstop we need him to be.

No. 2: Jorge Posada

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    NEW YORK - JUNE 14:  Jorge Posada #20 of the New York Yankees flips the ball to CC Sabathia #52 (not pictured) for an out in the bottom of the first inning against the Texas Rangers on June 14, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    With the Yankees expecting Jorge Posada to excel as a designated hitter, he has been doing anything but, recording an unimpressive .225 batting average this season. In 178 at-bats, Posada has managed to get 40 hits, nine doubles, six home runs and 21 RBI.

    Barely contributing since Derek Jeter has gone on the disabled list, it is time for Posada to start playing to his full potential.

    Out of the lineup during Wednesday's game against the Rangers and Saturday's against the Cubs, Posada did not contribute much during the games he did play in.

    In Tuesday's game against the Rangers, Posada doubled during the bottom of the second, allowing Alex Rodriguez to advance to third, both scoring later on. In Thursday's game, Posada doubled again, allowing Cano to score. Unfortunately, the hits did not continue during Friday's game against the Cubs.

    Hopefully Posada can step up this season while his longtime teammate and captain is out.

No. 1: Andruw Jones

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    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 15:  Andruw Jones #18 of the New York Yankees scores a fifth inning run against the Texas Rangers on June 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    I was never a big fan of Andruw Jones. After all, in 72 at-bats Jones has only been able to maintain a measly .208 batting average, contributing with only 15 hits, eight runs, two doubles and four home runs. His disgraceful performance offensively during Jeter's absence has only verified my suspicions that this hitter cannot come through for the Yankees.

    Since Jeter has been placed on the disabled list Jones has only hit one single, which was during Wednesday's game against the Texas Rangers. He singled a ground ball to left fielder Josh Hamilton, allowing Alex Rodriguez to score. Other than that, Jones has either walked, popped up or struck out, being useless to his team.

    Jones was absent from the Yankee lineup on Saturday, and unless he begins to step up, we will be seeing less of him.