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It used to be novel for a team to have a AAA shortstop starting in the league championship series. Then Jayson Nix replaced Derek Jeter on the New York Yankees.
Jayson Nix is not the kind of player the New York Yankees usually carry into the ALCS, but this has been a weird postseason for shortstops. With Derek Jeter's fractured ankle, they join the St. Louis Cardinals and Pete Kozma in turning the infield-captain position over to a guy who's neither a veteran starter nor an up-and-coming prospect. Jayson Nix, like Pete Kozma, is—well, he's just a guy.
Nix is probably better than Kozma, at least. Like his brother Laynce he's a low-OBP slugger—a career .214/.285/.371 hitter who hit .243/.306/.384 last year in 177 at-bats. His defense is less impressive; mostly he splits time between third and second base. But his occasional offensive contribution won't be such a shock as it was when Kozma saved the day.
These injuries to Jeter and Rafael Furcal are a reminder that the teams we see in the postseason aren't always the best ones that have worn the uniform that year. 162 games is an incredibly long season, and it takes its share of players every season. Nobody goes to Yankee Stadium to see Jayson Nix settling in at short, but now their season's going to depend on it.
But as Cardinals fans could tell them—sometimes it turns out pretty okay.