Berkman placed on DL; Nunez called up

Berkman placed on DL; Nunez called up

NEW YORK -- With his sprained right ankle healing slower than anticipated and the Yankees short on the bench, Lance Berkman was placed on the disabled list on Thursday.

Infielder Eduardo Nunez was called up to fill Berkman's spot on the roster.

"It hadn't progressed quite as quickly as we wanted it to," manager Joe Girardi said. "We're somewhat short on infielders without him. We thought it was in our best interest to DL him, and that way, he's not rushing back."

"It's still a little sore. There's one spot on the inside, where that ball is, that's still bothering me," Berkman said.

Berkman has yet to run since injuring the ankle on Sunday in Kansas City by stepping on pitcher Bryan Bullington's foot on a play at first base. On Thursday, he said he felt ready to run, but the trainers wanted him to wait at least another day.

"If there was a Doberman chasing me, I think I'd do alright," Berkman joked.

Berkman probably could have been back in the lineup before his time on the disabled list is over, but the Yankees were forced to make a move because of the uncertainty surrounding Alex Rodriguez's playing status. With Rodriguez day-to-day, the Yankees have been starting Ramiro Pena at third and have not had a backup infielder.

Placing Berkman on the disabled list and calling up Nunez solves that. Nunez, 23, has hit .289 for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season while playing the majority of the time at shortstop. He's also played 11 games at third, though, and said he feels comfortable at the position.

"There's only so long you can go without a backup infielder," general manager Brian Cashman said. "[Nunez] has earned the right to be in the big leagues."

Nunez, who was an International League All-Star this season for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was justifiably excited for his first callup to the Majors.

"I couldn't believe it when they told me," he said.

Berkman was disappointed, but understood the need to make the move.

"It's obviously not ideal. I didn't come here to sit on the bench and rot on the DL," said Berkman, who added that his rehab schedule shouldn't be altered by the decision. "We're short. We had to do something."