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Yanks take time considering backup infielders

Yanks take time considering backup infielders

TAMPA, Fla. -- The battle for the Yankees' backup infield job could go down to the final week of camp, with manager Joe Girardi saying that the "decision is still up in the air."

The Yankees are looking for a third player who is capable of spelling both Brian Roberts at second base and Kelly Johnson at third base, especially considering that Johnson is also going to be used as a backup first baseman.

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Eduardo Nunez figures to be a leading candidate, and also would present a third option at shortstop behind Derek Jeter and Brendan Ryan. While Girardi said that Nunez has played well this spring at several positions, he remains noncommittal about Nunez's chances of making the team.

"I was really happy with the way that he played at the end of last year when we were sticking him at third every day," Girardi said. "I thought he did a pretty good job over there. He's been a guy that's been up and down. He's been asked to do some different things. And I think he's handled it OK."

Girardi said on Wednesday that Dean Anna, Scott Sizemore, Yangervis Solarte and Zelous Wheeler all remain in the mix, taking care to list their names alphabetically so nothing could be read into the comment.

"One of the difficult things now is, you're evaluating these guys, the at-bats are less and less, because your starters are playing more and more," Girardi said. "You might have to move some starters to some different spots or have them play in some Minor League games just so that they can get reps."

Girardi also said that Sizemore has been sidelined with a quadriceps issue, but is targeted to resume playing at the end of the week. Sizemore is coming back from two reconstructive knee surgeries and has said that he would report to Triple-A, with outs in his contract set for May 1 and Aug. 1.

"He hasn't had a lot of playing time, and he's had some things he's had to deal with," Girardi said. "Part of it is because he's had two knee injuries in a row."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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