He wasn’t invited to Spring Training, but Eric Duncan was summoned for today’s split-squad game as a bench player. Mike profiled Duncan earlier this month, just ahead of the A-Rod injury. No one thought, nor does anyone currently think, that Duncan can step into even a substitute role at this point. That doesn’t mean he’s not trying anymore.
He’s failing for sure — a .233/.295/.366 line as a 23-year-old in AAA is about as far from inspiring as you can get — but it’s not for lack of effort. Yet now with both corner infield spots locked down for the next eight years, Duncan realizes that if he’s going to become a major leaguer — and that’s his stated goal — it might have to be with another team. He’ll be a minor league free agent after this season, and if he performs well he might catch on with a team that has an opening.
He doesn’t blame the Yanks, though. From Mark Feinsand:
“Seeing those guys get locked up at the corners isn’t the frustrating part, because you know the Yankees are going to do whatever they have to do to win at this level,” Duncan said. “The frustrating part for me is knowing I can do better than what I’ve done. I know there’s more. If I do what I know I can do on the field, the other stuff will take care of itself.”
Here’s to hoping that something clicks this year and he shows why he was so highly touted coming out of Seton Hall Prep in 2003. It’s possible, but certainly far from probable. Yet if he can find his swing this year and can handle a corner outfield role, maybe he could help the Yanks in 2010.