Results tagged ‘ Mariano Rivera ’

Maybe players will finally be scared straight

manny_250_050609.jpgBy Jon Lane
Maybe the suspension of Manny Ramirez is the best thing for the Yankees in some twisted, convoluted way. As Peter Abraham notes, the news broke one day before Alex Rodriguez makes his season debut. A lot of the heat is off of A-Rod – for now – and this topic is expected to share space with life as a sub-.500 team in the Yankees clubhouse before tonight’s game.

Ramirez said in a statement that he saw a physician for a personal health issue who gave him a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay. Multiple reports have stated that it’s an agent “customarily used for performance enhancing” and neither a steroid nor human growth hormone. Too many players are pointing fingers and not accepting blame. If you’re given a prescription for an unknown drug, or visit your local GMC for some strange supplement, why on earth do you assume – especially in this day and age – that it’s perfectly okay? What’s so hard about seeing your team physician and taking it up with the office of Major League Baseball to receive a second and third opinion?

Manny being Manny just took itself to an entirely different level, writes Chris Shearn.

Baseball’s new drug policy can improve, but it’s good and it’s tough. Phillies reliever J.C. Romero was given the benefit of the doubt when MLB never said he tried to cheat, yet he was ruled guilty of “negligence” and issued Strike 1. Here’s hoping players are finally scared straight into taking more responsibility for what they put in their bodies. A little accountability helps too. A-Rod’s explanation may have been shady, but he manned up and said, “I did it” without any excuse.

As far as the Dodgers, 21-8, off to their best 29-game start since 1983 and owners of a new record for consecutive home wins to begin a season (13), it’ll be easy to write them off. Don’t even think about it, third base coach Larry Bowa told Colin Cowherd today on ESPN Radio. Bowa looks at this as a challenge to his young players tired of hearing the Dodgers are winning because of Manny. Joe Torre’s Dodgers feature rising stars Andre Either and Matt Kemp in the outfield, and James Loney at first base. Veteran Juan Pierre slides into Ramirez’s spot in left field. Chad Billingsley (5-0, 2.21 ERA) anchors a rotation with promise (Clayton Kershaw), veteran stability (Randy Wolf) and supported by a lockdown closer (Jonathan Broxton).

And don’t forget the Torre effect. He’s the right guy to handle this crisis. Anyone who’s followed the Yankees since 1996 knows how Torre cemented his reputation.

“It’s time for some of our young kids to grow up now,” Bowa said.
 
3:03 p.m.
Two sources told ESPN’s T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada that the drug used by Ramirez is HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a women’s fertility drug typically used by steroid users to restart their body’s natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle. It is, reports the duo, similar to Clomid, the drug Bonds, Giambi and others used as clients of BALCO.Yahoo! Health explains that HCG is used to cause ovulation and to treat infertility in women, and to increase sperm count in men.

The operative words are “steroid cycle.”

“It’s not infrequently part of the mix of the poly-drug approach to doping,” Dr. Gary Wadler, chairman of the committee that determines the banned-substances list for the World Anti-Doping Agency, told The Associated Press. “It typically is used most when people are coming off a cycle to restore to normal biophysiological feedback mechanisms.”

_______________________

At least until first pitch, most of the focus is off another terrible loss from the Yankees and how they did nothing against Andy Sonnanstine, off whom opponents were hitting .366 and owned a 1-3 record with a 6.75 ERA. Blame the bullpen all you want; Phil Coke made one bad pitch, and Edwar Ramirez and Jonathan Albaladejo did their jobs. Second-guess Joe Girardi about not sending Mariano Rivera out for the 10th inning. But this is a problem which becomes more insidious with every loss: The Yankees went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and are 4-for-32 (.125) during their four-game losing streak. This team has showed little fire and passion, along with the obvious knack of failing in the clutch, but you have to love the mettle A.J. Burnett showed after the game.

“When it clicks, it will be ridiculous,” Burnett said. “When it clicks, it will be fun to watch.”

_______________________

REACTION TO RAMIREZ SUSPENSION
Derek Jeter

“I’m still surprised. It’s not like you assume everybody’s doing it so you’re still surprised when you hear about it.
 
“It doesn’t look good. It seems like it’s a never-ending thing. That’s what it seems like as of late. So you want to put it behind you and then you have something like this come up.”
 
Mark Teixeira
“I don’t like to give too much reaction until more details are out there. It’s just disappointing that it happened.
 
“I can only speak for myself. There’s no resentment because I can sleep really good at night and at the end of my career I can look my kids in the eyes and say I [kept clean].
 
“IWe’ve done a lot. Ever since 2004, I’ve been at the union meetings talking about what we can do. It’s almost every year like we try to test more and have it more strict. That’s the only thing we can do.”
 
Joe Girardi
“I don’t have all the specifics and I don’t know if we’ll ever get all the specifics. But the commissioner has vowed to crack down. The rules are very stringent and we’re seen another guy suspended 50 games.”
 
Johnny Damon
“I’m just surprised somewhat but everything that comes out with baseball it seems like it’s mostly negative stories and unfortunately, Manny’s one of them, a former teammate of mine and it’s disappointing to hear.

“This game has been able to withstand the test of time and this game has been able to I believe thrive so far this year. This is another black cloud and hopefully we can weed all this stuff out of the game in the upcoming years. Unfortunately, some very good baseball players have to go down with it.
 
“I think Manny’s going to be the one that can answer that the best. That’s all I have to say about that, I don’t know. These guys want to be the best and to us they did look like the best and now they’re paying for it.”

Death By Bullpen

melancon_250_050609.jpgBy Glenn Giangrande
I just can’t take it anymore. The Yankees bullpen is like a train wreck that I DON’T want to watch.

In defense of Joe Girardi, he was dealt a tough hand when he lost Brian Bruney to the disabled list and Damaso Marte apparently was pitching hurt. That being said, about half the active ‘pen at minimum is downright unreliable right now. Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, and Jonathan Albaladejo can’t be trusted in big situations, but they also can’t be counted on to keep games close when the Yankees are down. Girardi also doesn’t seem to trust David Robertson much, and I can’t imagine Mark Melancon helped himself by walking the bases loaded in the ninth against Boston Tuesday night. Aside from Phil Coke and Mariano Rivera, it’s ugly out there.

So where on the planet is there to turn? For starters, Alfredo Aceves and his career .228 BAA deserve a chance to pitch some meaningful late innings. I’m not counting on Chien-Ming Wang’s return, so I’ll leave Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain out of the equation for now. Casey Fossum was signed to a Minor League deal after being cut loose by the Mets, a team that like the Yankees are dealing with a bullpen in dire straits. I guess Fossum is no worse than the current options, but anyone out there think he’s a real solution to the problem? Is there even an realistic external solution to be had? It’s too early to talk trade, not that the relief market is going to be any better than usual, and Fossum is clearly the best the Yankees could do via free agency.

On a brighter note, did anyone out there catch Family Guy this past Sunday? I was dying. Lauren Conrad-Bill Cosby sex tape, Mr. Magoo driving with Lindsay Lohan … there was some tremendous stuff. If you want your mind taken off the Yankees’ relievers, check it out on your preferred Internet TV portal of choice. 

Thursday tidings

joba_250_043009.jpgBy Jon Lane
George King has coined the newest Yankees catch phrase: Phi Sigma Joba Starter (PSJS) nation. Here’s hoping the loyal order of the Joba-to-the-bullpen army was served with a reality check with Joba Chamberlain’s finest start since that 1-0 win over Josh Beckett and the Red Sox in Boston on July 25, 2007.

Yeah, right. This debate will never go away. Though I am guilty of adding kindling to the fire by only presenting the other side of the story, Chamberlain has to stay in the rotation. This won’t be an issue until (if) Chien-Ming Wang returns healthy and back in form, but people won’t stop talking about it. To be fair, this is indeed a tasty storyline and an excellent problem worth discussing, not those “revelations” from that new book coming out on some (in)famous baseball player.

Here’s why Chamberlain is a starting pitcher, case closed:

Imagine a rotation with Chamberlain and Phil Hughes pitching brilliantly? The jury will still be out on Hughes for awhile, but best-case scenario is you have two outstanding homegrown starters pitching well in a group that includes CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. Remember, Andy Pettitte probably isn’t coming back after this season, so the long-range forecast includes Chamberlain, Hughes, Wang (he’s down, but not out) and Ian Kennedy if he can finally scale the roadblocks that have prevented him from pitching in the Major Leagues. Not too bad of a future for a win-now franchise, eh?

Everyone makes a fuss about how Chamberlain threw 97 MPH as an unhittable, intimidating reliever. Here’s something few actually talk about: He’s 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA in 16 career starts and has allowed 82 hits and struck out 91 in 88 1/3 innings – and he’s still getting warmed up. The next time anyone brings up how he’s only throwing 92-93 instead of 97 must be re-told the story on how Burnett has matured from setting speed records to a pitcher that locates and changes speeds.

Out-of-the-box storytelling from Peter Abraham on how Chamberlain’s approach against Miguel Cabrera and one pitch decided the game. This eliminates any doubt about Chamberlain’s capabilities as a starter. This sequence started a run of 10 straight Tigers batters retired by Chamberlain, five by strikeout.

One of my readers summed it up best: For years the story has been the Yankees’ lack of quality pitching. At this rate they will have a lot of rounds to spare. Too many arms are never – EVER – enough. Want proof? See last season. 

_______________________

Abraham compiled a report from Alex Rodriguez’s extended spring game in Tampa: 1-for-6 with a homer and two walks.

Another bad April for Mark Teixeira, his worst since 2003. Here’s a breakdown of his batting average, and on-base and slugging percentages for each April the past seven seasons:

2003     .188     .288     .344
2004     .276     .432     .552
2005     .262     .321     .485
2006     .293     .391     .495
2007     .231     .346     .341
2008     .290     .355     .490
2009     .197     .365     .364

Worried? You need not be.

Mariano Rivera has allowed a home run in his last two appearances, notes Kat O’Brien. He gave up four all of last year and hasn’t surrendered more than four since 2001 and five since 1995, when he began his career as a starting pitcher. Reason to worry? Uh, no.

For those who care (I don’t), the book on A-Rod says he may have been taking steroids since high school. I quote Al Davis, “Just win, baby.” Do that and nobody will talk about this stuff.

Memo to CC: Winning time

sabathia_250_042709.jpgBy Jon Lane
I know it’s April 27. I’ve said and written many times that last I checked, seasons do not end in late April. The Yankees are .500, but plenty of would-be contenders are in worse predicaments. Alas, because we’re in New York and it’s the Yankees, hell is breaking loose. Cries of “this team is aging, old, tired, and has no heart …” have caused sleepless nights, yet all it takes is one big game to re-write perception. That’s the baseball season. That’s how it works over 162 games and eight-nine months. How many times in recent history were the Yankees declared dead, only to find it within them to win 90-100 games?

That said, right here and right now, the Yankees have big problems. Being swept by the Red Sox is never good. Blowing two wholly winnable games and allowing a steal of home in the third is inexcusable. Look, Mariano Rivera is going to blow saves, so if that’s feeding your ulcers, get over it and get off his back. But neither Rivera’s gopher ball nor Damaso Marte and his 15.19 ERA had anything to do with a problem that simply will not go away: The Yankees were 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left 15 men on base Friday night. On Saturday, they scored 11 runs and still lost. Enough said there.

When was the last time the Yankees had a feared, unequivocal, no-fuss, no-worries stopper? Mike Mussina won 20 games last season and he was great, but I’m talking about a bona fide big guy in the prime of his career who has carried his team on broad shoulders before. That’s you, CC Sabathia. Tonight in Detroit, you have to stop this. You have to get the Yankees re-aligned with their universe, a place in which their contending against their history and the justification of a palatial new home. You were handed $161 million to win a hell of a lot more than you lose.

Tonight, CC, play stopper. Go long, go hard and if not all the way, get the ball to Rivera with a lead. You cannot hand over the responsibility of halting a four-game losing streak to Phil Hughes.

This Tigers team, Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Curtis Granderson, etc., can rake, even if all the pistons aren’t firing at once. Still, you’ve been decent against them throughout your career (13-9, 4.70), especially at Comerica Park (7-2, 3.80). It’s the ideal time to improve those April numbers of 11-10 with a 4.47 ERA over your first eight seasons.

Everyone is expecting it: your fans, your manager. You’ve shown you can handle the media. You haven’t snapped, snarled or played hide-and-seek. You’re a guy who in crisis situations says, “It’s okay guys. It’s all good. We’ll be alright, just follow my lead.”

Do it, CC. It’s April 27, but fair or not, tonight is already a must-win.
 
The suggestion box

  • The AP this morning called Alex Rodriguez a “conquering rescuer.”How many of you right now are wishing A-Rod would go away? It’s either A-Rod and his shenanigans or the awesome Angel Berroa/Ramiro Pena duet at third base. Berroa has played all of three games at third. It showed Sunday night and he’s has done nothing since winning ROY in 2003. Suggestion: start Pena and tighten your defense until Rodriguez returns, which may be well before the target date of May 15.
  • Nice first impression by Mark Melancon, eh? Yes, two innings do not make a career, but he worked out of his own bases-loaded, no-out jam without allowing a run. Once Brian Bruney returns, wouldn’t a Rivera-Bruney-Melancon back end work nicely? David Robertson (yes, he allowed Mike Lowell’s crushing double on Saturday) also deserves a longer look and Phil Coke more rope. The alternative is more of Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, Marte and Jonathan Albaladejo.

By the (ugly) numbers

By Jon Lane
The Yankees are 9-8. In five of those losses they’ve allowed at least 10 runs and have been outscored 73-27.

On Wednesday, the Yankees played baseball for four hours and 57 minutes covering 14 innings. Saturday, it took 4:21 to complete the sixth-longest nine-inning game in Major League history.

Think the bullpen is tattered and torn? Brian Bruney is on the disabled list and there are big problems with everyone not named Mariano Rivera. Jonathan Albaladejo,
Phil Coke, Damaso Marte, Edwar Ramirez and Jose Veras have a combined
ERA of 7.08. Marte has been a disaster and there’s no middle ground with Ramirez or Veras. Both are either real good or flat-out unwatchable. (No, Joba Chamberlain is not being moved to the bullpen.)

The past two losses have been galling. Rivera blew a two-run lead in the ninth on Friday and A.J. Burnett a 6-0 advantage yesterday, a game that required 385 pitches, 28 hits, two errors, 15 walks, a catcher’s interference and two hit batters in those four hours and 21 minutes.

What hasn’t changed is the Yankees’ biggest problem offensively last season, delivering with runners on base. Saturday they slugged 15 hits but left 12 men on base and are a combined 7-for-36 with runners in scoring position in the series.

The Rays are 7-11. The Angels, 6-11. The Indians, 6-12. The Mets, 8-9. The Cubs, 8-8. Moral of the story: seasons do not end in April and none of those teams’ managers are on the hot seat. The Red Sox have won nine in a row, yet are one game behind first-place Toronto with the Yankees three behind the pace.

Enjoy your Sunday.

First game impressions

By: Joe Auriemma

It’s the middle of the fifth inning in the first game here at the new Yankee Stadium and I already have some first impressions of the game play at the ball park.

It’s only fitting that Derek Jeter got the first Yankees hit to start things off in the bottom of the first inning.

Robinson Cano, who hit the first home run in the new stadium in the bottom of the second, crushed that ball into the right field bleachers. The bleachers are more set back than in the other stadium, so to hit that ball halfway up in the stands is a big time shot. I told my colleague Chris Shearn that I thought, even thought the ball was a line drive, that it was hanging up in the air more than I remember from the other park.

When Hideki Matsui and Cody Ransom hit their home runs, I felt the same way. The ball is carrying and hanging in the air tonight. I remember that the other stadium it would only really do that when the weather got hot out.

I spoke with YES Network commentator John Flaherty who also made that same observation.

I’m not going to put too much stock into the ball carrying right now until I get more of a sample throughout the season. However, if this trend does continue, this could become a very good hitters park.

Now in the top of the sixth, Mariano Rivera has come into the ballgame for his first ever appearance in the new park. Rivera, who came into his signature song Enter Sandman by Metallica, got a very big ovation from the crowd and with every pitch, flash bulbs continue to light up the stadium.

Friday night fun

By Jon Lane
It’s Reds vs. Yankees tonight at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. For the play-by-play, dial into WCBS 880-AM.

For more YESNetwork.com exclusives, Joe Auriemma and his crew are down there and will wrap up their Spring Training coverage this weekend. The Yankees, though, have another five days left in Florida before they head home for a workout next Thursday at the new Yankee Stadium followed by exhibition games Friday night and Saturday afternoon against the Cubs (both games will air on YES). Then it all begins April 6 in Baltimore when CC Sabathia makes the Yankees’ first start of the 2009 season.

Speaking of the new Stadium, those who believe hitting the road is their best route to the Bronx, you’ll interested in this: BaseballParking.com has information on a parking garage that offers spaces that can be reserved for up to the entire home season. The daily charge will be $19.

Tonight’s lineups
YANKEES
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Xavier Nady RF
Cody Ransom 3B
Brett Gardner CF

Pitching: CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte and Jon Albaladejo.

This is in all likelihood the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup … is Rivera human? He’s retired 12 of the 13 hitters he’s faced this spring while throwing 30 of 43 pitches for strikes.

REDS
Darnell McDonald CF
Jerry Hairston Jr SS
Brandon Phillips 2B
Laynce Nix RF
Jonny Gomes DH
Adam Rosales 3B
Jacque Jones 1B
Ramon Hernandez C
Norris Hopper LF

Pitching: Aaron Harang, Daniel Ray Herrera, Mike Lincoln, Josh Roenicke and Pedro Viola.

I like this Reds team. Yeah, it comes off a 74-88 2008, but a program is being built around young players like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Edinson Volquez (he came to Cincinnati in the Josh Hamilton trade), Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto … Harang experienced a severe decline last season, falling from winning 16 games two straight years to 6-17 with a 4.78 ERA … last week, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty refuted an ESPN report that Harang was on the block … should Harang be named Opening Day starter April 6 against the Mets, he’ll be the first Reds hurler to start four consecutive Opening Day games since Jose Rijo from 1992-95. Don’t count on it. Volquez (17-6, 3.21) is their horse.

Tribute to Schilling – the player

schilling_250_032309.jpgBy Jon Lane
Curt Schilling officially retired today after 20 seasons in baseball. He leaves with a rap sheet of conflicts with players and media a mile long, but I’m not talking about that here. Rather, I recall the night when his grit and guts transformed him to one of the greatest impact players in the game’s history.

I begin with the afternoon of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. I’m standing on the field at Fenway Park figuring out my next move when Kevin Millar comes out of the dugout and heads towards the outfield for a workout. The Red Sox were down 3-0 to the Yankees and their dubious history was about to strangle them for the 87th consecutive year. The tension around the team and the city was palpable … or so it seemed.

In response to an inquiry, Millar turned to me and a few of us hanging out behind the first base line. Wearing that infectious — and in this case a devious — smile, Millar said, and I paraphrase, “These guys [the Yankees] had better win tonight. Or else we have Pedro [Martinez] in Game 5 and Schill in Game 6. Once it’s 3-3 anything can happen!” Of course, this eventually became part of Boston lore, but me and this small group of writers were the first to hear it.

The Red Sox won the next two games beginning with a Game 4 rally that started when Mariano Rivera walked Millar to lead off the bottom of the ninth ahead by a run. We’re back in New York for Game 6 and a showdown between Schilling and Jon Leiber, the Yankees’ best postseason starter that October. The Yankees smashed Schilling for six runs in three innings in Game 1. As it turned out, Schilling pitched with a loose tendon in his right ankle and his status for the rest of the series was in doubt. The next few days, Red Sox manager Terry Francona was peppered with inquires as rumors persisted Schilling would give it a go if the series were to extend to six games. When the pieces were put together, a surgical procedure done by the team doctor sutured the loose tendon and Schilling was on the mound for another of one of the Red Sox’s infinite do-or-die games.

schilling_120_032309.jpgBlood seeping through his sock during the game, all Schilling did was pitch seven innings of one-run ball to carry Boston to a 4-2 win, one that wasn’t secured until closer Keith Foulke struck out Tony Clark with two runners on in the bottom of the ninth. Like many of his teammates, Schilling talked tough, standing up to the Yankees’ mystique and aura tag-team, and backed up every word.

Schilling finishes 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts, 14th on baseball’s all-time list. Much more important are his postseason numbers: 11-2 (the finest of any pitcher with at least 10 decisions) and 2.23 ERA in 19 career starts. The sock lives in the Hall of Fame. Sock, blood and right foot will reunite in five years. You can love, loathe or not give a damn about Curt Schilling, but you cannot deny his courage and grace under pressure.

CC looking to deal aces at Joker Marchant

By Jon Lane
It’s the Big C on the mound today against the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. CC Sabathia pitched two scoreless innings in his Spring Training debut last Friday and is right on track for Opening Day April 6 in Baltimore.

From where I sit, Sabathia is already earning his big bucks by establishing himself as an ace with his work ethic and attitude. He’s gone out of his way to integrate himself with his new teammates and has been completely relaxed throughout camp. Yeah, Alex Rodriguez’s tribulations have had Sabathia flying under the radar, but the heat will intensify and Sabathia has shown throughout his career he can handle it.

If the Yankees do not skip Joba Chamberlain’s turn in the rotation, Sabathia will also start the home opener April 16 against his old friends from Cleveland.

Today’s lineup
Melky Cabrera CF
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Jorge Posada DH
Nick Swisher RF
Cody Ransom 3B
Angel Berroa 2B
Ramiro Pena SS
Kevin Cash C

Storylines: Alfredo Aceves, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, Mark Melancon and Steven Jackson will follow Sabathia … Joe Girardi said on Tuesday that Veras, Edwar Ramirez and Phil Coke have the inside track for bullpen spots based on their performances last season. Ramirez threw batting practice this morning after shut down for two weeks with bursitis in his pitching shoulder. Preceding Ramirez was Mariano Rivera, who told reporters he will throw BP again on Saturday and then should be ready for a game … The Brett Gardner hit parade continued Tuesday night. The spark plug went 2-for-3 with an RBI and is batting .417 (10-for-24). Melky Cabrera, meanwhile, is batting .278 and needs to string together a few good games just to keep pace … Neither Xavier Nady (.211) nor Nick Swisher (.133) are distinguishing themselves in the battle for right field, but being that they’re veterans they’re afforded more slack … The Dominican Republic’s shocking elimination from the World Baseball Classic means Robinson Cano and Damaso Marte are expected back by Friday.

2:15 p.m. Rough day at the office for Sabathia, who was lifted with two out in the second. The Tigers bombed the left-hander for five runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings, including a two-run shot from Gary Sheffield.

3:48 p.m. Melky Cabrera went 0-for-3 with a walk, dropping his average to .238. It’s March 11 and there are a lot of spring games left to be played, but Brett Gardner is running away with the job of starting center fielder.

A-Rod has successful surgery

By Jon Lane
WFAN’s Sweeny Murti reported that A-Rod had a successful one hour and
20 minute surgery that according to Dr. Marc Philippon went exactly as
planned. Dr. Philippon added there was “no doubt” that all parties made
the right choice. Not only does A-Rod projected 6-9 weeks of recovery remain on track, he will absolutely be ready for Spring Training
next year following the more invasive procedure.

You can read the full story here.

Shameless plug department: I’ll be discussing A-Rod’s surgery momentarily on Sports Radio 790 in Atlanta. 

News of the day
From the AP: Mariano Rivera threw 30
pitches during his third bullpen session. Coming back from surgery on
the AC joint in his right shoulder last Oct. 7, Rivera is scheduled to
throw batting practice Wednesday and could make his spring training
debut around March 17.

Rivera expects to be ready for Opening Day on April 6.

“I’m right on track,” Rivera said. “Everything will depend on how the arm feels. So far it’s been feeling good.”

Hideki Matsui, who had left knee surgery last Sept.
22, reported no problems after playing consecutive games for the first
time this spring training on Saturday and Sunday.

4:59 p.m.: Joe Girardi was just on WFAN with Mike Francesa.
Among the highlights, Mark Teixeira will continue to bat third in
A-Rod’s absence … Jorge Posada is progressing nicely and the intent
is for him to still catch at least 100 games … Girardi has been
impressed with Phil Hughes, but the Yankees want him to start, so
expect him to begin the season in Triple-A barring injury to one of the starters … Gardner
and Nick Swisher each have caught Girardi’s eye. While it’s still
early, that could eventually spell bad news for Cabrera and Xavier
Nady. Since Cabrera is out of options, Girardi may carry both he and
Gardner, but that remains too early to decide.

YESNetwork.com will have portions of the interview posted later.