Results tagged ‘ Xavier Nady ’

The Pulse of New York

Every Tuesday, YES Blog takes the pulse of New York on the hottest
topics being talked about right now in the world of sports. What’s your
take on the below issues?

Who would you feel most comfortable with starting a game in the post season?(surveys)

Who would you like to see as the Yankees’ starting right fielder in 2010?(polling)

Who is the American League MVP?(online surveys)

Where will Brett Gardner be most valuable in the post season?(survey software)

Which American League team would you most fear facing in the post season?(survey software)

Who will win the American League Central?(survey)

Marte begins rehab assignment

By Jon Lane
Damaso Marte threw an inning today for the Gulf Coast League Yankees, his first rehab assignment of his recovery from left shoulder tendinitis that’s kept him out since April 25. Marte threw 12 pitches (11 strikes) against the GCL Pirates at the Yankees’ Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla., allowing a run on two hits. His next appearance is scheduled for Saturday.

Marte owns a 15.19 ERA in seven appearances. If he returns to the form that enticed the Yankees to acquire him along with Xavier Nady at last season’s trade deadline, he’ll fortify the back end of the bullpen.

Do the Yankees need another outfielder?

By Glenn Giangrande

With Xavier Nady seemingly done for the year, do the Yankees need another corner outfielder?

Let’s assume that Brett Gardner’s red-hot June continues, giving him the starting job in center that he lost to Melky Cabrera earlier this year. Melky COULD slide over to right, but would having Gardner and Cabrera together in the lineup be detrimental to the offense? Say yes for the sake of argument. Nick Swisher is an adventure out in right, and Johnny Damon’s defense has clearly taken a step back in left. The Yanks would do wise to bring in one more outfielder with the versatility to handle left or right.

The perfect fit? Mark DeRosa.

A New Jersey native, DeRosa was a guest on Batting Practice Today earlier this season, saying he’d love to play for the Yankees before his career ends. He’s in the final year of a three-year contract that he signed with the Cubs, who traded him to the Indians over the winter. Cleveland appears headed for a rebuilding phase, with ace pitcher Cliff Lee being rumored to be on the block. If he was on the Yankees right now, DeRosa’s bat would qualify as the second best among players able to handle the outfield behind Damon’s – I’m not counting Hideki Matsui, whose knees have betrayed him. DeRosa is probably best known as an infielder, but he’s got a fair amount of experience in the outfield, having started a total of 179 games in right field and left field combined. In 216 total games counting those in which he moved to one of those positions, he’s made only two errors.

Prior to the news developing concerning Nady’s likely need for Tommy John surgery, Brian Cashman was quoted as saying that the Yankees didn’t need a bat and that “all the bats are here.” If his perspective has changed, the idea of DeRosa is one the Yankees would do well to pursue.

A second chance to make the next impression

By Jon Lane
We’re live from Yankee Stadium on a gray Thursday morning, where later today Chien-Ming Wang will attempt to erase a dreadful beginning to his 2009 season when makes his first start in nearly seven weeks. Since he was activated from the disabled list (hip), which also was a chance for him to hit the reset button, Wang allowed two runs and nine hits in eight innings covering three relief appearances while showing the form that made him a two-time 19-game winner.

One start good or bad won’t define the rest of the season for the right-hander, but you know Wang and the Yankees are hoping for the best even though he’s on a limited pitch count (around 75). It’s going to be very interesting to see how this unfolds.

Back later with much more, including today’s lineups and the status of Mark Teixeira, who sat out last night with a bruised right ankle.

11:26 a.m.
Here are the lineups. It’s just a day off for Derek Jeter with a stretch of 17 games in a row. And Teixeira told Joe Girardi this morning, “I’m good to go,” and later explained that his collision with Elvis Andrus was bone on bone, which is what left him sore for a day.

11:54 a.m.
MLB has suspended A.J. Burnett six games for intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area of Nelson Cruz Monday night. It is expected he will appeal.

11:57 a.m.
Some quick rehab reports:

Jorge Posada is healthy and is also getting the day off. Girardi thought about starting him this afternoon, but when Posada told him he was OK, Girardi replied, “Let’s keep it OK.”

“I just thought it was better to give him a day,” Girardi said. “It’s a quick turnaround.”

Brian Bruney threw from 90 feet Tuesday and felt fine … Xavier Nady had the day off … Jose Molina was expected to return to New York today to receive treatment and will be held off from baseball activity for the next week or two.

12:58 p.m.
About 10 minutes before Wang makes his first pitch. Girardi reiterated this morning how Wang’s sinker over his last few outings has worked like it’s supposed to, going down and not side to side. The bottom line is he deserved a shot at redemption and today will not be a case of one bad start and you’re done.

“He had three really tough starts,” Girardi said. “He won 46 games in 2 years. I’m not sure how many guys can boast that. This is not just a guy we’re trying out. This is a guy we believe in.”

I spoke to a respected member of the Taiwanese media who noted a swagger that’s been missing from Wang since Spring Training. Imagine being in limbo and having to rehab in Tampa while your wife is weeks away from giving birth to your first child? You’d be pretty upset and the vibe is that Wang will channel those energies in a positive way.

1:16 p.m.
Nice start for Wang retiring the Rangers in order on 13 pitches (nine for strikes), including freezing Ian Kinsler on a perfectly located 3-2 pitch. Remember that Wang’s pitch limit is around 75, but Girardi cited the Rangers’ penchant for swinging the bat, which made him hope Wang can work five-six innings anyway.

1:26 p.m.
Mark Teixeira reached on an error when David Murphy dropped a fly ball he initially caught one-handed. Rangers manager Ron Washington argued that the ball was lost on the transfer from glove to throwing hand, but replays indicated Murphy did not secure the ball first.

I was inserting a moral of the story message to Mets rookie Fernando Martinez about the importance of running to first base no matter what, which Teixeira did, until Teixeira got caught between first and second trying to advance on Alex Rodriguez’s fly ball to right. Shortstop Elvis Andrus cut off Nelson Cruz’s throw, chased Teixeira back to first and tagged him out a split second before getting back to the bag.

1-0 Yankees after one on a leadoff home run by Johnny Damon.

1:51 p.m.
Wang’s laboring here in the third. The Rangers took a 2-1 lead on a wild pitch and Hank Blaock’s RBI single.

1:54 p.m.
Chris Davis led off the third with a ground-rule double and Wang nearly esacaped a runner on third, one-out jam before he threw ball four – and a wild pitch – that allowed Davis to score the tying run. Wang had to work – he caught a bad break with Michael Young’s infield hit – his location wasn’t as sharp as the first two innings. He threw 22 pitches, which gives him 45 after three. His last pitch, though, froze Nelson Cruz for strike three.

2:07 p.m.
Wang’s time in this game is rapidly running short. A single and two straight doubles have given the Rangers a 4-1 lead, the last of which drew boos from an impatient crowd. Alfredo Aceves warming up.

2:09 p.m.
He recovers to record three quick outs without further damage. At 60 pitches, expect the fifth inning to be his last.

2:16 p.m.
A-Rod, incidentally, is 2-for-13 in this series and drew loud boos with his groundout to short after Teixeira led off the fourth with a double.

2:25 p.m.
Wang retired the first two Rangers on the fifth on ground balls, throwing only six pitches. He was on his way to a nice finish before Nelson Cruz crushed his worst pitch of the day into the Rangers bullpen (he had not allowed a home run to a right-handed batter in his prior 21 starts.

His final line: 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 1 WP. Great? No. But Wang isn’t yet fully stretched out to throw 90-100 pitches. It’s a work in progress and not an audition, so you’ll be seeing him in the rotation for some time.

2:45 p.m.
In a blink of an eye, Wang is off the hook. The Yankees load the bases, Nick Swisher draws a run-scoring walk and Mark Teixeira doubles home three to tie the game at five. The number of ways Teixeira is valuable to this team seems to double every game.

2:48 p.m.
Now the fans love A-Rod. He pokes an opposite-field single to plate Teixeira and put the Yankees ahead, 6-5. Lots of layers to this contest, but the most important is Wang laying the foundation to again be an important part of the Yankees’ rotation sooner rather than later.

3:01 p.m.
Ian Kinsler homers off the foul pole to tie the game 6-6. Aceves has definitely looked better in other outings.

3:37 p.m.
Still 6-6 as we enter the eighth. The bullpens have settled things down while Nick Swisher (2-for-3, BB, RBI) is out of the game for defensive purposes. Brett Gardner is in center while Melky Cabrera shifts over to right.

3:43 p.m.
Phil Coke: 1 1/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts and a snatch catch of a line drive. It’s the best he’s looked in awhile. But I like Girardi calling on David Robertson to face the right-handed Elvis Andrus. Robertson needs to be tested in big spots and he did his job, retiring Andrus on a fly ball to left.

3:49 p.m.
Melky … again. Not a walk-off, but he hands a two-run lead to Mariano Rivera in the ninth.

Posada on his way

By Jon Lane
The Yankees are about to get a lot stronger. After playing six innings in an extended Spring Training game Thursday, Jorge Posada told The Associated Press he was scheduled to fly to Cleveland to meet his teammates for the start of a four-game series against the Indians Friday night.

Posada has been sidelined since straining his right hamstring May 4 and I don’t need to remind you how valuable he is to the Yankees. Someone will need to be dropped from the roster to make room for Posada. At this point it makes too much sense to DFA Angel Berroa. He hasn’t had an at-bat since May 4, and young defensive whiz Ramiro Pena serves the same purpose. Besides, you want to carry three catchers to cover yourself in case that tricky hamstring acts up again and until Jose Molina returns you’ll want to stash away Kevin Cash, who in a pinch can fill in at third base. Molina (strained left quadriceps) is working out in Tampa, but not ready for game action yet.

Of equal significance is Xavier Nady’s two hits in five at-bats, including an opposite-field homer to right, while serving as the DH. He’ll fill that spot in New York when he returns to help give Hideki Matsui a blow and eventually take over right field. Nick Swisher is a great guy whose positive energy is contagious, but he’s batting .223 (.127 this month). He’s being spared a night or two on the bench with Melky Cabrera out at least a week.

The Pulse of New York

Every Tuesday, YES Blog takes the pulse of New York on the hottest
topics being talked about right now in the world of sports. What’s your
take on the below issues?

Phil Hughes should …(online poll)

Jake Peavy will finish the season as a member of the …(opinion polls)

The Chicago Cubs losing streak will reach how many games before picking up a win?(poll)

MLB’s instant replay procedure …(ning polls)

Which current post season do you find most compelling?(online surveys)

TGIF: Random Yankee thoughts

hughes_250_051509.jpgBy Jon Lane
“Friday is the day when everyone gets their motivation and energy back.”
– ‘Vice’ the coffee, bagel and danish vendor, 15th & 9th, Manhattan.

Nothing like a nice late-spring Friday morning to get you going and fill you with optimism. Our Steven Goldman, who can be a tough critic, gives props to the Yankees for taking two of three games from the first-place Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees haven’t gained traction yet, but there are reasons for hope. They have won 4 of 6 and are home for 10 games. CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera are looking like, well, CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera, and the team has received surprising contributions from Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli.

Just like that, people are feeling good about the Yankees again. It’s truly amazing how in baseball the story changes every day, even every hour. Wasn’t two weeks ago when the Mets were declared finished because they lacked an “edge?” Last I looked they’re 10-3 this month.

“It’s a nice little shift for us,” said Joe Girardi. “This is something that you can build on.”

Back at .500 and trailing the Blue Jays by 4 games, the Yankees face the Twins, Orioles and Phillies these next 10 days. Lots of baseball left to be played, but the time is now to take three of four here, two of three there – if not compile a winning streak. Girardi’s bunch wants to be both winning and fully healthy by the time they tackle the Rays and Red Sox from June 5-11.

Onto a few random thoughts hours before Alex Rodriguez test drives the new Yankee Stadium tonight against the Twins (YES HD, 7 p.m.).

  • Big start for Phil Hughes, 0-2 with a 17.49 ERA after silencing the Tigers for six innings on April 28. Good or bad, I see Hughes headed to Triple-A if Chien-Ming Wang pitches well in his second rehab start for Scranton on Sunday and cleared medically, but a strong effort would be one of those “nice problems to have” and build Hughes’ confidence back up. There are people who are still expecting Hughes to throw zeros every time he pitches. Yeah, he gave up eight runs, eight hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings – the shortest start in his three-year career – last Saturday in Baltimore. Many are tempted to declare him a bust who will never live up to his promise as a first-round, can’t-miss prospect. He also turns 23 next month. What’s the rush? Not every youngster makes an immediate impact. Let him get more work at Scranton and allow him to mature as a pitcher. Then we can evaluate.

  • Big day for Xavier Nady, out since April 15 with a partially torn elbow ligament and rehabbing in hopes of avoiding a second Tommy John surgery. Nady will swing a bat this afternoon and provided he feels no pain is hoping to begin a Minor League rehab assignment before the end of the month. The plan is for Nady to be a DH and ease him back into the outfield. Where that leaves Hideki Matsui is another story for another day. For Nady’s sake, let’s hope we have a chance to debate it.

  • A-Rod is excited to play in his first game at the Bronx Mahal ( Chris Shearn). He’s 3-for-14 since returning last Friday, but hasn’t missed an inning. Look for him to be the designated hitter and for the home crowd to provide a nice response. Hometown fans have high thresholds for players who admittedly or allegedly dabble in PEDs (just ask Barry Bonds’ loyal following). Only if A-Rod continues to not hit or fails in a big spot will boos grow long and loud.

  • Sabathia’s last two starts: 2-0, 17 innings, two runs, nine hits, five walks, 13 strikeouts. The left-hander got the Yankees going on the road with a complete-game, four-hit shutout in Baltimore, overshadowed when A-Rod hit the first pitch he saw over the left field fence, but also healing balm for an appalling 2-5 homestand.

  • Cervelli (.316) has been impressive at and behind the plate, writes Tyler Kepner. At this rate it’ll be another one of those “nice problems” once Jose Molina is eligible to come off the disabled list.

  • How great has Johnny Damon been? The reigning American League Player of the Week has at least one extra-base hit in 10 consecutive games, matching a single-season franchise record held by Don Mattingly (1987) and Paul O’Neill (2001). He’s 18 for his last 42 (.429), with at least one run scored in those 10 games. River Ave Blues analyzed Damon’s run and desire to stay in the Bronx once his contract expires at the end of the season.

You are what your record says you are

damon_250_050609.jpg

By Joe Auriemma
The Yankees are 27 games into the season and under .500. They already have two four-game losing streaks and are playing exactly like their record states. This team has problems and it’s the type of problems that won’t just disappear with the return of Alex Rodriguez into the middle of the order.

As was the case with last season, the Yankees already have had major injury issues. The loss of A-Rod was just the tip of the iceberg when they lost two of their big money relievers in Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte. Now Marte had not been good before he was injured, but he is an experienced pitcher. Bruney has not had a full season with the Yankees since his 58-game performance in 2007. He has been lights out every time he’s been in there and he seems to be what’s missing from what has been a subpar bullpen this season. There are many inexperienced arms out there that give up the big hit at the worst possible moment.

I never like to blame injuries, but it has ravaged the bullpen, the lineup and the bench. The Yankees lost A-Rod, then his replacement Cody Ransom went down, Xavier Nady has been out and then they lost their leading RBI man in Jorge Posada. To make matters worse, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui have been playing hurt and let’s not forget about Chien-Ming Wang, who was just putrid in three starts this season. Every team has injuries, but the Yankees’ situation is pretty bad.

Could the injury bug for the second straight season be blamed on age? Yes, I think the advanced age of these players has a lot to do with the injuries. The Red Sox and Rays have a pretty young core of players and they don’t seem to be going through this same problem over the last two seasons.

After the injuries and the bullpen issues, the Yankees have had a tough year defensively. That seems to be the difference between a lot of the upper echelon teams to how they are playing right now.

This team also is not manufacturing runs. They don’t move runners over and when they do, they don’t drive them in.

With all of this being said, the Yankees can still snap out of this with the talent that they have and win their share of ballgames. However, when you combine everything that’s going on with the team right now, it really is true, “You are what your record says you are.”

Report: Nady gets a reprieve

nady_350_042109.jpgBy Jon Lane
SI.com’s Jon Heyman is reporting that Xavier Nady has been diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow and will avoid surgery. What began as fear that Nady would be gone for the season has turned into a timetable that could last for 4-6 weeks.

Heyman added Nady could return in a DH role. As I wrote earlier today, the Yankees are very concerned about Hideki Matsui’s knees. Matsui is in tonight’s lineup and batting seventh.

12:39 p.m.
Plenty of time to kill before the Yankees and A’s try it again tonight (My9 HD, 7 p.m.). Skies are overcast but more rain may invade the area later today into tonight.

Yesterday’s rainout allowed me to pay full attention to Game 3 of the Rangers’ first-round matchup with the Washington Capitals. Rather than step on the favored Caps’ throats to the brink of extinction, the Blueshirts decided to form a Conga line to the penalty box. They were outplayed by Washington’s snipers and a 20-year-old goaltender named Simeon Varlamov in dropping a 4-0 decision at Madison Square Garden, where they went 26-11-14 during the regular season. On the road they were 17-19-5 and won the first two games of this series in Washington DC. Go figure.

Back to baseball and the ongoing Xavier Nady watch. While the Yankees are holding out hope their right-fielder will not need surgery on his injured right elbow, the prognosis remains bleak. To date, Nady has undergone at least five tests in which doctors are trying to differentiate between this and injury he suffered in 2001, which required Tommy John surgery. Dr. Lewis Yocum, the surgeon who performed the procedure on Nady’s elbow in ’01, was expected to get the MRI pictures today. Supposedly there were to be sent via e-mail yesterday, but Dr. Yocum isn’t up on 21st century technology, so the Yankees FedExed him the information.

You obviously hope for the best in a situation that is flat-out terrible timing. Nady batted .305 with the Pirates and Yankees last season and becomes a free agent after this season. It makes you wonder how teams will view a veteran who turns 31 in November and whose body of work will be two RBIs in 28 at-bats in seven games. Speaking to a couple of Yankees, they made it clear Nady is appreciated and will be missed. The day after Nady injured his elbow, Nick Swisher painted a big ‘X’ on his arm to let him know his teammates won’t forget him. At the beginning of Spring Training, the two were competing for playing time in right field. The rivalry evolved into a tight friendship.

“Anytime somebody has to go through that it’s tough,” Swisher said. “We all want him to know we’re going to be there for him. Anything we can do to help, we’re all going to do that. You’re talking about losing a tremendous player – not just a tremendous player but an awesome guy.”

“It’s a big loss,” said Brett Gardner. “‘X’ is gone hopefully everybody can rally together and pick up the slack. It drives you a little more when you know your team and your coaches are counting on you.”

Further complicating matters is the fact that Hideki Matsui’s surgically repaired left knee needed to be drained last Thursday, creating a major level of concern about an aging veteran restricted to DH duty, and batting.194 (6-for-31) overall and .083 (1-for-12) with runners in scoring position. This makes you wonder if Matt Holliday will be the Yankees’ top target come July.

I hate to bring this up, but it’s true. Ross Ohlendorf – he and Jeff Karstens were shipped to Pittsburgh before last
season’s trade deadline for Nady and the now flammable Damaso Marte – threw seven shutout innings against the Marlins Monday night and would be better than 1-2 if not for a lack of run support. He had gone 0-5 with a 5.88 ERA dating back to last season before silencing a team that scored a combined 16 runs in its previous two games.

Like the signing of Carl Pavano, you may complain about this now, but you weren’t then. At least four teams were fighting over Pavano in 2004; Ohlendorf and Karstens, two pitchers on the outside looking in, were traded as part of a package for two reliable and proven veterans. It was impossible to foresee Nady getting hurt and Marte becoming a time bomb.

Karstens starts tonight and looks to recover from his 2009 debut in which he walked five in four innings. 

Welcome to the party

stadium_350_041609.jpgBy Jon Lane
It’s a bit past 12:30 p.m. and the Opening Ceremonies are under way as 50,000-plus have jam-packed this beautiful new facility, open for business and the first official game between the Yankees and Indians.

John Fogerty and Bernie Williams performed live, and Michael Kay and John Sterling are introducing Yankees alumni. As timing has it, the Milwaukee Brewers play the Mets tomorrow. Willie Randolph is the Brewers’ bench coach and that’s allowed him to participate this afternoon. Our own David Cone received a nice ovation, as did Randolph, Rich Gossage and Tino Martinez.

I’ll be back with much more, including more thoughts on today. A quick update on Xavier Nady: He was to see the team doctor this morning, but told me just before 11:30 he had not yet been examined. Nady was placed on the 15-day DL today and pitcher David Robertson was called up from Triple-A Scranton. Joe Girardi’s reasoning was to wait and see if Nady will in fact miss the season or if the news turns out better than expected.

12:47 p.m.
Indians pitcher Carl Pavano was introduced to loud boos. The one-time Yankees’ colossal failure smirked at the ovation, a few writers up here snickered at the reaction.

12:56 p.m.
The 2009 Yankees were just introduced. Here’s who received the loudest ovations:
A.J. Burnett
Mariano Rivera
Andy Pettitte
Joba Chamberlain
Derek Jeter
Nick Swisher
CC Sabathia

stadium_opening_470.jpg
1:07 p.m.
Two minutes until first pitch. Here’s a shot of the military’s presenting of our colors.

First pitch: 1:09 p.m., a ball to Grady Sizemore. The game time temperature is 56 degrees.
First out: Sizemore grounds out to first base.
First strikeout: Victor Martinez whiffs to end a clean top of the first for CC Sabathia.

1:21 p.m.
The Yankees were happy just to have come home, but especially happy to be in their new digs off a nine-game road trip, the team’s longest to begin a season since 1985. Think about it: You spend six weeks in Florida, come home and instantly fall in love with your new home and three days later have to go away for nearly two weeks. After an 0-2 start in which the worst of cynics declared the season over, the Yankees are home at 5-4 and look to build off two quality wins. Not too shabby.

Hours before the pregame ceremonies, Joe Girardi told the media he had this day circled on the calendar for awhile and that the anticipation was only going to grow as the day progressed. He still takes the same route to the new Stadium (Exit 6) off the Major Deegan Expressway, which takes him directly to River Avenue. He, like everyone else, can’t help notice the venerable “House That Ruth Built” slowly and painfully being dismantled. Normally upon the opening of a new building, the old one is parking lot, but like a stubborn old goat, the original Yankee Stadium still casts a shadow over its plush neighbor.

“It’s strange driving by the old Stadium and it’s still there,” Girardi said.

Babe Ruth built the place across the street. This facility was built by George M. Steinbrenner, regarded as the architect of the Stadium that combines elements of past, present and future. The Boss is in attendance today, but keeping a low profile.

“I don’t think Opening Day is the same without him here,” Girardi said. “This is George’s creation. He’s been part of it for so long. To say the Yankees, you say Mr. Steinbrenner.”

Right after Bob Sheppard’s pre-recorded voice introduced Derek Jeter was something pretty cool. The bat on home plate prior to Jeter’s first plate appearance was used by Babe Ruth to hit the first home run in the first game at the original Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1923. The Babe hit a three-run homer off Boston’s Howard Ehmke to spark the Yankees to a 4-1 win. The bat was taken directly to the Yankees Museum here at the new Stadium, where it will be on display until the All-Star break.

No such luck for Jeter. Facing last season’s Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, Jeter filed out to center. Johnny Damon, however, is now forever down in history as the first player to record the first hit here: a single to right center field.

1:30 p.m.
Lee, 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA coming in, got into immediate trouble. He plunked Mark Teixeira in the right triceps to put runners on first and second for the Yankees’ newest cult hero, Nick Swisher.

Someone asked Swisher before the game if there’s anybody he’s not best friends with, and I tend to wonder if there’s ever a moment when he doesn’t smile. Probably not. His grin was especially wide after he received a surprise gift in the mail, a shiny new pair of Nikes. If I were to guess, Swisher probably didn’t get a wink of sleep last night.

“If you can’t ready for today, man, you’ve got problems,” Swisher said. “I love what I do. I absolutely love what I do, and it shows. I add that because that’s my personality.”

Taking a break from batting practice, Swisher walked into the clubhouse bellowing like a little kid at the amusement park, “Opening Day! New York Yankees! 2009!”

Swisher’s first official at-bat in pinstripes: a fly out to center field. Jorge Posada came up with two out and Lee’s pitch out already over 20, but grounded to first.

1:37 p.m.
First hit by a visiting player: Ben Francisco’s two-out double to left field. Sabathia worked out of trouble after walking the next batter.

1:47 p.m.
Here in the bottom of the second, Robinson Cano led off with a base hit. Coming off a down 2008, Cano is 14 for 35 (.400) on the season. The Yankees were wise not to trade him, just like they were smart to hold on to Swisher when it was thought they had a glut of outfielders.

1:50 p.m.
Brett Gardner flies out to left to end the second. Off to check out the game atmospheres at the Hard Rock Cafe and NYY Steak

3:06 p.m.
I’m back from checking out the Hard Rock and NYY Steak. While chatting with ESPN’s Hannah Storm, Jorge Posada belted the first home run at the new Yankee Stadium to Monument Park in dead center field to tie the game at 1-1. It was also a milestone homer. Posada’s jack was the 223th of his career, passing Don Mattingly for No. 8 on the all-time franchise list. Ironically, Jose Molina, another catcher, belted the final homer at the old place.

There’s lots of ground to cover about the activities here at Yankee Stadium. I’ll gradually catch up while tracking what’s a tight ballgame.

championships_150.jpg3:21 p.m.
Interesting observation from an ESPN producer standing behind me. This wall behind the bleachers in right field has signs representing each year the Yankees became World Champions. “They didn’t leave room for a new one,” the producer said. Should the Yankees win No. 27, that will be an offseason project.

Meanwhile, Sabathia’s day is done after throwing 122 pitches (70 strikes) in 5 2/3 innings. Not efficient, but he leaves a game tied at 1-1.

3:34 p.m.
Nice job by Phil Coke, who came in with a 9.82 ERA,
to get Sizemore to fly out to left and leave the bases loaded to end the top of sixth. The Yankees have to build off that and get something started here.

3:49 p.m.
The love fest is over (for now). Jose Veras allowed a walk and a double to start the seventh before Jhonny Peralta doubled home two runs. When he’s off his game, Veras, booed off the mound, cannot find the plate and it cost him today.

4:00 p.m.
Today’s attendance: 48,271. Two thousand standing room only tickets were not sold before the game.

Thanks to the bullpen, the natives are now restless. The Indians have exploded for eight runs in the seventh off Veras and Damaso Marte, the back-breaker Sizemore’s grand slam to right field. Since 1998 the Yankees have won 11 consecutive home openers, 16 of their last 17 and 22 of their last 25 since 1983.

It’s 10-1 Tribe after Victor Martinez’s solo shot. Fans hollered, “We want Swisher!”

hrc_150_041609.jpg4:26 p.m.
With the game in the ridiculous stage, here are some highlights on the action at the Hard Rock and NYY Steak from earlier today.

Hard Rock opened at 10 a.m. and was packed to where by 2 p.m. there was a two-hour wait. A few people were getting restless, but the majority were having a blast.

Mike Mancini, hanging out with a group of Connecticut natives at the bar, made a three-hour trip, without a ticket, from Hartford. He was loving the appeal of watching a game within the Stadium confines and a fun atmosphere, certainly not a consolation prize.

“It’s been worth the trip,” Mancini said. “We drove three hours, in traffic, to hang out at the Hard Rock. We’re here drinking with our Pisans and have the beautiful Jillian behind the bar!”

nyysteak_250.jpgRon Lombardi of Mountain Lakes, N.J. is another ticket holder who
explored views from his seats for the first four innings and the Hard
Rock before he and his group settled into the laid-back atmosphere of
NYY Steak. Part of the decor is a wall affixed with signatures from Yankees greats of the past. And although Lombardi had not yet been served his main course, NYY Steak’s greens had him sold.

“This is a steakhouse,” Lombardi said. “The appetizers are good.”

Jacques Lamour, general manager of NYY Steak, told me you can have your initials carved within the bone of the rib eye, one of the many beef options dry-aged for 21-28 days.None of Steak’s dishes are frozen except the lobster tails and ice cream, everything else starts from scratch. If not for a light wallet and work obligations, I would have sampled a cut!

6:02 p.m.
There’s been some confusion over the scheduled examination of Xavier Nady’s right elbow. One day after it appeared his season was over, suddenly there’s a tiny ray of light.

Nady had a second X-Ray late this morning and will visit orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum, known for performing Tommy John surgery and receive a CT scan tomorrow. After that, there will be a closer look of the MRI he received in Tampa to see what’s going on with the bone.

Nady’s was disabled this morning, so it’s not like the Yankees have to make an immediate decision. The medical team is exhausting all options to avoid another Tommy John surgery, which Nady first had done in 2002.

 “If you can avoid surgery at all costs, that’s what you want to do,” Nady said. “If there’s a chance at rehab, obviously that’s the way to go. You want to be 100 percent sure of what’s going on in there, have every test done and look at everything. I went through that surgery before and would like to avoid it myself.”

Not much else to report from the clubhouse except the obvious fact that both Marte and Veras are disappointed with their respective failures. Marte blamed location; all of his pitches were right down the middle. Veras shouldered all the blame because his leadoff walk of Mark DeRosa led to the bottom falling out.

“I’m better than that,” he said.

Outside of Mariano Rivera and Brian Bruney, the bullpen has been either real good or real bad. Today was terrible, but better to figure this out heading into Game 11 than in September.