Girardi knows it’s playoffs or bust in ’09
In three-plus decades of Steinbrenner ownership, listing “manager of the New York Yankees” on your resume has historically made for some shaky job security. No one needs to remind Joe Girardi.
He is well aware that if the lights aren’t on at the new Yankee Stadium come October, someone else could be sitting behind the manager’s desk in 2010.
“As a player, I felt it every year,” Girardi said. “If you didn’t play well, you didn’t get a job the next year. I’m comfortable; I understand. Would I rather be sitting with a World Series ring from 2008? Yes, I would, but it’s not the reality of it.”
Here are assorted other items from Girardi’s first press conference of the spring (more than half of which revolved around A-Rod):
— On CC Sabathia: “Look at what CC has done the last couple of years. What he’s been able to accomplish, the innings that he’s been able to give a club. Pitching last year in Milwaukee in a difficult Wild Card race and his personality leads me to believe that he can be very successful in New York.”
— On A.J. Burnett: “Hearing how he’s talked about matured, he’s learned over the last couple of years that it’s not just throwing the ball through a wall. It leads me to believe that he’s going to do well.”
— On Mark Teixeira: “I’m very impressed by Tex, just by my conversations with him and what he brings to the table every day. The playoffs with the Angels last year were successful. I think I’m looking at the track record, but more importantly, the discussions.”
— Jorge Posada is being expected to catch 100 to 110 games this year, though he probably won’t catch in the spring until mid-March. The longer spring schedule allows them to be more conservative. Mariano Rivera will likewise be brought along slowly as there’s no rush for him to log his eight to 10 innings.
— Hideki Matsui is in camp and tested well with his surgically repaired left knee. He’ll begin camp on rehab to avoid pounding on it with running early on. The plan is that Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera will be the Opening Day center fielder but that is, of course, subject to change.
— Girardi seemed to hint he may lean toward Xavier Nady in right field if he had to fill out a lineup card right now, but Nick Swisher will get a fair shake as long as both guys remain in camp. “It’s something we have to decide over the next 7 ½ weeks,” he said.
— Last point to hammer home: For the purposes of 2009, Joba Chamberlain is a starting pitcher.