Cisco and Nick OK; Molina, Mo and more
Some final notes from George M. Steinbrenner Field, where the sun is going down and the sprinklers are giving home plate a good soaking …
- I don’t remember how I celebrated my 24th birthday, but anything has to be better than taking a fastball off the noggin. Thankfully, Francisco Cervelli’s CT scans came back negative, but he’ll take it slow getting back to duty. A doctor visit is set for tomorrow, with a neurologist on Monday, and the earliest he could play is Tuesday. Bet that Joe Girardi gives Cervelli the Nick Johnson treatment and gives him a few more days beyond that, though.
- Speaking of Johnson, he took 50 swings of BP in the cages today and felt good. He’d play tomorrow if the Yankees had a home game, but they’re playing in Fort Myers, and it makes no sense to put a guy with a tweaked back on a 2+ hour bus ride. But in case you’re keeping score at home, yes, Johnson will have missed four games because he wore the wrong pair of shoes.
- I didn’t get to it in a news story, but Jose Molina (“The Panda”) was here and spoke to reporters a little bit about why he and A.J. Burnett seemed to click so well last season. One thing Molina said was that communication was a key – “I talked to him about a million times,” he said.
“There’s a lot of pitchers like that,” Molina said. “He’s one of those guys that can be pitching a nice game, seven innings and no runs or anything, and then he gives up a home run. Then he’s just lost. That’s when you realize you need to talk to him.”
- One final thought that I had this morning and chuckled about, promising to blog today — the day I was part of Mariano Rivera’s ‘security entourage.’ When I was in college and living in Rockland County, N.Y., I spent a few summers working in a sports memorabilia store at the Palisades Center mall, and one day we had Mo come in for an autograph signing.
The two hour session went by rather uneventfully, but what I was laughing about was the few minutes after the signing, when Mo needed to get back to his car (maybe the Yankees had a night game; I don’t remember). I guess he didn’t have anyone with him, so I was asked to escort him — must have been my intimidating plastic nametag — out to the parking lot.
I wish I could tell you that I beat down some nasty looking thugs trying to inflict harm on No. 42, but it all went about as smoothly as a three-pitch inning. We ducked out a side entrance near the Macaroni Grill trash dumpsters, where a few of the waiters were on their smoke breaks, and found his SUV parked somewhere nearby.
On the way, I dug into my pocket and pulled out a baseball for Mariano, and asked him to show me how he throws his cutter. I mean, I’m 20 years old, I might never get this chance again, right?
So he wraps his fingers around the ball, shows me his Hall of Fame grip, and then flips it back to me with these words: “Now don’t forget.” Don’t worry, Mo, I still haven’t. (By the way, I tried throwing it with almost no discernable results. Lesson of the day – I’m not Mariano Rivera.)