Game 44: Yankees at Cubs

Greetings from Wrigley Field, where the Yankees and Cubs are scheduled to play the first of two Interleague contests tonight at 8:05 p.m. ET. Here’s the quick hits of what you need to know tonight:

  • Alfonso Soriano celebrated his first night back in town with dinner and some laughs at former teammate Starlin Castro’s apartment. There are things that Soriano misses about playing in Chicago, but he was ready for that chapter of his career to close last summer.

    After spending 6 1/2 years of his career with the Cubs, arriving at Wrigley Field as a legitimate 40-40 threat and dreaming of leading the club to the World Series, Soriano approved a trade last July that re-fitted him for Yankees pinstripes. He said that New York was his No. 1 choice for a change of scenery.

    “The Yankees and me, we’re on the same page. We want to win now,” Soriano said. “When I played here with the Cubs, they always think about the future; the Yankees are always thinking about the present. That’s why I picked this team first, to play here, because I’m getting older and I just want to go back, have one more chance to go to the playoffs and go to the World Series.”

  • Carlos Beltran was examined by Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday, confirming an initial diagnosis of a bone spur in his right elbow. Beltran is scheduled to attempt swinging a bat next Monday and is hoping to avoid surgery. If Beltran needs surgery to shave down the spur, he would miss approximately eight to 12 weeks of the season.

  • The Yankees know now that they will not have CC Sabathia in their big league rotation for at least six weeks, but manager Joe Girardi remains hopeful that the left-hander will be able to return this season.

    “I think there’s always that possibility that a player may not make it back, but I feel pretty good about what he’s had done so far and the steps that were taken,” Girardi said. “You just kind of keep your fingers crossed.”

  • The Cubs made strong, legitimate pushes to install Joe Girardi as their manager and Masahiro Tanaka as the ace of their pitching staff this past offseason. Neither plan worked out, as both chose the Yankees.

    Tanaka fielded a bid from the Cubs that would have been worth a reported six years and $120 million, but instead signed a seven-year, $155 million pact with the Yankees, who are believed to have been the highest bidder for his services.

    By that time, Girardi had re-upped with the Yankees for four years and $16 million. There was early speculation that Girardi might be tempted by the idea of coming back to Chicago and managing the Cubs, but Girardi said that it was never all that close.

    “When the offseason came, I talked to Brian [Cashman],” Girardi said. “We talked to the Yankees and we talked to the Yankees solely. It was a place that we wanted to be, a place we consider home, a place my kids consider home.

    “So for us, it was just making sure the Yankees wanted us back and it worked out. And it did. It’s not too often a manager gets to say, ‘I can spend 10 years in one city and raise my kids there.’ That’s really, really unusual. It gives stability to all of us – and I like stability.”

    Here are the lineups:

    YANKEES (23-20)

    Brett Gardner LF
    Derek Jeter SS
    Jacoby Ellsbury CF
    Mark Teixeira 1B
    Brian McCann C
    Alfonso Soriano RF
    Yangervis Solarte 3B
    Brian Roberts 2B
    Masahiro Tanaka RHP (6-0, 2.17)

    CUBS (15-27)

    Emilio Bonifacio CF
    Junior Lake LF
    Anthony Rizzo 1B
    Starlin Castro SS
    Luis Valbuena 2B
    Nate Schierholtz RF
    Mike Olt 3B
    John Baker C
    Jason Hammel RHP (4-2, 3.06)

  • 3 Comments

    Yank, you say that every year and obviously you don’t like the Jays but they’re getting their pitching going now and they got a ton of offense. This could be the year. Personally I like the jays to win this division. If the Yankees don’t get into gear I don’t see them holding on. It’s a patched up team waiting for disaster to strike.

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    The Jays have been losers for years, not likely anything will change for those guys this year either. Yanks have had their number for years. Jays don’t scare anyone.

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    man, the Yankees were flat tonight at the plate. Tanaka seemed to be bothered by the mud on his cleats and wasn’t comfortable the whole time with the rain etc. His slid er and location were certainly off. Too many pitches up where good hitters can get to them. Not a great game. You can’t win scoring only 1 run. Poor run support for Tanaka. Ellsbury needs to get it going again. He’s been in a drought ever since he missed that game or two with the flu or whatever he had. He’s not been the same since. He was tearing it up for the first 20 games. It’s maybe all we’re going to get from this aging team this year. This might be the best we can expect. Win one or two, lose one or two. Win a series, lose a series. Up to now we’ve stayed in the hunt but soon one of these teams in the east is going to go on a hot streak and win 10 games in a row and it could be the jays and we’ll be left behind. We’ve now dropped back a half game behind the O’s.

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