“It’s kind of hard to believe that 20 seasons have gone by so quickly. There’s so many people I want to thank, and I’ll get that opportunity to do that over the next few weeks, both publicly and privately. But I want to take a brief moment to thank the Steinbrenner family, to Mr. George Steinbrenner, for giving me the opportunity to play my entire career for the only organization I’ve ever wanted to play for.
“I want to thank my family and friends, who are all over. Thanks for all the love and support throughout the years, through the good times and more importantly, through the tough times. Thank you very much.
“My managers, coaches, trainers, teammates, both current and former, I’ve been blessed to play with the best and I wouldn’t want to compete without any of your guys. So thank you very much.
“Lastly, most importantly, I want to thank you – the fans. Anyone that’s here today, anyone that’s at home watching, anyone that’s ever been here over the course or watched during the last 20 seasons, thank you very much. You guys have all watched me grow up over the last 20 years; I’ve watched you too. Some of you guys are getting old too. But I want to thank you for helping me feel like a kid the past 20 years.
“In my opinion, I’ve had the greatest job in the world. I’ve got a chance to be the shortstop of the New York Yankees, and there’s only one of those. I always felt that my job was to try to provide joy and entertainment for you guys, but it can’t compare to what you’ve brought me. So for that, thank you very much. Now I’ve loved what I’ve done, I love what I do, but more importantly I love doing it for you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much…
And we’ve got a game to play.”
As we get ready for the Derek Jeter day festivities here at Yankee Stadium, this is a fun tidbit to pass along, courtesy of our friend Dom Amore.
On June 2, 1995, Jeter’s first game at Yankee Stadium, Jerry Seinfeld was at the ballpark for the contest against the Angels. Bob Sheppard, the legendary public address announcer, allowed Seinfeld to take the microphone and announce the starting lineups, impersonating Sheppard with lines like: “Batting fourth, the designated hitter, which I don’t agree with, No. 44, Chili Davis, No. 44.” (Here’s Amore’s original 1995 clip from the Hartford Courant.)
So even though Jeter has said that he will always come up to the Sheppard recording, Sheppard was actually not the first person to announce him at Yankee Stadium — Jerry Seinfeld was.
Martin Prado has a “mild, mild strain” of his left hamstring, according to manager Joe Girardi, and is expected to be out of the Yankees’ lineup for the rest of the series against the Red Sox.
“We’ll see tomorrow, but right now he’s down,” Girardi said. “Our hope is it won’t be too long. We’ll have to see.”
Girardi said that Prado was completely shut down on Wednesday and is receiving treatment. Prado was injured in Tuesday’s 9-4 loss to Boston and had an MRI on the hamstring after the game.
“He’s been swinging really well. It’s not what you want,” Girardi said. “Hopefully it’s just a day or two here and we can get him back, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Stephen Drew got the start at second base on Wednesday.
As Derek Jeter heads into the final month of his final big league season, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he is dismissing the outside cries for the captain to be dropped in the batting order, expressing confidence in a strong finish.
Jeter’s performance fell off markedly in August, with the 40-year-old posting a split line of .207/.226/.261. That dropped his batting average from .277 to .261, and Jeter posted just four extra-base hits in 26 games, working two walks.
“For the first four months of the year, he was probably one of our most consistent hitters; one of the three most consistent hitters in our club,” Girardi said. “I consider us to be in playoff mode right now, for us, because we obviously need to win games. Throughout his career, he’s been clutch in the playoffs and we’re leaving him there.”
Girardi said that Jeter is “a hot topic always just because of who he is,” but noted that there have been other issues throughout the Yankees’ lineup.
“You look up and down our numbers and there’s a lot of .240s and .230s,” Girardi said. “I’m not so sure why he’s the one that’s necessarily picked on here. As I’ve said, this guy has been a money player his whole career and we need him to be the last month.”
Girardi said that he is not averse to shuffling pieces in the lineup, pointing out that he elevated Martin Prado against left-handed pitching because of his production (.996 OPS) against southpaws. Against righties, Jeter (.634 OPS) and Prado (.624 OPS) have been similar.
“[Jeter] could hit .600 and if the other guys don’t produce around him and through the lineup, then it’s not going to matter what he hits,” Girardi said. “It’s going to have to be a collection of all these guys that can swing the bat extremely well.”
Likely needing to get in the neighborhood of 89 wins to continue playing in October, the Yankees would gladly accept contributions from other corners this month; Mark Teixeira, for one, also had a punchless August that produced a .193/.276/.307 split line.
The Yankees entered play on Tuesday ranked 14th among the 15 American League clubs in runs scored.
“That’s not all Derek’s fault. That’s collectively we haven’t hit,” Girardi said.
Masahiro Tanaka has been cleared to continue his throwing program after playing catch on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Tanaka, who was sent back to New York last weekend with what was termed general arm soreness, was examined by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and diagnosed to have “arm fatigue,” according to manager Joe Girardi.
“Every manual test that they did came out really well,” Girardi said. “They just said he had some arm fatigue. He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen sometime this week and hopefully he’s ready to do it.”
On the advice of four leading physicians, Tanaka is hoping to avoid Tommy John surgery as he rehabs a partially torn right ulnar collateral ligament. He experienced soreness after throwing a 49-pitch simulated game last week in Detroit.
Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the Yankees’ lineup on Tuesday, leading off and playing center field, after injuring his left ankle on a slide into home plate. Ellsbury pinch-hit on Sunday and doubled in a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays.
“I told him, look, if you feel that it’s an issue out there you’ve got to let me know,” manager Joe Girardi said. “If you feel you need to DH a day, you have to let me know.”
David Phelps threw a 25-pitch bullpen on Tuesday, tossing his fastball and changeup, and plans to throw a 35-pitch bullpen on Friday in which he will use all of his pitches. Phelps has not pitched in a game since Aug. 2 in Boston because of right elbow inflammation, and the Yankees plan to bring him back as a reliever.
“It’s not really in my control, as much as I would like it to be,” Phelps said. “We have to take it a step at a time, just play it step by step and make sure everything goes well.”
On this date in 1996, David Cone threw seven innings of no-hit ball at Oakland in his first start since having surgery in May for an aneurysm. On this date in 2001, Mike Mussina came within one out of a perfect game at Fenway Park; Carl Everett breaks up the bid with a pinch-hit single to center field.
Rosters have expanded to a maximum of 40 players, and the Yankees have announced the following roster moves:
· Recalled C John Ryan Murphy, RHP Preston Claiborne, RHP Bryan Mitchell and RHP Chase Whitley from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
· Selected LHP Rich Hill and OF Chris Young to the active roster from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
· Signed OF Antoan Richardson and RHP Chaz Roe to Major League contracts and select them to the active roster from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
· Recalled OF Slade Heathcott from Double-A Trenton and transfer him to the 60-day disabled list (right knee surgery).
· Transferred RHP Masahiro Tanaka to the 60-day disabled list.
· Released RHP Matt Daley.
· Designated OF Zoilo Almonte for assignment.