Results tagged ‘ Andy Pettitte ’
Nick Swisher said that the MRI on his sore groin showed no problems – “Just as we expected,” Swisher said – and that he expects to play in Sunday’s road game against the Orioles in Sarasota.
He was much more effusive in talking about Andy Pettitte’s return. Swisher was screaming at Pettitte on the phone yesterday after the news broke, and the outfielder was caught completely off guard.
“When I found out, how am I not going to call him? What an amazing guy,” Swisher said. “What an amazing sports figure in general. It’s so funny because I played golf with him like two or three weeks ago. We were kind of talking and I was like, ‘Man, you look like you’re in great shape. He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been working out a little bit.’ Now I know exactly what he was doing.”
Swisher acknowledged he probably couldn’t have kept the secret even if Pettitte had let him in.
“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me, bro? You couldn’t even tell me that?’” Swisher said. “He was like, ‘Come on Swish. You know I couldn’t tell you that.’ We’re all excited. I was super excited just because now you’re bringing back another little core member. It’s great, man. I know a lot of the guys are really, really excited. Me especially. I’m super excited.”
You remember 2010, don’t you? That was the September that the Yankees seemed to be trotting out guys like Royce Ring, Dustin Moseley, Chad Gaudin and Jonathan Albaladejo with regularity, seeming to take their foot off the gas pedal while the Rays rolled to the American League East title.
The resulting tailspin left some players scratching their heads. As Andy Pettitte said, late in what would be his final big league season: “I know it’s been irritating for me. It’s just like, ‘What are we doing here?’ This game’s not easy, we’re trying to win. That’s all there is to it.”
Well, there was more to it, as Brian Cashman admitted on Sunday. The Yankees didn’t care if they finished first, hoping instead to get healthy for a strong run to repeat as World Series champions. Cashman explained why, saying how a second Wild Card will be good for the game.
“We conceded the division two years ago because of the previous setup,” Cashman said. “I’m not taking away from Tampa Bay’s Eastern Division title, but we didn’t try to win the division. We tried to line ourselves up for the playoffs and that worked. We wound up sweeping Minnesota and going to play the Texas Rangers two years ago because we got our guys healthy and ready to go.”
It has been proposed that baseball will add a second Wild Card to each league that would most likely include a one-game playoff to enter the Division Series, thus creating more incentive for teams to pursue their divisions.
“The division title, the way that Wild Card situation was sitting, was rendered meaningless the way the setup was,” Cashman said. “It rendered whether you were a Wild Card or a division champ, it really meant nothing more than a t-shirt and a hat. That was the reality of the circumstance.”
Cashman said that Major League Baseball took notice as teams were resting players and lining them up for the playoffs, noting that September games weren’t as meaningful as they could be — and perhaps, will soon be again.
“Bud Selig did a remarkable thing adding the wild card and I think he’s now doing another remarkable thing by enhancing the playoff push,” Cashman said. “It’s going to create a lot of buzz and excitement and meaningful games deeper into the season, as it should be. It certainly brings back the importance of being a division winner again.”
It was a busy Wednesday morning in the Bronx, as the Yankees introduced Rafael Soriano to the New York media, a signing that Brian Cashman acknowledged makes the team better but one that he had still vocally opposed because of the contract value and a lost first-round Draft pick.
Then, just for good measure, Cashman acknowledged that he indeed had several discussions about bringing Carl Pavano back to the Yankees, looking for someone to upgrade a rotation that still figures to include both Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre if the season started today.
Pavano signed a two-year deal with the Twins later in the day, but like we said, it was a busy morning. Here are some of the other tidbits that might have been overlooked:
Cashman: “Joba’s in the bullpen, for the 200th time” – a.k.a., The Debate is Over
Joba Chamberlain will be in the bullpen and there is no chance of him starting for the Yankees in 2011, both Cashman and Girardi said.
Here’s Girardi’s explanation: “I think Joba is going to be an important part of our bullpen. For me, I like to shorten the game as much as I can. He has a chance to be an outstanding reliever for us and I think his second half was better than his first half. I think we could really have a close down bullpen where the game gets really short. When you’re called upon to pitch, your inning is just as important. If you give up runs in the sixth, you never get to the eighth. Sometimes in the seventh you might face a tougher part of the order than the eighth.”
Asked if there was some physical reason the Yankees wouldn’t consider starting Chamberlain, Girardi answered, “No, not necessarily. It’s probably hard to bounce back and forth all the time. Then you end up with an innings limitation again. I think it’s really important that you have an awesome bullpen and I think he can be a big part of that. … We just decided at this point that’s where he fits the best and that’s where we’re going to put him.”
Responding to a similar question, Cashman said, “I think we’ve seen over time now that his stuff plays so much better as a reliever than as a starter … As a result of everything leading up to and including last spring.”
A reporter then tried to float the case that Chamberlain’s numbers as a starter compared favorably to what Ivan Nova or Sergio Mitre might provide.
“He’s in the bullpen,” Cashman said.
Did Boston’s big winter push the Soriano deal?
Cashman said he never heard that the Yankees needed to react to Boston’s moves specifically, but Hal Steinbrenner felt that there needed to be an upgrade of some kind for the fan base. The decision went beyond just the baseball operations department, he added.
“I think [Steinbrenner] just felt we needed to do something, regardless,” Cashman said. “That’s how it was conveyed; ‘We’re not going to go into Spring Training without us doing something big.’ And this is big.”
Will Soriano fit in the clubhouse? Sure, Girardi says
There have been whispers that Soriano has had trouble with previous managers, including being upset with coming into non-save situations and being asked to pitch more than one inning. You would think that will be different with Mariano Rivera in New York.
Girardi said that reputation won’t be a problem, as he wants to “give everyone a clean slate” and tries to get to know each of his players as much as possible.
Are the Yankees a better team today?
Girardi figures the ’11 team is better than the one that walked off the field after Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS. “I think we’ve added to our bullpen, added another left-hander (in Pedro Feliciano), and I think we’re a better club because we’ve been through it,” he said.
More pitching on the way?
There has been buzz on the Hot Stove about the Yankees potentially showing interest in the Tigers’ Armando Galarraga – he of the imperfect Jim Joyce game – who was designated for assignment. He’s easily one of the more appealing options out there, given the marketplace.
Regarding another possible upgrade to the rotation, Cashman said: “I hope so. The starter might have to come from within. Hopefully we have some of these young kids answer the bell for us. In the meantime, we’ll still keep our eyes and ears open to the remaining market, which is very limited.”
He added: “It’s a difficult market to choose from. Listen, if you’re still on the board, there’s a reason for it.”
Captain leading off
As of this moment, Girardi says he has Derek Jeter penciled in to be the Yankees’ leadoff hitter. Hitting coach Kevin Long has said that he’d like to use Spring Training to experiment with different combinations.