Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’
There are few things in sports today as automatic as seeing Mariano Rivera holding a baseball in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and nobody on base. Thanks for coming, arrive home safely. Right?
Wrong. Mike Sweeney launched a double that one-hopped the wall in right-center field, eluding the racing grasp of Brett Gardner, and Ichiro Suzuki slugged a Rivera cutter into the right field seats to celebrate his second walk-off hit in as many games. Rivera threw two pitches, both were hit very hard, and the Yankees lost.
“I wish I could bring it back and make my pitches, but it’s done,” Rivera said. “I just have to move forward.”
That was typical Mo cool, looking at it in the matter-of-fact viewpoint that can only be obtained by having been there and done it in the biggest spots baseball can present. But Rivera was very forthcoming when asked if this had been the best run of his life, a career-high string of 36 consecutive save opportunities converted until the Mariners celebrated last night.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Rivera said. “I know the numbers maybe show that,
but it would be impossible for me to say that. I’m throwing whatever
I’m throwing right now. Before, I used to throw harder. It’s totally
different. Am I more mature? Yes. But not strong like back then,
Still, Rivera had allowed one run in his last 33 innings of work. That’s nothing to sniff at.
“That’s a pretty incredible feat,” Johnny Damon said. “Hopefully this means he’s not going to give up another run until March.”
Our buddy Steve Lombardi of WasWatching.com chips in with the following stat — Ichiro joins Marco Scutaro, Bill Mueller, and Bill Selby as the only batters to
hit a regular season, bottom of the 9th inning, walk-off homerun off
in the 11th inning of a tie game. Suzuki, Scutaro, Mueller and Selby
all did it in the ninth, with their team trailing. Suzuki, Scutaro, and Selby all did it after two-outs. Mueller did it after one out. Links to the games can be found here.
Pitching: A.J. Burnett (10-5, 3.71)
Pitching: Brett Tomko (1-2, 5.23)
FROM THE CLUBHOUSE: Isn’t it funny that Brett Tomko can resurface as a starting pitcher exactly as the Yankees open a three-game series against the A’s, having departed saying how he was happy to be leaving because it never seemed like he got a chance in New York? Well, now he gets his opportunity here to pull off an upset. Said Joe Girardi: “We know Brett and Brett knows us.” …
With Hideki Matsui out until at least tomorrow after having his left knee drained, Derek Jeter got to jump in the lineup as the designated hitter. Good timing, considering his nearly unpublicized pursuit of Luis Aparicio’s record for hits as a shortstop concluded Sunday. …
The Yankees are anxious to see how Matsui responds to treatment and Girardi said he will not use him at all on Monday. …
A couple of other small items — the name Russ Ortiz did come up briefly in discussions about helping the big league team, but never seriously. Ortiz elected free agency from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in hopes of latching on with a playoff contender that would call him up. Brett Gardner is set to see a doctor on Wednesday about his left thumb and wouldn’t rejoin the big league team until September.
Gardner injured the thumb while sliding into second base in the first inning of Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the A’s, catching it on the base (see accompanying photo). While it bothered him throwing, he felt little while hitting – he drove in New York’s first run with an RBI triple after the injury. X-rays taken after the game revealed the fracture.
Melky Cabrera will continue as the Yankees’ starting centerfielder, and now they have to consider if promoting Austin Jackson from Triple-A is the move to make (especially if they can’t offer him regular playing time).
“It’s not something that we’ve talked about at this point,” Joe Girardi said. “Obviously, the guy that probably comes up is not going to be an everyday player. To bring up a guy like Austin Jackson and sit him on the bench right now, I’m not sure how much sense that would make. We’re going to talk about it.”
Johnny Damon can play center field in a pinch and Nick Swisher has done it before, but the Yankees don’t want to see that on a regular basis. For the moment, Jonathan Albaladejo is here. The Yankees thought they might need some extra help in the bullpen behind Sergio Mitre.
The Yankees lost in the bottom of the ninth inning last night when, with Brett Gardner at third base representing the tying run, Robinson Cano hit into a 6-4-3 double play that erased Alex Rodriguez at second base.
Within seconds, my e-mail was flooded with fans complaining that Joe Girardi hadn’t put A-Rod in motion on that play, with one calling it “a Little League mistake.” WFAN was still crowing about it this morning when I crossed the George Washington Bridge (which, by the way, was a monsoon situation).
So here’s Girardi’s explanation of the play:
“We had talked about it. It’s kind of a double-edged sword. You figure he can hit into a line drive and you get doubled up. then you have Cano and Posada, two pretty good RBI guys, and you lose the chance for Posada to hit. Even though Robbie’s not a huge pull hitter, you close that hole up if he steals, and then they play the infield in. There’s a lot of different things that you have. Al is physically probably not running as well as he was last year, but he’s fairly close. If we got a 3-2 situation, am I saying that I’d hold him up? I’m not saying that. But we talk about it. (Mike) MacDougal is quicker than he used to be to home plate. There’s a lot of factors that went into it.”
Here’s a nice story: Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner is set to reunite with his biggest fan on Friday in New York, meeting with Alyssa, a heart transplant recipient at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.
Gardner first met Alyssa, 18, on May 15, during an event at the hospital organized by Project Sunshine. Alyssa had been waiting 107 days for her transplan and gave Gardner a bracelet, telling him that if he held onto it, he would hit a home run.
Hours later, Gardner hit the first inside-the-park home run at the new Yankee Stadium, and the next morning Alyssa received a successful, life-saving heart transplant.
Brian Bruney will be activated from the disabled list tomorrow, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has confirmed. The Yankees will lose a reliever as Girardi said it was unlikely they will carry a 12-man staff.
Bruney had some interesting comments pre-game in which he blamed Major League Baseball’s use of instant replay for his strained flexor tendon. He attributes it to the April 19 game at Yankee Stadium, where a Jorge Posada home run was reviewed by umpires.
The original call on the field stood, with Posada credited with a two-run dinger off Cleveland’s Jensen Lewis, but the review took 8 ½ minutes to complete and Bruney said that he continued throwing throughout the delay.
“I turned around to see the replay, and it was obvious to me by the first replay that it was a home run – which is what they called it anyway,” Bruney said. “I don’t know what the 8 ½ minutes was all about.”
Bruney appeared two days later on April 21 but felt weak, allowing a run on two hits to the A’s, and was subsequently placed on the disabled list. Bruney said he lodged a complaint with the MLB Players Association about the delay and was told the play was reviewed from a remote location.
“I don’t know if somebody was on a lunch break or what, but something went wrong,” Bruney said. “That’s a long time for any pitcher to be throwing. That’s a long inning, plus another long inning. But I’m back.”
Chien-Ming Wang will come to New York for “a change of scenery” tomorrow and throw a bullpen, after which the Yankees will make a decision about his next start, but it does not sound like it will come with the Yankees. There are still concerns about command, as his sinker was high in the zone. His velocity was OK, averaging between 88-92 mph, Girardi said.
Additionally, Brett Gardner has a contusion of his right rotator cuff after his slide into home plate yesterday. He had an MRI today and Girardi said he is day-to-day.
Brian Cashman’s charity discussion out in Pleasantville, N.Y. for Ed Randall’s ‘Bat for the Cure‘ ran long tonight, but if you were as passionate about the Yankees as most of the audience seemed to be, it probably wasn’t a big deal. Just about the only topic Cash wouldn’t discuss was Joe Torre’s book, but there was plenty to go around. Some of the highlights to chew on:
Manny to the Yankees — officially dead: The Yankees are done with their big spending and have no room left to pursue Manny Ramirez. Sorry, folks, but right now the Yankees are trying to sign more guys like Angel Berroa. The Yankees payroll will be reduced in ’09 and Manny’s bat isn’t going to change that.
“Ultimately, we’ve made our decision,” Cashman said. “We chose to put that money into Mark Teixeira to play first base. I do hear rumblings about people actually expect us to get in on Manny. That’s not going to happen. We respect his abilities, there’s no doubt about it, but we’re now in the non-roster invite mode.”
Cashman knows the Yankees have been anointed the Hot Stove champs. It doesn’t mean anything: “I don’t care about headlines in December or January. What ultimately translates is getting enough W’s to be the last team standing.”
Career paths: Cashman wasn’t one of those kids who lies awake at night dreaming of being the Yankees GM. Actually, out in Kentucky, young Cash grew up a Dodgers fan and a Yankee hater. In fact, when Bob Watson gave up the GM post in ’98, Cashman first begged him to stay. Then he asked George Steinbrenner not to give him a contract, instead operating on a handshake agreement so Cashman could be easily dismissed if it didn’t work out.
Tough crowd: Cashman is very wary of the Rays, of whom he said has seen the talent coming for years. On the traditional 20 to 80 scouting scale (50 being an average big leaguer), Cashman said too many of Tampa Bay’s young prospects are coming in around 80. Such is the advantage of smart drafting and terrible in-season results.
But the Yankees have some names Cashman is excited about — he thinks the ’06 crop of Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Zach McAllister, Dellin Betances and Dave Robertson could go down as an all-time great one. The Yankees are still top-heavy in pitching prospects and would love to develop more big bats, but most of the really promising position players are at the A-ball level and below.
What if: Yes, the four-year, $40 million deal to Carl Pavano was a bust. But Cashman said Pavano turned down even more money from the Tigers, Mariners and Orioles. The Red Sox were also hot on Pavano.
Flight cancelled: Cashman almost flew to Baltimore from Houston to meet with A.J. Burnett after his meeting with Andy Pettitte in December. It turned out not to be necessary – things had progressed far enough with Burnett that the Yankees were confident it’d get done.
Will the Melk-man deliver?: As of right now, it’s Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner for center field. Cashman believes Melky is a better player than he showed in ’08 and will be out to prove that. But here’s an ominous warning: “The ones that are good enough will find a way. The ones that aren’t good enough will find excuses.” Cash compared Gardner to “Juan Pierre, who takes a walk.”
Better days?: Cashman said he’s not a big souvenir guy, but one of the things he’s kept was the lineup card from his first win as Yankees GM – April 5, 1998 at Oakland. Cash was actually in Oakland the day earlier, but Steinbrenner had called him back to New York in a fit after the Yankees started the year 0-3. They won 125 games.
The inscription on the lineup card from Joe Torre reads: “Crash – the first of many.” That’s not a typo. The nickname ‘Crash’ stuck to Cashman in his younger, wilder days.
Driving Mr. Steinbrenner: Cash told a great story about his early days back in the Yankees organization, when George Steinbrenner’s personal drivers were all out shuttling around dignitaries or guests. Cashman got stuck with the assignment and found himself on the FDR Drive with the Boss, who wanted to get a quick haircut before flying to Tampa out of Teterboro.
Long story short, Cash tried to get cute with a shortcut and wound up hearing a full-on assault of the 1980s Steinbrenner in his right ear for the whole rest of the trip. Steinbrenner actually threatened at one point to “just take the subway.” He got the haircut with Cashman but found a different driver to take him across to New Jersey.
What a night for Brett Gardner — and what a week it must have been for the Yankees’ sparkplug. Gardner made his third big league hit count in a big way on Sunday, dribbling a Luis Sojo-type hit up the middle to lift the Yankees to a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox and split the four-game series.
Gardner trotted down to the interview room still in his full pinstripes, his socks pulled high and his jersey caked full of dirt. It was just one night, but you can already tell that Gardner has a pretty good idea of what it takes to be successful in the big leagues. Thinking it and doing it are two different things, but Gardner can be a game-changer with his combination of speed and defense.
He’s no Jacoby Ellsbury, as some people have written, but he could be Jacoby Ellsbury Lite. For the next 15 days or however long Johnny Damon is out, you can live with that. Gardner said he’d just get some “good food” and then head back home to tend to his dog, which he brought to New York from Triple-A. He’ll enjoy this day off.
So will the Yankees, who welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to New York on Tuesday for what Joe Girardi actually called the two most important games they’ll play all year. The site coolstandings.com, which tracks these things, puts the Yankees as having a 13.1% chance of making the playoffs this season. They overcame great odds last summer as well, but it’s clear we’ll be all watching an uphill climb.
It looks more and more like Johnny Damon could be headed to the disabled list
for the first time in his career, though that’s still not 100 percent
certain. They planned to re-evaluate him on Sunday but when a guy can’t
put his uniform jersey on, he’s a long way from playing left field at
Speaking of that, did Dustin Pedroia think Damon was still playing left
field in the first inning or what? Nice throw by Brett Gardner and it
got a pretty good reaction from the crowd. That’s a heck of a heads-up slide by Jason Giambi there to put the Yankees on the board as well. You wonder what was going through his mind as he huffs and puffs around third base, then sees the ball is going to beat him by a great margin.
Still waiting for the energy to pump this building up. It’s warm, hazy and I know it’s Yankees-Red Sox, but it seems like there’s still 55,000 people (less the people wearing red, and there’s a lot of them) waiting for a reason to explode. Maybe some of them are feeling under the weather like Jorge Posada is.