Results tagged ‘ Jacoby Ellsbury ’

Mariano: Now Yanks need to address pitching

Mariano Rivera has moved rather seamlessly into life as a retired player, and along with that comes the freedom to serve as an armchair general manager.

The former Yankees closer voiced his reaction to the free-agent signings of catcher Brian McCann and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and as he told MLB.com, they’ll help the Yankees in 2014. But Rivera still wants to see some movement on the mound.

“They have made good moves,” Rivera said. “I want to see pitching. I want pitching. Offense is good, but we need pitching. But those two players will be two great acquisitions, two good players, and hopefully they do it here in New York.”

On the pitching front, the Yankees have no sure things in the rotation beyond CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova. They’ve made Hiroki Kuroda an offer to return, and are monitoring developments with Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka. David Phelps, Adam Warren and Michael Pineda are among the others in the mix. They also need bullpen help.

Rivera also touched on the situation with Robinson Cano, pointing out that he had several opportunities over his career to leave the Yankees via free agency (remember, the Red Sox even made a serious bid for his services). Rivera stayed in New York, and he is hoping that Cano does the same.

“I chose to stay home because I grew up here,” Rivera said. “The New York Yankees are the best organization there is in sports, period. Hopefully Cano does the right thing, but I want him to be happy. Whatever he does, I want him to be happy.”

Gardner gets it done

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.

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