Results tagged ‘ Jose Molina ’

Cisco and Nick OK; Molina, Mo and more

Some final notes from George M. Steinbrenner Field, where the sun is going down and the sprinklers are giving home plate a good soaking …

  • I don’t remember how I celebrated my 24th birthday, but anything has to be better than taking a fastball off the noggin. Thankfully, Francisco Cervelli’s CT scans came back negative, but he’ll take it slow getting back to duty. A doctor visit is set for tomorrow, with a neurologist on Monday, and the earliest he could play is Tuesday. Bet that Joe Girardi gives Cervelli the Nick Johnson treatment and gives him a few more days beyond that, though.
  • Speaking of Johnson, he took 50 swings of BP in the cages today and felt good. He’d play tomorrow if the Yankees had a home game, but they’re playing in Fort Myers, and it makes no sense to put a guy with a tweaked back on a 2+ hour bus ride. But in case you’re keeping score at home, yes, Johnson will have missed four games because he wore the wrong pair of shoes.
  • I didn’t get to it in a news story, but Jose Molina (“The Panda”) was here and spoke to reporters a little bit about why he and A.J. Burnett seemed to click so well last season. One thing Molina said was that communication was a key – “I talked to him about a million times,” he said.

“There’s a lot of pitchers like that,” Molina said. “He’s one of those guys that can be pitching a nice game, seven innings and no runs or anything, and then he gives up a home run. Then he’s just lost. That’s when you realize you need to talk to him.”

  • One final thought that I had this morning and chuckled about, promising to blog today — the day I was part of Mariano Rivera’s ‘security entourage.’ When I was in college and living in Rockland County, N.Y., I spent a few summers working in a sports memorabilia store at the Palisades Center mall, and one day we had Mo come in for an autograph signing.

The two hour session went by rather uneventfully, but what I was laughing about was the few minutes after the signing, when Mo needed to get back to his car (maybe the Yankees had a night game; I don’t remember). I guess he didn’t have anyone with him, so I was asked to escort him — must have been my intimidating plastic nametag — out to the parking lot.

I wish I could tell you that I beat down some nasty looking thugs trying to inflict harm on No. 42, but it all went about as smoothly as a three-pitch inning. We ducked out a side entrance near the Macaroni Grill trash dumpsters, where a few of the waiters were on their smoke breaks, and found his SUV parked somewhere nearby.

On the way, I dug into my pocket and pulled out a baseball for Mariano, and asked him to show me how he throws his cutter. I mean, I’m 20 years old, I might never get this chance again, right?

So he wraps his fingers around the ball, shows me his Hall of Fame grip, and then flips it back to me with these words: “Now don’t forget.” Don’t worry, Mo, I still haven’t. (By the way, I tried throwing it with almost no discernable results. Lesson of the day – I’m not Mariano Rivera.)

Breaking up the Yankees

One of the realities of that great parade down the Canyon of Heroes was that it was probably going to be the last time these 2009 Yankees were together as a group. That was confirmed yesterday when Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, two of the biggest keys to the World Series title, officially filed for free agency.

Jose Molina, Xavier Nady and Eric Hinske also officially filed on Monday, one weekend of celebration after rolling down Broadway on a float.

Brian Cashman said
yesterday that he does not expect to lock up any of his seven free agents before they splash onto the open market, which means that none of those five are likely to get a quickie deal, along with Andy Pettitte and Jerry Hairston, Jr.

What I keep telling people who ask is this: If you’d asked me at the All-Star Break who the Yankees would be more likely to keep, Damon or Matsui, I would have said Damon. But then Damon tailed off in the second half and Matsui was a monster, and now I really can’t be so sure.

The fact that the Yankees don’t see Matsui as anything but a DH hurts his chances, because the idea of a revolving-door DH between guys like A-Rod, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira and company is appealing and makes sense.

As for Damon, he was a great Yankee, which I wasn’t sure he’d be when he was shaving off his Red Sox scruff. But the moment I truly believed the Yankees were going to win the World Series was his dash in Game 4. People don’t understand how incredibly smart of a play that was.

So Cashman vows he does not do things for sentimental reasons, and I believe him on that topic.  Just because a guy was the World Series MVP doesn’t mean you have to bring him back. Heck, the Yankees did it in ’96 with John Wetteland.

As for the other three guys in that group, Molina brings a lot to the clubhouse in  terms of relationships and wisdom. If the cost isn’t crazy, a return isn’t out of the question, and if not they can entrust the backup catcher job to Francisco Cervelli – who really did seem ready for it.

Hinske never really got as many at-bats as I thought Joe Girardi would give him down the stretch — it almost seemed at times that they forgot he was on the team — and Nady will be permitted to leave as a free agent, since it’s difficult to
count on a guy who is coming off his second serious surgery.

Should be a good Hot Stove. Who said baseball has an offseason?

Jorge Posada will not catch A.J. Burnett

Jorge Posada has been told that he will not be catching when A.J. Burnett starts for the Yankees in either Game 2 or Game 3 of the American League Division Series. Posada said he was pulled aside by manager Joe Girardi on Sunday with the decision.

“It’s not like I didn’t see it coming,” Posada said.

Molina has caught Burnett’s last six starts, and he has fared 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA over that span. Posada last received Burnett on Sept. 1 at Baltimore, when the right-hander allowed six runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings, taking a no-decision in New York’s 9-6 victory.

Asked what pitchers like Burnett like about throwing to him, Molina quipped, “Big target?”

“I really have no idea,” Molina said. “I just call the game the way the reports say, what hitters like to do. Plus I like to talk to the pitchers a lot. Maybe that’s what they like.”

Opponents are hitting .221 off Burnett with Molina behind the plate, compared to .270 with Posada back there. Posada said that he does not know if he’ll play in that game at all, saying, “[Hideki] Matsui’s our DH,” and he did not seem pleased with the decision.

“I just hope we win that game,” Posada said. “That’s all I have to say.”

Coke has two outs and a smile

Coke.jpgIt’s not the way they draw it up on the first day of Spring Training, but Phil Coke found a way to wriggle out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the eighth inning last night — an escape that set up the Yankees’ 2-1 walk-off victory when Hideki Matsui took Jim Johnson deep an inning later.

Coke relieved Andy Pettitte after 7 1/3 innings of work and his first pitch was rocketed on the ground to first base, where Mark
Teixeira alertly fielded it and made an off-balance throw home to catcher Jose
Molina to nail Cesar Izturis sliding feet-first for the second out.

“The tag is more impressive, because he’s got to know
exactly where the play is and where the guy is sliding,” Teixeira said.
“He’s blind. It’s easy for me to catch the ball and throw it toward
him. He made an incredible tag there.”

Still not out of trouble, Coke bounced a fastball to Adam Jones
that hit Molina in the chest protector and ricocheted toward the Yankees’
dugout. Brian Roberts broke from third base and tried to score the go-ahead
run, but the catcher’s throw to the plate was in time as Coke slapped
an inning-ending tag on the speedster.

“I got my glove down and there wasn’t somebody there to tag, and
then I looked up and saw him there going wide,” said Coke, who wildly pumped his fist and screamed after the call was made. “My reaction
was to just go get him because I didn’t want him touching that plate.”

Yankees cooling at deadline

— Hopefully no one started stitching Jarrod Washburn’s Yankees jersey together. Brian Cashman said yesterday that everything seems to have cooled in advance of Thursday’s non-waivers trade deadline, and that includes Washburn. The New York Post reports that the Mariners not only want the Yankees to take on all of the $13.6 million remaining on Washburn’s contract, but also to surrender a quality prospect. Richie Sexson may believe Washburn will be a great fit, but not at that price.

— It looks like Jose Molina and Chad Moeller are the catching tandem for the rest of the year, with Jorge Posada out. Cashman isn’t painting a rosy picture about the possibility of upgrading behind the plate. Now we know why Moeller hung around so long as a third catcher. They were lucky to sneak him through waivers one time, and Cashman wasn’t about to take the risk again.

— Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano (yes, that Carl Pavano) are set to pitch in a rehab game tonight for Class-A Charleston, taking on the Asheville Tourists lineup. The game was moved from Florida due to inclement weather. Random aside: the Tourists were the team that Crash Davis finished up his career with in ‘Bull Durham.’

— Xavier Nady changed his number from 29 to 22 and promptly hit his first home run in pinstripes. This would be a good place to write something wise about Kei Igawa’s impact on the uniform. … Mark Melancon and Chase Wright have been promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, reports Mike Ashmore.

As a complete offshoot, I’m pumped about the Sirius-XM merger. I’ve been a Sirius subscriber for years and had to add XM service for its MLB coverage. Having both services on one radio is going to make my driving more enjoyable (and affordable). $12.95 a month for radio is quickly becoming a luxury, but once upon a time people didn’t think cable television would fly either.

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