Results tagged ‘ Mariano Rivera ’
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.)
Here are the winners and runners-up for this morning’s Yankees arcade events:
Indy car: A.J. Burnett wins; Dana Cavalea second place
Skeeball: Andrew Brackman wins; Eduardo Nunez second place
Pop-a-shot: Royce Ring wins; Mark Melancon second place
Here’s some of what Teixeira had to say to the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand, who is acting as the pool reporter for the day:
“It was fun. It was good to have a change of scenery from the pool tournament. It was new and fresh and we enjoyed it.”
“The highlights were A.J. Burnett just smoking the field in the video game racing, and Royce Ring being probably the best pop-a-shot basketball player I’ve ever seen. Those two were hands-down the best at those two events. Whenever the basket is moving, Royce takes the cake.”
“It was a great day. The fact that we get three or four hours not to have to worry about baseball and not have to compete on the baseball field, it was fun. Playing video games, we felt like kids again. It promotes a light-hearted atmosphere.”
“The great thing about this kind of atmosphere is that there’s no veterans or rookies, starters or role players, Triple-A or Single-A; everyone is on the same playing field. We’re all having fun, really kind of letting our hair down and getting to know each other without competing on the field.”
“The young guys probably get into it more than anybody. A big-league clubhouse – especially the Yankees’ clubhouse – can be very intimidating. To go off-site to an arcade and enjoy each other, get to know people not as superstars or as New York Yankees, but just as men, it can easily build friendships.”
EDIT 6:02 p.m.: Feinsand checks in with some quotes from Curtis Granderson…
“I thought it was a great idea to get a bunch of guys coming from different sides, whether it’s their first big-league camp, guys that were acquired through trade or free agency and guys that had been there. For everybody to get a chance to meet up and see everyone outside of the intense training baseball mode, we can see that everybody does laugh and have fun. We’re all big kids.”
“The highlight had to be watching Igawa race on the Indy Car. He kept racing up against the wall and damaging his tires. He wouldn’t move off of it. He had his left hand on the wheel and he was just cruising like nothing was wrong. He was doing that for a good three minutes. Everyone was shouting, ‘Turn left! Turn left!’”
“People forget how long the season is. We have the training part that we’re doing now, then we have 30 or so spring training games and we haven’t even started the season. Then it’s 162 games in the regular season and hopefully the playoffs, then the next thing you know, you’re right back at it in 2011. The actual time away from competition is minimal, so to get a chance to go out and have fun in that large a group, it was a great thing. I’m really glad they did it and I would recommend other teams doing it.”
“Andy Pettitte and I sat there and talked before our Indy Car race, and it had nothing to do with baseball. We split up, were playing different games, then battled again on the Pop-a-Shot. I don’t normally see the pitchers during the day, so to get a chance to do that was well worth it.”
“I struggled in my first round of Pop-a-Shot when it counted on the bracket. When we came back for a side competition, that’s when I dominated.”
“Skee ball was difficult. I used to be good at Skee ball, but I was really disappointed at myself for my performance. I’ll need to go back and figure out this Skee ball machine compared to the ones I used to play.”
Rivera said that he soft-tosses a little bit on flat ground in Panama during the offseason and once he gets to Tampa – he corralled Edwar Ramirez to play catch in the rain in what might have been Ramirez’s last official action in a Yankees uniform – but this was the first time he’d worked his way up the bump, throwing 21 breezy pitches.
“I think at this age, I definitely have an idea of what I have to do
and what I need,” Rivera said. “It’s Spring Training. Come and get
ready. I don’t think that, in my case, I have to come in and impress
anybody. I just have to make sure that I’m ready for the season, and
that’s what I try to do.”
Remember Camp Quiet? There could be trouble in paradise for Alex Rodriguez, who may be summoned to speak to the FBI regarding their case against a Canadian doctor under investigation for alleged drug violations.
A-Rod was brief in his comments – they totaled 61 seconds – but said he would cooperate and noted, “This is about someone else.” The Yankees have been mostly silent, except for a statement put out in the afternoon through the club.
On the field, A.J. Burnett threw 30 pitches of live batting practice to an audience of empty blue seats at George M. Steinbrenner Field and said that his changeup could be a big pitch for him.
“All winter, I really harped on it,” Burnett said. “Watching CC [Sabathia] throw last year, being a power guy and how much he uses it, it just kind of opened my eyes a little bit. Why not work on something, you know?
Mariano Rivera walked into the Yankees clubhouse this morning and parted the room, clearing a path to his locker while shaking hands with every player, reporter and bystander in the way. Upon seeing an unfamiliar face, the future Hall of Fame closer made eye contact and said, “Hello. I’m Mariano,” as if any such introduction was really necessary.
It was quite the grand entrance to the old office, and Rivera shared a common statement in saying that the winter months went by much too quickly. Not that he was complaining about sliding the pinstripes back on for another tour of the Grapefruit League – there’s business to take care of.
“It feels like we finished the season a few weeks ago, and we’re here again,” Rivera said. “That’s a good thing; go back to work.
“Winning is special, but it’s something that already passed. To me,
it’s always a new year. Whatever happened yesterday or last year is in
the past. We have to focus on the present, and 2010 is a new year. We
have to put the same effort or even harder toward a new season and try
to do our best. I think we have a great team, a wonderful team. We just
have to do it.”
Rivera said that he feels no rush to rev up his cutter so early in the spring, as long as he is healthy and feeling good on April 4, and said that he’s happy to not be concerned about his right shoulder like he was last spring. Rivera also said that his contract situation – it expires after ’10 – is a non-issue.
“I have a contract this year. That’s all I need to know,” Rivera said. “The rest is
not under my control, therefore I don’t have to worry about it. … I don’t even want to get into that situation, because I have a job. If
I do a good job for the team, the rest will take care of itself.”
After the World Series, Rivera said that he felt like he could pitch five more years. He wasn’t as blunt today, but he did say that he’ll keep pitching as long as he feels like he can perform. In other words, when he’s not “The Great Mariano Rivera” anymore, No. 42 will stop coming out of the Yankees bullpen.
“I love to do this and that’s what I’ve done for my whole life,” Rivera said. “Knowing
that I can do it, I will do it. I won’t do it when I can’t do it
anymore. But if I think I can do it, if I know 100 percent for sure
that I can do it, I will do it.
“One day, that will happen, and that day I will go. Baseball will not
stop because I don’t play anymore. Baseball will continue.”
That day, I would wager, will not come in 2010.
- The Yankees will gather for stretch and agility drills at 11 a.m., followed by bullpens, pickoff drills and pitchers fielding practice (PFP). Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre are first up in the bullpen. Jonathan Albaladejo, Dave Robertson and Romulo Sanchez are next, followed by Andrew Brackman, Ryan Pope, Royce Ring and Zack Segovia. Last round goes to Wilkins Arias, Grant Duff, Jason Hirsh and Amaury Sanit. Catchers will take BP later on.
- Goose Gossage and Ron Guidry are here as the earliest arriving celebrity instructors.
- The Baseball Tonight crew was in the clubhouse this morning. Bobby Valentine, John Kruk and Karl Ravech are all on the scene.
I’m playing catch-up on this, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman spoke on Thursday at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and addressed several hot-button topics that fans have been curious about.
Via the Register Citizen’s Joe Morelli, with a hat tip to the iYankees blog for linking it first:
On not negotiating new contracts with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera right now, and some more context about Johnny Damon —
“The industry the last two free agent markets seems to be going
downward and the player’s ages are going upward,” Cashman said. “It
makes more sense to be patient. My attitude is if this is the place you
want to be, you will make it happen. Johnny Damon professed his love
for the Yankees, wanted to be here and was given every chance to be
here. He’s not here anymore and I don’t feel that is the Yankees’
fault. They have to reconcile why they are not here, not me.
people want to be here and be a part of something, then find a way to
work it out. Of course we want (Jeter, Rivera and Girardi) back, but we
choose to delay that until the end of the year.”
On the Yankees’ two-year, $14 million offer to Damon –
“I told (Damon and Boras), ‘I don’t know if Hal (Steinbrenner, the
team’s part owner) would approve it, but I’m not going to fight for it
unless we know you will do it,’” Cashman said. “Scott Boras said,
‘Bobby Abreu’s (new) contract is $9 million a year right now on the
table so why would we do that? So I expect to see a Bobby Abreu
contract.’ … I hope he does not sign for something less than our
offer. That means he should have been a Yankee and that’s not our
On how the Yankees’ budget looks for 2010 —
“If you ask everyone in the room if they would rather not have Curtis
Granderson because he costs X amount of dollars and Andy Pettitte
because he costs X amount, that gives you more money to sign the left
fielder who is dear to your heart in Johnny Damon,” Cashman said. “If
you ask most people right now, what would you rather have moving
forward, I think they would say they need Andy Pettitte for the
rotation and Curtis Granderson because he’s an all-star center fielder
who hit 30 homers at Comerica Park last year, who steals bases and is
(7) years younger. You can’t have everything.”
Phil Hughes checked in with The Associated Press down in the shadows of George M. Steinbrenner Field today, saying that he’s ready to battle Joba Chamberlain and others to be the Yankees’ fifth starter come Opening Day.
“I know I’m coming into the spring fighting for a job,” Hughes told the AP after a pre-spring training workout on Thursday. “I’m out of the
reliever mindset for right now. Anytime nothing is going to be handed
to you, you strive to be a little bit better.”
Hughes started throwing in mid-December and has thrown fastballs off a mound a couple of times this month. He said that last year’s success in a bullpen assignment helped his confidence.
“I definitely feel at a point where I’ve never been, having the
experience of consistently getting big league guys out,” Hughes said.
“It helps, and obviously winning the World Series also helps.”
Hughes guesses that his innings count could be between 175 and 180 if he makes the rotation.
- We launched a story on MLB.com looking ahead to the fifth starter battle today with a little more detail, and I jumped on with Noah Coslov and Pete McCarthy to talk about the negotiations – or lack thereof – with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera right now.
- The AP also notes that Jesus Montero is working out at first base. It seems like a good idea for him to get acclimated there if possible, but with Mark Teixeira and Nick Johnson there for 2010 (plus Nick Swisher in an emergency), don’t look for that to be his calling card to the Bronx. Either way, Montero’s big bat will be what punches his ticket to the big leagues, maybe as soon as this year.
- How many miles do you figure the World Series trophy has traveled this winter? Here’s a couple of more appearances on the agenda to pass on from the Yankees… the trophy will be on display at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, 2/12) at the Connecticut Sports Foundation Dinner at Mohegan Sun.
On Saturday (2/13), it will be on display and available for the public to take pictures with just outside of the Box Office in The Shops at Mohegan Sun from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. General public looking for additional information should call 1.888.226.7711.
… are the ones you don’t make. Found this while surfing around the Internet this morning – an epic trade fail from the Dec. 27, 1995 New York Times, when the Orioles traded for David Wells:
Jim Bowden, the Reds’ general manager, declined to discuss the Yankees’ involvement, but an official familiar with the Wells talks said Steinbrenner called Bowden Saturday night and offered pitcher Mariano Rivera and catcher Jorge Posada.
Bowden, looking to cut his payroll, obviously decided he preferred [Tom] Goodwin, a 23-year-old left-handed hitter, who in 87 games with the Orioles last season batted .263 and had 22 stolen bases in 26 attempts.
Whoops on Jim Bowden. That would have changed the course of Yankees history quite a bit, huh? Wonder if Rivera would have eventually moved to the bullpen or spent his life as a starting pitcher?
Scott Boras made the rounds in Chicago yesterday, giving the writers something to chew on with Johnny Damon. Whether you read it frokm Joel Sherman in the New York Post, Mark Feinsand in the Daily News or David Waldstein in the New York Times, here’s the bottom line — Boras is drawing comparisons between his client, Damon, and what the Yankees have done and will do with Derek Jeter.
Boras’ argument, according to Sherman, is that Damon and Jeter worked so well atop the lineup in 2009, they should be viewed as a tandem. He also notes that that Damon has historic durability and that past three seasons equate well for both Damon and Jeter, and so they should be paid similarly. And Boras, of course, does not want Damon to take a pay cut from his $13 million annual salary (no one pays Boras’ commission to take a pay cut).
Here’s the problem, as I see it. The Yankees are going to overpay Derek Jeter. There’s no question about it, they’re going to give him one of those sweetheart deals where they pay him a lot for the future as a thank you for being the captain and leader of past teams, because they don’t want to see him getting his 3,000th hit in another uniform.
That’s fine, we all accept it, and if there’s one guy you’re going to do that to, it’s Jeter. OK, maybe they did it a little to not see Mariano Rivera — and especially Jorge Posada — in other uniforms too.
Point is, Damon doesn’t have that same cache with the Yankees. He was a very good player, a very productive player, over those four years. But he’s no franchise talent. A one or two-year deal is probably all that the Yankees are going to bring to the table with Damon. If Boras is intent on getting more, Damon is likely to be playing elsewhere in 2010 and beyond.
– Sherman also notes the Yankees intend to either pick up Sergio Mitre’s $1.25 million option by next week’s deadline or offer him arbitration, keeping him around as rotation depth. As expected, the Yankees also plan on non-tendering Chien-Ming Wang and then considering offering him a smaller money deal to return.
– Cashman on Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, via Feinsand: “I look at them as starters that can relieve. We haven’t had our meetings, but I would anticipate going to spring training with as much starting depth as possible.”
Cashman also told reporters that he’s not actively shopping Ian Kennedy, but teams have called with interest.
The Yankees still have not announced when they’re playing Game 1 of the American League Division Series, but it’s a horribly-kept secret that it’ll be Wednesday at 6:07 p.m. ET.
As you probably know, the decision is due one hour after the Tigers-Twins game today. The Yankees’ game notes still play the ‘what if?’ game, because they have to:
“The Yankees will play Game 1 of the 2009 American League Division Series vs. the Detroit Tigers or Minnesota Twins on either Wednesday or Thursday at Yankee Stadium.”
But you’d think they’d have to have told CC Sabathia when he’s pitching, right? Mariano Rivera isn’t interested in fooling around with toeing the line.
“We’re playing tomorrow,” Rivera said. “For sure. Everything else is off the table. That’s what it is.”
Meanwhile, the Yankees just got done stretching in a circle in shallow right field and are now playing catch. Shades of Spring Training. There are no fans in the Stadium as this workout is closed to the public, but there are probably about 100 media types clustered around the Yankees dugout.
Prior to Tuesday’s game against the Royals, the Yankees held a milestone ceremony honoring Melky Cabrera for his cycle, Mariano Rivera for his 500th save and Derek Jeter for his all-time hits record. Various Yankees past and present joined Hal Steinbrenner and company on the field, showering those three Yankees with gifts. Here’s what they received (info courtesy the Yankees’ media relations department):
- Custom-made ring honoring his cycle, presented by Felix Lopez
- Framed action picture of Jeter, presented by Catch 24 Design (Bill Goodspeed and Mike Macchione)
- The pair of seats that Jeter dove into at the original Yankee Stadium on July 1, 2004, presented by Brandon Steiner and Gene “Stick” Michael
- Home plate from the night Jeter got his record-breaking hit, presented by Tim Raines
- First base from the inning he got his record-breaking hit, presented by Tino Martinez
- “I want to Thank the Good Lord for Making Me a Yankee” (Joe DiMaggio quote) sign from the original Yankee Stadium, presented by Dave Winfield
- An official Derek Jeter Louisville Slugger bat, cast in iron to commemorate passing Lou Gehrig, presented by Hal and Christina Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindal
- Baseball autographed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig from 1927, presented by Hal and Christina Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindal
- Custom painting, commemorating his record-breaking hit, presented by the entire Yankees team
(Joined on field by Bernie Williams, wife Clara and three sons, Mariano Jr., Jafet and Jaziel)
- Framed, matted print of a commemorative 500th save poster, presented by Print International (Gene Manning and Joseph Cook)
- The Yankees bullpen bench from the original Yankee Stadium, presented by Brandon Steiner and David Cone
- Framed photo of the final pitch at the original Yankee Stadium, presented by Brandon Steiner and David Cone
- The rubber from Citi Field from game he recorded his 500th career save, a gift from the Mets along with a letter from Jeffrey Wilpon and Omar Minaya, presented by Reggie Jackson
- Custom rings for Rivera and his family, honoring his 500th save, presented by Hal and Christina Steinbrenner, Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, Joe Girardi, Jorge Posada and Yogi Berra
- Custom painting, commemorating his 500th save, presented by the entire Yankees team