Results tagged ‘ Travis Hafner ’

Mariano Rivera still wants that inning in center field

Mariano RiveraThere were several light moments during last night’s charity event to benefit Yankees radio engineer and producer Carlos Silva, but one that sticks out concerns Mariano Rivera and his not-so-secret desire to play center field for an inning in a big league game.

A fan brought the topic up during the Q&A portion of the evening, and I was a little surprised to hear it — I assumed that’d been put to rest by last year’s injury in Kansas City. Yankees manager Joe Girardi answered the question fairly, pointing out that the only scenario where they’d even consider it would be a bad one for the Yankees — it’d have to be late in the season and already apparent that the team wasn’t going to the playoffs, since they wouldn’t risk losing their closer (again) with any chance of a World Series on the line.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman had a better response, laughing and saying that Rivera killed those plans for himself by crumpling on the warning track at Kauffman Stadium last May.

“My answer is, you saw what he did. He can’t play center field,” Cashman said, laughing. “The guy is an old man! He blew his knee out!”

That doesn’t mean Rivera has completely given up on the idea; brought on stage seconds later, he announced that we all haven’t heard the last of him in center field.

It should go without saying by now, but this Rivera guy doesn’t give up easily. Here’s how Girardi and Cashman handled the question:

More newsy notes from last night:

  • Cashman said that the Yankees invited Hideki Matsui to Spring Training as a celebrity guest instructor, but Matsui declined because his wife is expecting a child. By the way, Jorge Posada – fresh off his appearance at Women’s Fantasy Camp – has hinted that he’ll be attending.
  • Girardi said that there is “no formula” for how the Yankees will handle their catching, but they’re holding firm that it’ll probably be from the group of Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine. The Yankees don’t view Stewart as a starting catcher, but Girardi said that he could see Romine – who remains slated to begin the year at Triple-A – playing in New York for “a substantial amount of time” in the near future.
  • Cashman likened Yankees outfield prospect Mason Williams to former big league outfielder Otis Nixon with a little more power, which is a comparison I hadn’t heard before. He also said that Mark Montgomery has a real chance to land at the big league level this year, wielding a nasty slider that could have him help in a David Robertson-type role.
  • Cashman on why the Yankees were so quiet on the free agent market: “This market, this winter, was bad.”
  • Cashman on what he liked about adding Travis Hafner: “Big hairy monster. I keep saying that, but none of those guys have a lot of hair. He’s the profile we like; on-base percentage with power from the left side. He’s not someone that when he’s coming to the plate, a pitcher is going to be too comfortable facing, especially in our ballpark.”

Cashman: Travis Hafner will be a Yankee

Travis HafnerYankees general manager Brian Cashman dropped a little bit of news during an appearance on ESPN 98.7 FM this afternoon, confirming to hosts Ryan Ruocco and Stephen A. Smith that Travis Hafner will indeed be in pinstripes this season.

Hafner is expected to receive a one-year, $2 million deal that includes incentives, and he’ll serve as the Yankees’ DH against right-handed pitching. The deal has not been officially announced by the Yankees, pending the completion of contract language and a physical.

Most of Cashman’s interview, however, revolved around the Alex Rodriguez situation — and there is little Cashman is permitted to say at this time concerning the issue.

Here’s a brief summary (you can listen to the entire 13-minute interview here) –

Initial response to the allegations: Cashman said that the Yankees’ media relations department received a letter last Friday from the Miami New Times, seeking a comment from A-Rod. The Yankees turned the issue over to MLB and the Commissioner’s Office, and have not commented further since then. Cashman said that the Yankees had no knowledge of the situation before receiving the letter, and the team is in full cooperation with MLB. Cashman later said he hasn’t spoken to A-Rod, and wouldn’t comment when asked if he would.

On potentially voiding A-Rod’s contract as a result of this: “Those type of suggestions and speculation are all premature until you have facts. You can’t act on anything, you can’t pursue anything, unless you have verifiable facts. That’s what Major League Baseball is determining. They have an office that handles these things and are very serious about these circumstances. We’ll just have to wait until there are facts, and see how it relates to every individual team and player if everything is verified. Obviously we have a very bad story that Major League Baseball is looking into right now.”

A-Rod in 2013: Cashman said that the Yankees continue to expect A-Rod to come back from his hip surgery in 2013, but his stance is that they’re not counting on it, and that’s why they gave $12 million to Kevin Youkilis. It’s a similar situation to that of rehabbing right-hander Michael Pineda, who is scheduled to help at the big league level in May or June, but Cashman said he can’t plan on it. Pineda has been throwing from a half-mound down in Tampa this week and it does not sound like he’s had any setbacks.

Derek Jeter update: Jeter is healthy and cleared for action, and the Yankees are taking him slowly because they have time. The goal is to have him at shortstop on Opening Day vs. Boston and Cashman said, “There’s no reason that’s not going to happen. he’s really 100 percent healthy and he’s now knocking the rust off.”

Jeter has been hitting off a tee and taking ground balls hit directly at him. Cashman said that the Yankees could clear him to run right now, but they’ll hold off out of caution. “His recovery is very predictable,” Cashman said.

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