After a month of no news or action, the Randy Winn signing was a bit underwhelming…
All off-season, Yankees fans everywhere have yearned for the return of fan favorite Johnny Damon. Perfectly suited for left field in the new Yankee Stadium, it seemed, at least initially, as though the two sides would eventually come together.
Yet, as we approach February, the link between Damon and the Yankees is irreparably damaged. I don’t blame the player and I clearly find fault with the agent, Scott Boras. If, at one point, the Yankees were willing to pay 2 years at $14 million when Damon wanted at least 2 years at $22 million, it would seem that there was room for compromise. However, neither side actively pursued resolution and now the team has clearly moved on.
It’s a sad situation and the Yankees will regret the move at some point this season. Perhaps a couple of years down the road when Carl Crawford is patrolling left, it won’t get a passing thought. But for now, we say goodbye to Damon…prematurely in my opinion. I wish him the very best wherever he lands (even if it is in Toronto). Thanks, Johnny, for the great memories in the Bronx!
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Meanwhile, the Yankees have signed former San Francisco Giants outfielder Randy Winn. Winn is coming off a disappointing season but he’s been a reliable player in years past. I am very disappointed with the move and I truly hope that Brett Gardner wins the job outright in spring training. Perhaps another signing is imminent (Reed Johnson or Rocco Baldelli?) but most likely, the Yankees have made their final player move before heading to Tampa.
It was difficult to watch Xavier Nady sign with the Chicago Cubs. I had really hoped that if the Yankees didn’t sign Damon, they’d pursue Nady. Maybe he regresses in his attempt to come back from an injury-filled 2009 season, but I really think he’ll have a solid season and will be one of the free agent success stories. It was an excellent move for Lou Piniella and the Cubs.
Chris Faytok/The Star Ledger
Sports-wise, this has been a tough week for me. On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings lost a heartbreaker to the New Orleans Saints. The Vikings had their chances but it was not meant to be. As Buster Olney put it, you expect to win as a Vikings fan but you are conditioned to lose. I am not optimistic about next season if the starting QB is either Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels so this was definitely the lost opportunity of a lifetime. It was more painful than the loss in the 1998 NFC Championship to the Atlanta Falcons.
So far, 2010 has not been a great year for my sports teams but there is still much time for a major turnaround. Sorry Julia! I do not intend to lose to you this year…in any sport!
The left field conundrum continues…
Maybe GM Brian Cashman has the perfect solution already set in motion, but then again, maybe not. I am not quite sure how you could spend $200 million on salaries and then suddenly become very frugal over $3 or $4 million as an insurance policy to protect your investment. From the sounds of it, the Yankees are willing to go to camp with Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann as a projected platoon in left. I know that it’s a bluff, designed to await the lowered salary expectations of free agent options in January.
But if you have a left fielder who has proven that he can handle New York, thrive atop the Yankees’ batting order and carries the intangibles necessary to bring a championship to New York, why can’t you work out a deal for a few pennies more? It just doesn’t make any sense. I agree with the logic that the Yankees don’t need a superstar in left, but they need something better than a fourth outfielder looking for his fifteen minutes of fame.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
If the Yankees successfully cause Johnny Damon to sign elsewhere, and are left to be scrounging through the bargain bin, they’ll regret it in July when they attempt to make a trade for an upgrade at the high cost of key prospects. Again, I’d rather pay more now and protect the farm system now and later.
John M. Setzler, Jr.
I was disappointed to see the San Francisco Giants successfully sign one solid option in Mark DeRosa. With DeRosa, the Giants get a very versatile player who will fit well into their lineup. His ability to play third base allows them to slide Pablo Sandoval to first which fills a big need. Had the Yankees been successful in luring DeRosa to the Bronx, he could have been the primary option for left field with the potential to back up Alex Rodriguez from time to time. Isn’t that worth a few dollars more? Congrats to Giants GM Brian Sabean…he scored one over his former team.
If Johnny Damon is my first choice, Xavier Nady would be the remaining option in my eyes. Another guy who has proven he can handle New York albeit not the injury bug. If healthy, Nady would be a great fit for the Yankees. Prior to his injury last season, he was slated to be the starter in right field.
Cataffo/New York Daily News
Outside of the organization, there just isn’t much to be excited about on the free agent market. I really don’t want a ‘past his prime’ player like Brian Giles or Garret Anderson. I’d rather take a chance on a sleeper like Cleveland’s Shin Soo Choo or Atlanta’s Matt Diaz, although I doubt either team would be willing to let either player go cheaply. In a blast from the past, the Angels’ Juan Rivera is another attractive option. But I seriously doubt that Cashman would be able to pry any of these options from their respective teams.
Los Angeles Times
Hopefully, the left field question is answered sooner rather than later. The Yankees still need to replenish their bullpen options for 2010 after several key departures this off-season. Plus, bench strength is another area that needs attention before the Yankees head for Tampa.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the Greater Boston Area, a Red Sox fan is gleefully enjoying the Yankees’ indecision and financial constraint…and listening to Toby Keith singing “Whiskey Girl”…
In a departure from baseball, I’d like to weigh in on the decision by Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell to rest his key starters like Peyton Manning in the second half. Everyone knows that the result was a New York Jets’ 29-15 victory over the Colts to end their pursuit of perfection. Of course, the company line is the decision was made to protect the health of their key performers and ensure going deeper into the play-offs with the Super Bowl as the key objective.
I’ve heard both sides of the argument, but I am inclined to believe that Caldwell blew it. He had a chance to do something that no team has done before (19-0, capped by a championship). The 1972 Miami Dolphins were 17-0 since the regular season consisted of only 14 games. Had they accomplished what the New England Patriots could not, the Colts would have gone down in history as one of the greatest teams ever. Now, they’ll just be another Super Bowl champion if they happen to win it all. Sure, a championship is great, but to be among legends is immortal. The Colts missed a great opportunity…
All things considered, I am glad that University of Florida coach Urban Meyer made the decision to take a leave of absence rather than step down as the Gators coach. College football needs guys like Meyer, but he needs time to repair his health. If a year from now, Meyer decides that it’s time to hang it up, so be it. But I’d rather see Florida go a year with an interim coach to make sure that Meyer makes a decision that he’ll never regret. I am not a Gators fan, but Meyer has been great for college football and the Florida job is clearly one of the best. It’ll be strange seeing new coaches patrolling the sidelines at both Florida and Florida State next season.
One final thought…if the Chicago Cubs can successfully trade Milton Bradley, why can’t the Yankees unload Kei Igawa? I still think the guy could thrive in a low-pressure environment like San Diego or Pittsburgh…
I hope everyone has a great new year! I have enjoyed your friendship and support in 2009 and I look forward to be being a part of the great MLB Bloggers in 2010. It’s a very talented and impressive group of writers, and the sum total of all makes MLB.com the best blogging environment on the internet! Keep up the great work everyone!
It has been a very busy week for the almighty¹ Yankees…
¹Word ‘almighty’ is for the exclusive benefit of my friend Julia! 😉
The blockbuster trade of the Winter Meetings saw the arrival of Curtis Granderson as the newest centerfielder for the New York Yankees.
The price tag was very high and the Yankees lost a great opportunity to market “Ajax” but who knows if Austin Jackson will ever be the player that Grandy is today. Maybe he’ll be better but it probably won’t happen for several years. The Yankees have a window of opportunity right now and the heart of the team is not getting any younger. It is critical for the Yanks to infuse young, quality talent into the lineup now, not later. Grandy will be 29 on Opening Day and he can be expected to hold his position through the retirement of Derek Jeter and beyond.
I am looking forward to watching Grandy in the Bronx. One of my personal favorites in the ‘Wow’ factor (off the field exploits aside) was Darryl Strawberry. I am hopeful that Grandy will bring that level of excitement and energy to the team and that he’ll quickly become a fan favorite.
The former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was selected first in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft by the Washington Nationals and was immediately dealt to the Yankees as compensation for the trade that sent reliever Brian Bruney to the Nats.
Hoffmann, a former hockey player, will compete for the 25th spot on the Yankees roster. Since Hoffmann will have to be offered back to the Dodgers if he fails to stick on the Yankees major league roster, I fully expect the Yankees to move either Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner if Hoffmann shows anything during spring training. You can make an argument for why the Yanks should keep either Cabrera or Gardner but Cabrera clearly has the highest trade value.
Hoffmann, 25, made his major league debut with the Dodgers on May 22nd. Two days later, he got his first major league hit, a two-run bomb off Matt Palmer and the Angels in Anaheim. Hopefully, it is a great sign of things to come…
Okay, it’s not really an arrival. However, it is a big deal that Andy and the team agreed on a one year deal so quickly after Andy announced his decision to play at least another year. We didn’t need another Brett Favre-like situation this off-season. Welcome back, Andy!
This could be called the ‘You’ll get your ring when we come to a city near you’ category…
Brian Bruney, to the Washington Nationals for the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft (Jamie Hoffmann).
Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to the Detroit Tigers, and Ian Kennedy to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Detroit’s Curtis Granderson.
Johnny Damon, unsigned. Talks with the Yanks have continued but the team is unwilling to go beyond two years. At this stage of his career, Damon has to get all he can get since this may be his last major league contract. I want Damon back, however, I am supportive of the team’s position.
Hideki Matsui, unsigned. Almost certain not to return unless the Yankees fail to sign Damon, Godzilla would be a good fit in the Bay Area if the Oakland A’s could unload Jack Cust.
Jose Molina, unsigned. I am ready for Francisco Cervelli to back up Jorge Posada, with Jesus Montero possibly in the mix. The Yankees do need to reduce their payroll and this is an area that they can still get value at a cheaper price.
Xavier Nady, unsigned. Personally, I would try to bring the X-Man back to the Bronx. But I recognize that he is not in the team’s plans, and it is virtually certain that he’ll sign elsewhere (perhaps with the Braves).
Jerry Hairston, Jr. A good complimentary player but his role can be easily replaced by Ramiro Pena.
The Yankees are not expected to tender a contract to pitcher Chien-Ming Wang so he’ll become a free agent later today (midnight ET). It’s unfortunate that it has come to this with the former 19-game winner. He was perhaps the Yankees most valuable starting pitcher until that fateful day running the bases in Houston several years ago. I suspect that he’ll be a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year so some team is going to get lucky by taking a chance on Wang. Hopefully, the Yankees will find a way to bring him back but for now, he’ll be up for grabs…
Former Yankee, and the Opening Day starting third baseman, Cody Ransom has been invited to camp with the Philadelphia Phillies as a non-roster player.
* * *
As a California resident, this joke by Conan O’Brien bears repeating since it is oh, so true!
‘Los Angeles was hit by a massive storm that caused power outages and freeway closures. Meteorologists predict that the storm will head east next week where it will be known as rain.’
…or something like that! Nevertheless, it is an accurate description of life in California!
Ready, set, go!…
It’s the start of free agency, and teams now have the right to negotiate with available free agents as teams’ exclusive rights period ended Thursday night. Of course, there were no significant signings on Friday, but activity should pick up in the coming weeks.
The big three for the Yankees are obviously Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui. Regardless of what other moves the Yanks have in mind for their rotation, I feel very strongly they should bring back Andy assuming that he wants to come back for another season. Had he not gone to Houston for three years, Andy would potentially be in position to challenge Whitey Ford for the Yankees record for most career wins (The Chairman of the Board holds the record with 236 wins, while Andy stands at 229 career wins with the Yankees and Astros). Andy may never reach Ford’s Yankees record, however he still has the chance to reach the 200 win milestone wearing pinstripes, needing just 8 more wins. I think Andy is very proud of his Yankees legacy, and I do expect to see him back in the Bronx next season.
I would like to see the team re-sign Johnny Damon. The only thing about Damon that concerns me is his arm-strength in left field. Otherwise, he is still playing the game like a young man despite his age (36). He simply makes things happen and his double-steal in the World Series was classic but typical Damon-like. The Yankees would be wise to allow Damon to return next year on a two year deal.
As much as I like Hideki Matsui and how great his timely hits have been, I see this as the end of his career in the Bronx. Since he’s limited to DH, he simply wouldn’t get enough at-bats in the coming seasons with the need to increase the DH rotation to include older players like Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez (to allow them more rest from playing the field).
I am sad to see Xavier Nady go, but it doesn’t sound like there’s any interest on the Yankees’ part to bring him back. Some team is going to get a high quality guy and if healthy, a productive player. Of course, that means he’ll probably be signing with Boston any day now… 😦
The rumor mill regarding Roy Halladay is gaining steam once again. A free agent after next season, it is very likely that the Toronto Blue Jays will move Doc this off-season rather than wait until the trading deadline. The list of teams not interested in Doc is probably shorter than the list of team who are. The Blue Jays will be able to get a King’s ransom for Halladay and it should set them up for a bright future. Of course, the Yankees and Red Sox are always rumored to be in the mix, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Doc go to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Assuming that Frank McCourt isn’t too distracted or financially drained by his divorce proceedings with wife Jamie, the Dodgers need a frontline ace to compete against the Philadelphia Phillies for supremacy in the National League. The Dodgers have a window of opportunity so they should certainly make every attempt to secure the final pieces of the puzzle in what could be Joe Torre’s last hurrah.
Wow, with 15 wins, Tim Lincecum captured the NL Cy Young Award for the second consecutive year? I am not trying to take anything away from Lincecum (15-7, 2.48 ERA), but I was surprised. I know and understand that win total is the one statistic that a pitcher has the least amount of control over, however, I thought that Adam Wainright of the St. Louis Cardinals was the deserving choice (he led the NL with 19 wins). His ERA was slightly higher than Lincecum’s at 2.63, but it was still very good. You could also argue that Chris Carpenter should have won, as he had a remarkable season (17-4, 2.24 ERA despite missing time with a pulled muscle in his side). Wainright, 19-8, captured the most first place votes, but finished third behind Lincecum and Carpenter. I can’t help but think that if Wainright had pitched for the Mets or the Dodgers, he would have won the award. Even the local Bay Area press was surprised by Lincecum’s win. I was listening to San Francisco sports talk radio on Friday, and all they could talk about was how long Lincecum’s hair was going to be by Opening Day next season. Lincecum lead the league in strikeouts with 261, and was second in ERA and third in innings pitched. If you ask Lincecum which stat is most important, it’s WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). Timmy finished fourth with a WHIP of 1.047 (behind Dan Haren, Carpenter, and Javier Vazquez). I am not saying that Lincecum was a bad choice…it was simply unexpected, in my mind.
I am going to see a show by comedian Lisa Lampanelli tonight. I don’t know anything about her except that she is the so-called “Queen of Mean”. I found this review of Lisa’s show by Larry the Cable Guy: “Front row tickets to Lisa’s show are $100, and obstructed view tickets are $150”. I’ve heard she is very raunchy so I might want to get those obstructed view tickets! 😉
I wish we could do this more often…
Josh Haner/The New York Times
Those were the words of Yogi Berra as he travelled down the Canyon of Heroes yesterday during the Yankees Parade in New York City.
I am right there with ya, Yogi! Let’s do it again next year!
Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger
Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger
Friday was the day for Yankees fans all over the World. Of course, most of us couldn’t make the trip to the City, but about two million fans lined the streets as the floats bearing the Yankee players made their way down Manhattan.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
When the season started, who would have thought this would have been possible? A-Rod was on the DL after undergoing hip surgery, so the starting third baseman was Cody Ransom. The bullpen was imploding regularly, led by Jose Veras. Mark Teixeira forgot his bat in Tampa. And there were regular calls for the head of manager Joe Girardi. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that little 0-8 start against the guys from Beantown. Nevertheless, Alex Rodriguez returned in May and the team, figuratively and literally, never looked back. When Boston was winning their championships, they displayed a ‘don’t quit’ mentality, and that was never more evident for the Yankees than this season.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
The off-season acquisitions were tremendous. I know, the jokes about the Yankees’ financial advantage have reverberated throughout the country. I think Conan O’Brien’s line was “It’s amazing what hard work, determination and a half billion bucks will do for you!”. While I agree that they have the revenue to keep the team competitive year in and year out, if you don’t spend the money on the right players, you will not win. Every year is a challenge to put together the right mix of team chemistry. Sometimes it is less about ability than it is cohesiveness. GM Brian Cashman certainly deserves much credit for putting together the 2009 Yankees. I am not sure that this could have happened a few years ago when there was a clear power struggle between the Yankees front office in New York and the group in Tampa, led by Mark Newman.
During the season, I felt the Yankees needed to make a move for a frontline starter and it was difficult to watch Cliff Lee go to Philadelphia and Scott Kazmir to the Angels. But in the end, Cash was right to stand pat. We didn’t give up any major talent, and now super prospect Austin Jackson stands ready in the wings to take command of center field. A trade for a quality starting pitcher could have potentially cost the Yankees Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, A-Jax, or one of the other high level prospects that can contribute to Yankee success in 2010 or 2011. So, thanks to Cash for executing a brilliant plan and sticking to it. His perseverance guaranteed the trip down the Canyon of Heroes, and hopefully ensures that this will not be the last one for owner George Steinbrenner.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
A few memories from yesterday’s parade…
Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Kevin P. Coughlin
Victoria Will/New York Post
Congratulations to the 2009 World Champions…
New York Yankees!
Sipkin/NY Daily News
In other notes, the Angels acted very quickly in re-signing former Yankee Bobby Abreu to a two-year $19 million deal. It is a good move on their part. He helped to energize an Angels line up that came within one team of making it to the World Series.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The Red Sox were also very quick to make a move as they acquired young, under-achieving outfielder Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins. What, are the Marlins the minor league farm club for the Red Sox? This is starting to feel like what the Kansas City A’s were to the Yankees back in the 50’s. Nevertheless, Hermida is a former first round pick and is only 25. The Red Sox gave up a couple of minor league pitching prospects but not any of their upper shelf talent. This was a very good low-risk, high-reward move by Theo Epstein.
The Yankees primary concerns heading into the off-season will be the statuses of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Andy Pettitte. Of the three, the only one I expect to return is Andy Pettitte. I think Pettitte will take his usual time to decide if he’ll return but then he’ll sign a one-year deal somewhere around or after Christmas. Matsui, the World Series MVP, and Damon are less certain. Time and again, Matsui delivered the key hit to rescue the Yanks. However, he is a liability in the field and the Yanks have too many DH-types. I like Damon’s attitude and versality, however, I’d like to see someone with a stronger arm in left field. You’ll never see Damon gun someone down at the plate, unless the runner is Drew Carey…
I think both Xavier Nady and Chien-Ming Wang are gone, although I do have reluctance in seeing both leave.
Kim Klement/US Presswire
In Los Angeles, it looks like Manny Ramirez will be back for another year with Joe Torre and the Dodgers. Manny exercised his $20 million player option on Friday. I think Manny has a lot to prove during the coming year. I cannot say that I followed the team closely during the season, but it seemed to me that the Dodgers were a stronger unit while Manny was serving his 50-game suspension. It will be interesting to see which Manny shows up in the spring.
The fourth-ranked University of Iowa Hawkeyes look to extend their streak against Northwestern. I have been a Hawkeyes fan for as long as I can remember…I guess it’s a product of growing up in an Iowa farming community. The stakes are very high for the 9-0 Hawks at this point in the season. They lead the Big Ten, however, the Ohio State Buckeyes loom in the horizon. The Buckeyes play the Penn State Nittany Lions in a very pivotal game this weekend, and then the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes will meet for the final regular season game. I’ll be pulling for Penn State, but hopefully the Hawks can continue their ride in the driver’s seat. Of course, they have been cursed by the cover of Sports Illustrated so I am a little uneasy…
Hey Julia, I was reading the Boston Globe and read something about the Boston Celtics getting “sunburned”. I hope they’re okay! LOL! So much for the streak! J
A “Half Day Off” works…
Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger
With the installation of Alex Rodriguez at DH last night, Joe Girardi coined the term “half day off” when describing A-Rod’s temporary switch from third. The result? Very good, as evidenced by the towering two-run homer to dead center in the 6th to cap the scoring in the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The homer came after Ken Griffey, Jr. had tied the score at 2 in the top half of the inning with his 621st career home run. Griffey has now hit home runs in 44 stadiums, and trails only Sammy Sosa (by one stadium).
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
A-Rod’s home run was the 566th of his career, and he trails Rafael Palmeiro by 3 for 10th place on the All-Time HR List. According to the Elias Sports Bureau (per The New York Times), the last time a game featured home runs by two players with at least 550 career home runs was May 8, 1971. On that date, the Atlanta Braves defeated the San Francisco Giants, 5-2, at Candlestick Park. The Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays, hit one out in the 6th to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. Hank Aaron responded with a three-run shot in the 8th as the Braves scored 5 runs to take the game.
Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
A-Rod has been re-energized since the forced days off last weekend. In his last 7 games, he is batting .435 (10-for-23), with 4 HR’s, 13 RBI’s, and 10 walks. It is a huge contrast to the lethargic A-Rod we had seen in the weeks prior to the time off.
“There’s no question I feel more energetic,” A-Rod said. “The swing only comes if you feel you have fuel in the tank.”
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Andy Pettitte, who struggled in earlier home starts at the new Stadium, was very effective, and picked up his 8th win of the season. With Andy, you are never quite sure what you are going to get, but he managed to overcome the loss of two leads and persevered to get the win. It seems as though he has finally learned how to pitch in the new Stadium. His numbers at home had been significantly worse than his road stats. He recognizes that the hits and homers will happen, but his job is to limit the damage and keep his team in the game. It’s a skill that Andy is very good at…
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Johnny Damon had started the scoring with a home run of his own during the 3rd inning.
Barton Silverman/The New York Times
Melky Cabrera also added a solo shot in the 5th, which stood upon completion of a video replay by the officials.
Barton Silverman/The New York Times
The Yankees have now won seven games in a row, and remain 2 ½ games behind the Boston Red Sox. While the Yanks didn’t gain any ground on the Red Sox, they did pick up a game on the hard charging Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays’ seven-game winning streak was snapped in a 5-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press
In a down note, it has been determined, as expected, that Xavier Nady does need reconstructive elbow surgery. Everyone is saying positive words of encouragement, but it will be a long, uphill battle for Nady. This will be Nady’s second Tommy John surgery. It will be performed next Wednesday, and the recovery time is generally 10-12 months. Our hearts go out to Nady. He’s been the consummate team guy and I hope he’ll be playing on the ball field again soon.
Exit light, enter night, take my hand, off to never never land…
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
When the words of the famed Metallica song, “Enter Sandman”, reverberate throughout Yankee Stadium, it means only one thing. It’s the entrance of Mariano Rivera for yet another save opportunity. On Sunday night, against the New York Mets, Mo reached a milestone with his 500th career save. He became only the second man to reach 500 saves, behind leader Trevor Hoffman.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Mo also picked up his first career RBI on a bases-loaded walk from Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, bringing home Melky Cabrera for an insurance run in the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Mets. The Yankees swept the weekend series against the Mets, and won the season series, taking 5 of 6 games.
Jason Szenes/The New York Times
At the end of the game, there were no fist pumps, no wild displays of emotion. Mo, in his usual business-like approach, calmly watched Robinson Cano fire Alex Cora’s ground out to Mark Teixeira to end the game. Tex handed Mo the game ball and gave him a big hug. The rest of the team came and did the same. It was a very touching scene, and I have to admit that I got chills watching the moment. I have said it will be a very difficult day when Mo decides to hang up his glove, but I am very appreciative for moments like this as we move toward the sunset of an absolutely fantastic career.
As usual, Mo is quicker to credit his teammates than he is to take praise alone.
“But don’t get me wrong, this is definitely special, being the second guy who does that in the history of baseball; it’s kind of special, but I’m a team player. My team fought hard today to give me that opportunity to be there. I tried to do my job. Really, all the 500 saves belong to my teammates.”
“I’m proud of what I have done with the team. I’m proud of my teammates. I’m proud of everything we have accomplished. Every time I have the chance to wear this uniform, I’m proud.”
Mo, we’re even prouder of you…
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Congrats on #500…and #1!
The game started with a double by Derek Jeter. Nick Swisher followed with a fielder’s choice to first, but first baseman David Murphy opted to throw to third to stop an advancing Jeter. But a double pump caused too much of a delay so Murphy’s throw third arrived late, and it allowed Swisher to reach first uncontested. Mark Teixeira promptly hit a double to score both Jeter and Swisher. Tex advanced to third on a fielder’s choice hit by Robinson Cano, and scored on a sac fly by Jorge Posada. Quickly, the Yankees had raced to a 3-0 lead and those were all the runs they would need.
New York Post
Chien-Ming Wang was unable to match the pitching performances of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett in the first two games of the series, but it was still enough to pick up his first win of the year, and his first in 379 days. The Mets did mount a mini-rally in the 4th on a run-scoring double by Fernando Martinez and a RBI single by Luis Castillo. But pitcher Livan Hernandez grounded out to end the threat.
For the game, Wang went 5 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and two runs. He walked three batters and struck out three. His ERA remains in double-digits (10.06), but another quality start will bring it down to single digits after the horrendous start to the season.
Keivom/NY Daily News
Phil Hughes continued his successful transition to the bullpen. In his last five outings, he’s pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings. That’s a far cry of the early season disasters involving Jose Veras and Damaso Marte. Hughes has played a huge role in re-shaping the bullpen into a quality unit. Granted, it still doesn’t match the stellar Red Sox bullpen, but at least it’s improving.
I realize that the Subway Series would have had a different look had Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado et al been healthy. But wins are wins, and I’ll take them. My friend Julia seems to enjoy “distance” but we are quietly gaining ground on her beloved Red Sox. Hey Julia, I’ll use one you used on me once upon a time…even if the deficit is 3 ½ games heading into Tuesday’s action…
Xavier Nady definitely facing an uphill battle in his attempt to come back from his right elbow injury. He previously underwent Tommy John surgery in 2001, so another surgery will be the second of its kind. I read that the success rate for a second surgery is only about 20%. Nady will miss the rest of 2009 and most likely all of 2010 (typical recovery time is 12-14 months). However, it is possible that he may never return and that would truly be unfortunate.
Kim Klement/US Presswire
Speaking of injuries, I want to put the rivalry with the Red Sox aside and wish Mike Lowell the very best. He had fluid drained from his ailing right hip and received an injection to relieve inflammation in the joint. It will take a few days to determine if Lowell will be able to play now or if he’ll need to be placed on the DL for a return later this summer. I truly hope that the best case scenario works out for Mike, and that he is back on the field sooner rather than later. I want to beat Boston, but I want to beat Boston with their best on the field. Mike is a huge part of why the Red Sox have been so successful, and I hope he has a speedy recovery.
Finally, today was the funeral for Iowa high school football coach Ed Thomas (of Aplington-Parkersburg). A 24-year old former player has been charged with the murder of Thomas, who coached the likes of Aaron Kampman, Brad Meester, Jared DeVries, and Casey Wiegmann during his 37-year coaching career. Thomas was the NFL’s High School Coach of the Year in 2005, and won two state titles. I grew up playing Iowa high school football, and it is shocking that something like this could happen in the Hawkeye State. My high school coach, Pearl Smith, never won a state championship (not for the lack of trying, I can assure you), but he was a winner in my eyes. It’s been many years since I’ve seen him, but he had a huge impact on my life and the lessons he taught stick with me to this day. So, I am deeply saddened to see the loss of Ed Thomas and what it means to everyone whose life he touched during his long and very successful coaching career.