Tag:New York Yankees
Posted on: July 12, 2010 9:41 pm

On Derek Jeter, Bob Sheppard and summer

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Here's hoping that when Derek Jeter becomes a free agent this winter, the Yankees re-sign him to a 20-year deal.

OK, so that's a tad unrealistic, given that Jeter already is 36.

But the way things stand now, the longer Jeter hangs around, the longer we'll hear the voice of the late, legendary public address announcer Bob Sheppard.

Jeter requested that Sheppard record the introduction to his at-bat a few years ago when Sheppard's health began to decline. And today, at every home Yankees' game, it is the tape of Sheppard's voice ("Now batting ... number 2 ... Derek ... Jetah ... number 2") that introduces Jeter.

"Bob Sheppard is as much a part of our organization as anyone," Jeter said Monday before the American League All-Star team worked out at Angel Stadium. "He's part of the whole experience of going to Yankee Stadium.

"He's someone, who when I went to see games when I was younger, the way he says your name ... when he says your name, you know you've made it."

I kidded Jeter about my idea that he signs a 20-year deal, or more to the point, that the Yankees should give him several extra years just so we could continue to listen to Sheppard introduce him. But Jeter wasn't having any of that.

"I talked about my contract the first day of spring training and then said I wasn't going to talk about it anymore," he said.

I know, I know. But still, it's a thought isn't it?

If the rest of our summers were filled with sunshine, ice cream and listening to Sheppard introduce Jeter, that would be a pretty good thing. Maybe even Red Sox fans would be on board with that.

Posted on: July 9, 2010 1:22 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2010 4:20 pm

Yanks trying to finish Lee deal, others involved

The Yankees, with baseball's best record, are deep in discussions with the Seattle Mariners to acquire ace left-hander Cliff Lee, the most sought-after starting pitcher on the market this month, according to CBSSports.com sources.

However, sources cautioned that the deal is not done and there were indications Friday afternoon that the Mariners were continuing to shop Lee. One major-league source told CBSSports.com that, among other teams, the Texas Rangers are continuing full throttle attempting to acquire Lee.

It is believed that Minnesota, which held a conference call involving it's top baseball people at midday Friday, is continuing to push hard as well.

Meanwhile, the Yankees and Mariners were discussing the framework of a deal that would send one of New York's top prospects, catcher Jesus Montero, minor-league infielder David Adams and a third prospect to the Mariners for Lee. The New York Post's Joel Sherman first reported the names early this morning.

The deal was not yet finished as of midday Friday, but sources say the Yankees were aggressively trying to move it toward the finish line. Among the pressure points: Lee is scheduled to start tonight's game in Seattle against the Yankees.

Lee's 2.34 ERA currently leads the American League. He also leads the league with five complete games. If they acquire him, the Yankees would add a tremendous insurance policy to a rotation that already ranks third in the AL with a 3.79 ERA.

Along with CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte, Lee would give the Yankees a fourth starter who has been named to Tuesday's All-Star Game. A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez would be the only odd men out, and that could go literally for Vazquez: The Yankees would need to clear room in their rotation and they appear moving along in talks to spin him off in a separate trade elsewhere.

The move also would add depth to a rotation that could need it down the stretch, even as dominating as its been so far: Hughes has worked 94 innings so far this season and, at 24 and as they work to ensure his long-term health, the Yankees really prefer he doesn't exceed much more than 170 innings pitched this season. That could become an issue in September and October.

Montero, just 20, was named as the top prospect in the Yankees' organization last winter by Baseball America. The Mariners are seeking good, young hitters, among other things, and catching is among the organizational areas they need to improve. If the Yankees can pull this off, they'll block Minnesota -- which could offer catching prospect Wilson Ramos -- among several other interested clubs.

Bottom line is, it appears as if the bewitching hour has arrived for anybody and everybody who was in -- or wanted to be in -- the Lee talks. Minnesota, Texas, the Mets, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay ... the list is lengthy.

If the Yankees can acquire Lee, it will reunite him and Sabathia, the pillars of Cleveland rotations that allowed the Indians to contend earlier this decade.

It also will give both he and they a test run together as Lee, owed about $4.5 million the rest of this season, heads toward free agency. Translation: The Daddy Rich Yankees likely will have an advantage in re-signing him, if and when the time comes.

Posted on: June 27, 2010 7:20 pm

Torre, Rodriguez meet, chill evaporates

LOS ANGELES -- For those who can't get enough of the Joe Torre-Alex Rodriguez Cold War, we have news of a thaw.

As the Yankees were preparing to take the field here before Sunday night's game, Rodriguez approached Torre by the batting cage and the two of them chatted for about 45 seconds. As they did, Torre held onto the handshake until the end, looked him in the eye and appeared to deliver a message that Rodriguez seemed eager to digest.

"It was just a convenience thing before that," Torre said a few minutes later as to why he and Rodriguez hadn't spoken this weekend when several other Yankees -- Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and others -- had made it a point to come over and visit during batting practice on Friday.

"He came over and he was who he always is," Torre continued. "I was never uncomfortable with Alex. I just told him again, I said, 'I hope you got my message about sort of getting that monkey off of your back.'

"He's a good kid. He's a good kid and, to me, I think too much is always made of this stuff. I think we know in our hearts what goes on."

Torre said nothing came up about the book he co-authored with Tom Verducci in 2009, The Yankee Years, that portrayed Rodriguez in an unflattering light.

"First of all, anything that was concerning him and me in the book had already been in the public," Torre said. "There was never anything Alex could have read in that book that he hadn't talked to me about. And even the stuff that Tom Verducci found out about the A-Fraud thing, players were doing that in front of him. They were kidding with him. That was just a jab. They always jab in the clubhouse all the time.

"So it was never anything that was a behind-anybody's-back thing. We never did anything behind anybody's backs in that clubhouse. That's why I never really had any concern that he wasn't talking to me because I knew that wasn't the case."

No word yet from A-Rod, by the way -- he went onto the field for batting practice right after meeting with Torre.

Posted on: June 27, 2010 12:12 am

Reeling Burnett stranded without Eiland

LOS ANGELES -- The Yankees skipped Phil Hughes' start this time around in deference to his innings-pitched count, but it was A.J. Burnett who again pitched like the guy who really needs to be skipped.

Turning in his fifth consecutive clunker in Saturday's 9-4 loss to the Dodgers, Burnett again was wild, looked lost and was working on mysteries without any clues.

Burnett now has lost five consecutive starts for the first time since 2005, when he was still pitching for Florida.

How difficult is that to do for the Yankees?

Very, it would seem. The Yankees rank second in the American League in runs scored.

"I'm pretty upset," Burnett said in response to a question about how calm he seems in the midst of his worst slump in years. "I'm pretty upset. But the guys in this clubhouse, they don't let you act that way.

"I've had a handful of guys talking to me."

Burnett, 33, has been high-maintenance throughout his career. Last season, Jose Molina evolved into his personal catcher. Molina no longer is around. And his current slide, coincidence or not, started about the same time pitching coach Dave Eiland took a leave of absence for personal reasons.

In the interim, bullpen coach -- and former pitcher -- Mike Harkey is acting as pitching coach.

"Everybody misses Dave here," Burnett said. "But I pitched 10 years without Dave also.

"We're not putting things on nobody but No. 34."

Which, of course, is Burnett's number.

"You look at everything and say, yeah, it could be," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Eiland's absence. "But A.J. knows what he has to do. He understands what he has to do.

"It's hard to pinpoint why. But he has to correct it and he has to work through it."

Over his past five starts, Burnett now has allowed 29 earned runs and nine homers. His ERA during that span is 11.35. On Saturday, 12 of 20 Dodgers Burnett faced reached base.

"Let's not forget that this game is not easy," Girardi said. "I've said all along that he's going to get out of this, and he will."

Last time out, Monday in Arizona, Burnett became the first Yankee to surrender three first-inning homers in a game since Ron Guidry in 1987.

Saturday in Los Angeles, the Dodgers scorched Burnett for two runs and three hits in the first, immediately vaulting them back into the game after the Yanks had scored three in the top of the first. But it was the third inning, when Burnett surrendered four walks (one intentional) and a couple of hits, that really cost him.

Burnett, who walked six (one intentionally) and has walked 17 hitters over his past 23 innings, said he had an "unbelievable" warm-up pre-game and that "the results were terrible but I felt a little better, believe it or not."

Burnett went through a rough time last August with the Yankees, going 0-4 with a 6.03 ERA in six starts, before pulling it together again in September (3-1, 3.83).

Difference now is, Eiland isn't around (and neither is Molina).

Still, Girardi said his inclination is to not skip Burnett's next start, scheduled for Friday at home against Toronto.

"We're 10 minutes after the game, but my thought is not to skip him," Girardi said. "It's a gut feeling of mine. His stuff is there. His command isn't. My gut is to run him out there."

Likes: Dodgers manager Joe Torre on Derek Jeter whiffing three times on his 36th birthday Saturday: "Well, it was my present to him." ... Jerry Reinsdorf for owner of the year. The White Sox, who won their 11th consecutive game on Saturday, have not lost since Reinsdorf scolded GM Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen. ... Nice run by Texas, too. ... Fernando Valenzuela never fails to elicit a loud roar in Dodger Stadium when they show him on the big scoreboard. ... Steve Martin's "leaked" tour demands for his banjo tour with the Steep Canyon Rangers. Great stuff. ... Pompilio's Italian restaurant in Newport, Ky. Good neighborhood place. Had lunch there a week or so ago. Added bonus: The Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman characters in Rain Man had a meal here in the movie (the scene where Hoffman's character insists on counting the toothpicks the drop off of the counter). ... Mojo, the new disc from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Don't love it, but like it quite a bit.

Dislikes: Carlos Zambrano signs a $91.5 million contract a few years ago and behaves like this. And the Cubs should not be happy that he went out to dinner with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen later Friday night. After that embarrassing public meltdown, he should have stayed in and looked in the mirror.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well poor Tom Jefferson
"He loved the little maid out back
"Midnight creepin’ out to the servant’s shack
"Kept a secret under the bed
"Wrapped in a burlap sack"

-- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jefferson Jericho Blues


Posted on: April 27, 2010 8:24 pm

Willis and Pierre: The path of friendship

Juan Pierre is godfather to both of Dontrelle Willis' daughters, little Adrianna Rose (3) and Bianca (1), giving the White Sox outfielder and the Detroit pitcher one more common bond in a couple of careers that have followed strangely (and intriguingly) similar arcs.

Best buddies from their early days in the Florida organization, both Pierre and Willis emerged as key figures in the Marlins' 2003 World Series championship run, had varying degrees of success afterward ... and then each man, for different reasons, hit the skids over the past two seasons before getting a renewed chance this year.

Like many of us at various times in our careers, their jobs turned sour and their strength of character was severely tested.

Except, well ... with Willis now in the final season of a three-year, $29 million deal and Pierre in the fourth season of a five-year, $44 million contract, maybe their challenges are a little different than those of most working stiffs.

"Come on, is it really that tough?" Willis asks of the challenges he and his buddy have faced over the past couple of years. "Really, in the grand scheme of things?"

Unlike a lot of guys, the affable Willis gets an 'A' for his perspective.

Yet, even that doesn't fully take away the sting when a guy can't -- or isn't -- performing.

Pierre, who had played in all 162 games over five consecutive seasons, became the odd-man out of the Dodgers' outfield in 2008 when they acquired Manny Ramirez.

Willis, who had been traded to Detroit, suddenly couldn't throw strikes for the Tigers in 2008.

Pierre could have sulked and demanded a trade when Manny took his playing time. And while he did have his moments of moodiness as a fourth outfielder in '08, he came to camp in '09 determined to make the best of the situation -- and this positive attitude aided in making Pierre hugely instrumental in sparking the Dodgers to first place in the NL West when Ramirez was suspended for 50 games for a dirty performance-enhancing drug test.

Willis was so bad for Detroit over the past couple of seasons that he landed on the disabled list twice in 2009 -- for something called "anxiety disorder."

Yet each man persevered and is hoping in 2010 to come out the other side. Willis opened the season in the Tigers' rotation. Pierre is in the White Sox outfield after Dodgers' general manager Ned Colletti, in a class move, kept his promise to try and find a spot for Pierre where his playing time would increase.

"We hit it off because we have the same personality," Willis says. "We get to the field early, we work, we expect a lot of ourselves.

"Sometimes things are a blessing in disguise. We handled [the tough times over the past two years] with class. And now there is a situation for both of us where we're both turning it around.

"I don't think Juan would be in that situation if he didn't stay focused. It's made me proud. It's a testament to what kind of man he is and what kind of teammate he was."

Pierre, playing left field, is off to a slow start in Chicago, hitting .222 with a .282 on-base percentage. He does have nine steals in 18 games.

Willis, 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA in four appearances (three starts), like Pierre, impressed teammates last year with his upbeat attitude despite tough personal times.

"We're not here to rock the boat," Willis says of he and his buddy Pierre. "We want to get along. Our work ethic speaks for itself. To give your best effort, that's all you can ask for whether you're a player, a writer, whatever."

Both within and outside of their own clubhouses, it's not difficult to find people rooting for both Willis and Pierre, so much so that yes, Willis says, he often feels the love.

"I appreciate it," Willis says. "I wasn't down when I was struggling. Everything was fine at home. Just because I was struggling doesn't mean everything was going bad. My family is good.

"It's one of those things where when you struggle, people think everything is wrong in your life. And it's not. I told Skip [manager Jim Leyland], 'Thanks for the opportunity.'

"I really like my teammates, this coaching staff, and the city of Detroit. I'm from Oakland, and Detroit is similar. I do feel a lot of people pulling for me, and I really appreciate it. And I think Juan is the same.

"We're really thankful."

Likes:  Sure is going to be entertaining watching the near-future gyrations of the agents for Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez after Ryan Howard signed his five-year, $125 million extension. ... This hilarious item in The Onion the other day: True Yankees, Regular Yankees to Now Wear Different Uniforms. Among the beauties in the story: "To have Javier Vazquez don the same pinstripes as Mariano Rivera or Jorge Posada is…well, it's unthinkable," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said as Curtis Granderson modeled the sterile, black-and-white uniform with a large, boxy, non-interlocking "NY" stitched across the front of the chest. ... Really enjoyed Adventureland, a film about a high school graduate having to forego dreams of a European trip before starting at an Ivy League school when his parents have a financial setback, leaving him to a summer job at a Pittsburgh-area amusement park in 1987. Lots of funny (and painful) stuff. James Brennan and Kristen Stewart are terrific. It's out on DVD now and definitely worth catching.

Dislikes: The one television show my wife loves that will drive me out of the room every time: Glee.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Me and some guys from school
"Had a band and we tried real hard
"Jimmy quit and Jody got married
"I shoulda known we'd never get far
"Oh when I look back now
"That summer seemed to last forever
"And if I had the choice
"Yeah, I'd always wanna be there
"Those were the best days of my life"

-- Bryan Adams, Summer of '69


Posted on: April 25, 2010 8:58 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2010 8:59 pm

Yankees take it to the house -- the White House

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Forget that whole champions "I'm going to Disney World" thing.

When the New York Yankees wrapped up their series here Sunday, roughly one mile from Disneyland, they were headed to the White House for an appointment on Monday.

Now, I immediately figured the obvious, that President Obama had summoned the Yanks as part of his efforts to rein in the financial industry.

What Commissioner Bud Selig hasn't been able to do -- level the playing field between the Yankees and their $200 million payroll and, say, the Pittsburgh Pirates and their $35 million payroll -- I figured was being taken up by Obama somewhere between Goldman Sachs and AIG.

Turns out, false alarm.

"No," Mark Teixeira helpfully informed me. "It's because we're champions."

And so it is that the Yankees will spend an off day before Tuesday's series-opener in Baltimore visiting the Walter Reed Medical Center, lunching in the U.S. Senate Dining Room with the World Series trophy, Senators and wounded warriors and, yes, being welcomed on the South Portico (East Room if it rains) by President Obama.

"It's going to be exciting," Yankees ace CC Sabathia said. "I'm really looking forward to it."

For Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, this will be the third different sitting president that will welcome them as World Series champions to the White House -- Bill Clinton, the second George Bush and now Barack Obama.

"I don't know if it says they're old or presidents don't have long stays," Yankees manager Joe Girardi quipped. "I don't know what it is, but it's fairly remarkable."

Giarardi has visited the White House before as a player and said it's an awesome experience.

"You're in awe of the physical structure, the building, when you walk in," he said. "But I just think meeting a president ... I don't think any of us can fathom what that life is like. Just imagine what comes across his desk every day."

Sabathia says he'll stick to baseball, that he will bring no advice whatsoever for the president.

"I've got nothing," Sabathia said, grinning.

Likes: Loved Yankees manager Joe Girardi manning up and admitting a strategical mistake in Sunday's game. ... There is no love lost between these Yankees and Angels, who get after it pretty good. Three batters were hit with pitches Sunday: The Yankees' Robinson Cano by Scott Kazmir (who drilled a homer two plate appearances later) and the Angels' Juan Rivera (Javier Vazquez) and Torii Hunter (Damaso Marte). Nobody charged the mound, they all just kept playing -- hard. ... Angels manager Mike Scioscia was insistent that he thinks the play in which Mark Teixeira mowed over catcher Bobby Wilson at the plate Friday night, knocking Wilson into next week, was hard but clean. Teixeira still hadn't spoken with Wilson as of Sunday but had three different people deliver messages of well-wishes and had been assured the messages were received. Wilson, who suffered a concussion and a left ankle strain and was placed on the disabled list, was at Angel Stadium for the first time since the incident on Sunday. "He was playing baseball," Wilson said. "He was playing hard. I know he got hit a few pitches earlier. ... There's no hard feelings towards Tex. I know he wasn't trying to hurt me. Just playing baseball. People can say what they want whether they think it was a clean play or they think it was a dirty play. That's baseball. I know next time around, I'm telling you, I won't back down."

Dislikes: Hate to see the weekend end. Yankees-Angels has developed into one of the better rivalries in the game.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Caught between the longing for love
"And the struggle for the legal tender
"Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
"And the junk man pounds his fender
"Where the veterans dream of the fight
"Fast asleep at the traffic light
"And the children solemnly wait
"For the ice cream vendor
"Out into the cool of the evening
"Strolls the Pretender
"He knows that all his hopes and dreams
"Begin and end there"

-- Jackson Browne, The Pretender

Posted on: April 25, 2010 8:22 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2010 9:39 pm

Girardi: "I screwed up"

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Even World Series-winning managers get the blues.

The Yankees' 8-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in the series finale here Sunday came complete with a very unusual moment in the seventh that directly preceded Kendry Morales' three-run homer that salted away the win for the Angels.

With Angels on first and second, two out, the Yankees trailing 5-4 and Kendry Morales at the plate, Joe Girardi ordered an intentional walk to Yankee-killer Kendry Morales.

And then he didn't.

Afterward, Girardi acknowledged, "I probably should have gone with my first instinct."

Follow along:

With Morales at the plate (and hitting .390 -- 23 for 59 -- lifetime against the Bronx Bombers), Girardi waved four fingers in the dugout, catcher Francisco Cervelli reinforced it and reliever Damaso Marte threw intentional ball one.

Then, confusion.

Girardi called off the walk and popped out of the dugout, taking a couple of steps toward the mound.

His intention: To summon reliever David Robertson to finish the intentional walk. Then, with two out and the bases loaded, have Robertson go hard after the next hitter, Juan Rivera.

But a few steps out of the dugout, Girardi suddenly changed his mind and U-turned.

So the lefty Marte resumed pitching to the switch-hitting Morales (batting righty) and threw ball two. But, now, not intentionally.

And taking full advantage of the Yankees' hesitation, Torii Hunter stole third base to put runners on first and third.

Next pitch, ball three.

Next, with Angels manager Mike Scioscia smartly green-lighting Morales on 3 and 0, the first baseman crushed a fat Marte fastball for a three-run homer.

Morales at the time was 1 for 3 against Marte in his career, the one hit being a double.

Had Girardi gone with his first instinct and brought Robertson in to face Juan Rivera with the bases loaded, for the record, Rivera had one RBI single in one lifetime at-bat against Robertson.

The only thing more extraordinary than a sense of wavering from the Yankees' skipper was how bluntly he assessed himself afterward, even acknowledging that once the count on Morales ran to 3 and 0, he "probably could have put up four fingers again."

"I screwed up, in a sense," Girardi said. "Not everything I do is going to be right."

Posted on: April 23, 2010 11:43 pm

Champion Yankees already in historic company

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Absolutely amazing statistic here: The New York Yankees, heading into their weekend series here Friday, have won each of their first five series ... and they're the first defending World Series champion to do that in 88 years.

Yes, 88.

Doesn't seem possible that that many World Series champions have come and gone without winning that many series out of the gate the following year.

But according to the Elias Sports Bureau, these Yankees are the first since the 1922 New York Giants to do it -- and only the third World Series champion ever to do it. The only other one: The 1904 Boston Red Sox.

Meantime, in another stat that doesn't seem possible, the 2010 Yankees have equaled the all-time franchise record by winning each of their first five series, matching that of the 1926 Yankees. Only one other Yankees team has ever started the season with as many as four series' wins in a row -- the 1922 Yanks.

The Yankees are one of three teams to begin this season with five consecutive series wins. The other two are the Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals.

Likes: Watching Derek Jeter play, any day. ... Craig Ferguson might be the single funniest man on television. His Late, Late Show is consistently outstanding. ... One more week until Friday Night Lights is back for a fourth season. I know, if I had DirecTV, I could have watched the fourth season last fall. But I don't.

Dislikes: Terrible night for Angels catcher Bobby Wilson on Friday, leaving with an ankle injury and a concussion after getting drilled in an extraordinarily violent collision at the plate with Mark Teixeira. It wasn't a dirty play, just a bad and unfortunate initial decision by Teixeira not to slide. Wilson was in front of the plate to receive the throw from right field, and Teixeira went for the back half of the plate. When he finally decided to slide, belatedly, he was caught in-between and though his feet were starting to go down, his body was still up as Wilson dove across the plate from front to back to tag him. At that point, Teixeira lowered his shoulder to brace for a collision when it became apparent there would be one. Anyway, Wilson is a 26-year-old rookie who was making his first start behind the plate.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"There's colors on the street
"Red, white and blue
"People shufflin' their feet
"People sleepin' in their shoes
"But there's a warnin' sign
"On the road ahead
"There's a lot of people sayin'
"We'd be better off dead
"Don't feel like Satan,
"But I am to them
"So I try to forget it,
"Any way I can"

-- Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com