Catching up in Yankeeland
Has anyone in the history of blogging been more neglectful? We have to fix that!
Since we last worked a full day at the stadium – May 24 – a lot has changed. Well, one thing has changed, but it’s big. They added a soft-serve ice cream machine to the press dining room. Sources say O’Neill really enjoyed it; he went with the chocolate-vanilla swirl, no toppings. Every day.
Paging Tino Martinez: Okay, so this is the series where we plan to ask Tino your questions. Your questions are great. But we can’t find Tino! He’s expected here Tuesday for the draft; hopefully he’ll come in a day or two early. If not, we’ll get your answers the next time we see him.
Hughes in the pen: Hughes says he’s ready to do whatever the Yankees ask, and he’s available out of the pen from now until the foreseeable future. If Wang is right for a couple of starts, Hughes could return to AAA as a starter, to keep his arm strength so he’s ready should the Yankees need a starter at some point.
Courage for Life: You might remember an Innerview we did late last June with John Challis, an 18-year-old from the Pittsburgh area who died of cancer Aug. 19. He remains an inspiration through the foundation he started not long before he died. Courage for Life Foundation grants wishes of high school athletes who have life-threatening illnesses; for more info check the Web site.
John’s parents and sister, Lexie, were here today. Girardi greeted them, as did Alex; Mr. Challis still marvels at the flower arrangement Alex sent to the funeral home. And Joe Maddon has a T-shirt that bears one of his slogans, the proceeds from which go to John’s foundation.
A short story: Alex called John a couple of weeks before his death and they chatted for a bit. Then John said, “Well, I have to go. One of my friends just got here.” Mr. Challis laughed in relaying those words. (How many teenagers cut short a call from Alex Rodriguez?) “That was John,” he said. “He treated everybody the same.”
Hitting the Mark: Girardi, on Teixeira, who had an awful April and a marvelous May, which is continuing into June: “His demeanor’s been the same the whole way throughout. That’s one of the things that’s impressed me.”
Bruney ball: Bruney will throw another bullpen tomorrow, one that will simulate a two-inning stint. He will throw 15 pitches, sit down and throw 15 more. After Bruney and the Yankees gauge how he feels Monday, they will know his next step. For now, both parties are taking a cautious approach. Bruney, on the DL for the second time with a strained flexor mass in his right elbow, won’t commit to a timeframe for his return. “I tried that the last time and probably rushed myself,” he says. “I’m just going to go whenever (I’m ready).”
Price is right: Rays teammate James Shields says of David Price, “He definitely has ‘it.’ He has that good arrogance that I think all baseball players have to have to succeed.” Price’s pregame demeanor on the day he pitches is somewhat like CC’s. Both lefties will say hello to reporters, chat with teammates and generally appear to remain pretty relaxed.
REX! Jets coach Rex Ryan is here today. We called him “intimidating” on the pregame. He’s actually very friendly and easy to talk to. We probably should have described him as “not easily intimidated.” Whatever. The important thing is, Rex has committed to appearing on “This Week in Football” this fall on YES. Which puts him ahead of the Mangini pace already.
Pass the popcorn: We were lucky enough to be invited by the Giants to their practice facility Thursday for a screening of “The Taking of Pelham 123,” due in theaters June 12. (Giants co-owner Steve Tisch is producer.) It rocks! Denzel and Travolta are terrific. So is the new facility. The Giants did a really nice job with it; it’s bigger on the inside than it appears from the outside. And it definitely trumps that practice bubble they’ve been using for years. (John Mara appreciated that assessment when we shared it with him.)
The theater where the movie was shown will be used for film study. There are no cup holders attached to the seats. And the movie started five minutes early. No kidding.
The weight room is as enormous as you would expect. Rumor has it, coach Tom Coughlin is doing personal two-a-days. His first workout ends by 6 a.m. and he goes back for another in the afternoon.
Good news for Giants fans: Brandon Jacobs was the first player we saw and he appears leaner than ever. He says he’s lost eight pounds. He looks like he could play a game today. And run over a bunch of people. The Giants are delighted with him.
Speaking of food…: Following Kay’s lead, we ate a burger today but, unlike him, we added a bun and tomato. Kay also had bacon, grapes and watermelon. Something tells me soft-serve ice cream is in the near future.
Still paging Tino Martinez. Please pick up the white courtesy phone.