The players reported at 11:30 today. A.J. was there long before then, doing some housekeeping around his locker. Among his objectives: To dispose of the cleats he wore Thursday.
“They’re the last things to go that I wore during that start,” he said.
We didn’t ask for specifics. What about the glove, wondered Dave Eiland.
“The glove stays,” A.J. said. “It’s not the glove’s fault.”
A.J.’s a veteran, a pro, a pie-thrower. He takes losses hard. Especially, it seems, losses that come down to one pitch on a day when he had nasty stuff from the moment he left the bullpen.
He pitches again Tuesday in Baltimore. A.J.’s lost his last three starts. His combined numbers: 19 innings pitched, 17 hits, 15 earned runs, seven walks, 23 strikeouts. He knows he has to do better than that; he is (much) better than that. And, in case you’re wondering, it’s a safe assumption that he would prefer to throw more than 105 pitches next time out.
Phil Hughes: He might spend more time in the clubhouse while the media are present than any other player. He looked on with amusement as A.J. tidied his locker. Hughes is one content guy these days. We spoke with Mike Harkey for tomorrow’s Innerview for “Batting Practice Today presented by Audi” and he marvels at the way Hughes has adjusted to the bullpen. And Harkey believes Hughes’ easygoing demeanor has played a large role in his splendid transition.
Michael Kay: He’s gone hog wild back into Atkins. His culinary choices today included bacon, a burger, caffeine-free diet soda and decaffeinated hot tea. That’s a rough go, if you ask us. Leiter had the commuter breakfast — muffin and coffee; he wasn’t hungry. And you just can’t beat the oatmeal in the Yankee Stadium press dining room. With brown sugar. Oh, a pizza just arrived in the booth. Leiter is partaking. Kay is eating only the cheese.
Jim Thome: He was today’s Innerview for “Batting Practice Today presented by Audi.” What a nice guy. He’s putting his 10 nieces and nephews through college. He and Reggie have a great relationship; he surpassed Reggie on the all-time home run list Aug. 15. At 564 homers, he said he can’t help but think about 600 sometimes. And he said when you play for Ozzie, you know you’re going to have fun. As for the toughest pitcher he ever faced, Thome laughed and said, “CC last night!”