This afternoon, Dave Robertson and Andy Pettitte were running the concourse of Citi Field. The concourse.
“It’s fun, something different,” Robertson said. “We kind of got lost a couple of times.”
Tomko and A.J. are the ringleaders among concourse runners. Joba also has joined. Tomko has been running concourses since 1999 when Reds teammate Juan Guzman got him hooked. Some Yankees began to join him during last weekend’s Florida series. Hey, it beats running circles around the field.
“It can be like Groundhog Day during a season,” Tomko said. “This breaks up the workouts; it goes quicker.”
They run in packs of four sometimes. In a 20-minute run, each guy takes the lead for five minutes. He might break up the run with sit-ups or jumping jacks.
“Right in the middle of the concourse,” Tomko said.
“It’s a lot more fun than running,” Joba said. “I mean, it is running, but you can do a lot more things.”
Joba enjoyed checking out Citi Field, which he describes as “nice, very nice.” Said Tomko: “Extremely nice. It has a lot of character.”
As for Robertson and Pettitte, they made it back to the clubhouse after an unplanned detour.
“We were up by the Caesar’s Club (on the fifth of six floors), then almost ran into the press box,” Robertson said. “We weren’t sure where we were, but we figured we should get out of there.”
Nick Swisher: As we were talking to Robertson, Swisher couldn’t help but interject. “Are you asking him why he threw McCann two backdoor cutters?” asked Swisher, wearing a Cheshire Cat grin. “That’s what I want to know.” (Brian McCann of the Braves hit two home runs against Robertson.) Robertson laughed: “Well, the first one was supposed to be a fastball in – and wasn’t. And the second one was supposed to be a fastball away – and wasn’t.” Swisher was highly amused. Robertson’s a good sport. “He hit two bombs off me,” Robertson said. “But I had a pretty good string going of not giving up home runs.” In 16.1 innings, those are the only two jacks Robertson has given up.
Derek Jeter: He’s got to be really sick to miss back-to-back games with the cough/illness that’s going around the clubhouse.
“George!” That’s how Keith Hernandez greets Cone whenever he comes into the YES booth during the Subway Series. We asked Cone why. When Cone was traded by the Royals to the Mets, he often talked about George Brett. So much so, that Hernandez decided to call him George. And probably a few other things. Honestly, as we told Cone, it’s a much more innocent story than we’d anticipated.
Subway Series: Enjoy tomorrow night’s game, the final interleague contest of the regular season. We’ll be watching.
There is nothing like a 53-degree, misty, foggy evening on June 9 in Boston, is there? Really, it’s a shock that they’re even playing this game, given the weather forecast.
Imagine that, the weather folks were wrong. At least about the intensity of the rain.
Tomko, who is from San Diego, sat in the dugout for a while during the pre-game rain and said he loves days like this. Go figure.
Extra heat: Hughes’ velocity reached 95 last night in a perfectly executed inning of relief. The adrenaline is different coming in as a reliever — Mariano and Coke agreed on that point — and it helped that Hughes was working on seven days rest.
Pettitte said Hughes’ fastball had movement similar to Mariano’s. Hughes smiled when told that and said, “It’s good to have anything compared to him.”
Hughes’ attitude and approach have been tremendous since he was removed from the rotation and his veteran teammates have noticed.
The Yankees will have a decision to make soon on Hughes. He is their sixth starter, and they have no one in Triple A they would want to make a start should they need a spot starter, or a starter for any duration.
Therefore, they need Hughes to be available in a pinch as a starter. If he continues to impress out of the pen, that becomes a tougher decision. Obviously.
What about Wang? And that makes Wang’s start tomorrow night very important and pretty darn intriguing, given the competition. Wang told us before the game he believes he is ready for the Red Sox and that his last outing was a confidence-builder; he was in fine form through 50 or so pitches.
Wang and his wife are expected their first child any day. He said he’s excited but also nervous. You get the feeling Wang has had a lot on his mind in recent weeks.
New York vs. Boston: The Yankees have surpassed the Red Sox in one ultra-important area this season — the quality of press dining. The Yankees really stepped it up in the new stadium, adding a bunch of culinary options on a nightly basis, unbelievable desserts (which, thankfully, do not tempt us) and now the soft-serve ice cream (which does).
Boston always offers pizza and soup, so it continues to trump the Yankees in those areas. And has Red Sox logos on its dinner plates and napkins. The Yankees go with plastic plates and plain brown napkins.
Anyway, in a strange coincidence, the Boston press dining room featured roast beef, mashed potatoes and broccoli tonight, just as the Yankees press dining room did last night. Maybe the Red Sox are now scouting opposing dining rooms.
So, the guys ate dinner in the dining room while we were fulfilling post-game responsibilities from the dugout.
Or at least two of them did.
“Popcorn and coffee,” Flaherty said, when asked his dinner selections. “I didn’t get invited to dinner.”
“I had prime rib and broccoli,” Kay said. “And a slice of pizza. And I ate the crust! And two cups of hot tea.”
(He loves when we write about him.)
“Prime rib and broccoli,” Kenny reported. “But, I added mashed potatoes.”
By the way, Kenny is the one who usually is in the gym by 7 a.m. He can eat what he wants.
Kay kash: Speaking of the gym, we saw Kay there around 11:30 this morning. (The gym, which is adjacent to the hotel, costs $15 per day. It’s unclear whether that is a reimbursable expense at the YES Network.) He was finishing up on the stationary bike. After his workout and presumably a shower, Kay got his hair cut in the salon next to the gym: $50 cut, $20 tip. He must’ve really, uh, liked his hairdresser.
Looking for Tino is like trying to find Waldo. We’ve given up. For now.
Hughes responds: Because you wanted an update, we asked Hughes about his blog. His sheepish response: “It’s on standby.” Tomko, who overheard our conversation, offered this to his teammate: “You’ve got to start Twittin’ or something!” Hughes laughed.
What about the pits? At one point late in the Sunday game, after we’d blogged, Kay was eating a bowl full of cherries, which he said were provided by Mia from the suites. Kay with a bowl full of cherries was amusing.
Bronx Bombers Sundae: Kay and (to a lesser extent) Cone are digging into pints of Turkey Hill ice cream as we write this. When Cone’s talking, Kay’s eating by the spoonful. For dinner, Kay and some others in our crew ordered out from Yolanda’s; he had chicken parmesan. Cone’s dinner: four cups of coffee (so far) and a piece of chocolate.
The press dining room featured awesome roast beef and mashed potatoes. Sadly, we pigged out. Audrey the Stage Manager is disappointed. “There weren’t mashed potatoes when I was in there,” she said. Sometimes, all we talk about it food.
Swish and chips: The Swisher “Innerview” has been added to the blog. That’s a good job by internet guru Kevin Sullivan, who will be delighted that Kay and Cone just discussed this blog on the broadcast. Sullivan loves when that happens. So, thanks guys!
Ray of light: The Rays don’t exactly have a long and storied history, but it’s worth noting that Longoria is trying to become the first Ray to be selected by fans to the All-Star Game and to start in the game. (Jose Canseco was voted in by fans in 1999 as DH but didn’t play in the game because of back surgery.) By last week’s count, Longoria was third in the overall voting, behind Pujols and Utley and just ahead of Jeter. New vote totals should be announced tomorrow.
We’re going to catch up with Longoria during the next Yankees-Rays series (in seven weeks) for an “Innerview.” Upton pinch hit today because Longoria was having pregame treatment on his hamstring. And Upton showed up 10 minutes early for the spot. That’s a great job by him.
Boston bound: A quick road trip awaits. Should be a fascinating three games in Boston, beginning with Burnett-Beckett. Let’s hope the forecasted rain doesn’t screw it up. The Yankees are looking for their first win against the Sox this season, but this is a different Yankees team than the one Boston last saw. A reminder, Jeter is joining us tomorrow on “Batting Practice Today presented by Audi.”
In a few short hours, there will be universal happiness on the Yankees charter flight when we take off, leaving behind our five days in Cleveland.
Bruney takes Tiger: Brian Bruney and Brett Gardner resumed their Tiger Woods video game battles last year, with Bruney winning. So Bruney has custody of the Tiger figurine until the next road trip; they play only on the road. Bruney already repainted Tiger, with a red shirt, cap and shoes and silver pants. Gardner had angered Bruney on Sunday morning by painting Tiger in head-to-toe green.
“Yeah, he was upset,” an unrepentant Gardner said. “I knew he would be. That’s why I did it.”
In Cornhole bean-bag game news, Brett Tomko went undefeated in five sweat-producing games against A.J. over the past two days. But today, Tomko split two games with Phil Coke, who said he had “no idea what I’m doing” before throwing his first bean bag.
Dining news: The Hal Lebovitz Press Dining Room stepped up today, easily the best meal of the series: grilled chicken, rice, veggies, chicken noodle soup. Worth the $10.
As a follow-up to those of you who looked too deeply for a salacious meaning in our report yesterday that “we ate room-service oatmeal at the hotel for breakfast…” — we can assure you, “we” is “I.” We just prefer the royal “we.” We really loathe the overuse of “I,” especially in print. It’s just tedious.
By the way, Flaherty treated tonight, buying Kay some chicken fingers and fries and himself a burger and fries. The cost: $19.50 for everything. Not bad.
Suffering a setback: With the news that Jose Molina “felt something” in his strained quad while running to first base in Tampa, the Yankees will “back off and be smart” with Molina, according to Brian Cashman. Cashman doesn’t believe Molina re-tore anything, but he probably will have another MRI to make sure. Cashman agrees that the Yankees are very lucky Francisco Cervelli has been beyond capable as replacement. Instead of possibly seeing Molina this week, it’ll be awhile.
Meanwhile, Xavier Nady plans to throw tomorrow after feeling some soreness in his elbow while throwing for the first time today. While Joe Girardi termed this a setback, Cashman was more optimistic, saying they expected Nady to “feel something,” just as he did when he first swung a bat. Cashman suggested this was normal and that Nady will proceed as expected. Obviously, they’ll know more tomorrow.
Bye-bye Big Buck: The Yankees will miss at least one thing from Cleveland – the Big Buck Hunter Pro game that many of them played over the past four days. They’ll probably get over it.
Funny guy, that Pavano: Bruney, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter were among the former teammates who greeted Carl Pavano as he left the Indians clubhouse yesterday, congratulating him on a fine outing. Said a smiling Pavano today: “I’m a 90-pitch pitcher now.” He should not have come out of that game.
See ya Friday: We are taking our first series off over the next three days and have lots to do. (The bosses insist we take time off. We’re slightly paranoid about their insistence, but we mostly take it in stride.) We’ll try to check in a few times between now and the start of the Rays’ series Friday. On Friday, we’ll track down Tino Martinez and ask him your questions. In the meantime, Gordon Damer (the Fantasy Gamer) will fill in Cervelli-style — more than capably! Have a great week!