Results tagged ‘ Brian Bruney ’

Good (and bad) news from the bullpen

The good news from the bullpen is that Mariano Rivera feels great and says his previously sore left groin is 100 percent.

The not-so-good news, delivered today by Joe Girardi, is that David Robertson has been experiencing stiffness in his right elbow for the past 10 days to two weeks. He’s been shut down until he sees Dr. James Andrews, the specialist in all injuries to athletes, presumably in his Birmingham, Ala., office.

robertson300_090809.jpgRobertson said he’s not worried. “It’s a concern of mine,” Girardi said, noting Robertson’s “ability to get strikeouts (has been) about as good as anybody in baseball.”

Robertson has struck out 54 batters in 36 1/3 innings since May 26. With 61 K’s in 41 innings overall, he ranks first in average strikeouts per nine innings among AL relievers who quality (at least 40 innings).

This could be encouraging: Robertson has been pitching well, with his usual (or higher) velocity, even with the lingering stiffness. Girardi called that “interesting and unusual.”

For now Girardi is without one option in the bullpen, something a division leader with a nine-game lead can live with in September. On a night when Girardi would use Robertson to give Hughes or even Bruney a night off, he’ll now look to Aceves, Albaladejo, Coke or Marte. “We have a little less flexibility and (fewer) weapons,” Girardi said.

Always optimistic, Girardi is hopeful that Robertson — whom he called “a huge part of our bullpen” — will return relatively soon and contribute in October.

Tino Martinez:
I spotted him today at the stadium and he says he’ll be here tomorrow. I’ll ask 10 questions (or so) of Tino that are representative of the ones you submitted back in May. And the Q&A will be posted on the blog by Thursday.

Reminder: I’ll be chatting at 6:45 p.m. tomorrow until first pitch. Hope you can join me!

Thank you: For reading and for the birthday wishes. Very nice.

One last shot for Wang

wang_250.jpgJust after our pregame pop, AJ and Wang walked into the dugout together. Wang was smiling and carrying a large cup of peanuts. He knows Wednesday is his last chance to show he should stay in the rotation; before Girardi told the media that, he told it to Wang.

So begins a life-altering six-day stretch for Wang, whose wife will have labor induced Tuesday, if necessary. They are expecting their first child, a son.

And then Wang will start the following night against the Nationals, a team that struggles mightily but can put runs on the board, to prove he still has it.

Given that some Yankees coaches and players are convinced Wang’s troubles stem from waning — or completely shot — confidence, it sets up this dynamic: He will take the mound knowing he has to perform but not necessarily believing he can perform.

As for what’s next if Wang doesn’t perform, it’s probably back to the bullpen, given he has no options left. Unless he winds up on the DL again.

“One of the nicest guys”:
For what it’s worth, and that might be a lot, Wang has plenty of support among his teammates. Cano tells us that Wang is “a great guy, one of the nicest guys in this room,” meaning the visiting mini-clubhouse at Fenway. “I always tell him to keep his head up, but that’s hard to do when you’re not the player you expect yourself to be.”

Over the next few days, Mariano will seek out Wang for a heart-to-heart. It might not be a long conversation, but Mariano is putting thought into what he will say. Mariano will express to Wang, as he did to us, that “I expect him to turn it around, and that I want the best for him.”

His teammates can impart wisdom and faith, but it will ultimately be up to Wang to take the mound with the confidence of years past. At this point, he has no choice.

Tiger tale: Bruney, who will make a rehab appearance Saturday and could return Tuesday, currently has custody of the Tiger Woods figurine, having defeated Gardner in their regular Tiger Woods video game battles. “Now she’s going to blog that,” Gardner told Bruney and other teammates. Thanks for reading, Brett!

Good stuff:
CC will visit with 8th-graders tomorrow at Elizabeth Barrett Browning Middle School in the Bronx. The school made dramatic improvement in NY state exams, and this is a reward. CC will take questions from the 170 students. No doubt he’s hoping one of them is, “How did you beat the Red Sox last night?”

And Gardner will return to NY-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital to reunite with 18-year-old heart transplant recipient Alyssa. When the two met May 15 at a hospital event, Alyssa gave Gardner a bracelet and told him he would hit a home run as long as he kept it. Hours later, he hit an inside-the-park home run. And Alyssa, who had been waiting 107 days for her transplant, received a lifesaving heart transplant the next day.

Is it June 11?
Really? It’s cold again here in Boston. Kay just asked Anita the Stage Manager for a hot tea with two Sweet ‘N Lows. “I don’t make talent mix their own drinks,” Anita said, explaining why Kay receives the tea already sweetened.

Kay will order another tea or two before the game ends. He had pizza before the game; two full slices, not just the cheese.

We also had pizza, some salad, diet coke.

Flaherty is drinking coffee “with a little bit of milk,” Anita reports. “And Kenny has hot tea.” No Sweet ‘N Low? “Nothing,” Anita shrugs. “Straight up.”

Kenny just ordered tea with Sweet ‘N Low. Maybe Kay is rubbing off on him. Anita is appropriately shocked.

“This is the first time in three days,” she says.

Coming up:
There’s been scarcely any Subway Series talk in the visiting clubhouse, given that most of the attention has been on the Red Sox series. But tomorrow should be fun. If it’s 80 degrees, it’ll be even more fun. Maybe Tino will be in town!

Bruney back soon?


Bruney-6-7-250.jpg
Hey there! Still looking for Tino but as one of you mentioned in the comments, maybe it’s even better to catch up with him after the draft and get his thoughts on the players the Yankees select.

Phil blogged down: In March, when we originally told Hughes that we were joining him in the blogosphere, he responded: “You can have my blog.” So, yes, he knows he’s neglecting it. We’ll check with him again.


Mo tied up: In answer to a couple of you — yes, the numbers indicate that Mariano isn’t the same in tie games, but he’s always said his approach is no different than save situations and that he feels no different in tie games. We’ll check in with him again on that, maybe tomorrow, but we’re guessing he’ll stick with those responses.

Bruney back soon? Bruney threw his bullpen today – 15 fastballs, sat for four minutes, 15 more fastballs – and said he felt great, as good as ever. Girardi wanted to see him throw changeups; Bruney said next time. He’s probably no more than 10 days away if everything goes well.

Omelet Sunday: They serve made-to-order omelets in the press dining room on days like this. And they even have egg whites. Awesome! Kay had bacon and fruit, probably a burger, and definitely ice cream. A swirl, no toppings. The ice cream is going to be very difficult to resist all season, which is going to be a problem. For us for sure, maybe for Kay.

Swish-a-licious: Glad some of you enjoyed the Swisher interview. He’s a hoot. We did the interview – or “Innerview” – while Girardi was meeting the media at the other end of the dugout. When we finished the interview, we looked over and Girardi and the reporters were staring at us, laughing. Guess we were a bit loud. Or, more accurately, Swisher was a bit loud. His energy is contagious!

Just to let you know: We are planning to interview Longoria tomorrow for “Batting Practice Today presented by Audi.” If he’s still out of the lineup, we might have to go to Plan B. And Jeter has committed to doing Tuesday’s Interview from Boston. That night, we have the BP show, pregame and postgame on YES, with the game on My9.

See ya, Cleveland!

gardner_250.jpgIn 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!

Gardner-Bruney battle continues

Gardner is in trouble. With Bruney.

The two are obsessed with the Tiger Woods videogame. They play against each other all time. To the winner goes custody of a Tiger figurine.

When Bruney triumphs, he paints Tiger’s cap, shirt and shoes red. When Gardner prevails, he paints the cap, shirt and shoes green.

Yesterday, Gardner jumped the shark. He painted the entire figurine green. And he put thought into it — he asked a clubbie in Texas to purchase bright green paint and a small paintbrush. Then, he temporarily hid the mini-Tiger from Bruney.

By this morning, Bruney had seen it.

“He painted it like a two year old,” Bruney seethed. “Why did he have to paint the whole thing green? I’m done.”

With the videogame?

“No, with Gardner and the figurine,” Bruney said. “Ask him why he did it.”

Gardner was busy with the Big Buck Hunter Pro arcade game — our apologies for getting the name of the game wrong yesterday — when we were in the clubhouse, so Gardner’s comment on this controversy will have to come postgame or tomorrow.

By the way, sources indicate that Farnsworth owns a Big Buck Hunter Pro and keeps it at his home in Georgia. That’s perfect.

jeter300_053109.jpgDouble time for Jeter: 14-game hitting streak for the Captain and he didn’t waste any time. Jinx this!

Menu musings: Kay just asked the runner to go the concession stand for a slice of pizza. He talked Flaherty into ordering one, too. (Yesterday Kay went with his other staple, chicken fingers and fries.) Kay bought. The slices are huge! Kay usually will eat only the cheese. Today, he’s eating the entire slice. “I feel like treating myself,” he explained.

We ate room-service oatmeal at the hotel for breakfast, so we declined the pizza offer and also will skip The Hal Lebovitz Press Dining Room today.

Yes, to answer your questions, we pay for meals at every ballpark. Tampa is $6. Yankee Stadium and Toronto are $11. Texas and Cleveland are $10. All receipts wind up on expense reports.

In the NFL, teams don’t charge the media for food on gamedays. At least we don’t think any of them do. In fact, some — the Steelers, for sure — allow reporters to eat in the cafeteria during the week, alongside Dan Rooney.

A.J. the tutor: A.J. takes great interest in his teammates and how they’re doing, especially the pitchers. He has developed a particular fondness for Wang, and the two were in the outfield just before noon, getting some throwing in on flat ground.

A.J. finished first and stayed to watch Wang throw. Then, he stepped behind Wang and offered what appeared to be mechanical suggestions. He and Wang were discussing Wang’s grip on the sinker.

We’ll ask A.J. for more details, probably tomorrow.

Melky to return: Girardi expects Melky to be in the lineup tomorrow, after missing four games with the bruised shoulder. It might be Damon who gets a day off; he’s been sore since colliding with the wall/fence in Texas.

A million musings from the ballpark

1. It feels particularly humid and sticky (my hair really doesn’t like that) but if we can avoid rain tonight, the grounds crew – and the YES crew – will do a no-rain dance. Or jig. Or some kind of celebration. They players and coaches might even join in. It’s been a rough homestand for everyone. The grounds crew has had the tarp on and off the field 20 times in the past week. And when there’s rain on the tarp, it’s very heavy. Those guys work their tails off.

arod_250.jpg2. Alex Rodriguez should be grateful to Selena Roberts and Manny Ramirez. Roberts’ book has done, in some camps, what Alex himself never could: Turned him into a sympathetic figure. And Manny’s logic-defying explanation of the performance-enhancing reason for his suspension makes Alex seem completely forthright by comparison.

3. Alex’s return comes at a pivotal point of this Yankees season and of his own career. The team desperately needs him to make a difference. And how he responds over these next few months will help to define the next chapter of his career.

4. It’s funny how not one player we found – not one of a dozen or so – voiced surprise or shock as his initial reaction to Manny’s situation. That’s telling.

5. In answer to comments from you, Jeter responds. Jeter’s favorite on American Idol was Allison. “My girl got eliminated last night!” he said. As for where Jeter goes from here with the show, he said, “I’m an emotional wreck!” Then he laughed.

5. Milking this conversation with Jeter for all it’s worth. Some of you are very perceptive, wondering why he isn’t chewing gum anymore. “I’m just not,” Jeter said. “I’m in gum rehab.” See, told you he is funny.

6. The Yankees really need a win. Really. (Hey, you don’t get this kind of analysis everywhere.) But it seems like more than four consecutive losses. And the Yankees have never lost five in a row under Girardi.

7. Back-to-back topics on ESPN this afternoon were Manny and 50-game ban and Favre and his flirtation with the Vikings. We wonder which story induces more fan fatigue. Probably anything steroid related. Probably.

8. Last night’s game – after the Teixeira double — is usually one the Yankees win. Teixeira made a decent point, saying the rain delay that immediately followed took away any momentum. It’s also true that the Rays had a chance to regroup and did. In their former life, as the Devil Rays, the Rays would’ve spent the rain delay dwelling on a way to cough up that game. No more.

9. There is some sentiment – perhaps most vociferously from Francesa on the Fan on YES – that Mariano should have pitched the 10th after he threw 18 pitches in the ninth. Those people have some company – some – in the Yankees clubhouse. Mariano might not love two-inning outings at this point, but he’s been used rather sparingly lately. Over the past 12 days, he’s pitched 2 1/3 innings and thrown 39 pitches.

10. How much do the Yankees miss Bruney? Bruney didn’t even want to go on the DL, and now he could miss a month (15-day DL, April 25). Bruney said he initially felt the pull in his elbow in spring training. Marte said his shoulder hurt in the spring. Ransom said his quad was initially injured in the spring. Maybe it’s their competitiveness – or maybe no one wants to be perceived as a Pavano — but it would benefit these players in the long run to be more open and honest with the training staff.

11. Anyone else notice that Pavano and Ponson got wins last night? What are those odds?

12. Thanks to a Turkey Hill promotion, there’s plenty of ice cream in the booth tonight. The guys are eating it. (Kay apparently believes ice cream is part of Atkins.) We’re passing. Let’s face it, the food updates are more fun when O’Neill works.

Chatting with the DL dudes

ONeill just said that all he needs to do a game is a credential and a bowl of ice cream. Which is not exactly true. Because he just ate dinner. (And, yes, it was late and he wasn’t happy about it, but he didn’t break utensils or anything.)

So O’Neill had a seafood salad, a slab of salmon and a pizza. A large pizza, but he shares. (Thanks, Paul.) And he just brought back two pints of ice cream, including a Turkey Hill NYY flavor, Pinstripe Brownie Blast. He’s also having vanilla bean.

Flaherty packed his own dinner — probably something unbelievably healthy — and Kay had grilled chicken, a burger (no bun) and watermelon. And he just ate the cheese off a piece of pizza.

Hey, I’m just reporting what I see.
 
brianbruney050109.JPGTalked for a while today with the guys who are on the DL but are around — Bruney, Ransom and Nady. Bruney played catch from 60-75 feet, didn’t throw hard and made about 35 throws. It’s the first time he’s thrown since the elbow injury. It’s a step in the right direction.
Nady said he should be able to swing a bat in a week-and-a-half. I asked his level of frustration on a scale of one to 10. He said nine. But he said for him to say 10, he’d be really, really bad –“like jumping out of my skin.”

Ransom said he originally felt discomfort in his quad sometime in March. He described it as “a knot” but figured he could play through it. “I’m stubborn,” he said. Ransom later learned through the MRI that it was actually a series of small tears. Those tears converged, if you will, last Friday night in Boston when he slid and became a larger, though not complete, tear.
Ransom is on the 60-day DL, so he has time to rehab, but he did take some swings in the cage for the first time today. He said he’s feeling better but is really frustrated by the injury “because I haven’t been injured since I hurt my back in 1999 and by the way I played. It wasn’t the results I wanted.”

They’re all good guys, and I told them that the readers of my blog wish them well. They seemed to appreciate that. Or maybe they were just humoring me. No, I think they appreciated it.

On second thought, maybe someone else should have held the umbrella for me during pregame.

It’ll be interesting to watch Pettitte if/when a runner reaches third base tonight. He got SO tired of hearing about that Ellsbury steal of home. He and Eiland talked about it, and Eiland was clear that the steal was 100 percent Pettitte’s fault. He also said it should — and would — never happen again. I mentioned Figgins. Eiland said Pettitte “better be” paying close attention if he reaches third.

“Andy told me he peeked at the runner,” meaning Ellsbury, Eiland said. “You cannot peek. You have to make eye contact. You have to make that runner realize that you know what he’s thinking.”

Or, with Abreu on third, Pettitte could pick off Hunter at first. That works.

So much for those shadows…

7:27 p.m.

So much for hitters having trouble with shadows. Guess the Burnett-Beckett matchup really was a draw. An 8-8 draw. The only question is whether the first round of the NFL draft ends before this game.

Actually, there are other questions. Stay tuned for postgame.

5:30 p.m.
Glorious day in Boston! Let’s play nine! Emphasis on nine.

The game has started and soon the hitters won’t be able to see a thing because of the shadows. Jeter and Nick Green — separately — were talking about that before the game.
Well, the shadows didn’t bother Swisher, 1-0 Yankees.

kimblogcody042509.jpgOkay, lots of pregame updates. And, since we didn’t have a pregame show, we’ll put it here.

Ransom was placed on the 60-day DL. He has a right quad injury that Girardi said is significantly worse than the quad strains sustained by Jeter and Alex last year. He’ll have tests Monday in New York. Ransom worked so hard, and so long, for this opportunity, that it’s a shame this hasn’t worked out better for him.

Angel Berroa is here and will play third on an everyday basis until Alex returns. It’s a new role for Berroa, who had yet to log a full inning at third in the big leagues before today. Said Girardi: “We like the experience of Berroa” over Ramiro Pena.

Bruney was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained flexor mass in his right elbow. It’s a muscular ailment; Girardi said the MRI indicated Bruney’s ligament is fine. The treatment will include a week of rest before he starts throwing. Girardi figures the whole deal might take “two-to-three weeks, depending on how he reacts.”

The Yankees will miss Bruney. They already do. He will rejoin the Yankees team for the rest of the trip. Girardi said “we’re going to have to mix and match” in the eighth inning for now.
Mark Melancon was called up for the first time and his will be a much-anticipated debut. He’s not scheduled to arrive in Boston until about 5:30 p.m. “He’s a guy we’ll probably try to ease into it a little bit,” Girardi said. To make room for Melancon on the 40-man roster, Humberto Sanchez was released.

Holy smokes! The Jets moved up to take Sanchez!

With Wang on the 15-day DL, David Robertson was recalled. He threw strikes and was effective during the home opener. He was smiling ear-to-ear today, saying he got the call at 12:30 a.m. He and Berroa flew in late this morning from Rochester, where the AAA Scranton/WB Yankees were playing. (Melancon was on a later flight because the decision on Bruney wasn’t made until later.)

Girardi said Wang will continue to pitch in extended spring games while he rehabs his hips with an exercise and strengthening program of undetermined length. And he said it will “probably” be Hughes who makes the start Tuesday against the Tigers. (That means it will be Hughes.) And it might be Hughes for the duration of Wang’s absence. “You don’t call a guy up to make one start,” Girardi said. “(And we hope) he pitches like he has down there” at AAA.

The NFL draft appears to be moving at a nice clip. It’s still kind of strange that it doesn’t start at noon. Is Crabtree slipping?

4-0 Yankees, Burnett looks very good. Neither Beckett nor the shadows are bothering the Yankees. So much for the pitchers’ duel.

See you on the postgame.

Rain, rain go away

rain_300.jpgAaaarrrrgggghhhh! Next time the rain dance will include neither diet coke nor malted milk balls.

Nice to hear from so many of you! Yes, I read every single one of the comments. And I love them! I cannot comment on all of them, but I’ll try at least to allude to them more often in my posts.

Just between us….I’m now hearing the Wang-not-trusting-his-foot theory on more than one media outlet. Hmmm. Hey, that’s how it goes.

Bruney and I actually talked about that theory before Wang’s latest fiasco. But I went back to him Sunday and we revisited the topic. (Bruney’s into the blog; he gets it. He knew I was going to talk about it on pregame and also blog about it.) By the way, Bruney really, really supports Wang and believes he will return to form. But – and this is important – the degree to which Wang is struggling is mystifying to every single one of his teammates.

The Yankees also believe Wang is still building arm strength. Here’s what I’m not sure of: Remember when we used to report regularly that Wang’s fingernail was split, was painful and required medical attention? The nail’s not split now. Not sure how that plays into Wang not being Wang. But I’ve been trying to find out.

With the official decision to skip Wang, I suspect the Yankees will have him pitch a simulated game (or two) to try to get him on track. Or they could attribute the poor outings to injury and DL him, but Girardi has been pretty clear in saying Wang isn’t hurt.

Wang has built collateral in the clubhouse, and that helps him here. But the whole confidence thing is very, very tricky. And, let’s face it, it could be debilitating. Wang just doesn’t look the same. I cannot tell you how many football and baseball players have told me over the years that confidence is the most important factor in their success once they reach the professional level.

To answer a few questions:

I am thrilled to report: There WILL be a live chat. Listen, I’m not the least bit shy or afraid or anything like that. I just had NO IDEA if ANYONE would read this little blog of mine. But you read, and I am SO GRATEFUL. And so, we shall chat.

Internet Guru Kevin Sullivan and I will find a time. Tentatively, I think our first chat (of many) could be next week from Detroit – probably Tuesday or Wednesday evening. The tricky part is my little pregame ditty around 6:30 p.m. So the chat might start at 6:45 p.m. and run until first pitch. If they will allow me to chat through the beginning of the game, I would do it. (As long as I can figure out the technological part of this.) As soon as we clarify the details, I will let you know. Thank you so much for your interest. My goal would be to chat weekly, and I’d also love to take questions from you for a player on a bi-weekly basis. (This is kind of, sort of, stealing an idea from my friend, Pete Abraham, who is the King of Blogs. At least we admit it.) We’ll work that out soon, too.

Growing up in South Central Pennsylvania, I loved the Orioles and the Phillies. I admit to continuing a fondness for the O’s. They are so easy to root for. And their pitching is coming. As Andy McPhail told me, this is a big summer for them at the AAA level. My NFL teams included the Eagles and Raiders and I desperately wanted the Bills to win a Super Bowl. But even today I have no particular affinity for one NFL team. But I love the game.

Several of you have asked about players and my postgame interviews. I understand that. So here goes. The Yankees are a pretty cool group. Honestly. They are almost always accommodating, even the biggest of stars. And they are fun sometimes. Like Pettitte punking me. Or Joba, who is always talking and is unbelievably accessible. A.J. rocks and has a great personality. CC is nice. Jeter is fun. Yes, really. I love Posada; I think if I were a player with four rings, I might be like Posada. Except I could never squat for three hours. Swisher is a blast. Damon always says yes to any request. Nady is terrific. Guys like Gardner and Ransom and Cano are great. Teixeira seems very agreeable. Mariano is distinguished and his teammates notice — the consummate professional. I know I didn’t mention every single player but I didn’t intentionally leave anyone out. There are very few players around the league who haven’t been cooperative when I’ve asked. And I’m not trying to suck up. Trust me on that, I’ll call someone out here if I have to. For example, Alex and I have shared an interesting professional rapport – I’ve ended a couple of his group interviews with questions he didn’t like — but he was great with me when we saw him in Tampa. My goal at the moment is a one-on-one, no-holds-barred interview with him. I truly do not know if that will happen.

Just watched Dancing With The Stars. I want you to shoot me.

Here’s the biggest travesty about tonight. Al Leiter was doing the game with Kay and Kenny. Now I won’t see Al til Wednesday because tomorrow is My9. So sad.

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