Memorial Day musings
It’s been a while, huh? How are you on this Memorial Day?
Last homestand was a eventful one, wasn’t it? Four walk-offs, five pies in faces, two My9 games, a FOX telecast, a broken-bat home run and eight wins in 10 games.
Now we’re on the road and a day game is kinda nice today. A barbecue would be nicer, but we’re not complaining.
Bad news – actually, continuing bad news – for Bruney, who is back on the DL because his elbow just won’t cooperate. The MRIs have come back clean; Bruney suspects they’re missing something. He also says he’s disappointed and frustrated and has to figure out what’s going on. He said Sunday “it just felt wrong” while he was playing catch. That’s not good. And this is a guy who wants to pitch. So the bullpen will have to continue to weather the storm without its supposed 8th-inning guys, Bruney and Marte.
Alex is 2-for-2 and it looks like he’s getting into the swing of it, literally. They’ve always booed him here in Texas. The admission that he took performance-enhancing drugs while a Ranger doesn’t seem to be resonating with this crowd. They booed him more heartily in previous stops here. Plus, there are a lot of Yankees fans in the stands today.
Hughes did a great job getting out of the second. A grittier Hughes is a good sign.
Nady is scheduled to play in a simulated game of some sort in Tampa tomorrow. He’ll hit only. Posada, Molina and Ransom are also in Tampa; they’re not ready for any game action yet.
It’s hot here in Texas. They tell us we’ve arrived just in time for the muggy weather. And there are plenty of little bugs around. Terrific!
We’re digging the red hats for a one-day holiday thing. Hope you’re having yourselves a nice day.
Decision on Wang could come Thursday
Hughes just had a great first inning, which he needed. A decision could be coming tomorrow on Wang; perhaps the Yankees didn’t want to make an announcement prior to Hughes’ start. Girardi says they see Hughes as a starter, which would seem to suggest he’ll go back to AAA, not to the bullpen, when Wang is activated. (Cone mentioned on the broadcast Monday that he could see Hughes as a reliever.)
Girardi says they’ll slot Wang in as soon as he’s ready. The question is, is he ready? The velocity and sinker aren’t where they need to be, apparently because of lingering issues from the lisfranc injury last June.
Lisfrancs are tricky injuries. Bruney, like Wang, declined to have surgery and is fine. Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck both lost part of the 2006 Giants football season to lisfranc sprains; Tuck had surgery, Strahan did not. (Strahan said if he had required surgery, he would have retired. He’s awfully glad he didn’t.) Tuck wound up limping through the end of last season with bone spurs in his foot, which he said were a result of the lisfranc two years earlier.
Anyway, Wang’s leg strength was a problem while he was giving up a million runs a start. But part of this just has to be the mental hurdle of getting over such an injury, trusting your right (push-off) foot and relearning to pitch without favoring the formerly injured part of your body. The way the Yankees are playing these days, you would think time is one their side when it comes to making sure Wang is right before bringing him back.
Nady took limited BP today and could go on a rehab assignment when the Yankees leave town Sunday. Nady had other duties as well, serving as stenographer for the Kangaroo Court, which convened at 3:15 p.m., lasted an hour and included everyone from players and coaches to trainers and pr folks.
Mariano was the judge; the jury was comprised of Jeter, Damon and A.J. Rob Thomson was fined for pushing Swisher back to third base to avoid a pickoff in Baltimore. (Turns out, that’s not legal in MLB or in Kangaroo Court.) Alex was fined for missing the start of the season; so were the others who didn’t begin the year with the big club.
Players who’ve been around long enough to know said it was the first Kangaroo Court since 1995. Fun times, especially when you’ve won seven in a row.
Melvin Mora was raving about Cervelli, his fellow Venezuelan, today. He said he kept waiting for CC to shake off Cervelli last night, “and he NEVER did!” Mora said. “The kid is good.” Cervelli says he was 5 when he first watched Mora play in Venezuela – that’s nice – and that Mora was his “idol.”
Speaking of (American) Idol, how much do Brian Roberts and Kris Allen look alike? Jeter’s been wearing Roberts out over their likeness since the WBC.
Injury update for wounded Yanks
So we’re set with questions for O’Neill. We’ll ask him to answer a handful at a time and transcribe them over the Minnesota series, which begins Friday.
Here’s why you have to love Leiter in the booth: In front of him as we write this is a Red Bull and a huge box of Mike and Ikes. Both are open. Mike and Ikes rock!
Dinner was turkey, veggies, salad. They had brownies for dessert. There used to be a sign at the dessert table, saying “one per person.” We always got a kick out of that. The sign isn’t there today. Plenty of Diet Coke is on hand, but they lock the refrigerator in, like, the sixth inning. So some of us resort to putting an unopened beverage or two in our bag. Don’t tell.
Jeter (oblique), Matsui (hamstring) and Coke (back) aren’t available tonight. Matsui could pinch hit but would require a pinch runner. Girardi thinks the Yankees will get over this injury hump and have a mostly healthy season thereafter. Girardi is also an optimist by any measure. It’s hard to imagine a team of mostly thirtysomethings magically finding a universal cure. Especially in today’s game.
There is some good news, with Bruney expected to return next week. He threw a bullpen today and will again Friday. And with Wang definitely making progress, as evidenced by last night’s AAA outing. He’ll have at least one more minor league start.
Both clubhouses were still buzzing today about Halladay last night. The guy is a machine. Bruney says it’s like he has a video game controller in his pocket and can dial up any pitch at any time. Joba says Halladay could win 30 games in the NL. It’s significant when players marvel about other players, because it just doesn’t happen all that often.
You know, these Yankees are a curious group. The upcoming homestand seems like a very important one, with Minnesota, Baltimore and Philly coming to town. More on that later, after we crystallize our thoughts.