Results tagged ‘ Derek Jeter ’

Running on empty

 
arod250_061909.jpgStrange to see Alex in a polo shirt and pants in the clubhouse, as all of his teammates scurried about in uniform, preparing for BP. Alex won’t start tonight or tomorrow because he is fatigued or, as he said, “running on empty.”

It’s mind-boggling that Alex had played in all 38 games, just three as DH, since returning May 8. And that pace has taken a toll, or so it seems. He is 8 for 55 in June, in an 0-for-15 skid and hitting .212 with nine home runs and 26 RBI. (In 2007, the MVP season Alex repeatedly has said he wants to copy in terms of his approach to the game, he had 26 RBI and 10 home runs after just 14 games.)

Alex suggested that yesterday’s marathon, which included a five-and-a-half-hour rain delay, played into his reaching the tipping point in terms of fatigue. “Yesterday was an absolute nightmare for me,” he said, describing a nearly 13-hour workday that began with 9 a.m. work with Kevin Long.

Oddly, Alex said he told Girardi on Thursday night that he needed a break. But, he was in the original lineup today, until he met with Girardi and was joined via phone by Cashman. Then it was determined that Alex will miss two days. The Yankees also have a day off Monday. It’ll be interesting to see what effect this respite has when Alex returns.

Angel Berroa: He just crushed a double, his first hit since April 28. We’ll leave the jokes to Abraham.

Nick Swisher: We asked him how he spent the rain delay. For a long time he worked on the collage in his locker. (Yes, he said we may photograph it and show it to you — but not until it is a finished product.) Then he ate. (The YES booth was a food orgy. Disgusting.) Then he watched some TV. Then he slept — in uniform in case the rain suddenly ceased. It was a long day.

Derek Jeter: Should he be running on that gimpy left ankle? He’d say yes, of course.

Paul O’Neill: He’s back from Paris where, he says, “they don’t eat.” You can imagine how he felt about that. Well, he just sent Matthew — not Matt — to the Edy’s concession stand for ice cream. Two vanilla cups. One for him. One for me. He is so nice! We didn’t even want the ice cream. But you just don’t say no to ice cream from Paul O’Neill.

Dolphin Stadium: It has been renamed Land Shark Stadium. But every piece of permanent signage still reads Dolphin Stadium. Anyway, it looks like rain (again), but they’re playing Meatloaf over the P.A. We love Meatloaf. He was at a game a couple of years ago in Toronto (we think) and we became a public embarrassment swooning over him. It wasn’t restraining-order stuff, but it was a little much.

Giants in the house!

Umenyiora-6-17-250.jpgThe NY Giants are in the house! Tom Coughlin, soon headed to Iraq with a couple of other NFL coaches to visit our troops, brought his team on a field trip to Yankee Stadium following today’s two mandatory minicamp practices. “Team bonding,” Coughlin said with a smile. His players were smiling because the mandatory minicamp ends tomorrow morning. Which means it’s time for summer vacation!

The players said they hadn’t eaten since 10:30 am. No wonder they practically ran from Monument Park to the Legends Suite where a feast awaited them.

Osi, who looks terrific, said he went through both practices and was tired but felt great. Although some football players, most notably Trent Edwards of the Bills when we were in Toronto, can look good taking BP, Shaun O’Hara said there’s no way he could hit a major-league fastball. And Justin Tuck is a big Giants fan who brought his father to the old Stadium last year and was happy to be at the new Stadium for the second time.

And we met the newest Penn Stater to join the Giants – Maurice Evans of Brooklyn. We always root for Nittany Lions.

Eli just left the booth after talking with Kay and Flaherty during the third inning. Eli said Peyton just happened to be in the area and came to the game. It’s funny watching the Manning brothers talk; Eli still looks like the younger brother but he doesn’t seem like the little brother anymore. If you know what we mean.

Xavier Nady: He’s frustrated as heck to still be on the DL but plans to play the outfield for four innings Friday in an extended spring game. Before BP, Nady was taking ground balls in right from Robby Thomson and throwing to second – where the manager was manning the bag. “Maybe there was a little more intensity (than Tuesday’s workout) with Girardi out there,” Nady said, smiling.

Jose Molina: We’ll air a feature on Sunday’s pregame about the Molina family coping with their loss of its patriarch, Benjamin Molina, on Sunday’s pregame. This might seem self-serving, but it’s worth a look.

Derek Jeter: Knowing Jeter, he’ll be back tomorrow. But if he can’t play, Girardi knows he has to have Jeter back by Friday, giving the inflexibility in other spots on the roster as the Yankees head to interleague play in National League parks.

Pete Abraham: He says we’ll do another chat soon. And he says we’ll spice it up a bit. To which we say: Bring.It.On.

Your turn: We STILL cannot find Tino. But how does this sound? Let’s do an “Innerview” for Batting Practice Today presented by Audi” with YOUR questions. First, we have to decide on the subject. So, in the comment section, let us know who you’d like to “innerview” and what your question would be. The player mentioned most often will be asked to join us to answer YOUR questions. Do you like that idea?

From Rays of light to Boston bound

hughes_250.jpgLooking 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.”
 

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.

Posada and Teixeira now BFF

The visiting clubhouse in Cleveland is kind of like a mini arcade. There’s the Big Game Hunter Pro, aka the Kyle Farnsworth Game. Farnsworth never looked more comfortable than when he was playing that game. And rather scary with the play rifle in his hand. Ramiro Pena appears to have developed quite a fondness for the Farnsworth game. “I love it,” he said, while shooting.

mark_blog_053009.jpgThere’s a Nintendo game — an original — and a Cornhole bean bag game, which A.J. and Tomko played in the tunnel leading to the dugout. About an hour in, both were sweating.

Gardner and Bruney regularly do battle on a Tiger Woods video game. The winner gets custody of a Tiger figurine. Today, while sitting at his locker, Gardner painted the figurine green, then hid it from Bruney and swore a couple of us to secrecy. (The green paint on his fingertips might have been a giveaway.) After that, Gardner borrowed Joba’s laser and pointed the little red light at unsuspecting teammates.

Meanwhile, Bruney and CC — tonight’s starter — were playing a Nintendo baseball game on the big screen. (CC might have had more trouble with that game than he is with the Indians.)

And in Posada’s locker sat a framed back page of Newsday from May 17, 2006, when Teixeira — then a Ranger — barreled over Posada at home plate. Teixeira signed the paper, “To Jorge: Thanks for your forgiveness. Now we are best friends! Mark Teixeira”

The first-place Yankees are a fun bunch.

Another save by Mo: Last night, we walked with Mariano from the clubhouse to the team bus. We had to go through the Indians family room and up a flight of stairs. At the base of the steps, a young Cleveland player and his wife were struggling with their baby’s stroller. The player was holding their sleepy daughter and the wife couldn’t manage to lift the stroller on the steps. So Mariano did what a lot of people wouldn’t have — he carried the stroller up the stairs. You should have seen the looks on the faces of the Indians player and his wife. They were completely in awe. Mariano and the couple exchanged some words in Spanish and then he got on the bus.
 
Aces wild: Had a nice pregame chat with Aceves, who likes to show off a nasty cut on the base of the big toe on the bottom of his right foot. It’s gross. He says it’s not the slightest bit painful. Anyway, he loves his role, even thought it is not defined in any way. He says he wants to pitch every day, doesn’t care if he pitches three innings (as he did last night) or the eighth inning (Girardi likes Aceves’ versatility too much to limit him to one inning on a regular basis) or comes in as a long man (as he did when Joba was hit and left in the first inning against the O’s) or as a starter. He just wants to pitch and he doesn’t complain. He also says his shoulder feels better than ever and is amazed that he has no soreness whatsoever. Then he showed us the toe, so the conversation ended.

Swish-talk: Swisher reports that his dad, who is here, likes his Swish-hawk haircut and his stepmother absolutely loves it. “It’s so easy,” he said. “Just run some water through it, a little gel and it’s done.” He was also delighted when we passed along the message from Polly Tompkins. Delighted!

The Joba debate

One of the most common questions people ask is, What is your favorite road city?
After yesterday, an off day spent in captivity, we can safely say this in response: It’s not Cleveland.

kim_blog052909.jpgAs you would suspect, the players and coaches had a blast at the Magic-Cavs game. Team bonding is big, CC says, and he did his part, purchasing two suites for the night and handing out tickets to all of his buddies. Apparently, Ben Roethlisberger was the only celeb to receive more boos than Alex on the Jumbotron. (Or whatever they call those gigantic arena screens these days.) CC got a mixed response. (“I knew I’d hear some boos,” he said.) Brady Quinn was cheered, as was Jhonny Peralta. Eric Mangini couldn’t be captured by cameras; he was at the concession stand.

And Carl Pavano got a big ovation! Cleveland loves Carl!
 
More Joba: There is plenty of room for healthy debate when it comes to Joba’s best role on this team. Because this is a win-now group, because Joba has been electric as a reliever and because the Yankees need late-inning help, we believe he should be the bullpen. But there is a viable argument that it is better for Joba’s development — and for the Yankees — for him to remain in the rotation.

What we cannot stand is this: The idea that one side of the argument is wholly without merit. (And, therefore, dumb, stupid or idiotic.) That’s just not true. Men who know a heck of a lot more about baseball than we do — and some who reside in the Yankees clubhouse — fall on opposite sides of that discussion. And we don’t consider any of those guys “dumb,” “stupid” or “idiotic” — especially when it comes to baseball.

It’s actually a fun debate, one with clear sides, which we should have some day with, say, Peter Abraham, who is a staunch Joba-as-starter guy. In the meantime, we continue to remember Ozzie Guillen, who tends to call it like he sees it, saying last summer he’d much rather see Joba once every five days than every day of a series.
 
Dining room dish: The highlight of the $10-per press dining room in Cleveland is the ice cream, specifically the Moose Tracks variety. Flaherty had some, as did we. Kay had two burgers: “The worst burgers I’ve ever had,” he says. “No bun.”
“Joe Girardi Show” producer Jared Boshnack, who is here on assignment, orchestrated a trip to the main concourse, where we purchased a chicken sandwich and he opted for bratwurst. ($14 and that included an order of fries.) We both had lemonade. It almost seemed like summer. This was during the rain delay.
 
Jorge’s back: Posada returned and Cash was optioned. Many media reports indicated that Cash was out of options and would have to be designated for assignment. Girardi and Cashman — who would know — said that is untrue, so Cash was, indeed, sent down to Triple-A. Cervelli remains. That’s not a surprise, given the way Cervelli has impressed the pitchers and coaches as a quick study and great communicator — and very capable backstop — behind the plate.
 
Three more nights in Cleveland. We always judge road trips by the number of nights. Three more is a lot. We’ll probably pack tomorrow night, just for mental-health purposes. Let’s catch up again soon.

A brave young woman meets her heroes

Jeter-5-20-250.jpgA terrific pregame story today involved Yankees “honorary bat girl” Polly Tompkins. She is here as part of the MLB/Susan G. Komen for Cure effort to recognize baseball fans who are battling cancer.

Polly was very popular before the game. She’s a lifelong Yankees fan and met many players, including her crush, Jeter, after he took BP.

She leaned in toward the end of their chat and asked him for his phone number. (Love the spunk!) Jeter was smiling ear-to-ear and said, “I’ll get in trouble here. Maybe later.” (That means no, but he was very nice.)

During BP, Alex and Swisher went with Polly into the stands to greet the 100 or so friends and family members who made a four-hour bus trip from Candor, N.Y. That was absolutely incredible. We’ve never seen anything like it, two stars walking through the stands with the pink do-ragged Polly, going to greet her cheering contingent, most of whom were wearing pink T-shirts.

Reggie talked to Polly for a while, as did Damon and Mariano. (When Mariano walked toward her, Polly’s eyes got wide as baseballs. So cute.)

And just before the game, Polly was in the dugout, hanging with A.J. and Swisher. Which meant she was having a blast. She said she couldn’t believe “that I’m sitting here watching Nick Swisher stretch before a game!” Said A.J.: “All you need now is a pie in the face.”

Polly laughed, heartily. Then she threw out the ceremonial first pitch, caught by Swisher. Swisher’s grandmother died of brain cancer a few years ago. He’s always great in these spots. And Jason Zillo and Jason Latimer of the Yankees media relations department did a terrific job in making Polly’s day so special.

Polly Tompkins is a 38-year-old first-grade teacher who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. She thought she beat it. The cancer came back last month, and she learned it had advanced to Stage 4. She usually spends Wednesdays receiving chemotherapy. This was a much better Wednesday.

We wish Polly the absolute best and hope today strengthened her spirit. She promised to update us regularly on her condition. She may call anytime. And we’ll pass on any message to Jeter.

Oops! Didn’t mean to forget Joba! Turns out he also went into the stands to meet Polly’s people. He hugged her mom. He told me after the game it was an awesome experience, something he believes players SHOULD do. And he does plan to stay in touch with Polly. Nice work, Joba.

And very cool of Swisher to give Polly the lineup card after the game. She was so psyched on the field. Just a terrific, terrific night.

In response to a couple of comments, I’ve not been fined by the Kangaroo Court. I think I’m out of that jurisdiction.

Saw Posada in the dugout, but not to talk to. His take on Cervelli would be interesting. There’s something about that kid.

What else did you ask me? I can’t remember. Short game tonight! Woo-hoo!

It’s My9 again tomorrow, strangely, but we’ll try to check in.

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.

Shoulder issues bugging Damon?

Minutes before the pregame, a Yankees fan probably in his 40s walked down the steps of Comerica Park and stood almost directly in front of me. Wearing a full Yankees uniform. Stirrups and all.

Hysterical. And curious. Very curious.

Stating the obvious: The Yankees have no time to lick wounds from their beating in Boston. They haven’t had much sleep, either. They got to their hotel between 3:30 and 4 a.m., depending on whom you ask. At least C.C. flew ahead. So he didn’t have to watch that carnage firsthand and should have gotten a solid eight hours of shuteye.

It’s a warm, pleasant evening in Detroit but Jeter claims there are showers in the forecast. I told him he was being negative.

Mark Melancon is an impressive young pitcher and seems to have it together, based on the two-minute pregame interview we did. Girardi loved how he went directly after hitters, even with the bases loaded; if he continues to do that, Melancon will be here for a while. Girardi also was highly impressed that Melancon coaxed “Mikey Lowell” into a weak groundball with the force at home. Whenever a pitcher limits the damage from Lowell, it impresses Girardi. He loves Mikey Lowell.

leylandblogjones042709.jpgJim Leyland is a truly an original. During his pregame session with reporters in his office, he asked if anyone else wanted a cigarette. No takers, some amusement. Later, before ending the session, he asked “if any of you closet smokers” want a cigarette. No takers, more amusement.

Damon says his left shoulder is barking, which isn’t great news on April 27. He also says he might have to play the rest of his career with a barking shoulder.