guess it's his little way of saying "thank you for not trading me for a bucket of
Rodriguez walked Tony Womack leading off the ninth then walked Jeter on a 3-and-2 pitch after Womack had stolen second. Robinson Cano struck out, but Gary Sheffield, after falling behind 0-and-2, walked to load the bases. Rodriguez threw four consecutive sliders, one in the dirt for a wild pitch.
Now at 31 pitches, Rodriguez threw four wide ones to Alex Rodriguez, forcing in a run and bringing up Matsui, who jumped on the first pitch to end it. [hartford courant]
Indeed, on his first day in pinstripes it struck him when he heard Frank Sinatra blaring from the loudspeakers seconds after Hideki Matsui's game-winning double, and for a change, "New York, New York" didn't make him break out in hives.
"Usually," Embree was saying afterward, "I'm walking off the field saying, 'Man, I hate that song.' Right now it feels good to be a Yankee and enjoy it. I've seen them do this so many times. I know what they have. I know what they can do."
...Embree had to admit it felt strange, a member of the hated Red Sox until 10 days ago showing up virtually unannounced here in Yankeeland. "I got here early this morning," Embree said, "and I had my stuff in my Red Sox bag. The first thing I said (to the Yankees' equipment man) was, 'Get this bag out of sight before anybody sees it.'"
The Yankees, of course, will be happy to accept Embree if he proves to be the reliable lefthander in the bullpen they've been looking everywhere for the last couple of years.
If not, well, people in Boston used to call Ramiro Mendoza "an embedded Yankee" when he struggled after signing with the Red Sox. Yesterday Embree was treated like he was still a Red Sox by Yankee fans, booed off the field after helping to blow a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning.
In truth, Embree wasn't hit hard. He gave up a bloop single, and then made a throwing error on Chone Figgins' bunt. It made a mess of the inning, but he was also clocked at 94 mph and 96 mph on the radar gun, which gives the Yankees hope that he can find his command and be an important piece to their bullpen.
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The Bombers seem determined to make a move for a new outfielder and Joe Torre has stressed several times over the past few days how important it is to upgrade the injury-riddled pitching staff. The Bombers have spent a lot of time looking at the Mariners lately, since Randy Winn is a potential target to play center, while righthander Gil Meche and lefty Ron Villone - whom the Yanks had interest in last winter - also have settled on the Bombers' radar. The Bombers also have looked at Cleveland center fielder Grady Sizemore.
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The mechanics were back but the productive hitting was still missing.
As a result, Cardinals All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen elected to go on the disabled list Friday because of shoulder problems that have nagged him since May.
...Rolen was placed on the 15-day disabled list, but there is the possibility he could be lost for the season. [mlb]
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Twirling a three-hit, no-walk, nine-strikeout shutout gem at the Astros and Clemens on Sunday, Carpenter became the first National League pitcher to win 14 games, in a 3-0 victory that consumed all of 1 hour 59 minutes.
The win at Busch Stadium kept the Cardinals' lead at a silly 13 games over the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division, gave them a series sweep that boosted them 27 games over .500 and lowered Carpenter's earned-run average over his past six starts to a ridiculous 0.36.
That means he has given up only two runs (homers by shortstops Felipe Lopez of Cincinnati and Alex Cintron of Arizona) in 50 2/3 innings in those six consecutive wins while allowing 20 hits, walking just seven and striking out 54. The Cardinals have devoured division opposition this season at 29-9, and nobody has feasted more than Carpenter, who is 9-0 with a 1.28 ERA against the Central this season and 3-0 with an 0.38 ERA against Houston.
Labels: birds on bat
For now, Leiter wanted to savor a most satisfying homecoming. A lifetime ago, on Sept. 15, 1987, Leiter's debut at Yankee Stadium was treated as the coming of a new day to a tired old franchise. The first six outs he recorded that night against the Brewers were strikeouts. He won, 4-3.
"I want to know that I belong here," he'd said that night.
Eighteen years later, he yearns for the same significance. He craves the chance to end things on his terms. He asked for No. 19 as tribute to Dave Righetti, and even called his old mentor Saturday night.
"He was happy," Leiter said. "He always said that 22 was a hitter's number."
The Yankees are equally delighted. "The way to beat this team is to have great left-handed pitching," Alex Rodriguez said of the Sox. "Al Leiter was beautiful tonight."
For one night, at least, he'd get no argument from Leiter. Or from anyone else. [ny post]
For a few fleeting minutes, it appeared as if the Yankees might have stayed one inning too long. Trailing, 5-1, entering the ninth -- which had seminal moment written all over it -- Manny Ramirez led off with a prodigious blast to left-center off Tom Gordon. He finished his swing with an emphatic flourish that seemed to tick off Posada.
Posada followed Ramirez a few steps up the line, then turned for the third base line, perhaps to say something to Ramirez on his way home. But plate umpire Jerry Meals made sure to occupy Posada as Ramirez completed his trot. The two players did not exchange any words, at least not at that moment.
''We try to play the game the right way," Posada said later. ''That's the only thing I have to say. You're down by three runs."
The Patriot Award: Get this, it doesn't go to George M. Steinbrenner, the Fourth of July son who issues statements worthy of generals. Can't pass up giving it to Mike Mussina, who changed into a bright red Captain America T-shirt on the Fourth. When his star-spangled attire was duly noted, Mussina smirked. "I've got plenty more where this came from."
The Trying too Hard to Get Close to the Patriot Award: This one goes to the loyal female reader or prankster who e-mailed me for a scouting report on Mussina and wondered what his reaction to an offer of an, uh, "night of fun" would be. Sorry, ladies, Mr. Mussina is happily married. I, on the other hand..
Alex Rodriguez has not decided to play for the Dominican Republic over the United States in next March's World Baseball Classic -- because it's not his decision to make.
Hours after Rodriguez reportedly told members of the Hispanic media Monday he plans to play for the Dominican Republic in the tournament, Bud Selig told him it will be the commissioner's decision, Rodriguez's spokesman, Steve Fortunato, said yesterday.
And that's if George Steinbrenner even allows his players to take part in it.
"It's too early in the process for these type of decisions to be made," Fortunato said. "First, he has to be selected to be a part of it. Then he has to decide if he wants to play, or if he will be allowed to play. Then he will be told what country to play for."
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"We're going to bring our gold, our jewel in there, which is A-Rod," Gary Sheffield told me yesterday during the American League All-Star interview session.
"We're going to see how the chips fall this time. That's our man and we know he's our man.
"We're going to look out for him when he's in a situation like that."
I asked Sheffield exactly what he meant by that statement.
"When he's in a hostile environment, we've got to make sure he's comfortable because it helps our team," Sheffield answered.
And if something like the Varitek incident happens again?
"That's why I say it's going to be different," Sheffield said, looking me straight in the eye. [ny post]
Labels: birds on bat
Cincinnati would love to unload Griffey's contract on the Yankees, just as Colorado would be thrilled to get rid of Wilson's. Ain't happening. "We're out of that business," the Yankee operative said, adding that the avowed refusal to mortgage any more of the team's future for older, more expensive players may limit their trading activity to nothing more than a further fine-tuning of the bullpen. [ny post]