Results tagged ‘ Asdrubal Cabrera ’
Triumphant was not the word for Andy Pettitte’s return from the disabled list Monday night, but the Yankees triumphed anyway. The lefthander did not survive the fifth inning, retired the side in order only once and squandered a three-run lead in his second consecutive unsuccessful attempt for career victory No. 250.
Pettitte pitched from the stretch a good portion of his 83-pitch outing, his 500th career start, in which he allowed four earned runs, seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts and two wild pitches in 4 2/3 innings. It was by no means classic Pettitte, who was in trouble in nearly every inning. Perhaps it was a matter of rust, but at a time when the Yankees are in search of anything to get through this rough patch Pettitte was simply not his usual self.
It showed mostly in the fifth when he coughed up the 4-1 lead given him two innings earlier by Mark Teixeira’s eighth career grand slam on a liner into the front row of the right field stands off Indians ace Justin Masterson. That was a big blow for Tex, whose name was being smeared all day by talk-radio smart alecks who dumped on him for his slow start (1-for-9, seven strikeouts) after missing seven weeks with a severe right wrist injury.
“We got more hits and walks in one inning off Masterson than we did the whole game the last time we faced him,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, noting that the Cleveland righthander pitched a four-hit, no-walk shutout against them May 13 at Progressive Field.
Pettitte posted a shutdown inning in the fourth, which was good to see, but got into immediate trouble in the fifth when Drew Stubbs led off with a double to right-center. An infield hit by Michael Bourn put runners on the corners. Mike Aviles knocked in a run with a rarely-seen sacrifice fly to second base. Actually, the ball was in shallow center field where Robinson Cano made the catch with his back to the infield and could not get the throw home in time to prevent Stubbs from scoring.
Pettitte got a big second out when Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out and pulled up lame running to first base and had to come out of the game because of a right quad strain. Pettitte lost the plate as he walked Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds to load the bases. Carlos Santana supplied the fatal blow with a smoking, one-hopper past off the glove of third baseman David Adams that bounced into the stands for a two-run double that tied the score and ended Pettitte’s night.
That cost Andy any chance for a winning decision, but his teammates got him off the hook for a possible losing decision when they rallied with two out in the sixth to regain the lead, 6-4, on a two-run single by Brett Gardner. Masterson made a questionable decision to cut off Bourn’s peg home from center between the mound and the plate because the second runner, Austin Romine, a catcher, was quite a ways up the line when the pitcher gloved the ball, a break for the Yankees.
Travis Hafner put the finishing touches on the Yankees’ 7-4 victory with a home run off his old teammates in the seventh. Shawn Kelley (3-0), Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera (20th save) picked up Pettitte with 4 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit relief.
PHOENIX – Derek Jeter’s name has been bandied about quit a quite a bit at the All-Star Game, and it has not always been flattering. Several team officials and a few players have commented that Jeter should have come here for the game even if he did not intend to play. The situation got to the point that commissioner Bud Selig felt it was necessary for him to nip it in the, well, bud.
The commish made his annual appearance at the Baseball Writers’ Association of America meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Sheraton Phoenix Hotel for a question-and-answer session with the writers and addressed the controversy surrounding Jeter, who decided not to come here so that he could use the time to rest his right calf to be ready for the second half.
“There isn’t a player than I’m more proud of in the last 15 years than Derek Jeter,” Selig said before taking questions. “He has played the game like it should be played. He is even a better human being off the field than he is a great player on the field. I know why Derek Jeter isn’t here, and I respect that. I think I would have made the same decision Derek Jeter did.
“He has brought to this sport great pride. He has been a role model. He has earned it, and he keeps earning it. Any suggestion that I or anybody else around here is unhappy with him not being here is false. I am proud of what he has done. I told him that Saturday when I spoke with him on the phone [after getting his 3,000th hit], and I have told him that quite often.”
Sitting at the front table while Selig spoke was the vice president of baseball operations, a fellow named Joe Torre, who was Jeter’s first manager with the Yankees, and nodded with approval at the commissioner’s every sentence.
I was glad to hear Bud go on the record about this matter because some of the talk the day before during the workouts was a bit nasty. More than one player suggested that Jeter was not grateful to the fans for voting him into the American League starting lineup when he didn’t really deserve it. For all we know, DJ’s choice not to play could have been one way to assure that the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera got to start the game.
There is nothing new about players passing up the All-Star Game for health reasons. I have been around Derek Jeter for 16 years and know how much he enjoys going to the All-Star Game and all the festivities around it. He has always considered his Most Valuable Player Award from the 2000 game at Turner Field in Atlanta one of the top moments of his career (although not as much as his World Series MVP the same year in the Yankees’ triumph over the Mets).
Jeter just got over a three-week recovery period from a strained calf muscle. He is 37, not 27, and has been under a ton of pressure to get over the 3,000-hit hump at Yankee Stadium rather than disappoint his fans by reaching the milestone on the road. This was all pretty draining, so cut him some slack. DJ would rather sit out a game that doesn’t count in the standings than not be as close to 100 percent as possible in a Yankees regular-season game.
One player here told me one of the reasons some players were sniping at Jeter is because they wanted to get autographs themselves from the newest member of the 3,000 Hit Club. At All-Star Games, players are signing all kinds of things, from baseballs to pictures to gloves to bats, you name it. There are quite a few items that are signed by every player on a league roster, which are a lot more valuable if a player who just reached 3,000 career hits is on there.
An All-Star who summed up the situation best was White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, who said, “I promise you his injury is not 100 percent. Nobody ever comes back from an injury in the middle of the season at 100 percent. It’s never gone. So he’s playing with it, I guarantee you that. It is one of those things where I understand people voted him in and wanted to see him, but if there is any guy in the game who bought a rain check for one of these, he’s the one. Let’s move on and not make such a big deal about it.”
And believe it or not, Yankees fans, another of the Captain’s major supporters was Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. “If he’s not here, there’s a good reason for it,” Big Papi said.
I wrote the other day that what Jeter and Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez were doing by not coming to the All-Star Game while nursing ailments was justified. As for coming out here just to wave to the fans, well, that would have been nice (except for A-Rod, who would have to leave a hospital bed), but what would be the point?
In an indirect way, Mo’s decision allowed AL manager Ron Washington of the Rangers to make an All-Star of David Robertson, which was fitting. A lot of the people who were criticizing Jeter had no explanation for why CC Sabathia was not an obvious choice for the AL staff based on his pitching in the first half. You can’t have it both ways, guys.
After two straight games in which fielding miscues were major parts of losses, the Yankees had the tables turn in their favor Tuesday night at Cleveland. The Indians’ failure to turn what looked like a sure double play opened the doors for the Yanks to put up a five-spot in the second inning.
Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco, who had not walked a batter in his previous two starts, got himself in trouble with back-to-back walks to Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner that loaded the bases in the second inning with one out. The rally seemed dead when Francisco Cervelli hit a bouncing ball to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.
Here is where Gardner’s speed comes in. Second baseman Cord Phelps took the toss from Cabrera for the out at second, but Gardner got close enough to the bag to make a takeout slide that forced Phelps to hurry his throw. It bounced in front of Carlos Santana, a catcher by trade who was playing first base. Mark Teixeira would have handled that throw easily, but Santana, essentially out of position, couldn’t make the play.
Nick Swisher scored on the play, which of course he would not have if the third out had been made at first base. Next came the floodgates for Carrasco, who gave up a two-run double to Derek Jeter and a two-run home run to Curtis Granderson that gave the Yankee a sudden 5-0 lead that appeared enormous considering CC Sabathia was on the hill for them.
The Yankees have blessed Sabathia with the most run support (7.5 runs per game) of any starter in the American League this year. After Granderson homered a second time in the fourth inning to make the score 6-0, it marked the 10th time in Sabathia’s 19 starts that the Yankees scored six or more runs.
The score got to 9-0 while CC was in the game, which was for seven innings in which he did not allow a run, scattered five hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts to run his record to 12-4 with a 2.90 ERA. Sabathia’s 12 victories before the All-Star break two years in a row makes him the first Yankees pitcher to do that since Tommy John in 1979-80. Sabathia has won five straight starts and nine of 10.
CC will have one more start before the All-Star break Sunday at Yankee Stadium, which is said to be the reason he was not put on the AL All-Star roster because he would not be able to pitch. But how dumb will it look Tuesday night in Phoenix when the AL squad is announced before the game and Sabathia isn’t standing there with them?
Robinson Cano was named one of the four AL representatives in the Home Run Dereby (with David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox and Juan Bautista of the Blue Jays against the National League’s Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks of the Brewers, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers and Matt Holliday of the Cardinals).
Meanwhile, Granderson is having a Home Run Derby of his own in the regular season. Two more bombs giving him three in four at-bats raised his season total to 25 to tie Teixeira for the club lead. Grandy is only five jacks short of his career high, and there are 78 more games to go.
Granderson had three hits and was joined by seven teammates with two apiece, including Jeter, who raised his career total to 2,996. With only one more game left on the trip, it is looking good that DJ will get to 3,000 at Yankee Stadium where the Yankees return Thursday night for a four-game series against the Rays.
A couple of former Yankees combined to beat their old team Monday night at Cleveland in a 6-3 Indians victory that was a scoreless pitching duel for six innings between A.J. Burnett and the Tribe’s Josh Tomlin.
The key hits in Cleveland’s four-run seventh inning were an RBI single by Shelley Duncan and a three-run home run by Austin Kearns.
Duncan, son of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, played in 68 games over the 2007, ’08 and ’09 seasons with the Yankees and batted .219 with 8 home runs and 24 RBI in 146 at-bats. Kearns was a mid-season acquisition by the Yankees last year and hit .235 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI in 36 games and 102 at-bats. The second of those homers came Aug. 22, and was the last one he hit before Monday night.
An irony is that neither Duncan nor Kearns might have batted that inning had Alex Rodriguez or Brett Gardner been able to catch a foul ball near the left field line by Lonnie Chisenhill. There were two outs and a runner on second base with Burnett holding a 2-0 lead when Chisenhill hit the foul ball.
A-Rod, running with his back to the infield, seemed to have a beat on the ball, so Gardner sort of backed off, but the ball fell free. Chisenhill eventually walked, Burnett’s second base on balls of the inning. That brought up Duncan, who won a seven-pitch at-bat with a flare single to right that made the score 2-1. Burnett lost the lead when he grooved a 1-0 fastball to Kearns, who crushed the pitch and drove it through the wind blowing in from right field at Progressive Field.
It marked the second straight game when a fielding miscue factored in a Yankees loss. An error by shortstop Ramiro Pena proved costly in the Yankees’ 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Mets Sunday at Citi Field.
Curtis Granderson made it a one-run game in the eighth with his 23rd home run, but Corey Wade gave up his first runs as a Yankee in eight games in the bottom half when he gave up a single to Travis Hafner and a home run to Carlos Santana.
It was a whole different game over the first six innings. Tomlin, who improved his record to 10-4, had a no-hitter through six that was broken up by Mark Teixeira’s leadoff single in the seventh. Nick Swisher followed a one-out, infield single by Robinson Cano with a double to left-center for two runs. The Yankees failed to get Swisher home as Jorge Posada and Russell Martin both grounded out.
Burnett entered the seventh working on a two-hit shutout with both hits by All Star Game-bound shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. A.J. seemed more upset after the game about the two walks in the seventh rather than the two hits. He was right, too. Those hits became productive for the Indians because of the walks.
It was a disappointing return for Derek Jeter, who was hitless in four at-bats and remains at 2,994 for his career.
With three days remaining in the fans’ balloting for the Major League All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix, the Yankees remain in first place in five of the nine positions for the American League squad. Make sure to get your vote in to ensure your favorite Yankees make the trip to Arizona.
Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are just about locks at second base and in the outfield, respectively. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have substantial leads at their respective positions of shortstop and third base, and Russell Martin is still the leader of the pack among catchers.
Cano’s vote total of 4,724,816 is second among all AL players to only Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who has 5,263,840, and well ahead of second-place second baseman Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox at 2,979,181.
There is a race heating up in the outfield for the third spot alongside Bautista and Granderson (4,582,419). The Rangers’ Josh Hamilton has 3,173,000 votes, which is only 121,325 ahead of the Red Sox’ Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yankees’ Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner ranked eighth and ninth, respectively, among outfielders.
The Yankees are trying to nail down three-quarters of the infield spots. Jeter has 3,392,128 votes and a 506,350-vote lead over second-place shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians. A-Rod’s total of 3,735,406 is 800,033 ahead of third base runner-up Adrian Beltre of the Rangers. At first base, unfortunately, the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez with 4,014,722 has moved out to a 937,480-vote head over Mark Teixeira, who is tied with Bautista for the AL home run lead.
Martin, trying for his first All-Star starting assignment, has gotten a huge break with the injury to the Twins’ Joe Mauer and has a 434,527-vote edge over the Tigers’ Alex Avila. Boston’s David Ortiz is a runaway leader at designated hitter with 4,237,014, more than two million higher than his closest competitor, the Rangers’ Michael Young. The Yankees’ Jorge Posada is running third with 1,453,385.
Fans may cast votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 club web sites, including Yankees.com, online or via their mobile devices with the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint, which offers English- and Spanish-language versions of the online ballot as well as audio CAPTCHA functionality for the visually impaired. Voting runs until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.
The Yankees are still leading in five positions of the American League voting for the All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix. There are eight days remaining in the balloting for fans to make sure a large contingent of Yankees players qualify for the AL starting lineup.
Second baseman Robinson Cano is the second leading vote-getter among AL players with 3,664,498 behind only Blue Jays right fielder Juan Bautista (4,156,940). Cano’s lead is more than a million votes over runner-up Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox.
Also leading in the infield are shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Despite being on the disabled list since June 14, Jeter has totaled 2,654,040 and is ahead of the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera (2,242,157). A-Rod has 2,876,537 votes and leads by more than half a million over the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre (2,307,380).
Curtis Granderson ranks second among the outfielders with 3,473,227 votes, followed by the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton (2,400,408). Granderson has more than 1.2 million more votes than fourth-place Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox for one of the three starting spots. Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner are eighth and ninth, respectively, among the outfielders.
The other position leader for the Yankees is catcher Russell Martin with 2,226,797, leading the Tigers’ Alex Avila (1,730,511).
Mark Teixeira was leading early in the voting at first base but has since been passed by the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez, who continues to lead, 3,017,960 to 2,407,665. Jorge Posada (1,120,830) is running a distant third in the designated hitter voting behind leader David Ortiz (3,116,578) of the Red Sox and runner-up Michael Young (1,760,195) of the Rangers.
Fans may cast their votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and Yankees.com – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint, which offers English- and Spanish-language versions of the online ballot as well as audio CAPTCHA functionality for the visually impaired.
When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes Friday, June 24, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com and Yankees.com until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.
The Yankees’ lead at all four infield positions in the American League All-Star balloting took a hit in the latest tally released Tuesday in which Mark Teixeira was overtaken at first base by the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez in voting for the All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Gonzalez, the AL leader in batting average, runs batted in, hits and total bases, jumped to 2,027,537 votes, more than 250,000 ahead of Texeira, who has 1,774,024. The Yankees still lead at the other three infield positions with Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.
Cano, whose 2,649,737 votes are the second highest overall behind only Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (3,042,091), is running away with the balloting at second base. A-Rod’s lead at third base is more than 300,000 over the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre. Jeter has a 238,000-vote edge over the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera and may be jeopardized by going on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday night because of a strained right calf.
However, despite being out of the lineup much of the past week, Russell Martin remains the leading vote-getter among catchers with 1,712,156. The Tigers’ Alex Avila jumped over the Twins’ Joe Mauer, who is on the disabled list, into second place with 1,093,070 votes.
Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson is still a strong second among the outfielders with 2,406,946, a lead of more than 600,000 over third-place Josh Hamilton of the Rangers. Nick Swisher is running eighth and Brett Gardner ninth in the outfield balloting.
In the designated hitter voting, Jorge Posada is running a distant third to the Red Sox’ David Ortiz and the Rangers’ Michael Young. Now that Jorgie is heating up, it is up to Yankees fans to get on his bandwagon, not to mention getting Tex back ahead of Gonzalez.
Fans may cast votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and Yankees.com – online or via mobile device using the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint up to 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.
Rosters will be announced July 3 during the 2011 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS. Fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.
Fresh off an 18-hit attack Sunday, the Yankees came out swinging in the first inning Monday night with the first two hitters, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson, getting singles. Jeter’s hit was career No. 2,994. A walk to Mark Teixeira loaded the bases with none out, and it appeared that the Yankees were headed for a big inning.
Then something strange happened. Alex Rodriguez hit a high fly to medium center field where Michael Brantley positioned himself to make a throw to the plate after catching the ball. Jeter got in position to tag up after the catch, but after taking a couple of steps toward the plate he stopped and apparently was unaware that Brantley doubled-clutched and never did throw the ball as Jeter returned to third base.
Why Brantley held on to the ball is anyone’s guess, but it seemed as if he just decided not to throw because Jeter did not run for the plate. The Yankees still had a chance to do some damage, but Robinson Cano struck out and Nick Swisher grounded out to shortstop. So with a bases-full, no-outs situation the Yankees came up empty.
Indians manager Manny Acta shook up his lineup in an attempt to turn fortunes around for the Indians, who were on a four-game losing streak and had been beaten 14 times in the past 18 games – five by shutout scores. Acta dropped Brantley from leadoff to third with designated hitter Grady Sizemore going in the other direction and also flip-flopped catcher Carlos Santana and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera from second to cleanup.
Cabrera, who is running a close second to Jeter in American League All-Star balloting, batted fourth for the first time this season and knocked in the Tribe’s first run off A.J. Burnett with a single through the hole between third and short in the fourth inning to score Brantley, who had led off with a triple off Swisher’s glove in right-center.
Burnett was pitching to Francisco Cervelli subbing for Russell Martin, who was a late scratch from the starting lineup due to a reoccurrence of back stiffness, which had kept him on the bench for four games before Sunday. That proved a brutal game for Martin, who made six out by going 0-for-4 with two double plays and watched the Indians steal five bases.
It is certainly rare to see Jorge Posada enter a game as a pinch runner, and his appearance in that role in the first inning Tuesday night was not a good sign for the Yankees. Jorgie was called on in that unusual role for him because Mark Teixeira had to be replaced after he was struck on the right knee by a pitch from Jon Lester.
It was already a painful inning for the Yankees to that point because the Red Sox came out of the gate zooming and scored three runs in the top half against Freddy Garcia. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a home run. After Dustin Pedroia walked, Adrian Gonzalez tripled to right-center. He scored on a fly ball by Kevin Youkilis.
Just like that, the Yankees were in a hole against their rival, one that grew deeper as Teixeira, their leading home run hitter and RBI man, had to be helped off the field by manager Joe Girardi and bench coach Tony Pena. The Yanks got a run back on a two-out single by Robinson Cano. Lester filled the bases by hitting another batter, Russell Martin, but a nice play at third base by Youkilis ruined Nick Swisher’s bid for a game-tying hit.
The Yankees’ streak of games in which their pitchers held the opposition to three runs or fewer ended in the second inning when Garcia allowed a fourth run on a double by Pedroia. It led to a move to the bullpen for Luis Ayala as Garcia’s 1 2/3-inning outing was the second briefest of his career.
Posada took over at first base for Teixeira, who is currently locked in a battle with Gonzalez for the starting assignment for the American League in the All-Star Game balloting. The Yankees still lead in all four infield positions, although Tex’s advantage over Gonzalez is the slimmest of the four.
The latest results show that Teixeira has around 65,000 more votes than Gonzalez. At the other positions, the Yanks are stronger, particularly at second base where Cano leads Pedroia by nearly one million votes. Cano is second overall in the AL balloting, only to Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista.
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez each have leads of around 290,000 at shortstop and third base, respectively, over the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera and the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre. The Yankees have two other leaders in Martin behind the plate and Curtis Granderson in the outfield.
Martin is helped by the Twins’ Joe Mauer being on the 60-day disabled list. Mauer has played in nine games this year and still has 829,000 votes, almost 500,000 fewer than Martin. Granderson is second among the outfielders, behind Bautista and almost 500,000 votes ahead of the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, who also missed a large chunk of time to injury.
Swisher ranks eighth and Brett Gardner 10th among outfielders. Posada is a distant third in the DH voting behind the Red Sox’ David Ortiz and the Rangers’ Michael Young.
Fans may cast their votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and Yankees.com online or via their mobile devices with the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint, which offers English and Spanish-language versions of the online ballot as well as audio CAPTCHA for visually-impaired fans. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes June 24, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club Web sites, including Yankees.com, until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.
The Yankees did their share to help teammate Alex Rodriguez celebrate his 35th birthday with career home run No. 600. They created a dramatic situation Tuesday night at Cleveland’s Progressive Field in the ninth inning wherein A-Rod’s 600th would have tied the score.
In the end, it was another oh-fer for Rodriguez as the wait to become the seventh member of the 600 Home Run Club continues. A-Rod is 0-for-8 in two games at Cleveland, but he wasn’t the only Yankees hitter who suffered Tuesday night against Indians rookie righthander Josh Tomlin, who was making his major-league debut and held the Bombers to one run and three hits in seven-plus innings.
Rodriguez grounded out twice and flied out against Tomlin. Derek Jeter gave A-Rod a fresh count when he tried to steal second base on a 1-2 pitch from Tomlin to Rodriguez and was thrown out for the final out of the inning. That meant A-Rod could start anew against Tomlin in the fifth, but he grounded out.
Tomlin’s efficiency and that of three Tribe relievers nearly prevented Rodriguez from getting a fourth at-bat. Entering the ninth, the Yankees needed two men to get on base for A-Rod to have one more shot provided there were no double plays.
They did just that as Brett Gardner and Jeter singled to put runners on the corners with none out and bring the potential tying run to the plate. Nick Swisher struck out and Mark Teixeira flied out, leaving it up to A-Rod to square things against the Indians with his 600th dinger.
Tribe closer Chris Perez yielded Rodriguez’s 590th homer, a grand slam May 31 at Yankee Stadium, but there was no drama this time. Perez got a called strike one on a fastball, then came back with a slider that A-Rod hit softly on the ground to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who got the last out on a force play at second base.
Rodriguez has now gone 21 at-bats since he reached 599 last Thursday night against the Royals at the Stadium. Is he pressing? Of course. He has a history of this, going long stretches of at-bats as he approaches a milestone. Maybe in this case, however, Rodriguez knows that there is something hollow about this achievement.
Think back to when he hit his 500th career homer August 4, 2007 at the Stadium off Kansas City’s Kyle Davies. The feat was widely applauded, and A-Rod was perceived as the antidote to Barry Bonds. Many fans believed Bonds had surpassed Hank Aaron in home runs with the help of performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez’s pursuit of Bonds’ record was a major part of the contract extension he signed with the Yankees prior to the 2008 season that awards him bonuses on passing certain milestones.
Fast forward to the spring of 2009 when A-Rod admitted that he, too, had used anabolic steroids during his three seasons with the Rangers, and the PED stain fell on him as well. It was to Alex’s credit that he did not smirk at baseball fans as Bonds had done and offered confession. Rodriguez found a new appreciation for the game and performed incredibly last October to earn his first World Series ring. And while his image has been altered to a more positive note because of those accomplishments, the fact that a number of his home runs came under the influence of PEDs cannot be dismissed.
In his Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday at Cooperstown, N.Y., Andre Dawson touched on this issue pointedly when he said, “It bothers me when I hear people knock the game. There’s nothing wrong with the game of baseball. Baseball will from time to time, and like anything else in life, fall victim to the mistakes that people make. It’s not pleasant, and it’s not right. Those mistakes have hurt the game and taken a toll on all of us. Individuals have chosen the wrong road and have chosen that as their legacy. Others still have a chance to choose theirs. Do not be lured to the dark side. It’s a stain on the game, a stain gradually being removed. But that’s the people, not the game. There’s nothing wrong with the game. Never has been. I think people just forget why we ever got involved in the game in the first place. When we were nine of 10 years old, we just loved playing the game. What we found was that if you put your heart into this game, if you love this game, the game will love you back.”
Just the same, the Yankees will be relieved when 600 is come and gone and they can all go about the business of winning games and pennants.