Results tagged ‘ Derek Jeter ’
There is a first time for everything, I guess. There was Derek Jeter, the centerpiece of the Yankees’ home opener Monday, jogging to first base after hitting a fly ball to deep left field. I have been watching Jeter play for 20 seasons now, and that was the first time I saw him go into coast mode running to first base.
Granted, the Captain came oh-so close to hitting a home run. The ball hit near the top of the left field wall and caromed to Orioles left fielder David Lough. Jeter had started what appeared to be a home run trot, then had to kick it in gear and make a dash for it to get a double on what was such a bang-bang play that Baltimore manager Buck Showalter came out to argue but did not challenge the call by second base umpire Tim Welke.
Perhaps Jeter learned that seeking that extra gear on the base paths is not that easy when the legs underneath are closing in on 40 years of age. The shortstop who has always run hard to first base no matter where his ball was hit is not likely to make that mistake again.
The double did prove important for the Yankees. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a well-struck single to right-center. Jeter turned on the jets rounding third base and slid into the plate without challenge to give the Yanks a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning. The Yankees added another run that inning on a bases-loaded walk.
Although he was not part of the Opening Day festivities, Yogi Berra was not going to let Derek Jeter’s final home opener go by without coming to Yankee Stadium to wish the captain good luck in his farewell season.
The Hall of Famer and three-time American League Most Valuable Player, who has thrown out many a ceremonial first pitch at the Stadium, is confined to a wheelchair these days, but the 87-year-old legend was in good spirits as he entered the hallway to the Yankees’ clubhouse just as Jeter was heading out to the field for batting practice.
“Hey, kid, you ready for one more big year?” Yogi asked Jeter.
“I hope so,” DJ said. “Thanks for coming. It means a lot to us. I’ve got to go stretch now. You want to come with me?”
Yogi’s pre-game stretching days are well behind him, but as Jeter pointed out his presence is greatly appreciated by Yankees players. Yogi lost his lifetime partner, Carmen, last month to a long illness, so it was good to see him out and about in the venue that continues to embrace him.
Berra was among several popular former Yankees on the scene for the first home game against the Orioles. Jeter and best pal Jorge Posada did the duty of catching the ceremonial first pitches tossed by the other half of the “Core Four,” Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.
Even before the game, it was a home opener to remember.
The “Core Four” will get the Yankees’ home schedule started Monday at the 112th home opener.
Yankee Stadium gates will open to fans for the 1:05 p.m. game against the Orioles beginning at 11 a.m. Festivities are slated to start at approximately 12:30 p.m. with the introduction of both teams on the baselines. The Yankees ask their fans to please budget ample time when planning their trip to the Stadium and urge their fans to use public transportation.
Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera will throw the Opening Day ceremonial first pitches to Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. Pettitte and Rivera, who each will also be honored with the “Pride of the Yankees Award” at the 35th Annual Homecoming Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown following the game, will become the 13th and 14th former Yankees player to receive the Opening Day honor. Posada threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Yankees’ 2012 home opener.
Jeter, of course, will continue to work when the game begins as he continues his 20th and final season as a player. The Captain batted .250 with one RBI on the six-game trip through Houston and Toronto.
Kelli O’Hara, a Tony Award nominee and co-star of the Broadway musical The Bridges of Madison County, will sing the national anthem. In addition, a giant American flag will be unfurled by 75 West Point Cadets.
During the seventh-inning stretch, James Moye of the Broadway hit Bullets Over Broadway will perform “God Bless America.”
Following Opening Day, the Yankees will continue their nine-game homestand with two more games against the Orioles, a four-game against the Red Sox (April 10-13) and a two-game, inter-league series against the Cubs (April 15-16). The homestand will feature special pregame ceremonies and giveaways, as well as unique events:
Thursday, April 10 – Yankees vs. Red Sox, 7:05 p.m.
Mark Rivera, longtime Billy Joel band mate and music director for Ringo Starr, will sing the national anthem.
Friday, April 11 – Yankees vs. Red Sox, 7:05 p.m.
Magnetic Schedule Night, presented by AT&T, to all guests in attendance.
Saturday, April 12 & Sunday, April 13 – Yankees vs. Red Sox (1:05 p.m. and 8:05 p.m., respectively)
Calendar Day/Night, presented by Subway, to all guests in attendance.
Monday, April 14 – Tuesday, April 15
The Yankees and Major League Baseball will co-host the third annual MLB Diversity Business Summit, an event that provides attendees with unique access to executives from MLB, all 30 MLB clubs, as well as those from MLB media entities.
Tuesday, April 15 – Yankees vs. Cubs, 7:05 p.m.
As part of the Jackie Robinson Day pregame ceremonies, Nelson Mandela will be honored with a plaque in Monument Park.
Wednesday, April 16 – Yankees vs. Cubs, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees Peeps Collectible Night (Yankee Stadium Exclusive), presented by Peeps Brands, to first 10,000 Guests 14 and younger.
For information on parking and public transportation options to the Stadium, please visit yankees.com and click on the Yankee Stadium tab at the top of the page.
It was a positive sign for the Yankees to break out of the gate early Sunday. They had been pushed around in first innings to the tune of 7-2 in the first five games of the season. Sunday at Toronto, they gave CC Sabathia a 3-0 lead before he took the mound even though they had only one hit in the first inning.
That hit was a two-out, two-run double by Kelly Johnson that climaxed a rally fueled by two walks and a hit batter off Drew Hutchison, who had pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a winning first start last week.
The Blue Jays answered back with a run in the bottom of the first on a leadoff home run by Melky Cabrera, the third homer of the series for the former Yankees outfielder. Sabathia had given up four runs in the first inning in his Opening Day start last week at Houston.
Derek Jeter made history with a leadoff single in the third inning. It was career hit No. 3,319 for DJ, who tied Hall of Famer Paul Molitor for eighth place on the all-time list. Jeter moved past Molitor with a single in the fourth for No. 3,320.
“To have the most hits for the most prestigious franchise in professional sports is pretty special,” Molitor told me back in 2011 when Jeter reached 3,000 hits. “Getting 3,000 hits is as much a product of longevity as ability. If Derek stays healthy, he has a good chance to rack up a lot more hits.”
Rookie infielder Yangervis Solarte has multi-hit games in each of his first three career starts to become the first Yankees player to accomplish the feat since Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio from May 3-6, 1936 (also three games), according to the Elias Sport Bureau. Solarte entered play leading the Yankees in hits (7), doubles (3), extra-base hits (3), RBI (4), on-base percentage (.600), slugging percentage (.769) and OPS (1.369).
Solarte picked up his fourth double and fifth RBI of the season with one out in the fourth and then scored on the Yankees’ first home run of the season. Brett Gardner ended the drought with a drive to right off a 3-2 pitch that chased Hutchison.
The Yankees’ scuffling offense got a lift from the bottom of the lineup Thursday night as two players who rode the bench previously made the most noise in getting the team its first victory of the 2014 season.
Rookie Yangervis Solarte had a dream of a game in his first major-league start as he collected his first hit, run and run batted in from the 9-hole. A switch-hitter, Solarte got the start at third base against Astros lefthander Brett Oberholtzer as he is being used in a platoon with lefty-swinging Kelly Johnson, who started the first two games.
One night after getting his first sip of big-league play with a pinch-hit appearance and an inning in the field Wednesday night, Solarte went 3-for-3 with a walk Thursday night to help the Yankees toward a much-needed W. A 26-year-old veteran of eight minor-league seasons, Solare doubled and singled twice, scored two runs and drove in one.
His RBI was a bit of a gimme from the Astros on miscommunication in the infield as his pop between the mound fell among three fielders in the seventh inning. With two out, Ichiro Suzuki was running hard from second base and scored, which got Solarte into the RBI column.
Ichiro’s start in right field was something of a hunch for manager Joe Girardi and by doing so may have caused a dilemma. Suzuki had a double and a single and scored two runs. He has been relegated to bench player in a crowded outfield, but with Alfonso Soriano 0-for-12 to start the season perhaps Ichiro can work himself back into the mix.
Suzuki and Solare combined for five of the Yankees’ seven hits and all four runs. At the top of the order, Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter each had a two-out RBI hit. The middle of the order continued its chilly ways except for a sacrifice fly by Carlos Beltran, who was the designated hitter to open the spot for Ichiro and give Soriano some time in left field.
The Yankees matched the improved offense with sound defense. The infield turned four double plays behind starter Ivan Nova, who overcame five walks, two hit batters and a wild pitch over 5 2/3 innings to notch the winning decision. Nova was inconsistent, but he made key pitches when he needed them.
Adam Warren and Sean Kelley were impressive in relief stints before David Robertson began his new role as closer following the retirement of the best in the business, Mariano Rivera. It was a performance that would have made Mo proud. D-Rob retired the side in order with one strikeout to finish off a bullpen effort in which it retired the last 11 Houston batters in a row.
The first inning continues to be a problem for the Yankees. For the third straight game, the Astros got on the board their first time up. Houston has outscored the Yankees, 6-0, in the first innings of the three games combined.
That the Astros got only one run in the opening frame Thursday night was actually a break for the Yankees considering Houston had four players reach base that inning against Ivan Nova. The righthander got into immediate trouble by loading the bags with none out on two singles and a hit batter.
Houston made the least of the situation by pushing only one run across on a fielder’s choice. After reloading the bases with a walk, Nova worked out of the jam by getting Marc Krauss to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Yankees’ lineup had a slightly different look with catcher Brian McCann, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and third baseman Kelly Johnson getting the night off against a lefthander, Brett Obertholtzer. Two of the new players in the lineup, Ichiro Suzuki and Yangervis Solarte, helped construct a rally in the second inning that resulted in the Yankees getting their first lead of the season in 21 innings.
Suzuki started in right field with Carlos Beltran shifting to the designated hitter role. Alfonso Soriano, who was the DH in the first two games, played left field with Brett Gardner moving to center. Francisco Cervelli was behind the plate. Solarte got his first major-league start at third base where he is currently in a platoon with Johnson.
Ichiro got the Yankees started with a single to left. Solarte followed with a single to center for his first big-league hit that sent Suzuki to third. Gardner, back in the leadoff spot, tied the score with a ground single to right, ending a Yankees’ streak of 12 at-bats without a hit with runners in scoring position.
Derek Jeter walked on a full count to load the bases. Beltran put the Yankees ahead with a sacrifice fly to center. Now it was up to Nova to protect it.
Derek Jeter’s farewell tour officially began Wednesday night at Houston before the Yankees-Astros game. Former Yankees teammates Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Mike Stanton took part in the pre-game ceremony with Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton to present the Captain with a pair of pinstriped cowboy boots with his No. 2 painted on the sides, a Stetson hat and a pair of golf clubs.
The Astros even showed Jeter the ultimate respect by standing on the top step of the dugout and applauding him during his first-inning at-bat that triggered a standing ovation from the crowd at Minute Maid Park, an unsual sight that he acknowledged with a tip of his helmet.
Mariano Rivera reveled in the attention last year when he embarked on a farewell tour. I suspected that Jeter might be uncomfortable with going through something similar, but his trademark wide smile was evident throughout the short ceremony, so maybe he will have fun with it after all.
None of us expected the Yankees to go 162-0 this year, but the 6-2 loss in Tuesday night’s season opener to the lowly Astros started things off with a thud. The Yanks were six runs in the hole after the first two innings and while Houston was shut out the rest of the way the Yankees could not climb out of it.
A surprisingly effective Scott Feldman took a one-hit shutout into the seventh for the Astros, who won only 51 games last year. A sellout crowd of 42,117 at Minute Maid Park that included Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and Nolan Ryan and former President George H.W. Bush witnessed another dismal Opening Day effort by CC Sabathia.
The trimmed-down lefthander admitted afterward that his motor was running a bit too much early on as the Astros jumped him for six runs and six hits, including home runs by those household names Jesus Guzman and L.J. Hoes, in the first two frames. Sabathia eventually settled down and allowed only two singles over the next five innings long after the barn door was closed.
Opening Day has seldom gone smoothly for Sabathia, whose career mark in lid-lifters is 1-3 with a 6.17 ERA. With the Yankees, CC has been even worse in Opening Day starts — 0-3 with a 7.17 ERA.
The Yankees escaped first-inning scares when Derek Jeter and Brian McCann sustained hand injuries that turned out minor. Jeter had one of the Yankees’ six hits. So did McCann, who drove in his first run with his team team with a single in the seventh. Mark Teixeira followed with an RBI single to left crossing up an over-shift, which was a good sign.
Jeter and Teixeira were hurt at this time a year ago and with all the newcomers Brett Gardner was the only player other than Sabathia from the 2013 opener in the starting lineup. New right fielder Carlos Beltran had the Yankees’ first hit, a single in the fourth. New center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury reached base once in five plate appearances with a walk.
There certainly was not much to write home about. Dellin Betances may have been the highlight for the Yankees with a scoreless inning of two-strikeout relief. With David Robertson succeeding the retired Mariano Rivera in the closer role, there is the need for a setup reliever to emerge. Betances worked the seventh inning in the opener but continued impressive work could move him into the setup picture.
There would be no save opportunity for D-Rob in this one, however.
It may seem harsh, but the Yankees could hardly be faulted for designating Eduardo Nunez for assignment Tuesday to create space on the 40-man roster for Yangervis Solarte, who impressed the club this spring with his versatility. Nunez was once thought of as the heir apparent to Derek Jeter at shortstop but could not even be kept as a replacement for backup shortstop Brendan Ryan, who is on the disabled list because of a spinal nerve condition.
In his time with the Yankees, Nunez showed promise with a decent stroke and good speed, but he was a defensive liability and proved brittle. He had a golden opportunity last year when Jeter was shelved for all but 17 games because of two ankle injuries, but Nunez had a disappointing slash line of .260/.307/.372 and missed 72 games himself due to injuries.
There was talk of Nunez perhaps platooning at third base with Kelly Johnson this year, but he could not even make the team out of camp. His defense made Nunez a less than desirous utility player. He might have been an offensive upgrade over the Yanks’ utility infielder of the past two years, Jayson Nix, but as the Yanks showed by re-signing Ryan the need for a solid defensive backup was coveted instead.
After the first inning Tuesday night at Houston, the Yankees had nowhere to go but up. A nasty omen was Derek Jeter, who became the first player to appear in 20 seasons for the Yankees, getting hit in the left hand by a pitch from Scott Feldman. DJ took his base and later his position in the field as the Yankees breathed a huge sigh of relief.
The more damaging hits were by the Astros off CC Sabathia in the bottom half of the first. The big lefthander’s decreasing velocity last year and again this spring has been a cause of concern for the Yankees. With a fastball barely clicking 90 mph on the radar gun, Sabathia was roughed up for four runs.
A leadoff double by Dexter Fowler set the tone. Jose Altuve singled Fowler home and promptly stole second base. A wild pitch by Sabathia proved damaging as Altuve crossed to third from where he scored on a fielder’s choice. Mark Teixeira’s throw to the plate left something to be desired as the Yankees looked out of synch.
Jesus Guzman then crushed a first-pitch fastball to left for a two-run home run. CC was touched for a leadoff homer in the second by L.J. Hoes and another run on yet another combination of a Fowler double and Altuve single. The Yankees did not get their first hit until Carlos Beltran singled to left with one out in the fourth.