Results tagged ‘ Joe Girardi ’

Fan’s fall to his death shakes up players

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was actually asked by a reporter after Saturday night’s game, a 3-1 victory over the Braves, if the game should have continued after a man in the stands at Turner Field fell from the 401 level to the 220 level not far from where some family members of Yankees players were located.

The mother of Yankees catcher Brian McCann was at the game to watch her son play at Turner Field for the first time in two years and near the area when the man fell approximately 50 feet onto the concrete.

“My mom was right in the mix,” McCann said. “All our families are up there so you’re just praying for the best. It’s so unfortunate.”

By the time the question was posed to Girardi, who was diplomatic in his response, it had become known that the man had died. His fall occurred during the top of the seventh inning at the time Alex Rodriguez was announced as a pinch hitter for Luis Severino, the Yankees’ starting pitcher.

The man was later identified as Greg “Ace’ Murrey, 60, from suburban Alpharetta, Ga., and a Braves season ticket holder. A moment of silence to his memory was observed before Sunday’s game with players from both teams lined up respectfully in front of their dugouts.

With all due respect to the deceased, why should the game have been stopped? It was a terrible tragedy, no doubt, but the man was attended to quickly by medical personnel in the ballpark and hurried off by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Unfortunately, people get hurt in the stands pretty much on a daily basis in Major League Baseball what with foul balls zinging into the stands throughout the game. No ballgame would ever get completed if it was stopped every time a fan got hurt.

Obviously, this was far more serious that most injuries, but no one could know for sure at the time whether Murrey would survive the fall, so why criticize the teams for continuing play?

I recall covering a game at the old Yankees Stadium in the early 1990s when suddenly a body zoomed down in front of us in the pressbox from a deck above us. Bill Pennington of the New York Times was sitting next to me and said, “Did you just see what I saw?”

We leaned over the railing and saw a man in his early 20s bouncing on the protective screen that covered the seating area behind the plate. Without that, this guy would have been a goner, just like the man in Atlanta.

Major League Baseball is looking into the possibility of placing more protective screens in ballparks to help protect fans from baseballs hit into the stands. Saturday night’s incident at Atlanta was of a different sort, however. An investigation into Murrey’s fall is ongoing.

Yanks fail to capitalize on lengthy homestand

The schedule has been the Yankees’ ally since Aug. 2 when they were through playing any games outside the Eastern time zone and had 59 percent of the remaining games at home. They failed to take advantage of this situation in the 10-game homestand they completed Wednesday with a dreadfully dull 6-2 loss to Houston.

After beginning the homestand with a three-game sweep of the Twins, the Yankees dropped three of four games to the Indians and two of three to the Astros to finish a lackluster 5-5 while falling out of first place in the American League East.

The Cleveland series was particularly hurtful because the Tribe is a last-place team in the AL Central. As for Houston, these are no longer your father’s Astros. They have spent a good part of this season in first place in the AL West with the league’s top pitching staff and a power-laded if strikeout-prone batting order.

The Yankees were able to grab a 1-0 victory in the series opener but then were outscored by the Astros, 21-3, over the next two games with both starting pitchers, Ivan Nova Tuesday night and Michael Pineda Wednesday, failing to get out of the fourth inning.

Making his first start in a month since coming off the 15-day disabled list because of a right forearm strain, Pineda gave up the first of Evan Gattis’ two home runs in the second inning and came apart in the fourth as the Astros used four hits — including a squeeze bunt — a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch (by Chasen Shreve) to pull away with four runs.

“That inning just got away from him,” manager Joe Girardi said.

Gattis, who had a monster series, connected again in the eighth off Adam Warren for his 22nd home run of the year. The Houston designated hitter was 6-for-12 (.500) with three home runs and six RBI in the series.

The Yankees’ offense consisted of a two-run home run by Didi Gregorius in the seventh inning off eventual winning pitcher Collin McHugh to end a drought of 144 homerless at-bats by the Yanks.

“We’re just not hitting right now,” Girardi said. “That is the root of our problems.”

Talk about an understatement. The Yankees batted .165 with two extra-base hits and four runs in 91 at-bats against the Astros and were hitless in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

“A lot of guys are scuffling at the same time,” Girardi noted.

Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, the 3-4 hitters who spearheaded the offense for most of the season, have both hit a wall in August. A-Rod is batting .138 with two home runs and eight RBI in 80 at-bats this month and is down to .255. With the DH not in use in National League parks, Rodriguez will be a bench player in the three-game set at Atlanta that begins Friday night and may benefit from the time off.

Teixeira started only one of the past eight games and got a pinch-hit at-bat Wednesday. He is bothered by a severe bone bruise to his right shin and can barely run. He is a .175 hitter in August with three home runs and six RBI in 57 at-bats as AL Most Valuable Player talk has faded.

Brett Gardner, 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Wednesday, is hitting .202 with two doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI in 129 at-bats since the All-Star break and has lost 29 points on his season average. Jacoby Ellsbury did not play due to a bruised right hip and is indefinite for Atlanta.

Girardi said he hoped Thursday’s open date would give the club a chance to refresh.

“Guys are working hard but not having a lot of success right now,” he added.

Eovaldi answers Girardi’s call to step up

With CC Sabathia going on the disabled list Monday because of inflammation in his right knee that could scratch him for the rest of the season, Yankees manager Joe Girardi called for other starters in the rotation to step up.

Let it be said that Nathan Eovaldi stepped up.

Eovaldi had nothing to show on his record for his eight formidable innings in the 1-0 victory over the Astros Monday night that sent the Yankees back into a first-place tie with the Blue Jays in the American League East.

Birthday boy Brett Gardner (32) scored the only run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Beltran, who played in his 1,000th AL game. Beltran has also played in 1,269 games in the National League and became the sixth (and only active) player to play at least 1,000 games in each league. The others: Bob Boone, Vladimir Guerrero, Fred McGriff and Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Dave Winfield.

The Yankees had relief pitcher Oliver Perez to thank for this one. The lefthander who wore out his welcome with the Mets years ago faced three batters, walked each one (one intentionally) and threw a wild pitch before Beltran sent everyone home with a fly ball to deep center field off righthander Chad Qualls.

The winning decision went to Andrew Miller (2-2), who pitched the ninth inning in continuing the string of zeroes Eovaldi set up.

Although he was stuck with a no-decision, Eovaldi remained undefeated in 12 starts since his last loss June 16 at Miami. The hard-throwing righthander went into triple digits several times in lighting up the radar gun and was at his best in getting out of tight spots.

Eovaldi showed the sort of grit Sabathia has been known for by pitching out of four jams in his scoreless duel with Houston starter Scott Feldman, who also fashioned eight shutout innings.

After a first inning in which Astros hitters watched three fastballs clocked at 101, 100 and 101 from Eovaldi, two one-out singles put him to his first test, which he passed with flying colors by striking out Chris Carter and Hank Conger.

That in itself is not remarkable considering Houston has struck out more than 1,100 times already this season. The Astros have the lowest team batting average (.240) in the AL but the most home runs (169). It is often feast and famine for the Stros, who swing and miss a lot.

Two of the three walks Eovaldi issued came in the fifth, but he ended the threat by getting Marwin Gonzalez on a ground ball to second base. Houston threatened again in the sixth when Carlos Correa led off with a single and Colby Rasmus walked. A sacrifice bunt by Carlos Gomez advanced the runners, but Eovaldi saw to it that they went no farther.

Rookie first baseman Greg Bird fielded a hard grounder by Evan Gattis and caught Rasmus wandering too far off second base to get the second out before Luis Valbuena ended the inning with a flyout to center.

In the eighth, a wild throw to first base by Chase Headley for his 20th error put Correa at second base with one out. Eovaldi set down Rasmus and Gomez on routine fly balls. In the Gomez at-bat, Eovaldi hit 100 on the gun with his 106th and 107th pitches. Remarkable.

Eovaldi has always been a hard thrower, but he has developed into more of a pitcher this year for several reasons, beginning with using his power to work his fastball inside. He has gotten ahead in the count regularly to make use of his split-finger fastball and has been working on a slider, which Girardi felt was the best he has seen all year from him.

Over his past 12 starts, Eovaldi is 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA in 73 2/3 innings that has dropped his season ERA from 5.12 to 4.00. He is 5-0 with a 3.08 ERA in 12 starts at Yankee Stadium covering 73 innings.

The Yankees had several chances to give Eovaldi a lead. In the second inning, Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew singled with none out, but Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a fielder’s choice, Gardner struck out and Alex Rodriguez flied out.

Drew’s hit brought his batting average to .200 for the first time since his fifth at-bat of the season April 8 when he was 1-for-5. It came in his 227th plate appearance. Alas, Drew was hitless in his next two at-bats to fall back to .199.

Brian McCann, who reached base in all four times up with three singles and a walk, began three innings with singles, including the seventh when he crossed to third on a single off the right field wall by Beltran. Unfortunately, the slow-legged catcher tried to score on a fly ball to center but was thrown out at the plate by Gomez.

McCann’s walk in the ninth was the third given up by Perez and loaded the bags for Beltran, who spared Girardi from having to use Mark Teixeira as a pinch hitter with the huge sacrifice fly.

Starters must step up while Sabathia mends

It was not that long ago that Yankees manager Joe Girardi spoke of CC Sabathia’s value during a stretch run because of all the pitchers on the staff, especially in the rotation, he had by far the most experience with dealing with the pressure of that time of the season.

There is a good chance now, however, that Sabathia’s presence as the Yankees head into September will be nothing more than as a consultant or cheerleader. The 6-foot-7 lefthander was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of inflammation in his right knee that cut short his start Sunday to 2 2/3 innings in an eventual loss to the Indians that knocked the Yankees out of first place in the American League East when the Blue Jays bounced back from a 5-1, first-inning deficit to beat the Angels, 12-5.

Sabathia sounded confident that he would be able to pitch again this season, but the reality is that he has pitched all season on a damaged knee that has undergone two surgeries and finally gave out after two drainings and a cortisone injection over the past two months.

What this does to Girardi’s plans of using a six-man rotation to give an extra day’s rest to his starters is to scrap them. “We will not need a sixth starter every turn through the rotation,” Girardi said.

The Yankees re-signed lefthander Chris Capuano to a major-league contract after his third designation for assignment over the past four weeks. The lefthander could be used as a spot starter at certain junctures.

Adam Warren, who began the season in the rotation but has done a splendid job in late-innings relief, will remain in the bullpen. So, too, will Bryan Mitchell, who is scheduled to pitch a simulated game Tuesday in his first time back on the mound since Aug. 17 when he sustained a broken nose after being struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of the Twins’ Eduardo Nunez.

Girardi credited Sabathia, who has a 4-9 record and 5.27 ERA, with gutting his way through 24 starts this season with that knee.

“He is a real competitor and was extremely gutsy,” Girardi said. “He took the ball every fifth or sixth day and gave us everything he had. Now the other guys are going to have to step up.”

The stepping up had to begin Monday night with Nathan Eovaldi taking an eight-game winning streak against an Astros club that is leading the AL West by four games and just won three games in a row against the Dodgers, including victories over Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in the last two games.

Mark Teixeira, still hobbled by a bruised right shin, took batting practice for the first time since hurting the leg a week ago, and had no problems swinging the bat but is still unable to run at full strength. Teixeira said he could be available as a pinch hitter, but Girardi may wait to use Tex in the field until Friday night when the Yankees open a three-game series at Atlanta.

The set against the Braves and the second Subway Series Sept. 18-20 at Citi Field against the Mets present Girardi the question of whether to use Alex Rodriguez in the field in preparation for the possibility of the Yankees playing in the World Series.

A-Rod has been exclusively a designated hitter most of the year. He started two games at third base and one at first base but has played only two innings in the field (one at third, one at first) since April 27. Girardi said he has no plans to start Rodriguez in inter-league competition but added, “If we have to double switch in the National League ballparks, then all bets are off.”

Too bad Pettitte was not warming up

What the Yankees needed on Andy Pettitte Day Sunday at Yankee Stadium was, well, Andy Pettitte.

Another nostalgic ceremony to retire Pettitte’s No. 46 and install a plaque in Monument Park honoring his pitching career with the Yankees was barely over when CC Sabathia gave up a two-run home run to Indians first baseman Carlos Santana in the first inning in what turned out an ominous day for the big lefthander.

There was no one warming up in the bullpen in the third inning when Sabathia had to come out of the game because of an injury to his surgical right knee. Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to rely on a couple of Scranton shuttle guys, Nick Rumbelow and Branden Pinder, to get through the middle innings.

A chant of “Andy Pettitte” from the bleachers sprung up several times from fans with fond memories of his grim determination on the mound over an 18-season major league career, all but three of them with the Yankees, that included an additional 276 1/3 innings of postseason work that produced a 19-11 record and four World Series championships.

“I just don’t remember ever going out there and feeling like I’m going to step on this mound and absolutely dominate this team because I am so good,” Pettitte told the crowd earlier. “I know some of the great players have felt like that. Every game at the big-league level, mentally, I had to be into it every pitch. It seemed like if I let my focus down for one inning, it was going to be a three-run inning. I needed every ounce of focus and energy to be successful.”

Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte

The Yankees had coaxed Pettitte out of retirement once before, in 2012. Too bad they could not do it again Sunday.

The only work for Pettitte Sunday was getting through a well-constructed speech in which he thanked his family, former teammates, the Steinbrenner family and even us writers, whom he said treated him fairly over the years.

Joining him on the field for the pregame ceremony were fellow Core Four partners Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Saturday’s honoree Jorge Posada as well as other former teammates Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, David Cone, Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez and Hideki Matsui; former trainer Gene Monahan; former executive Gene Michael; Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and former manager Joe Torre; managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and vice president Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal.

“We experienced some amazing wins, some heartbreaking losses,” Pettitte added. “Through it all, this place has become home to me and my family.”

Sabathia was supposed to be Pettitte’s successor as the senior voice on the pitching staff, but he has been slowed down by a knee that has been operated on twice and which was drained twice over the past two months. Sabathia admitted to Girardi that he felt discomfort while warming up but did not say anything until he was interrogated by his manager on the mound.

“It has been a watch for us all year long as we knew it would be,” Girardi said. “For him to say something on the mound it had to be pretty sore.”

Sabathia, who was to undergo an MRI exam late Sunday, has not been himself most of the season. He is 4-9 with a 5.27 ERA, and his record could be worse if the Yankees had not come back from trailing in games to get him off the hook eight times, including Sunday when they tied the score in the seventh inning on a two-run double by Carlos Beltran.

A comeback victory was not forthcoming, however, as Francisco Lindor finished off his second straight three-hit game with a solo home run off Dellin Betances in the eighth inning that held up for a 4-3 victory for the Indians, who were 5-2 against the Yankees this year.

It was almost as painful a game for the Stadium crowd of 46,945 to watch as it was for Sabathia. This was an absolute walkathon with Yankees pitchers combining for 10 walks (four by Sabathia) and the Indians for six. Despite all those free base runners the Yankees allowed, the score stayed close because the Tribe was 1-for-10 (.100) with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base, which would have been more if the Yanks had not turned four double plays.

Sabathia’s injury, which general manager Brian Cashman said would likely put him on the 15-day disabled list, botches plans the Yankees had of going to a six-man rotation with the return from the DL of Michael Pineda, who is scheduled to start Wednesday at the Stadium against the Astros.

The idea was to give an additional day of rest to all the starters, but that will have to go on hold for now. The Yankees could return Adam Warren to the rotation, but as well as he has pitched in relief they are reluctant to do that. The more likely choice for a sixth starter would be Bryan Mitchell, who was on the seven-day concussion list after being struck in the face by a batted ball Aug. 17. Cashman said Mitchell may pitch a simulated game this week.

All these pitching woes and the possibility the Yankees could drop out of first place put a damper on the special day for Pettitte, who might have been a big help had he been able to don a unifiorm.

Andy Pettitte’s Monument Park plaque

ANDREW EUGENE PETTITTE
NEW YORK YANKEES 1995-2003, 2007-2010, 2012-2013

A FIVE-TIME WORLD CHAMPION AND THREE-TIME ALL-STAR, PETTITTE WAS A MODEL OF CONSISTENCY IN THE YANKEES ROTATION FOR 15 SEASONS, GOING 219-127 (.633) AND TYING THE FRANCHISE RECORD OF 438 STARTS.

KNOWN FOR HAVING ONE OF BASEBALL’S BEST PICKOFF MOVES, PETTITTE WILL BE MOST REMEMBERED FOR HIS EXTENSIVE OCTOBER RÉSUMÉ, AS HE WENT 18-10 WITH A 3.76 ERA IN 40 POSTSEASON STARTS WITH THE CLUB. IN 2009, HE BECAME THE FIRST PITCHER TO START AND WIN
THE CLINCHING GAME IN EACH OF THREE SERIES IN A SINGLE POSTSEASON.

THE LEFTHANDER RETIRED WITH THE THIRD HIGHEST WIN TOTAL IN FRANCHISE HISTORY, AND HE IS THE CLUB’S ALL-TIME STRIKEOUT LEADER, WITH 2,020. TWICE A 20-GAME WINNER, PETTITTE FINISHED HIS CAREER AS THE FIRST PLAYER TO PITCH MORE THAN 15 SEASONS IN THE MAJORS WITHOUT EVER HAVING A LOSING RECORD.

DEDICATED BY THE NEW YORK YANKEES
AUGUST 23, 2015

Yankees’ ‘Birdman’ flies high

Birdman won the Academy Award as Best Picture for last year, and the Yankees had their “Birdman” give an Oscar-winning performance Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in a 4-3 victory that completed a three-game sweep of the sinking Twins.

All four runs were driven in by rookie first baseman Greg Bird, who whacked a couple of two-run home runs off Ervin Santana. The initial homer, in the fourth inning following an infield single by Carlos Beltran, was the first of Bird’s major league career as was the curtain call urged on by the Stadium crowd of 38,086.

It provided a 2-0 lead for Nathan Eovaldi, who flirted with a perfect game for 5 1/3 innings before coming unglued somewhat in the sixth and allowed Minnesota to go ahead on two-out singles by Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe. Mauer singled with the bases full for two runs off a 3-2 fastball from Eovaldi, the one pitch of the 120 thrown by the righthander he wished he could have back.

“I tried to go middle-in,” Eovaldi said, “bad pitch selection.”

Plouffe’s hit was a dribbler between Eovaldi and third baseman Chase Headley that put the Twins ahead momentarily. Bird’s second homer, in the sixth following a walk to Beltran, returned the lead to Eovaldi, who protected it with a perfect seventh before Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances (eighth save) followed with scoreless innings that preserved the victory for Eovaldi, who ran his record to 13-2.

This has been quite a week for Bird, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a week ago and is hitting .333 with a double, two homers and five RBI. He started the winning rally Monday night, got his first major league RBI Tuesday night and his first homer Wednesday. He got the ball from his second homer because it landed in the Yankees’ bullpen. The first one wound up in the right field second deck.

“I don’t know yet,” he said about whether he can get that ball. “I’m just trying to do my job. It’s so much fun to come in here every day and hear what these guys have to say.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi described Bird as someone “with a slow heartbeat,” meaning that he does not get over-excited and keeps an even keel.

“Some players have to learn to slow the game down,” Girardi said. “That’s not the case with him.”

Bird concurred and said he inherited it from his parents, who were at the game seated in the terrace level behind first base. “I just like to be even-keeled and level-headed,” he said.

Bird got extra playing time during the series because regular first baseman Mark Teixeira has been sidelined with a badly bruised right shin. Bird does not play a position besides first base, but he might earn some more playing time if Girardi decides to sit Alex Rodriguez (0-for-3 Wednesday and hitting .131 in 61 at-bats in August) against some right-handed pitching and use Tex at DH to open up first base for Bird.

That is a consideration for the future. Bird was all about the present Wednesday, and what a present he gave the Yankees.

HOPE Week: Theater employs disabled

Across the United States, more than 57 million adults have some form of disability, 80 percent of whom are unemployed. Valerie Jensen grew up with a sister who has Down Syndrome and has seen first-hand how difficult everyday tasks and activities can be for individuals with disabilities, especially finding a fulfilling job. She recognizes that many who have disabilities face an internal struggle to feel as if they have a purpose in life.

One afternoon, Jensen was driving in Ridgefield, Conn., when she saw an old, vacant former theater that was going to be demolished. She immediately had a vision — to transform the building into a unique movie theater, staffed primarily by individuals with disabilities. Over the course of the next several months, she made her vision a reality as The Prospector Theater opened to the public in November 2014.

Staff members there are referred to as “prospects,” as a way to make them feel inspired to realize their own potential and give them the necessary training to advance to other jobs using their skills developed at the theater. In the 10 months since its grand opening, the staff of The Prospector Theater has grown to more than 100 people with no signs of slowing down.

As Jensen put it, “We really didn’t need more trips to the pond. We really didn’t need more trips to the zoo. We just needed meaningful employment.”

As part of the Yankees’ HOPE Week initiative, general manager Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi, third baseman Chase Headley, catcher Brian McCann and first baseman Mark Teixeira surprised Jensen and her staff at the theater Tuesday, took a tour and talked spoke with the theater’s prospects about the importance of teamwork

In many ways, The Prospector Theater is like a traditional theater; visitors purchase their tickets just inside the main entrance and can stop at one of two concession stands before going to see a popular new release. It has four theaters, ranging in capacity from 16-167 people, with the smallest theater designed especially for people with sensory issues who may not enjoy movies in larger settings. Each of the four theaters has handicap seating, along with fixed chairs so friends and families are able to watch movies together. All of the theaters are equipped with technology to aid those who are hearing and/or visually impaired. Each offers closed-captioning glasses and high-quality headphones.

“The answer to the unemployment epidemic among adults with disabilities is in our own backyard, on every Main Street in America,” Jensen said. “Small businesses are missing out on a huge resource that lies in the incredible talent pool of the 57 million talented Americans with disabilities, who are willing, competent and able to work.”

Extra-inning game goes Yanks’ way for a change

Extra-inning games have not been a Yankees strength this year despite their excellent bullpen. Before Monday night, they had a 2-7 record after regulation, including 1-5 at Yankee Stadium. Thanks in part to former Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez, the Bombers pulled out an 8-7, 10-inning victory over the Twins, who had 16 hits in the game.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi expected Monday night to be a bullpen game with Bryan Mitchell starting, but it became that literally after the righthander was knocked out of the game in the second inning with a liner hit by Nunez that struck him in the face and left him with a broken nose.

Girardi used seven relievers to get through the game with the last three — Adam Warren, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller — doing their customary first-rate work to control the swing-happy Twins.

The Yankees had squandered a 3-0, first-inning lead achieved on Brian McCann’s 21st home run but came back from a 7-5 deficit in the sixth on a two-run homer by Carlos Beltran (No. 13), who has gotten quite a few big hits lately, including a game-winning, three-run blast last Friday night at Toronto.

McCann had a huge night for the Yankees with three hits and five RBI. He also threw out three runners attempting to steal second base. Mac put the Yankees ahead, 5-4, in the third with a two-run single, but solo home runs by Aaron Hicks in the fourth off Caleb Cotham and Trevor Plouffe in the fifth of Chasen Shreve moved the Twins in front again, and they added another run in the sixth on a two-out, RBI single by Plouffe off Justin Wilson.

Once the Yankees tied it at 7, the bullpen limited Minnesota to one hit over the final four innings, including retiring the last six Twins batters in succession, four on strikeouts.

Twins closer Glen Perkins came on in the 10th and gave up a leadoff double to rookie Greg Bird, who had entered the game in the sixth inning as a pinch runner for Mark Teixeira, who came out of the game with a bruised left shin the result of fouling a ball off it (x-rays were negative).

McCann continued his hot night with a double off the glove of left fielder Eddie Rosario. Bird had to hold up to see if the ball would be caught and was stopped at third base. Brendan Ryan ran for him after Beltran was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Twins manager Paul Molitor inserted Eduardo Escobar in place of right fielder Torii Hunter and stationed him as part of a five-man infield. Chase Headley hit a hard grounder that Nunez failed to handle cleanly. He threw to first base, even though a throw home was the only chance to keep the game alive for Minnesota. Ryan crossed the plate without a challenge.

The victory increased the Yankees’ lead in the American League East to one game over the Blue Jays, who were not scheduled, and stayed four games up on the Orioles, who won their fourth in a row at home against the Athletics.

Mitchell injury shades of Herb Score

One of my most vivid memories of first following baseball as a kid was a newspaper photograph on the morning of May 8, 1957 of Indians pitcher Herb Score with blood rolling down his nose after he was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of the Yankees’ Gil McDougald.

That image came to mind in the second inning Monday night at Yankee Stadium when Bryan Mitchell fell to the ground on the mound after being struck in the head by a line drive by the Twins’ Eduardo Nunez that went into center field for an RBI single.

Mitchell, a spot starter as the Yankees decided to give an extra day’s rest to all the pitchers in the rotation, was on the verge of getting out of a jam that inning. He had a 0-2 count on Nunez, the former Yankees infielder, with runners on first and third and the crowd urging him the righthander on. The liner caught Mitchell flush and he hit the ground as if slugged by an opposing boxer.

The Stadium quieted as manager Joe Girardi and head trainer Steve Donohue raced to the mound. Mitchell lay prone with his right hand clutching his forehead. He eventually got to his feet on his own power and walked off the field holding a blood-stained towel over his eyes. A scary moment indeed.

Score back in ’57 was the hottest young pitcher in the game off of two All-Star seasons with strikeouts galore and a promising future ahead of him that was never realized. He was never the same pitcher after the incident. For that matter, neither was McDougald the same player as he was haunted by the damage he had done unwittingly but very graphically.

Mithell was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital where he was diagnosed and treated for a small nasal fracture and released. Yankees medical personnel will continue to monitor Mitchell for potential concussion symptoms.

CC incident incidental to rotation change

Bryan Mitchell starting Monday night instead of CC Sabathia had nothing to do with the lefthander getting into a shouting match on the streets of Toronto during the Yankees’ recent series there. A videotape of the incident made the Internet rounds Monday, but Sabathia was not involved in the brawl that ensued soon after the pitcher was shoved into a taxicab by a cousin and left the scene.

“I think I was definitely lucky the other night that I had friends to push me in the cab, that cared enough to get me out of that situation,” Sabathia told reporters before Monday night’s game. “It was a bad decision on my part.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the decision to start Mitchell and push back everyone in the rotation one day was made after Sunday’s game and had nothing to do with Sabathia’s exchange of harsh words with hecklers in Toronto. Girardi told Mitchell of the change on the charter flight back to New York. Twins manager Paul Molitor confirmed this Monday night when he said his club was notified of the change late Sunday night.

Girardi told reporters before Monday night’s game that he was not even aware of the Sabathia incident until Monday afternoon. The skipper also said that players have to be more careful now than ever before because with the preponderance of cell phones today there is really no such thing as privacy anymore.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers