Results tagged ‘ Mick Kelleher ’
It looked as if there might be some fireworks early on in Sunday’s game when Tigers starter Justin Verlander had words with the Yankees’ Kevin Youkilis as the third baseman stood on second base after whacking a double in the first inning.
Lip readers could detect Verlander saying to Youkilis, “Did you say something?” a couple of times. Youk just responded, “What?” Yankees first base coach Mick Kelleher and Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder trotted to the bag to make sure anything between Verlander and Youkilis didn’t get any more heated.
A replay of Youkilis running to first base after the hit showed that he may have said something. At least his mouth was open at one point. Why that bothered Verlander is anyone’s guess. The issue did not carry over into Youkilis’ next at-bat, however. No close pitches by Verlander, who ended up walking Youk in the third inning.
As great a pitcher as Verlander is, he has not been invincible against the Yankees. He entered Sunday’s game with a 5-4 career record against them with a 3.74 ERA and 83 hits allowed, 10 of them home runs, in 77 innings. The Yankees struck for three runs against the righthander in the second inning on an RBI double by Francisco Cervelli and a two-run home run by Jayson Nix. The bomb was good to see from Nix, who had been 0-for-7 with five strikeouts this season. He was starting again at shortstop because Eduardo Nunez still cannot throw with his bruised right bicep.
Pitchers David Robertson and Cody Eppley and outfielders Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner surprised the GlamourGals group at one of their events at the East Haven Nursing and Senior Rehab Center in the Bronx Thursday as part of the Yankees’ HOPE Week celebration.
The players participated in the makeovers of the senior citizens residents. Volunteers and GlamourGals founder Rachel Doyle were special guests of the Yankees for their 7:05 p.m. game against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium. They observed batting practice from the field and were honored during pre-game ceremonies during which Doyle threw out the ceremonial first pitch after she got to listen in on the conference behind the plate among the umpires, Yankees first base coach Mick Kelleher and White Sox manager Robin Ventura. GlamourGals volunteers also took part in the roll call with the Bleacher Creatures
Rachel Doyle was a sophomore in high school when her grandmother passed away in a Nevada nursing home. To honor her memory and create a bridge between the generations, Doyle, then 17, created the first chapter of GlamourGals in 2000.
The organization is comprised of male and female high school and college-age volunteers who give manicures and makeovers to the elderly at senior homes. The organization’s goal is to foster self-esteem and mutual respect while building meaningful relationships. Many seniors in nursing homes do not receive frequent visitors. GlamourGals helps to fill that void.
More than a decade after her first makeover, Doyle serves as chief executive officer. Her vision and dedication have been responsible for the organizations growth to approximately 1,300 volunteers in more than 62 chapters spanning 13 states, along with a chapter in St. Andrews, Scotland. The organization just expanded to the Bronx in April of this year.
For more information, visit http://www.glamourgals.org.
Jill and Marc Fass came to Yankee Stadium Wednesday with their 5-year-old son, Andy, to watch another Andy pitch. Andy Pettitte first met Andy Fass at a Double A game while the lefthander was pitching for the Trenton Thunder to prepare for a return to the Yankees.
When the Fasses entered Suite 4 at the Stadium, they were greeted by pitchers CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Clay Rapada as part of the HOPE Week celebration that was just the beginning of a fruitful afternoon for the family from Hamilton, N.J.
After Wednesday’s Yankees-Indians game, those three pitchers, shortstop Derek Jeter, catchers Russell Martin and Chris Stewart and coaches Rob Thompson and Mick Kelleher joined Andy Fass for a private tee-ball lesson and other games with kids who also have Andy’s condition of albinism at the MLB Fan Cave in Chelsea.
A chance encounter gave Andy Fass a new goal and hope. As someone who has a condition called oculocutaneous albinism, which affects approximately 40,000 people around the world, Andy is legally blind and without pigment in his skin, forcing him to avoid long exposure to the sun. Though Andy has always gravitated to people and many individual activities, he was told baseball would never be an option due to the contact and the chance of injury due to moving objects.
All that changed, however, April 25, 2012, when Pettitte, who was making a start at Trenton, gave little Andy the baseball he was using to warm up. Encouraged by the gesture, little Andy – who was attending his first-ever professional baseball game – was immediately inspired to sign up for tee-ball and take on the challenge.
“Andy is legally blind, but he can make out some shapes and forms,” Jill Fass said. “He will be playing tee-ball with an orange ball to see it better. We didn’t find out about this until we got to the parking lot. What the players are doing is really fantastic.”
Starting pitchers normally do not communicate with anyone before the game the day they start, but Pettitte chatted briefly with young Andy next to the dugout before his new fan threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“Andy Pettitte is my favorite player because he is the best player in the world,” Andy said.
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre, now Major League Baseball’s vice president for baseball operations, acknowledged Thursday that the umpires made the wrong call in the third inning Wednesday night at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium that credited Royals designated hitter Billy Butler with a home run. The run proved crucial as the Yankees lost, 5-4.
What was left unsaid was what Torre would have ruled had Yankees manager Joe Girardi lodged a protest over the umpires’ call. The only satisfaction Girardi got was that the umpiring crew at least reviewed the play on video replay, which did not help because they upheld the original ruling.
Girardi’s reputation as a clean Marine kind of guy worked against him here. He took crew chief Dana DeMuth at his word that he knew the ground rules. It turns out that DeMuth completely misinterpreted the ground rules. Right after the game, umpiring supervisor Steve Palermo met with the four umpires at the scene of the crime, a clear indication that something was amiss.
But since Girardi did not protest the upheld ruling before the next pitch, the Yankees had no recourse after the fact. They were left merely with the empty satisfaction of knowing they were correct in their objection to the call. You can be sure than a Billy Martin or a Lou Piniella would have protested the call on the spot. Girardi would have been wise to listen to his own first base coach, Mick Kelleher. He had been at the plate meeting before the first game of the series when ground rules at Kauffman were discussed and that issue specifically was addressed by Killer, who was told that a ball had to clear the green barrier to be considered a home run.
So what can the Yankees do about it now? Nothing. The best thing is to look ahead, not back. Yes, it was a one-run loss in a game in which the opposition got one more run than it should have. The Yankees had plenty of chances to win the game, but their starting pitcher, Bartolo Colon, struggled, and their hitters were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Jorge Posada kept his bat on the shoulder in making the last out of the game with the bases loaded.
That game is history. The Yankees need to regroup Thursday night in Minneapolis. There’s a good chance whoever was representing the Yankees in the pre-game meeting with the umpiring crew was paying extremely close attention to the ground rules at Target Field.
Had Friday night’s game been rained out, it would have cost Ivan Nova a start. The Yankees have penciled in Nova to start the night portion of Saturday’s split-session doubleheader after Bartolo Colon starts the afternoon game.
Nova is technically on the roster of Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but he is expected to be recalled to make the start. Thunderstorms pushed back the starting time of Friday night’s game against the Orioles to 8:50 p.m. Had the game not been played, A.J. Burnett would have been held back to Saturday with Colon, and Nova would have headed back to Pennsylvania. I have a feeling Nova is going to be an important pitcher over the final two months for the Yankees, so I am glad to see him back and starting a game for the big club.
Let me share a story about Burnett that is worth telling. Thursday was an open date on the schedule for the Yankees, a rare off day that players truly covet. This is HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere and Excel), the week-long community program involving each player on the roster.
So the players assigned to the block party Thursday on Staten Island for Megan Ajello, 17, who has cerebral palsy and scoliosis yet is a committed social activist, were giving up their off day to make this a special day for her and her neighbors.
Burnett was among the group that went to Staten Island, along with fellow pitchers Boone Logan and David Robertson, infielders Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez, outfielder Andruw Jones, coaches Mick Kelleher and Rob Thompson, video coordinator Charlie Wosnowicz and general manager Brian Cashman.
It was quite a scene. The players and coaches mingled with the fans, had pictures taken with them and made generous donations to Megan’s lemonade stand, which was constructed by Yankee Stadium carpenters and presented to her by them and Cashman. The GM was also a good sport in being the first volunteer for the dunking tank. Jones, Logan and Robertson also did time in the water.
As the hours went by, there was no Burnett, however. Players came separately in transportation donated by a local car service. Unfortunately, the driver taking Burnett and his sons to Staten Island from his residence in Scarsdale got lost. A drive that normally might take an hour and a quarter took close to three hours.
Burnett would have had every reason to ask for another car to take him right back home. The event was winding down at that point anyway, although there still was a large crowd. A.J. got right into the swing of things by signing autographs and having his picture taken with fans.
One woman told me she was happy to meet him because she had arrived late and the other players, who were on site for more than two hours, had already gone. She said that A.J. had graciously agreed to sign several items for her grandchildren.
It was an impressive showing by a player who certainly understood the spirit of HOPE Week.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was all we wet Thursday. So were pitchers David Robertson and Boone Logan and outfielder Andruw Jones.
They all volunteered to take time in a dunk tank set up on a Staten Island lawn as part of Thursday’s HOPE Week celebration of Megan Ajello, 17, who despite the handicap of cerebral palsy and scoliosis that has resulted in six surgeries, including a spinal fusion, is a committed community activist.
Cashman, along with Yankee Stadium carpenters, surprised Megan at her home with a custom-built lemonade stand for her sixth annual street-side sale that raises money to support the Special Olympics. Megan was further surprised by the appearance of Scooter, the mascot of the Yankees’ Class A Staten Island affiliate.
“She’s familiar with Scooter,” Daniel Ajello, Megan’s father, said. “We go to a lot of Staten Island Yankees games.”
But these were big-league Yankees who showed up at the neighborhood block party. Second baseman Robinson Cano, infielder Eduardo Nunez, pitcher A.J. Burnett, baseline coaches Mick Kelleher and Rob Thompson and advance scout-video coordinator Charlie Wonsowicz were also on hand.
For Charlie Wonz, who now lives in New Jersey, the trip was a homecoming because he grew up in the same Princess Bay neighborhood. Charlie’s mother, Arlene, was also on site. Later, Charlie planned to treat Kelleher and Thompson to dinner at W’s, a popular dining spot in Tottenville owned and operated by his parents.
Since 2006, Megan has hosted a charity lemonade stand outside her home, which has grown from a gathering of neighbors raising a few hundred dollars to a must-attend event for people from as far away as upstate New York, which raised $4,000 last summer. Thursday’s event took in a record $11,000 with the Yankees Foundation adding another $5,000 to the fund for the Special Olympics and $5,000 more to Megan’s school, the Seton Foundation.
Megan has also been active in fighting for handicapped accessibility for a nearby playground and by donating her Sweet 16 Party gifts to the Marine Toys for Tots program.
Cashman was the first to sit in the tank and was a real sport in getting dunked about a dozen times as youngsters in the block party lined up to take their shots. Fortunately, the GM did not have his cell phone in his pocket. With the trade deadline coming up July 31, Cash has to man the phones on an hourly basis.
“It’s so easy to get caught up in the monotony and the urgency that we feel, but in reality, what’s more important than this?” Cashman said. “People have real needs that are daily challenges, not necessarily whether we get a trade done or whether we get our next hit or how we match up against an opposing team. This is real-life stuff.”
Megan was also presented with a special cake with a figure of her in a wheelchair at her lemonade stand by TV’s “Cake Boss,” Buddy Valastro, as well as three Sports Illustrated swimsuit models and the New Jersey Nets dancers. The Ajello family will be the Yankees’ guests at Saturday’s day portion of the split-admission doubleheader at Yankee Stadium with Megan driving the ceremonial first pitch to the plate.
Said Linda Ayello, Megan’s mom, “It’s a tragedy that Megan, who has done so much for so many, has to experience so much physical pain. When she fights for something, she goes after it no matter the obstacle, and there’s very little we can do to stop her. But then again, why would we want to? All she ever does is to bring out the best in people.”
It’s official. The Yankees are in a funk. Until Thursday, they had been the only team in the major leagues that had not lost three games in a row. Now they are not. Their first three-game losing streak came at the hands of the Tigers, who had lost seven straight games after dropping the first game of the series Monday night.
The Yankees threw away Thursday’s game, a 6-3 loss, literally. Two of the three errors they committed led directly to three runs, the deficit in the game. The Yankees’ offense was pretty active with 10 hits, including 3-for-8 (.375) with runners in scoring position, but were overtaken by a Detroit club that had only four hits.
A.J. Burnett continued the run of Yankees starting pitchers going deep into games with a seven-inning outing, and only two of the five runs off him were earned. However, one of the errors was his errant pickoff throw in the first inning that put Don Kelly, who reached base because Burnett hit him with a pitch on a count of 0-2, at third base from where he scored on Brennan Boesch’s sacrifice fly.
The Yankees took the lead in the fourth inning on RBI hits by Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez, who started as subs for resting Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Chavez had to leave the game, however, after suffering a bone fracture in the small toe of his left foot running out his first triple in four years. Chavez was headed back to New York to see club physician Chris Ahmad and may have to go on the disabled list.
That meant Rodriguez had to come into the game as a pinch runner, the first time he had such an assignment since his rookie season of 1995 with the Mariners when he spelled Tino Martinez. A-Rod, who had been on the bench not only resting his body but also a 7-for-50 (.140) slide, wound up with two hits and scored two runs, so maybe he is working himself back to form.
Detroit played some small ball in the sixth inning and tied the score after Ramon Santiago bunted Kelly to second base on a two-out single through the middle by Boesch, who topped off a big game in the eighth with a solo home run off lefthander Boone Logan.
The critical play came in the three-run seventh when the Tigers took control of the game. Burnett lost a 9-pitch duel with Victor Martinez, who singled to center leading off, then walked Magglio Ordonez and hit Ryan Raburn with a pitch to load the bases with none out. Brandon Inge broke the tie with a sacrifice fly, but Burnett should have been out of the inning after getting Santiago out on a bouncer to second baseman Robinson Cano playing in and Kelly on a grounder to short.
Nunez had all the time in the world to throw out Kelly but sailed his peg over first baseman Mark Teixeira. Two runs scored on the error, the second of the game for Nunez and his fifth in 22 innings in the field. For a backup infielder who is supposed to supply solid defense, this is unacceptable. Expect infield coach Mick Kelleher to work with Nunez to correct this part of his game.
Another coach with his work cut out for him is hitting coach Kevin Long. It is not a good sign when two of the three .300 hitters on the club are bench players – Nunez (.385) and Chavez (.303). Cano had two hits Thursday to get back over .300 (.303), but the Yankees had 6-for-32 (.188) with runners in scoring position and left 30 runners on base in the series.
The Yankees took a different approach Saturday night in their post-season matchup with Minnesota – they scored first.
The Yankees’ modus operandi in playoff games against the Twins is to fall behind early and come back late. The Twinkies haven’t been able to hold leads throughout this post-season drought against the Yankees that had reached eight games after the Yanks won the first two games of the American League Division Series earlier in the week at Target Field.
The Yankees treated Yankee Stadium fans by drawing first blood in the second inning of Game 3 against Twins lefthander Brian Duensing. Robinson Cano, who hit .285 with 13 home runs off lefties this year and had an RBI single off lefthander Francisco Liriano in Game 1, led off the second inning with a triple. The slicing drive eluded center fielder Denard Span, who had to run the ball down when it caromed off the wall back toward the infield.
After Marcus Thames popped out, Jorge Posada lined a first-pitch changeup into left field for a single to score Cano. An announcement was made in the press box stating that it was Posada’s 41st RBI in post-season play as he passed Mickey Mantle on the career list.
This is a pet peeve of mind, so I may as well get it off my chest now. No criticism of Posada is intended here, but to compare his post-season RBI with those of Mantle is ridiculous. All of Mickey’s RBI were in the World Series. His last season in the majors was 1968, the year before divisional play began and an additional level of post-season play was added. Since 1995 when the wild card was added, post-season play has had three levels.
The format change has played havoc with post-season records, particularly those established when there was only the World Series, such as Mantle’s 18 home runs and Yogi Berra’s 71 hits. To equate World Series statistics with those in the first round of the playoffs is irrational. They should be kept separately.
For the record, Posada’s breakdown in post-season RBI is 14 in the Division Series, 16 in the Championship Series and 11 in the World Series.
The Yankees kept up the scoring over the next two innings threatening to make this a rout. They got a two-out run in the third when Nick Swisher doubled and Mark Teixeira singled. Thames hit an opposite-field home run in the fourth for two more runs.
Also scoring on the blow was Cano, who beat out an infield single. On the play, first baseman Michael Cuddyer’s hurried throw went past Duensing and struck Yankees first base coach Mick Kelleher in the, well, let’s just hope coaches wear cups.
Duensing was replaced after walking Curtis Granderson, who subsequently stole second, continued to third on an errant throw by catcher Joe Mauer and scored on a fly ball to left by Brett Gardner for a 5-0 Yankees lead. It was Minnesota that had to do the catching up now.
Alex Rodriguez is off the designated hitter rotation for now. He and Jorge Posada have been taking turns at the role while recovering from leg injuries. A-Rod was back at third base for Friday night’s opener of Subway Series II at Yankee Stadium with Posada the DH.
Yankees first base coach Mick Kelleher, who works with the infielders, said that Rodriguez had an excellent workout before Thursday night’s game against the Phillies and ran the bases better during the game. “I think he’s very close,” Kelleher said. “The key now is how quickly he can react. That’s what that position is mostly about.”
Another good pre-game workout Friday made Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s decision easier. This is a relief for the Yankees because after this weekend they take to the road to Phoenix and Los Angeles for inter-league games against the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, which means no DH.
Rodriguez has been bothered by tendinitis in his right hip flexor, which forced him out of one game in the first inning and kept him on the bench for three more games. The DH role allowed A-Rod to get back into the lineup, but Girardi has also needed that to get Posada at-bats when not catching.
Posada, who was on the disabled list for three weeks because of a hairline fracture in his right foot, is still having trouble catching a full nine innings or in back-to-back games. There is lingering soreness in the foot, which Jorgie was told will be there for a while. That is why the Yankees are going with three catchers for the time being. Girardi acknowledged that the Yankees could use another bat off the bench with Marcus Thames disabled (strained right hamstring), but he needs an extra catcher until Posada is cleared for full-time duty.
The pitching matchups for Subway Series II are precisely what they were for Subway Series I last month at Citi Field – Javier Vazquez vs. Hisanori Takahashi Friday night, Phil Hughes vs. Mike Pelfrey Saturday and CC Sabatghia vs. Johann Santana Sunday. The only difference other than venue is the game time for Saturday and Sunday, which have 1 p.m. starts. The entire series at Citi Field was at night.