Friday, June 28, 2013

Bronx News ( Engel Beltre: Back to the Bronx

Bronx News ( Engel Beltre: Back to the Bronx: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 28-The three-day series between the Yankees and Texas Rangers was a special thrill to Rangers rooki...

Bronx News Sports: Engel Beltre: Back to the Bronx

Bronx News Sports: Engel Beltre: Back to the Bronx: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 28-The three-day series between the Yankees and Texas Rangers was a special thrill to Rangers rooki...

Engel Beltre: Back to the Bronx

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 28-The three-day series between the Yankees and Texas Rangers was a special thrill to Rangers rookie Engel Beltre. The 23 year-old was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, yet travelling with his teammates to the Bronx was a trip to memories of his childhood.

Beltre made his major league debut as a pinch runner in the ninth inning of Wednesday night’s contest at Yankee Stadium. Interestingly, that game was not his first played at the iconic ballpark in the Bronx. Beltre was a member of the regularly high ranked James Monroe baseball team when the Governors faced Thomas Jefferson in the PSAL high school baseball championship in Beltre’s junior year.

On Thursday afternoon, Beltre received the honor of starting his first big league game as Texas’s centerfielder. The nerves he probably felt were not exhibited by his outstanding performance. He made the first Texas putout in the first frame on a fly ball by Jayson Nix and the final putout of the contest in the ninth on another fly ball by Nix.

The former Bronx resident singled to right in his first big league trip to the plate. He singled again in his final at bat in the contest in the eighth. He expressed what it meant to him after the game, “I’ve been working and preparing for this moment. I’m so happy to be here. The thing I always wanted [was] to play in Yankee Stadium. My family gets to see me. It’s a great moment for me.”

Beltre spent several childhood years in the Bronx. He lived in the borough from the age of 11 through 16. He was a devoted fan of the New York Yankees and on the baseball squads at DeWitt Clinton and James Monroe high schools. He gave great credit to the preparation he gained in the high schools in the Bronx, “I played a lot and I learned a lot that helped me when I started my pro career. Both schools helped me a lot. They will always be in my mind.”

Beltre signed a pro contract with the Boston Red Sox at the age of 16 as a non-drafted free agent. He was traded to Texas in the summer of 2007. In his several seasons in the minors, he never rose above AA.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Yanks Shut Out

Bronx News Sports: Yanks Shut Out: Holland Pitches a Two Hit Shutout over the Yanks By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 27- The two 26 year-old starting pitchers, Phil ...

Yanks Shut Out

Holland Pitches a Two Hit Shutout over the Yanks

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 27- The two 26 year-old starting pitchers, Phil Hughes and Derek Holland, hooked up in an exciting pitchers’ duel in the final game of the three game set between the Yanks and Rangers on Thursday afternoon. Although neither pitcher pitched poorly enough to deserve to lose, Hughes was the losing pitcher.

Hughes, the winning pitcher in only one of his last eight starts, has been mentioned as the starter to be drooped from the rotation if Ivan Nova and/or Michael Pineda are added. Hughes’s performance on Thursday will make it more difficult to remove him from the starting rotation. After the contest concluded, Hughes spoke of the internal pressure he feels, “I put a lot of pressure on myself every time I go out.”

The first run in the game was scored in the third by Texas. David Murphy led off with a single. Jurickson Profar of Curacao walked, but Murphy was tagged out while rounding second. Engel Beltre singled in his first trip to the plate in the majors. Profar scored from third on a sacrifice fly to left by Ian Kinsler.

The only other run of the game was scored in the fifth on a lead-off homer by Profar. The top rated prospect in the majors this year according to Baseball America, Profar is the youngest player currently in the majors. Hughes, the man who surrendered the home run, commented, “You make a bunch of mistakes in the game, but that was the only one that hurt us.”

Hughes pitched eight innings, tied for his longest outing of the year. He only gave up five hits and one base on balls in his lengthy start. When questioned after the game regarding the lack of successful hitting by his Yankees teammates, Hughes put the responsibility for success on himself, “They’ve gotten a lot of runs for me in the past. I have to do a better job of keeping us in the game.”

The starter for Texas, Derek Holland, threw his sixth complete game in his years with Texas, everyone was a shutout. Yankees skipper Joe Girardi explained his success in the game, “He was ahead of our guys all afternoon. He attacked the strike zone.” Ichiro Suzuki led-off the game for the Yankees with a single to left and Austin Romine singled with two out in the second. The only other Yankee baserunner was Jayson Nix, who walked in the third. The two hits was the lowest offensive output of the season.

Derek Holland, who began the contest with an 0-5 mark against the Yankees and an 8.85 ERA was overjoyed by the win, “It’s huge. I haven’t had great success here, so to come into Yankee Stadium and throw a two-hit shutout was big, a big boost to my confidence.”

Girardi remarked, “We’re struggling right now. I think we’re capable of scoring runs, but time will tell.” Lyle Overbay, who was hitless in three at bats against Holland, said, “He was throwing a lot of first ball strikes. It’s tough to let those go. [For that reason] I think we were too aggressive on his pitches. We didn’t get deep enough.”

The Yankees now embark upon a seven game road trip, three games at Baltimore, followed by four at Minnesota.

Andy's not dandy

Pettitte Loses Third Straight for First Time Since 2008

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 27- Andy Pettitte fell short of his attempt to reach several pitching milestones on Wednesday night. The veteran lefthander lost his third straight, for the first time since 2008, and the fourth of his last five decisions.

Pettitte retired the side in order the three of the six innings he pitched. He kept the Rangers scoreless in all but one inning, but sufficient damage was done in the top of the fourth to earn him the loss.

Leonys Martin, who homered twice on the previous night, legged out an infield hit to begin the inning. The single by the Cuban native increased his consecutive game hitting streak to 11. Ian Kinsler followed by drawing a walk. An errant throw by third sacker Jayson Nix allowed Elvis Andrus to reach first and fill the sacks. The first two runs for Texas were scored on a double by Adrian Beltre. Veteran catcher A. J. Pierzynski drove in an additional two runs off Pettitte with a double to deep center.

Pettitte pitched effectively in five of his six frames. Yankee skipper Joe Girardi praised his performance, “He really was pretty good. He made two mistakes to Pierzynski and Beltre.”

Joba Chamberlain replaced Pettitte on the mound in the seventh. By the time two men were retired, Chamberlain had surrendered two runs and four hits. The two runs were driven in by Nelson Cruz’s 20th home run of the season. This is the fifth straight season during which the native of the Dominican Republic has hit at least 20 home runs.
Chamberlain was replaced by rookie Preston Claiborne who prevented any further damage. Chamberlain, who has allowed 9 earned runs in his last 6.1 IP, was jeered vociferously by the disappointed crowd of 38,264 during every step he took until he reached the dugout. Unlike the fans, Chamberlain’s manager has not given up on him, “Somehow we have to find a way to get him going. His stuff is too good.”

Rookie Justin Grimm, who had only five major league appearances in 2012, earned his seventh win of the year despite only hurling 5+innings. He gave up three runs, two scoring after he departed in the sixth , and six hits.

Lyle Overbay accounted for the first Yankees run with a solo homer in the second. Grimm left the game after the first two batters in the sixth, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki, hit successfully. Both scored after the next two batters, Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner, singled off reliever Robbie Ross.

The final two runs for the Yanks came on a two-run homer by Suzuki in the seventh. The three hits by the hot hitting outfielder in his four at bats raised his batting average during the current homestand to .333 (11 for 33).

The Rangers scored twice in the ninth to go ahead by a score of 8-5. Veteran closer Joe Nathan earned his 26th save in 27 save opportunities this year.

Phil Hughes (3-6) and Derek Holland (5-4) will be the starters in the rubber game of the three game set on Thursday afternoon.

Bronx News ( A-Rod's Making Yanks Sick

Bronx News ( A-Rod's Making Yanks Sick: Injuries, A-Rod Drama Hurting Bombers By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 27- Social media can be a problem and New York Yankees Gener...

Bronx News Sports: A-Rod's Making Yanks Sick

Bronx News Sports: A-Rod's Making Yanks Sick: Injuries, A-Rod Drama Hurting Bombers By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 27- Social media can be a problem and New York Yankees Gener...

A-Rod's Making Yanks Sick

Injuries, A-Rod Drama Hurting Bombers

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 27- Social media can be a problem and New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman admitted that Wednesday afternoon. And it was established that Alex Rodriguez would rather use Twitter to announce his return to the Bronx.

That is an issue that had to be addressed by the Yankees GM because social media tends to put high profiled ballplayers in a dilemma. This time, A-Rod was not the center of a steroid issue. He may be needed in the Bronx, but is he?

Cashman apologized for throwing the “F” bomb word to a reporter that was directed to his highly paid third baseman. Rodriguez precipitated the situation by using social media as a message pertaining to his condition of when he would be returning to the lineup.

He says, the doctor said he is ready to return. Cashman says, that is not the determination of Rodriguez who may never be the player he once was. Performance enhancing drugs may have contributed to a contract that the Yankees wish they could take back.

But they can’t do that, or get a return on a contract that is still one of the top three in sports. And the questions always surround Rodriguez, and how effective he can be when returning from his latest hip procedure.

And there in turn is the problem, one the Yankees do not need as they continue dealing with adversity of the injured, whether it be physical or through a war of words.

Medical updates on the injured have been a common occurrence at Yankee Stadium. The manager Joe Girardi can only respond to reports he receives from the doctors and as he says, “I let our medical staff handle that.”

In essence, Girardi can only worry about who he has on the roster, “The guys in the room,” he says. And that is the only thing Girardi needs to be concerned with, as truth be told the manager has excelled under the circumstances of a revolving door seeing 13 players on the disabled list, 16 different times in 2013.

And the defining truth is, Rodriguez, as much as he becomes the story, and as much as the Yankees and Girardi feel he is needed, has become a real dilemma. There is no guarantee that he becomes the way, as Girardi says to, getting it done.

The mission is to win ballgames, something the Yankees need if they are to stay in this tight race that exists in the AL east. You can see the concern etched on the face of Girardi. He is tired of answering the questions about the progress of Rodriguez.

“I know he is anxious to get back to playing,” he says. Truth is, Girardi has done well under the circumstances. The post game meetings with the media are brief, as it was again Wednesday night after an 8-5 loss to Texas. The night before, Girardi saw his team hit four solo home runs.

“If we hit four homers like we did last night every night will be okay,” he said. The subject was about Rodriguez, but as the manager said, he expects him back. He is worried about the guys in the room and is aware they know what has to be done.

The unfortunate news that Mark Teixeira will need a season-ending surgery on his right wrist did not make matters better. It is a headache for Girardi, an added one for Cashman, but to their credit Lyle Overbay is still around and hit another home run Wednesday night.

The inexperience of the left side of the Yankees defense due to the injuries has Yankee fans looking for the return of Rodriguez. Jayson Nix at third, and Alberto Gonzalez at short Wednesday night let a foul pop fall. Eduardo Nunez is not close to returning and what about Derek Jeter?

Cashman, surely would love to see Jeter back on the field tomorrow. He could return after the all-star break. However, Jeter is not a user of social media and the captain is unavailable for comment as he continues his recovery down in Tampa.

Yes, A-Rod did his talking this week. So did Cashman who said it has been reality TV at its best and this is not the way he conducts himself. In the end, winning will end all the controversy as well as a healthy compliment of players that Girardi can place in his lineup.

Oh, and we don’t need social media to tell us when the injured will return to the Bronx healthy and wise.

Cpmment Rich Mancuso:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Football Has a Home in Bronx for Next Decade

Bronx News Sports: Football Has a Home in Bronx for Next Decade: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 26- The relatively short, 3 year, but respected history of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl will...

Football Has a Home in Bronx for Next Decade

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 26- The relatively short, 3 year, but respected history of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl will become even more renowned next year when teams from the Big 10 and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) will participate in the annual late December bowl game.

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl (NEPB) began its existence in 2010, nearly a half-century after the last bowl game (Gotham Bowl) was played in the Bronx in 1962. Syracuse, under the direction of its Bronx- born coach, Doug Marrone, was victorious in the 2010 and 2012 editions of the game. Another local favorite, Rutgers, defeated Iowa State in 2011.
The final NEPB battle between representatives of the Big East and the Big 12 will take place on December 28 and be viewed throughout the nation on ESPN. A large crowd is expected to attend as the attendance has increased in number each year.

Recent increases in number, strength and area coverage of the major college athletic conferences will create new rivalries within and between the new groupings. During the month of June the ACC and Big 10 have joined the NEPB which will begin a new college football tradition at the current Yankee Stadium.

At the press conference at Yankee Stadium, Yankees President Randy Levine remarked about the future match-ups, “It worked out incredibly. The ACC versus the Big 10 is second to none except the BCS.”

On June 3, it was announced that the Big 10 would be represented at the Pinstripe Bowl beginning in 2014 for a period of, at least, eight years. Three weeks and one day later, the rumored addition of the ACC to the bowl game for a minimum of six years was officially announced at a press conference at Yankee Stadium.

The reasoning behind the desire of both conferences to play at the NEPB was similar, New York City is the media capital of the world, Yankee Stadium is a legendary sports venue, the holiday season in New York is a wonderful experience and both collegiate conferences wish to make themselves a presence in New York.

Another factor attracting the college conferences to Yankee Stadium was the influence of George Steinbrenner. The late Yankees owner was involved in football in the Big 10. On Tuesday, ACC Commissioner John  Swofford reminisced of the time when he was Assistant Athletic Director at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and Steinbrenner arranged for the Yankees to play at Chapel Hill during three of the four years Steinbrenner’s daughter, Jennifer, was a Morehouse Scholar at the university.

Levine spoke of his expectations that Yankee Stadium will host a BCS semi-final or even a BCS championship contest in the near future. He promised, “After several years, you can be sure we’ll be contacting them.’

Bronx News ( Suzuki Strikes

Bronx News ( Suzuki Strikes: Walk- Off Homer Gives Yankees 4-3 Win By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 26- The starting pitching matchup was not the story Tuesday ...

Bronx News Sports: Suzuki Strikes

Bronx News Sports: Suzuki Strikes: Walk- Off Homer Gives Yankees 4-3 Win By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 26- The starting pitching matchup was not the story Tuesday ...

Suzuki Strikes

Walk- Off Homer Gives Yankees 4-3 Win

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 26- The starting pitching matchup was not the story Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Instead six solo home runs combined by the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers was the headline. And the final solo was a walk-off game winner in the ninth from Ichiro Suzuki that paved the way for a 4-3 New York Yankees win.

The second career walk-off by Suzuki, his ninth home run of the season came off a 1-2 pitch off Texas reliever Tanner Scheppers, (5-1) with two outs.

“It’s a great win for us coming off an off day,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "Anyone can contribute, that’s the good thing about this game,” he said about the home run balls hit also by Travis Hafner, Brett Gardner, and Jayson Nix.

The home run ball has not been a part of the Yankees offense this first half of the season with injuries depleting their lineup. But, they were able to connect off Texas starter Yu Darvish who lasted 5.1 innings, giving up seven hits, striking out six.

“They beat us,” commented Texas manager Ron Washington who saw his team end a five-game winning streak. “They (Yankees) swung the bat and they beat us. You hate to lose a ballgame and getting walked off is no different than having a guy single to win it. They beat us with four swings of the bat, four solo home runs.”

New York is in a stretch of 20- consecutive games leading up to the all-star break. The team combined to hit four home runs over their previous 15 games. The solo home runs came from Hafner, Gardner, and Nix in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

The Yankees long ball effort over shadowed a matchup on the mound that had two pitchers from Japan facing each other for the 11th time in major league baseball history.

Right hander Hiroki Kuroda, in his 16th start of the season, and coming off a win over the Dodgers last week, allowed three runs (two earned) in 6.21 innings. He allowed five hits, walked one. Two of the runs were solo home runs off the bat of Leonys Martin.

Martin, 2-for-3, had his first career multi-home run game. The first came off a 2-2 pitch from Kuroda in the third inning that gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead. His fifth home run, also a solo off Kuroda, was another 2-2 pitch leading off the fifth inning that went into the right field stands.

“It was a sinker,” he said about the first home run ball to Martin. Kuroda also commented that there wasn’t any special buzz in Japan about the two Japanese pitchers opposing each other again, though he said, “The people are very happy.”

This was the second time Kuroda and the right handed Darvish opposed each other. The first was April 24 of last year and Darvish got the win.

The Yankees were also aided by catcher Chris Stewart who caught two Texas base runners attempting to steal second base. Ian Kinsler was nailed with a runner on in the third inning and Elvis Andrus in the eighth.

Mariano Rivera (1-1) got the win facing four hitters in the ninth and giving up a single.

Left hander Andy Pettitte (5-5) gets the start for New York Wednesday evening opposing (6-5) Justin Grimm.

Comment Rich Mancuso:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Old Timer's Day

Bronx News Sports: Old Timer's Day: Meaningful Memories at Yankee Stadium- 67th Annual Old Timers’ Day By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 24- Yankee play...

Old Timer's Day

Meaningful Memories at Yankee Stadium-
67th Annual Old Timers’ Day

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 24- Yankee players of the last eight decades were on the field at Yankee Stadium on Sunday celebrating their experiences while wearing the pinstripes. A large crowd of 46,054, the third largest of 2013, was in the stands to cheer their favorites of years gone by. The festive day was the 67th annual celebration of the glorious history of the baseball franchise in the Bronx.

As annually takes place on this special day, a wide array of former stars representing each of the decades was invited back to the Bronx by New York Yankees Vice President of Marketing Debbie Tymon. The extremely capable and caring Yankees executive and her staff spend months of thought and effort to create an unforgettable day for the former Yankees and the fans who look forward to attending the every year.

As many fans do return regularly, there is always an attempt to invite former players who have never previously appeared at an Old Timers’ Day. This year’s first timers included Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Brian Dorsett, John Flaherty, Todd Greene, Scott Kamieniecki and Andy Phillips. Of the six, the biggest reception was given to Hernandez. When “El Duque” went to the mound during the Old Timers’ game, he looked comfortable and threw with ease. Some in the crowd wondered whether he could be more effective than several on the current Yankees roster.

As the Steinbrenner family regularly exhibits its support for those who serve in the U.S. armed forces, five of the elderly Yankee heroes were also honored for their service in the military as well as their performances on the playing field. The octogenarians who circled the field in motorized golf carts were: Don Larsen, Dr. Bobby Brown, Jerry Coleman, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford.

Larsen, the only pitcher who hurled a perfect game in the World Series, served in the Korean War. Brown and Berra began their major league careers in the same game on September 22, 1946. Each was also present at Yankee Stadium on September 28, 1947, when Babe Ruth was honored, the day recognized as the first official Old Timers’ Day.

Berra’s illustrious career in baseball is familiar to fans of all ages. Berra, 69 years ago, was in a U.S. rocket boat as a participant in the D-Day invasion of Nazi occupied territory in Europe.

The events of Brown’s life are as interesting as those of any returning Yankee. During his years with the Yankees, he was attending medical school during the winters. After graduation, he had an eminent career as a cardiologist. Later in life, he returned to baseball as President of the American League for a decade.

A schoolmate of Brown’s in California and the elder statesman of the returning Yankees, Jerry Coleman, is the only major leaguer to have served in active combat during World War II and Korea. Coleman, elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a broadcaster in 2005, still works games on radio for the Padres. Whitey Ford, after going 9-1 in his first year as a Yankee in 1950, was drafted into the service. Upon his return, he continued his HOF career as one of the greatest lefthanders in history.

The biggest hands were reserved for the younger players who played on Joe Torre’s championship clubs, Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill. Williams commented, “It’s great to be remembered. I definitely don’t take it for granted.”

Roy White, whose 15 years (1965-79) in the majors were with the Yankees, had a perspective that was representative of many who returned on Sunday. He remembered his first day in the majors, “It was very special to walk into the Yankees clubhouse and see Mickey Mantle there. I never thought I would play with a guy I watched when I was in Little League.

White had very high expectations for the team when he was a rookie, “I thought we would be in the World Series every year, but we didn’t get there until 1976.” The former Yankee explained that playing for the Yankees was not stress free, “You’re measured by higher standards because of who they’ve [fans] seen in the past.” As a player, White was happy on Old Timers’ Day, “I like baseball history. I always looked forward to see Joe DiMaggio and to see Tommy Henrich and “King Kong” Keller by my locker and being able to talk to them.”

The fabulous history of the Yankees is, obviously, one in which the organization and its fans can be proud. The annual recognition and respect for the players of he past is very well deserved and should serve as an example for other sport’s franchise to emulate.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Yanks Come from Behind to Edge Rays, 7-5

Bronx News Sports: Yanks Come from Behind to Edge Rays, 7-5: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE22- The Yankees, after trailing, 5-3, at the end of the sixth frame, exploded for four runs in the s...

Yanks Come from Behind to Edge Rays, 7-5

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE22- The Yankees, after trailing, 5-3, at the end of the sixth frame, exploded for four runs in the seventh to capture their second straight victory over the Tampa Rays.

The 81 degree temperature at 1 p.m. seemed ideal for Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia, who thrives in the summer climate. He threw the second lowest number of pitches, 91, in his 16 starts of 2013, but lasted seven innings. Although he gave up five earned runs, his highest total at Yankee Stadium this season, all five were scored on two home runs. Yankee skipper Joe Girardi, after the game, commented on his starter’s performance, “I thought he was good except for one pitch.”

Evan Longoria took a 0-1pitch in the centerfield seats to lead-off the second. The homer was his third in the three games of the series with the Yanks and his 7th in the last 13 contests.

Tampa’s other four runs were scored on a grand slam rookie by Wil Myers, playing in his sixth major league game. Sam Fuld led off the inning by drawing a base on balls. Desmond Jennings followed with a double. Longoria was walked intentionally for Sabathia to face the newcomer Myers. Girardi explained his reasoning, “In that situation, I’m going to go after the younger kid.” Girardi spoke of how well; Longoria was batting, especially against left handers, and most especially against Sabathia. Longoria has a .383 batting average against Sabathia. After the explanation, the manager did admit, “It didn’t work out.”

After the contest, the Yankee starter spoke with respect for Myers, “he put a good swing on the ball and it went out. I heard he was a good hitter, a good prospect.”

Myers, Baseball America’s fourth best prospect hit successfully three times against the Yanks to raise his batting average to .280.

The first three runs of the Yankees were unearned, but driven in by rookie Zoilo Amonte,appearing in only his fourth game in the majors. Brett Gardner was safe on an error to begin the third. Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner singled. Almonte stepped to the plate with two out and the bases full. The native of the Dominican Republic, who celebrated his 24th birthday only 12 days earlier, drove a single to center to score the Yankees first two runs.

Two innings later, with the sacks again full after a Tampa error and two walks, the youngster showed his ability to perform under pressure by drawing a walk for his third run batted in of the game.

Almonte has now hit in three straight games and his average is .625.
A big seventh inning for New York decided the outcome. With Cano, Overbay and Almonte on base and two out, another Yankee who made his MLB debut this season, walked to knock in a run. Veteran Vernon was called to pinch hit for catcher Chris Stewart. Despite hitting successfully only 9 times in his last 87 at bats, Girardi stated his faith in the experienced player, “Throughout his struggles, I still thought his at bats against lefthanders were good.”

This time Girardi’s decision did work as wells doubled to deep center and three runs scored. A happy Wells spoke after the contest, “It’s good to hit the ball and it not land in someone’s glove.”

Mariano Rivera came in for the ninth and earned his 26th save of the season.
Ivan Nova (2-1) will be recalled from the minors to start the final game of the four game set for the Yanks. Rookie righty Chris Archer (1-3) is scheduled to make his first appearance against the Yanks.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Phelps Helps Yanks to Even Score

Phelps Helps Yanks to Even Score

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 21- With a lineup lacking a .300 hitter and with failure to score runs as of late, the New York Yankees made some lineup changes Friday night before taking the field for the second of four games against the Tampa Bay. The rookie, Zoilo Almonte, a native of the Dominican Republic immediately paid dividends.

Almonte, who came off the bench Thursday night and got his first major league hit, was a part of the change in left field over a slumping Vernon Wells. He went 3-for-4 and hit his first career home run helping starter David Phelps as the Yankees defeated the Rays 6-2 and snapped their season high tying two-game home losing streak.

The first curtain call for Almonte from the crowd of 41,123 came after blasting a shot to right leading off the sixth inning that gave the Yankees a 5-3 advantage.

Right hander David Phelps (5-4) won for the third time in his last four starts at home. He made a start against the Rays at Tropicana Field in Late May and earned the win in a 9-4 Yankees victory allowing four runs on six hits, tossing a career high 7.2 innings.

But this time, with the Yankees looking to retain him in the pitching rotation he was better and getting some runs helped. Phelps tossed 5.2 innings, gave up eight hits, allowing two runs.

“I was throwing the ball more where I wanted to,” said Phelps who impressed Girardi by getting out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning. He showed his composure as the Rays stranded all three runners when Desmond Jennings flied out to Brett Gardner in center. He said he was trying to get a ground ball and let the defense work.

Girardi said that was the difference in the game, so did Rays manager Joe Maddon.

“We had good guys coming up there, and that really was the difference maker in the game,” he said. “He’s been tough on us and tough on lefties in general. But with the popup and then Desmond hit that ball kind of okay. That was a big moment in the game.”

As they did the night before, the Yankees played small ball in hoping to generate some runs They did, but much quicker this time. In the first inning, Brett Gardner led off with a base hit, Ichiro Suzuki walked and stole second and Robinson Cano drove a ball to center that scored Gardner from third that scored the Yankees first run of the inning.

New York added two more run in the fourth off Rays’ starter Roberto Hernandez (4-8), who allowed five runs in 7.0 innings and lost for the third time in his last four starts. He fell to 1-7 with a 7.36 ERA in 13-career games against the Yankees.

Girardi, for the time being intends to start Almonte Saturday afternoon when the Rays start right hander Alex Colome (1-0) opposing CC Sabathia, (7-5) in the third game of the four-game series in the Bronx.

“He has a good swing, he’s been a prospect for us a while,” said Girardi about Almonte. The 24-year old almost made the team out of spring training and has speed in the outfield as well.

Girardi added, “We expected him to be a big league player at some point.” With the Yankees struggling for offense, the first start could lead to many more. He became the first Yankee to get three hits in one of his first three major league games since D’Angelo Jimenez compiled four hits at Cleveland in his third game back in September of 1999.

Almonte was going to give the home run ball to his mother in the Dominican Republic.

“I always thought it would happen,” he said about his first big league start. “I worked hard. Whenever this day would come, I knew I would be grateful,” he said through an interpreter.

Comment Rich Mancuso:

Bronx News Sports: Petite, Yanks fall to Tampa Bay

Bronx News Sports: Petite, Yanks fall to Tampa Bay: By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 21- Andy Pettitte over the years has had success against the Tampa Bay Rays but Thursday night the N...

Bronx News ( Pettitte and Yankees gets a loss against Tampa Bay...

Bronx News ( Pettitte and Yankees gets a loss against Tampa Bay...: By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 21- Andy Pettitte over the years has had success against the Tampa Bay Rays but Thursday night the...

Petite, Yanks fall to Tampa Bay

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 21- Andy Pettitte over the years has had success against the Tampa Bay Rays but Thursday night the New York Yankees left handed veteran struggled and admitted it was a disappointing outing. Tampa used the long ball and a quality start from Matt Moore and took advantage of an ineffective Pettitte.

Tampa Bay banged out 14-hits and got three home runs, two from Evan Longoria taking the first of a four-game series from the Yankees, 8-3.

“I felt good but the evaluation of it obviously is another disappointing outing,” he said, as the Yankees lost their second straight game and went 3-4 against the Rays this season.

He struggled with his command and with the fastball

“When you can’t get the first couple of hitters top of the lineup obviously the guys down there have power,” said Pettitte about the Rays heart of their batting order. Seven of their hits went for extra bases including a solo home run from Longoria off Pettitte in the sixth inning that cleared the right center field fence.

Later in the game, Longoria did further damage to the Yankees when his second home run of the night, a solo, opened up a 6-3 Tampa Bay lead in a three-run eighth inning.

The second home run by Longoria gave him a team leading 16th, his third multi-home run career game against the Yankees. Longoria, 2-for-3, recorded his 500th career RBI with a third inning sacrifice fly off Pettitte.

“He’s a wonderful young player and he keeps getting better assuming the leadership role within the group,” said Rays manage Joe Maddon about the 27-year- old Longoria.

Longoria was more elated about getting to Pettitte and the Rays getting the first win of the series. He is the lone player in their lineup who has started every game this season and took over the team lead also in runs batted in.

“Kind of good to put the woes of Andy Pettitte behind me,” commented Longoria.

Pettitte (5-5) would last 6/2-3 innings, on five runs and nine hits. He struck out six, walked one, threw a wild pitch and gave up a lead -off home run to Longoria in the sixth that gave Tampa Bay a 4-0 lead. His ERA is at 4.20 and he lost his second straight start.

New York once again struggled at the plate and played small ball in a three-run, sixth inning. Reid Brignac led off the inning with a single, Brett Gardner and Jayson Nix walked With a struggling Robinson Cano at the plate the Yankees got their first run of the night when Tampa Bay starterMatt Moore threw a wild pitch that scored Brignac .

Cano then hit a long sacrifice fly to center that scored Gardner for the first run of the inning.

“Inning could have got out of hand,” said Moore. “Fortunate the way it turned out.” Moore (9-3) snapped his three-game losing streak and held the Yankees to three-runs, four hits in 6.1 innings. He has held the Yankees to three runs or less in five of his seven starts against them.

The Rays got a run back in the seventh. After Pettitte got the first two outs in the inning, Desmond Jennings doubled to left and Sean Rodriguez drove him home with another double to deep left center.

Pettitte was finished for the night. Joba Chamberlain relieved him and got Longoria to end the ending swinging for a third strike.

Right now the Yankees are struggling and have been out-hit 36-17 over the first three games of the homestand against the Dodgers and Rays. Girardi is hoping for better results when right hander David Phelps (4-4) gets the ball for game two of the series Friday night.

“These are the guys who got us 12-games over,” commented Girardi about a Yankee team that is now 39-33. “Right now we are struggling and we need to get on a roll.”

Comment Rich Mancuso:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Donnie and the Dodgers Return to Bronx

Bronx News Sports: Donnie and the Dodgers Return to Bronx: Yanks Split Doubleheader By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 20- Prior to 1958, the rivalry between the three teams in ML...

Donnie and the Dodgers Return to Bronx

Yanks Split Doubleheader
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 20- Prior to 1958, the rivalry between the three teams in MLB that represented New York City, the Dodgers of Brooklyn, Giants of Manhattan and Yankees of the Bronx, was extremely intense, far more than the current one between the Yankees and Mets.
In the 1950’s, the major argument between the partisans of each club centered on the question of which of the three teams had the best centerfielder in baseball, Mickey Mantle of the Yanks, Willie Mays of the Giants or Duke Snider of the Dodgers. Not surprisingly, each of the three was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after his career concluded.
To the disgust and anger of the fans of the other 13 teams then in the majors, in one 1- year period, 1949-1958, at least one of the three NYC teams reached the World Series each of those years. Between 1947 and 1956, the Yankees and the Dodgers competed for the World Series title six times, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956. The two teams met a record 11 times in World Series competition.
The level of interest in the rivalry was such that on May 7, 1959, the largest crowd in MLB history, 93,103, attended an exhibition between them in Los Angeles to honor Roy Campanella.
Much has changed over those many years. There is currently a distance of 3,000 miles between the home ballparks of the two teams. The last World Series during which the two competed against one another took place in 1981. Both teams are now struggling in their respective division races.
The long awaited first visit of the Dodgers to Yankee Stadium for a regular season contest was postponed for one day as Tuesday’s scheduled game was cancelled by rain.
The first of the two games on Wednesday began shortly after 1 p.m. Dodger skipper Don Mattingly, an icon during his 14 fabulous seasons in Yankee pinstripes, received a very warm reception each time his likeness was shown on the giant screen in the outfield or he walked out of the dugout. The familiar chant of “Donnie Baseball” was heard during both games. In a post-game press conference, Mattingly expressed his feelings, “It was kind of cool. I like the roll call. They never had it when I played.”
Several players from Asia made, not surprisingly, extremely impressive performances. Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda from Japan pitched 6.2 innings while yielding only two runs, both scored in Kuroda’s final inning on the mound. The three runs scored by the Yanks before he departed were the most since his last win on May 17.
Hyun-Jin Ryu from Korea, an MLB rookie, who was signed by the Dodgers on December 12, 2012, only surrendered five hits and two walks in six frames, but the three runs he gave up earned his third loss in 2013.
The first Yankees runs were scored in the third. Thomas Neal and Ichiro Suzuki singled and were driven in on a double by Lyle Overbay. The winning run was produced on a lead-off homer by Ichiro in the sixth. Ichiro’s third base hit was a single in the seventh that accounted for the final two runs in a 6-4 victory. 
Ichiro’s fourth multi-hit game in the last six led Yankee manager Joe Girardi to exclaim, “He’s been playing extraordinary.”
Note on the young and the old- Dodger phenom Yasiel Puig, a major leaguer for two weeks and two days, showed the potential for future greatness and the folly of youthful exuberance. The 22 year old Cuban singled in his first at bat, but was thrown out at second trying to stretch. In the seventh, Puig doubled. His two hits in five at bats dropped his batting average to an astounding .472. Mariano Rivera, Puig’s senior by 21 years, recorded his 25th save of the campaign by retiring all three batters he faced in the ninth. 
The final out was a strikeout of Puig, who that evening said, “I feel so happy to play against the best. He [Rivera] beat me.”
Chris Capuano, removed earlier in the day from the disabled list, started the night game for the visitors. Although the 34 year-old’s last MLB start was three weeks earlier, he gave up only three singles, two in the infield. He did not walk a batter but fanned four to earn the win. 
Mattingly remarked, “[I’m] not surprised that he pitched good but how long.”
Phil Hughes also pitched six, but his outing was far different than his Dodger counterpart. Five of the first six batters in the game singled. Hughes gave up two runs in the first, one in the third and two in the fifth.
Puig, the Cuban sensation, showed his energy and ability in game two of the day. He beat out a bunt in the first; was hit by a pitch and then stole second in the fifth. He hit an opposite field homer off reliever Adam Warren in the seventh. The youngster scored all three times he reached base. His experienced manager commented, “He has a kind of unique set of tools.”
The Tampa Rays begin a four game set on Thursday in the Bronx. Veteran Andy Pettitte (5-4) will face Matt Moore (8-3) of the Rays.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Don Mattingly Returns to Yankee Stadium

By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 19- Former Yankee icon Don Mattingly returned to Yankee Stadium on June 18, as skipper of the L.A. Dodgers. Although the Yankees and Dodgers had met for a MLB record 11 times in World Series play Tuesday’s scheduled game was the first time the two teams were to meet in a regular season contest at the legendary ballpark in the Bronx.
The beleaguered manager, whose club is in last place in the National League West, spoke of his current situation, “It’s not fun. It’s not something you want to go through.”
The manager, subject of many rumors that he will soon be fired, talked of his desire to continue in his present position, “I want to do a great job for this organization. I like where I’m at.” He also expressed his desire to keep managing regardless of what the future holds, “Honestly, I feel I can manage anywhere. I like the challenge.”
On a more upbeat note, Mattingly discussed his great, young players, Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershw, “That’s like looking into the future.”
The Dodger field chieftain remarked upon his 2008 opportunity to manage the team in the Bronx that he had played on for 14 seasons and coached for an additional four years, “I felt like it [not obtaining the managerial position] was a blessing. It would have been really hard to do the job [with the family problems]. It brought me to L.A. [as a coach with Joe Torre]. The experience was really great to me.”
In his lengthy talk with reporters, Mattingly reminisced about his debut at Yankee Stadium, “My fondest memory was the first day I was called up.”
His relationship began several years before that day in 1982. Mattingly was drafted in the 19th round of the 1979 MLB First Year Player Draft. After nearly three years in the minors, he was called up in late 1982. The first sacker played outstandingly for 14 seasons in pinstripes until he retired because of back problems after the 1995 season.
During his career, the small-town, soft spoken man with a laid back personality became a special fan favorite. That circumstance is still something Mattingly doesn’t fully grasp, “I don’t quite understand the relationship. I only just played and they [the fans] seemed to appreciate it,”
Mattingly and the fans were disappointed that the long-awaited contest was postponed by rain. The two games will be played in a day/night doubleheader on Wednesday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Soccer is Alive in the Bronx!

Bronx News Sports: Soccer is Alive in the Bronx!: Spain Beats Ireland, at Yankee Stadium By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 12- Soccer fans at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night h...

Soccer is Alive in the Bronx!

Spain Beats Ireland, at Yankee Stadium
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 12- Soccer fans at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night had the rare opportunity to see the world’s #1 ranked national team, Spain, on the pitch of the iconic sports venue in the Bronx. “La Roja” faced off against the Republic of Ireland.
Spain has dominated its opponents on the soccer pitch in recent years. It has been undefeated in its last 21 matches. Spain has also shown its superiority in the most important tournaments in the recent past. It was the World Cup winner in 2010 and it was also victorious in the two most recent European championships, in 2008 and 2012.
Although the match on Tuesday was friendly and the teams were widely separated in reputation and talent, those factors did not mean that the play would not be spirited and the result unimportant to those on the pitch.
Neither side scored in the first 68 minutes, but Spain had control of the ball throughout most of that time. The initial goal was driven by Roberto Soldano with an assist by Álvaro Arbeola in the 69th minute.
It appeared that a goal by Sean St. Ledger tied the score in the 80th minute, but the joy of the fans of Ireland was cut short as the goal was nullified.
The final goal of the match came off the foot of Spanish striker Juan Mata in the 88th minute. He was assisted by Santi Cazorla. Interestingly, Mata scored for Chelsea in the most recent match at Yankee Stadium on May 25.
Ireland’s manager, Giovanni Trapattoni praised the quality of his team’s opponent, “Spain is the best in the world. They are superior technically. Spain is a complete team.” The manager feels his team will grow in the future by what they learned on the pitch on Tuesday, “For us…it was a very good lesson.”
Vicente Del Bosque, who has led “La Roja” through its recent international triumphs, explained the reasons for Spain’s excellence and closed by saying, “There’s many factors why we’ve had so much success. It’s not a coincidence.”
When asked to explain why both goals were scored by players who came off the bench, he replied, “It’s not about stars and reserves. All the players are stars on their clubs. We try to give equal minutes to all players.”
The experienced leader of the world’s best national team was pleased with the preparation his team received during the games in Florida and the Bronx for its next challenge, the Confederations Cup that begins on May 16 in Brazil, “I think we achieved what we came to do. No one got injured. Physically we’re better. There was a very high level of concentration. I think we are in very good shape for the 16th.”
Another good sized crowd, 39,368, came to Yankee Stadium to watch world class soccer, assuring the local aficionados of world football that there will be more matches contested on the pitch of great Bronx venue in the years to come.”
The atmosphere at the match was described by Trapattoni, “I played in Yankee Stadium many years ago. Yankee Stadium is legendary. This atmosphere is fantastic. “While the words were strong, the emotional fervor with which they were spoken was even stronger. ”
Soccer is alive in the Bronx!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Spellman Honors Student Athletes

Bronx News Sports: Spellman Honors Student Athletes: BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 10- Cardinal Spellman High School recognized the contributions of over 325 student athletes at the Block "S...

Spellman Honors Student Athletes

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 10- Cardinal Spellman High School recognized the contributions of over 325 student athletes at the Block "S" awards dinner held at the school. 
President of Cardinal Spellman, Rev. Trevor Nicholls, and Mr. Daniel O'Keefe, Principal, welcomed everyone in attendance, and acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the coaches in developing the athletic talents of the students. Mr. O'Keefe praised the athletes for developing concepts of self-discipline, motivation, and responsibility as Spellman "Pilots."
The evening included the induction into the Spellman Hall of Fame of  three longtime supporters of Spellman athletics: Linda Mazzo, Chairperson of the Foreign Language Department, and Daniel and Gloria (Perri) O'Connell of the Class of 1972. For over 20 years, Linda Mazzo was the Varsity Cheerleading Coach at Spellman, whose teams won many awards in competitions while also performing at numerous school events. Daniel O'Connell (currently on the school's Board of Trustees) played Baseball and Football as a Spellman student, while his wife Gloria was a member of the Cheerleading squad. The O'Connells have been generous donors to Cardinal Spellman High School and its athletic programs over the years.
The night also featured the presentation of the Schiazza "S", which is given to students who have received eight or more varsity letters over their four year high school career. It is named in honor of the late Salvatore Schiazza, who served at the school as Athletic Director, Moderator of the Alumni Association, and member of the Board of Trustees. Seniors Felicia Cantine, Amanda McKenna and Danielle McKenna were recipients of the 2013 Schiazza "S."
Scholar-Athletes, recognized for their excellence in both athletics and academics, were Yugi Paul, (attending St. John's University in September), Chance Peavy (Ithaca), Angelique Arroyo (Syracuse), and  Michele Mack (Lehman). Athletes of the Year were Colleen Kallop and Kyle Benjamin. The following received the Most Valuable Player award in their respective sports: Baseball: Joseph Colon and Nick Padilla; Boys' Basketball: Dominic Arena and Anthony Williams; Girls' Basketball: Maria Backman; Bowling: Felicia Cantine and Thomas Montilli; Football: Jalen Miller; Boys' Soccer: Malik Cameron; Girls' Soccer: Rebecca D'Aloia; Cheerleading: Kaliyah Burris; Softball: Angelique Arroyo; Boys' Indoor Track: Lamar Gillespie; Boys' Outdoor Track: Luther Gillespie; Girls' Indoor Track: Luana Bowers; Girls' Outdoor Track: Felicia Cantine; Field: Andrea Amorosa; Boys' Cross-Country: Danny Mota; Girls' Cross-Country: Rebecca Mota and Tori Graves Parker; Boys' Volleyball: Jason Darko and Lloydell McCalla; Girls' Volleyball: Colleen Kallop; Girls' Lacrosse: Jioni Mehciz and Caterina Velazquez, and Boys' Lacrosse: Kyle Phillips.

Bronx News Sports: Fordham Athletic Dir. Honored

Bronx News Sports: Fordham Athletic Dir. Honored: BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 10- Long time former Fordham Athletic Director Frank McLaughlin was among the honorees at the inaugural Ir...

Bronx News Sports: Fordham Athletic Dir. Honored

Bronx News Sports: Fordham Athletic Dir. Honored: BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 10- Long time former Fordham Athletic Director Frank McLaughlin was among the honorees at the inaugural Ir...

Fordham Athletic Dir. Honored

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 10- Long time former Fordham Athletic Director Frank McLaughlin was among the honorees at the inaugural Irish Sports 50 Awards presented by the Irish Voice newspaper on June 6 at the beautiful American Irish Historical Society on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
They came from California, Dallas, Ireland, and of course, “Frankie from the Bronx,” McLaughlin’s longtime calling card.  Sports and business figures from all the major U.S sports were present. Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President of Major League Baseball, was the keynote speaker, describing the Irish journey to success in sports as an example for every immigrant community.
It has been a year filled with honors for the Athletic Director Emeritus, beginning with his induction into the Fordham Athletics Hall of Fame on January 26. He will be inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame on June 22.
Mark Tuohey (Fordham Law ’73), a member of the Fordham board of trustees, and Fordham alumnus Bill Smith, were also among the honorees. McLaughlin was joined by his wife Susan, and daughters Tara, Heather, and Coleen.
Born and bred in the Bronx, McLaughlin spent 27 years as Fordham’s Athletic Director before being promoted to associate vice president of student affairs for athletic alumni relations and external affairs. During his tenure as Athletic Director, Fordham’s teams won a combined 26 conference championships while its student-athletes have maintained tremendous graduation rates.  He is a long time resident of Briarcliff Manor, NY. 
Back to Brosnan, who pointed out that our forefathers came with nothing and that sport was one of the first arenas in America where Irish were welcome.
At a time when “No Irish Need Apply” signs were still being hung out the Irish were making it in baseball and other sports he pointed out.  McLaughlin’s sport, of course, was basketball, and he was a bona fide star at Fordham, where he captained the basketball team before becoming the assistant coach in 1970-71, helping the team to a 26-3 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Other ethnic groups would follow the same path and African Americans would eventually break the barrier too.
Sports were one of the first places that Irish were accepted he said. It was an invaluable lesson for other groups who faced discrimination too.
Now, Brosnan pointed out, sports is open to all “If you have the skill you can play it doesn't matter where you came from.”
It is true. The first thing the child of immigrants will do, whether Irish or these days Hispanic, is grab a bat or a ball and try to compete on the only truly level playing field around -- sports. 
Deputy Consul of Ireland Peter Ryan talked about the healing power of sport when it came to the fallout from Hurricane Sandy in the Rockaways.
Some of Ireland’s top athletes, members of the Gaelic Players Association came on their own time to America and rebuilt the sports gymnasium at Breezy Point that had been ruined by the storm. 1,500 members of the Irish community had lent their skills all over the different Rockaway neighborhoods.
GPA Chairman Dessie Farrell talked about the extraordinary response to their gesture including coverage on NBC Nightly News and many other organizations stepping forward to help. This weekend the GPA will conduct a Gaelic sports 7 a side tournament in Breezy Point to aid local charities.
The goodwill engendered between Ireland and America on that trip alone speaks volumes for the power of sport.
The first-ever Irish American Sports 50 was put together by Irish Voice editor Debbie McGoldrick and business manager John Dillon. Judging by the success it won’t be the last!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

CC'Almost Perfect

Yankees sweep Indians behind Sabathia complete game and the long ball

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 5- Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx, CC Sabathia went to the mound in the fifth inning with a perfect game going against the Cleveland Indians. The New York Yankees ace was having that type of day. With the exception of one home run from the Indians, he was almost perfect.

Sabathia (6-4) went the route and threw the 36th complete game of his career, 10th as a Yankee, leading his team to a 6-4 win. The Yankees swept the three-game series from the Indians and embarked on a 10-game, three city trip to Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles.

It was a vintage Sabathia outing in the first few innings and he had no trouble taming the Indians. The command on his fastball, curve and slider was outstanding. He retired the first fourteen Cleveland hitters that came to the plate before Mike Aviles hit a single to left with two outs in the fifth.

“It was too early to recognize,” said Sabathia about his perfection going into the inning.” He won his second straight start and it was his first complete game against Cleveland, the team that drafted him.

He was throwing strikes and his delivery, according to Sabathia has been much better in the last two starts. It was his second win on the home stand, the other, against Boston last week when he allowed a run on six hits.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he told Sabathia to finish the game before he came out for the ninth inning.

“I told him to finish it and he did,” said Girardi. “I really didn’t want to use “Mo” but I would have with two outs in the ninth. He didn’t give up a hard hit ball until the seventh inning.” The reference was to not using closer and all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera who finished the first two games of the series.

With Sabathia going the distance, Girardi gave his bullpen a well deserved rest before the upcoming road trip. Among his nine- strikeouts, he recorded four straight and struck out the side in the Cleveland third.

He was reached for two runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Yan Gomes got hold of a first pitch slider from Sabathia in the seventh inning, a two –run home run to left and the final runs of the day for the Indians. It was the fourth home run in the last nine games hit by Gomes.

“He was doing what CC does,” commented Gomes about Sabathia’s complete game. On his home run, he said, “Just got a good pitch to it. He was aggressive with all his pitches.”

Corey Kluber (3-4) the Indians’ 27-year- old right hander, in his eighth start of the season gave up two home runs in the first two innings. Travis Hafner hit a two-run blast to right in the first inning, his 10th of the season and second of the series that gave New York a 2-0 lead.

The runs were not earned as Robinson Cano reached second base on an error that Michael Bourn mishandled in center.

And in the Yankees’ four –run second inning, Bret Gardner hit a three-run homer to deep right. It was the sixth of the year for Gardner and opened up a 6-0 lead for New York. Kluber went six innings, was charged with six-runs on seven hits. But he was able to settle down and recorded eight strikeouts.

Said Gardner about Sabathia, “It’s just the way we would draw it up. He looked real good. He had no-hit stuff.”

Kluber is winless in his last four starts.

“His stuff was tremendous the whole game,” commented Indians manager Terry Francona who saw his team end a string of 20- consecutive games. “He had a couple of misfires. The fastball to Hafner that ran back over the middle. He completed and never lost his poise.”

Francona added, “That’s a pretty big hole to dig out of when CC is pitching.”

The Indians were not able to do much, but the Yankees did what they had to do again. As they often say, their goal is to win games, more so to win series, this their fifth sweep of the season. They will take a sweep coming off losing two of three to first place Boston earlier this week.

With Sabathia, the Yankees are that much better and feeling good each time their ace takes the mound.

Comment Rich Mancuso:

Yanks Nip Indians, 4-3

Teixeira Homers in Second Straight Game

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 5- The Yanks rebounded after losing their last two series, Mets and Red Sox, by capturing the first two games of a three game set with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.

The pitchers on each team put zeros on the scoreboard in every inning but one. The impressive performance of David Phelps was a far cry from his last start six days ago against the Mets when he gave up five runs in 0.1IP. Of that prior start Phelps told reporters, “I tried to forget about that start as much as I could.”

Phelps blanked the Indians for six innings. The only hit he allowed was an infield single by Drew Stubbs in the third. His control was less effective as he issued four bases on balls. After the contest, he commented, “I was all over the place. I was fortunate to get the pitches when I needed them.” He gave credit to his experienced batterymate, Chris Stewart for his successful outing.

With the exception of his brief debacle against the Mets, Phelps has gone 3-1 and pitched at least six frames in his last five starts.

Three Cleveland runs came in the seventh inning off reliever Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain walked Carlos Santana, the first batter he faced. After the next two batters were retired, Mike Aviles singled and Stubbs homerd to drive in three.

The four runs the Yanks scored in the third off Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir were sufficient to ensure the victory. The first five Yankee batters hit safely. Lyle Overbay led off with a double. Stewart followed by a single but was caught in a rundown between first and second, yet Overbay could not score. A single to left by Ichiro Suzuki knocked in Overbay. Jayson Nix followed with a single and Mark Teixeira blasted a three run homer into the seats in left. The home run was his second in the last two games.

Yankees skipper Joe Girardi remarked regarding his returned first baseman, “He’s an RBI machine. It’s great to see him productive from both sides.” Teixeira explained his batting strategy since his return, “Being aggressive, committing to my swing, getting good pitches to hit.”

The Yankee win was saved by legendary closer Mariano Rivera, who retired all three opposing batters in the ninth. Rivera now has 21 saves in 2013 and 629 career saves. The save was his 38th straight at Yankee Stadium and his 19th straight against Cleveland.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Yankees are sending C.C. Sabathia (5-4) to the mound to hopefully achieve the win. Cleveland will counter with righty Corey Kluber (3-3).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Big 10 to Join Pinstripe Bowl in Bronx

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 4-Two weeks ago, the New York Yankees announced a partnership with Manchester City FC to form the NY FC, the only NYC entry in the MLS (Major League Soccer), beginning in 2015. The Yankees organization, under the ownership of the Steinbrenners, never rests on its past achievements. Thus, another press conference was held at Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon to detail the partnership agreement with the Big 10 Conference.

Starting in late December of 2014, the Big 10 will replace the Big 12 as one of the two participants in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, played annually several days after Christmas at Yankee Stadium. The partnership will last for eight years, through 2021.

General managing partner of the Yankees Hal Steinbrenner spoke of his father’s love for college football and his connection to the Big 10, “The Big Ten Conference playing college football at Yankee Stadium is something I know my father would be proud to see come to fruition. He had a great passion for college football and spoke glowingly of his involvement with several of the conference’s programs.”

Big 10 Commissioner James E. Delaney expressed his desire to make the college football powerhouse conference truly become a national entity and play in New York City, “Once we saw the success of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, it became obvious that being in the media capital of the world at one of sports’ most renowned venues was a natural pairing.”
Delaney did not state which team in the conference standing would participate in each year’s bowl game but did promise, “We’re going to try to get a minimum of six and a maximum of eight teams. We expect to provide a number of iconic Big 10 brands here.”

At the conference, a question was raised, because of the connection between the Steinbrenner family and UNC (University of North Carolina) as to whether the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) would replace the Big East once its contract with the Pinstripe Bowl ends. Yankees president Randy Levine responded, “That’s for another day.” It appears fairly clear that in the future the Pinstripe Bowl will feature the big 10 against the ACC.

During its three years of existence, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has grown in attendance and in TV ratings. The interest in the bowl game in the Bronx can only increase with the yearly presence of a Big 10 team.

Tex Strikes Back

Yankees get to Masterson and Indians despite no-decision for Pettitte

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 4- The last time Justin Masterson of the Cleveland Indians pitched against the New York Yankees he was almost perfect. He threw a complete game shutout in a 1-0 Indians win in the first game of a doubleheader May 13th at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Monday night in the Bronx, with the Yankees Andy Pettitte on the mound, returning from the disabled list, Masterson could not duplicate what he did in Cleveland. Mark Teixeira touched the Indians right hander for a grand slam home run in the third inning and the Yankees never looked back taking the first of a three-game series 7-4.

The game also saw the return of former Yankee Nick Swisher to the Stadium. In three at bats, he walked, scored and drove in a run for the Indians and received a huge ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd.

Teixeira returned from the 60-day disabled list Friday night against the Boston Red Sox and was 1-for-9 including a run and walk prior to hitting his eighth career grand slam. It was also the first grand slam hit by the Yankees this season.

“Tex is an RBI machine,” commented Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Indeed, the Yankees are hoping this is one of many home runs to come as they have missed his offense in the middle of their lineup.

Masterson allowed seven runs in 6.1 innings. Two of his 9-hits went for home runs. Travis Hafner also connected in the seventh inning. He hit a solo home run to right with one out, his 9th of the season that gave New York their 7th and final run.

He had not allowed a home run to the Yankees in his career prior to his start Monday night.

“Three hanging pitches on the home runs,” commented Masterson, “And one up and away to Hafner. I wasn’t able to make one when I needed to,” he said about his pitch selection.

Indians manager Terry Francona said about Masterson, “I actually think he had good stuff the whole night. He made some mistakes when he got ahead of the count to the bottom of the order. Then he made a real good pitch to Cano (Robinson) and we had a chance to get out of it, but he left a first pitch fastball and let Teixeira get his arms extended.”

“First home run of the year is always good,” said Teixeira. He said it was a big home run as Masterson is one of the elite pitchers in the American League. “I know it will take me a few weeks to get back in the rhythm of playing every day and seeing big league pitching but like I said this is a good first step.”

Pettitte making his 500th career start allowed 4-runs and seven hits in 4.2 innings. “It’s disappointing,” he said about leaving the game early and feeling a little tired. “I am not happy with the results but it was a good win for us, we needed that.”

Mariano Rivera tossed a scoreless ninth inning and recorded his 20th save.

NOTES: Before the game, the Yankees made room for Pettitte on the roster and optioned outfielder Brennan Boesch to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The club also released outfielder Ben Francisco from the roster….

Robinson Cano, 1-for-5 has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games….Lyle Overbay, 1-for-3, started in right field, It was his first career Major League appearance at a defensive position other than first base…

Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner before the game met with the media after a press conference to announce the agreement with the Big-10 college football conference and the Pinstripe Bowl that the Yankees host. But the attention and questions centered on injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez who may return sometime in late July or August.

“There have been no doubt been times that we’ve been disappointed in him and we’ve conveyed that to him,” he said. He understands that.” The reference was referring to the huge contract and Rodriguez not living up to expectations with injuries and the constant cloud of steroid allegations around him…

David Phelps (3-3, 4.65 ERA) gets the start for New York Tuesday night opposing left hander Scott Kazmir (3-2.)

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