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Monday, July 29, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Hideki Matsui Retires as a Yankee in the Bronx

Bronx News Sports: Hideki Matsui Retires as a Yankee in the Bronx: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 29- The two most prestigious position players to come from Japan to the major leagues are Hideki Ma...

Bronx News Sports: Jeter's Back with a Bang

Bronx News Sports: Jeter's Back with a Bang: But Yanks Still have a lot of Work to Do By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 29- They needed the win, with or without Derek Jeter back...

Jeter's Back with a Bang

But Yanks Still have a lot of Work to Do

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 29- They needed the win, with or without Derek Jeter back in the lineup Sunday afternoon. The New York Yankees got the walk-off win in the ninth inning from Rafael Soriano. For the moment, as they depart for a road trip to Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago, the Yankees are feeling good about themselves.

They could not afford being swept by first place Tampa Bay. And the feeling was, after that Derek Jeter home run in the first inning, this would be the game. One game, for the moment the Yankees felt good about themselves after their 6-5 win in the Bronx.

The right handed bat, one they have lacked, also returned. Alfonso Soriano in his third game back in pinstripes goes 4-for-5 and a home run. Indeed, the Yankees have a better lineup and much different with a healthy Jeter at bat and on the field. And with Soriano, the Yankees also believe they have the right handed bat they need.

“Being able to win one like that especially going on the road is important,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi who was the first to show a sign of relief when Jeter deposited a ball to left field off Mike Moore in his first at bat after his second stint on the disabled list.

It was nice to see Jeter smile going around the bases.

Girardi knows, as does every Yankees fan about the significance of Jeter in the lineup. He is the captain, and one of those right handed bats that have been missed which have made this an offensive strapped and incognito lineup.

“He’s a winner, his presence,” commented Girardi. “To get a big day from him and Soriano, to be able to do what we did today was important.”

And getting home runs, the first two for the Yankees in their last nine games, that was important. “It helps put some quick tallies on the board,” said Girardi. “It changes our lineup.” Yes it does. Instead of four or six left handed hitters in a row, the Yankees now have right handed bats in between.

“It’s was fun, I worked hard to get back on the field,” said Jeter who said the home run gave his team a run and possibly the jolt they needed. He did not have fun his first time back going down again, after three at bats in the Bronx and quickly hitting the disabled list a second time with a strained quad.

It was his first home run and run batted in, and as late in the season as it is, any contribution from the Yankees and the captain is an added improvement from what has been coming from this lineup.

“I said, thank God because I did not want to play extra innings because I was tired. I was happy for Sori,” said Jeter about the walk-off hit from his teammate.

Soon, Curtis Granderson will return and add to the list of welcome back from the walking wounded. The Alex Rodriguez soap opera will continue because Major league Baseball is expected to hand out suspensions of more players with the latest steroid scandal.

A-Rod is expected to get a healthy sentence, though the appeal process could get him back in the lineup and playing ball in the Bronx. And as much as the Yankees would rather have the A-Rod stigma go away, if he is healthy and productive, the complexion of the Yankees lineup changes as could the race in the American League east.

But Jeter and Soriano, hitting home runs in the same game as teammates for the first time since 2003, was the moment Girardi has been waiting for.

They are a rejuvenated team with additions in the lineup. At the same time the Yankees have a lot of work to do, as they dug a hole for themselves with the walking wounded and makeshift lineups Girardi has put on the field.

For now, as the Yankees depart on a long road trip they can feel good about things, seven games out of first place and in the wild card hunt. A major reason why, the Captain Derek Jeter is back in the lineup and healthy with 57 games left to play.

Comment: Rich Mancuso Ring786@aol.com Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Hideki Matsui Retires as a Yankee in the Bronx

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 29- The two most prestigious position players to come from Japan to the major leagues are Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki. Interestingly but not surprisingly, the two superstars came to wear the Yankees pinstripes. Suzuki and pitcher Hiroki Kuroda are integral parts of the 2013 Yankees, but an icon of the recent past, Matsui, was at the center of attention at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Matsui began his professional baseball career in his native land by signing with the Yomiuri Giants after earning great prestige as a high school player. He received numerous honors in the NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) in his 10 years with the Giants. Among his awards were: three-time MVP in the Central League, Japan Games MVP, All-Star in each of his last nine seasons and an MVP in three NPB All-Star Games.

Having achieved so much in his decade in the NPB, Matsui signed a contract with the New York Yankees on December 9, 2002 to play on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Of that day, he reflected in his pre-game press conference on Sunday, “That was probably the greatest moment in my career.”

Matsui lived up to the advance build-up in his first game as a Yankee. He singled in his first MLB at bat and blasted a grand slam homer later in the contest. He and current Yankee Ichiro Suzuki, by their professionalism and exceptional talent, raised the respect for the level of Japanese baseball in the eyes of American fans.

Matsui, as a Yankee, continued to play at the same level as he had in Japan. He was an American League All-Star in his first two years, 2003 and 2004. He left Japan holding a consecutive game streak of 1,250 and played in his first 518 games with the Yankees. Only a fractured left wrist suffered in the outfield ended his streak.
The Japanese superstar concluded his seventh and final season in New York much as he began his first. He drove in six runs in the concluding sixth game of the 2009 World Series and ended his Yankee tenure as the World Series MVP.

Matsui’s final three seasons in the majors were disappointing contrasted with his success as a Yankee. On December 27, 2012, he announced his retirement as a player. A large retirement ceremony was held at the Tokyo Dome on May 5, 2013.
Matsui’s parents and brother were present at the tasteful ceremony held at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. At a pre-game press conference, the former Yankee outfielder signed a minor league contract with the Yankees. On the field, he signed his voluntary retirement papers, so he could officially end his playing career with New York. Yankee captain Derek Jeter, on behalf of the organization, presented a matted, framed 2009 #55 jersey to Matsui. The two were then joined on the field by the members of the 2013 Yankees.

The Yankee icon spoke very strongly of his years as a Yankee. “I’ve always aspired to be a New York Yankee.” His most memorable moments in pinstripes were “winning the World Series in 2009 and the ALCS in 2003.” That response was not surprising to hear from a man who also said, “All I really focused on was trying to win the World Series here. If the fans took something from that it was an honor.” Of his retirement as a Yankee, he proclaimed, “I’m so humbled and honored to retire as a Yankee. There’s nothing more fulfilling than that. I think that moment I will never forget.”

P.S.-The good feeling in Yankee Stadium generated by the presence of Matsui continued during the game between the Yanks and Rays. Matsui’s countryman, Suzuki, brought great joy to the large percentage of Japanese fans in the park by hitting successfully four times in four trips to the plate. Derek Jeter, his teammate for all seven years with the Yankees, homered on the first pitch he saw. Yet, when asked about the homer, the classy captain responded, “This is Matsui’s day. The focus should be on him. I’m happy I was able to be here for his game,” The walk-off single that won the game for the Yankees was hit by Alfonso Soriano, a teammate of Matsui in 2003, in his third game back with the Yankees.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Chris Archer Blanks Yanks, 1-0

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Chris Archer Blanks Yanks, 1-0: By Howard Godlin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 28- A very large crowd, 43,424, took advantage of a beautiful Saturday afternoon in July to relax o...

Bronx News Sports: Chris Archer Blanks Yanks, 1-0

Bronx News Sports: Chris Archer Blanks Yanks, 1-0: By Howard Godlin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 28- A very large crowd, 43,424, took advantage of a beautiful Saturday afternoon in July to relax o...

Chris Archer Blanks Yanks, 1-0

By Howard Godlin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 28- A very large crowd, 43,424, took advantage of a beautiful Saturday afternoon in July to relax outdoors and enjoy a major league baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Those who are pleased by viewing an extremely well-pitched, low scoring mound duel that moves quickly were in the right place on Saturday. Those who prefer high run totals boosted by home runs would have been disappointed by Saturday’s ballgame.

The two young hurlers, Ivan Nova, 26, and Chris Archer, 24, who started, easily handled the vast majority of batters they faced during the ballgame. Baserunners were few and far between.

The Rays scored the only run in the contest in the top of the sixth. Appropriately for such a masterly pitched game by both starters, the run was achieved by “small ball.”
With one out, James Loney raised his major league leading road batting average with his second single of the game. Loney is currently batting .371 in road games. The first sacker was forced at second on a ground ball by Ben Zobrist, who quickly stole second. Matt Joyce walked and Kelly Johnson drove in the lone run of the game with a single to center.

Before the game, Tampa skipper Joe Maddon decided to start Johnson in left rather than Sean Rodriguez, who started the previous night’s contest. After the game, the genial manager of the Rays commented, “The players make you look good.”

The loss was the second straight for Nova, neither of which he deserved to receive as the Yanks did not score a run in either contest. You cannot get a victory if your team is shutout. He only yielded the one run and six hits in seven innings.
Maddon described the game in the following honest words, “It was like a mid-60’s game at Yankee Stadium. It was incredible to watch, but our guy was just a little better.” Veteran catcher Yadier Molina of Tampa said of Nova, “He was really sharp today, curveballs, sliders.”

The Tampa starter has pitched outstandingly since his first start against the Yankees on June 23. The same two starting pitchers began that game with the win going to Archer and the Rays, 3-2. From that date, Archer is 5-0 and the Rays were victorious in all seven of his starts. The youngster gave up only seven earned runs in 48 innings during that period. His skills have improved as time has passed. He has only yielded one earned run during his last four starts (31 innings).

On Saturday, he threw his second complete game shutout in his last three starts. He did not walk a batter and only two Yankees recorded base hits, Lyle Overbay, a single in the fifth and Brett Gardner, a double in the sixth.

Maddon’s praise for his sterling rookie seemed endless, “Overall, it was a great mix with overwhelming stuff. He’s really growing and doing it against some really good teams. He was just [a success] waiting to happen. He’s in control of his emotions.”
Archer spoke about his emotions after the victory, “Stupendously amazing is how it feels. Our team’s just rolling along now [21 wins in the last 24 games]. It’s more fun now playing baseball than at any level.”

He gave credit for the advice given to him by Curt Schilling two days ago, “Schilling advised me to have a purpose for every pitch. I found myself doing that today.”

Although the pitching was superlative, the lack of Yankee hitting is disturbing to the team’s rooters. They have been held to two hits on four occasions in 2013.The Yankees have not homered in the last nine games. That homerless streak is the longest since 1984, when the Yanks hit no homers in 10 straight games.

The defeat placed the Yankees in their most precarious position of the season, eight games out of first place.

On Sunday, Mike Moore (14-3) will attempt to break the tie with Bártolo Colón and Max Scherzer and become the undisputed major league win leader. He will start against Phil Hughes (4-9) in the final game of the series and short homestand at Yankee Stadium. Prior to the game, there will be a special retirement ceremony to honor former Yankee Hideki Matsui.





Saturday, July 27, 2013

Soriano can't Save Slumping Yanks

C.C. Sabathia Rocked Again
Rays Top Yanks, 10-6

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 27- There was a feeling of excitement and happiness throughout Yankee Stadium on Friday night before the contest between the Yanks and Tampa Rays as the Yanks returned to the Bronx with an old favorite, Alfonso Soriano, in the starting lineup.

The good feeling subsided in the top of the second as the Rays scored six runs before the frame concluded. The Rays’ barrage included three singles, three doubles and a base on balls. The scoring was also aided by a throwing error by catcher Austin Romine. The inning only ended after a run batted in single by impressive rookie Will Myers, who was out at second trying to stretch.

Of Sabathia’s difficulty that inning, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi commented, “He was up tonight. Only one run was in with one out. That was probably the most frustrating part.”

Sabathia reflected after the contest, “I wish I could have made the pitches in the second that I did in the third.”

Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia surrendered a seventh run in his final inning, the fifth. Right fielder Sean Rodriguez led off with a double and crossed the plate on single by James Loney.

Sabathia’s start on Friday was disturbingly similar to his last two efforts. He gave up a minimum of seven runs and did not last more than five innings in each of the three games. The lefty disgustedly remarked, “Getting no help from me is tough.”

The record shows that the Rays love to bat against southpaws. The victory over Sabathia was their 10th in the last 11 games in which they faced a lefthander.
The Rays took a 10-1 advantage in the seventh. Myers led off with a single, giving him a seventh straight multi-hit game. After a walk to Matt Joyce, Loney blasted a three run homer. The first sacker continued his hitting mastery on the road. The major league leader in road batting average hit safely in his 14th straight contest on the road and reached base safely in his 33rd road start.

The Yanks in the final two innings did not die quietly as they put five runs on the board. Rookies Melky Mesa and David Adams, each of who entered the game in the eighth, each got two hits in two trips to the plate.

The month long success of the Rays has propelled them to the top of the standings in the American League East. Since June 29th, the Rays have been victorious in 20 of 23 games. Since that date, they have climbed from fourth place, seven games behind the league leader to first place, 0.5 ahead of the Red Sox.

Ivan Nova (4-3) and Chris Archer (5-3) will be the starting pitchers on Saturday afternoon.






Friday, July 26, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Soriano’s Back in the Bronx

Bronx News Sports: Soriano’s Back in the Bronx: Returns to the Yankees   By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 26- The MLB trade deadline will be reached on July 31. Thus, ...

Soriano’s Back in the Bronx


Returns to the Yankees
 
By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 26- The MLB trade deadline will be reached on July 31. Thus, there are only a few days remaining in which the contending teams can acquire players they hope can help their teams reach championship status and teams in the lower rungs of the standings can rid their teams of high salaried players who are toward the end of the careers.
The Yankee management, although the club is in fourth place in the American League East, obviously believe a change in personnel can help the team rise to contend for a post-season berth. Rumors of a trade with the Chicago Cubs in which left fielder Alfonso Soriano would return to the Bronx proved to be true on Friday when the trade was finalized.
Soriano is returning to the major league team in which he began his career in exchange for a minor league reliever, Corey Black. Soriano’s contract which lasts through the 2014 season will shift to the Yankees, but $17.7 million of the $24.5 million still owed to Soriano will be paid by the Cubs.
Although he is 37 years of age, Soriano is still capable of hitting for power. Thus far in the 2013 season, Soriano has hit 17 home runs and driven in 51 runs. Ten of his homers were hit in the last 21 games he played.
His manager in Chicago, Dale Sveum, after uttering words of high praise for Soriano’s performance and attitude while he played with the Cubs, explained the reasons why Soriano would waive the no-trade clause in his contract, “He’s going to a place that is, obviously, one of the better stadiums, and he’s been there before and has performed in that atmosphere before. Obviously, they’ve [Yankees] had a lot of injuries, and he’s the guy who can fill that void as designated hitter and in left field.”
Soriano began his pro career in baseball in Japan. He had a short but contentious time with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp before becoming an MLB free agent. He signed with the Yankees. As a minor leaguer, he was selected the MVP of the 1999 Futures Game. He played eight last season games with the Yankees in 1999.
He remained with the club through 2003. He excelled in the 2001, 2002 and 2003 seasons, but was traded to the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez in early 2004. In late 2005, he was traded to the Washington Nationals. At the conclusion of the 2006 season, he signed with the Cubs as a free agent.
Although, he was always potent at bat, Soriano was error prone as a second baseman and was eventually moved to the outfield. He was chosen an All-Star in seven major league seasons and was the MVP of the 2004 All-Star Game.
He is close to two statistical milestones that he should achieve with the Yanks; he needs 11 hits to reach 2,000 and 11 home runs to be at 400.
Two needs of the Yankees can be aided by the addition of Soriano, a right handed batter in the everyday lineup and a batter capable of power numbers.
Soriano’s initial statement showed pleasure in returning to the Yankees and good feelings for the Cubs, “I’m happy and I think they’re [Cubs] happy too. They are getting something back and I am happy going back to New York, where I started my career.”
The 15 year baseball veteran also mentioned the drawback of being traded, “The thing that was difficult for me was leaving my teammates, my family…I have been traded before and I know what happens.”
Ironically, the player the Yankees traded to obtain Alex Rodriguez will be in the Yankees lineup before A-Rod.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Yanks in All-Star Game at Citi Field-

Bronx News Sports: Yanks in All-Star Game at Citi Field-: Mariano Rivera MVP, Robinson Cano injured By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 17- The MLB stars of today and tomorrow were showcased...

Yanks in All-Star Game at Citi Field-

Mariano Rivera MVP,
Robinson Cano injured

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 17- The MLB stars of today and tomorrow were showcased at Citi Field at the 84th MLB All-Star Game. Two of New York’s star hurlers appropriately opened, Matt Harvey, and closed, Mariano Rivera, the performance. Tomorrow was especially well represented by 39 first time All-Stars. Today and the past could not have been better represented than by Mariano Rivera.

The sold-out crowd of 45,186, a record attendance at Citi Field, was predominantly comprised of Mets fans. They roundly cheered the announcement of any name associated with the orange and blue, Matt Harvey, David Wright, Terry Collins, Davey Johnson and Carlos Beltran and jeered the players from their National League East rivals from Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Appropriately, Tom Seaver, a man they called “The Franchise” threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The starting pitcher for the National League was phenom Matt Harvey of the Mets, the third Met hurler to start an All-Star Game.

The first player to leave the contest was Robinson Cano. Following Mike Trout, who doubled on the first pitch, the Yankees second sacker was hit in the right quad by a Harvey pitch. After walking to first base, he was replaced by a pinch runner.

Both Cano and Harvey spoke about the unfortunate accident to reporters during the game. Harvey explained what he did, “Obviously the last thing I wanted to do was go out there and possibly injure someone…We had called fastball in there…I didn’t want to get it in there that much…I was hoping he was going to get out of the way, but unfortunately, he didn’t.”

Cano accepted Harvey’s on-the-field apology because he did not believe it was more than accidental. Cano said the advice he was given for his right quad contusion was “just put ice on it, the x-ray was negative and get some rest.” Cano is hopeful of being able to play in the Yankees’ next game on Friday.

The first run of the game was scored by the American League on a sacrifice fly by Jose Bautista in the fourth. The run broke a 17 inning A.L. scoreless streak. In the following inning, a fielder’s choice at second hit by J.J. Hardie pushed a second run across the plate for the A.L. A double by Jason Kipnis in the eighth drove in the final run of the game. The three A.L. runs were more than they had tallied in the previous three games.

The National League had been shut out with only three hits through the first seven frames, but the A.L. skipper Jim Leyland intended to keep his promise that Mariano Rivera would pitch in his 13th and final All-Star Game. He explained his reasoning for bringing in Rivera in the eighth rather than the ninth, “For obvious reasons, if they [N.L.] scored enough runs there wouldn’t have been a [bottom of the] ninth. I was trying to manipulate to get Mariano in at the right time.”

Rivera’s entrance was a unique and special moment in baseball history. His theme, “Enter Sandman” was played in a park other than Yankee Stadium for the first time. As Neil Diamond had just finished performing “Sweet Caroline” on the field, there were no players on the field. The crowd stood and gave a rousing ovation to the celebrated closer. The players on both teams, in the dugout and in the bullpen, joined in the standing ovation. Rivera tipped his cap to all sections of the stands.
Rivera later described his feelings of the scene, “Everything has been a surprise tonight. It was amazing. I see both teams out of the dugout cheering and applauding. I have no words for it. I was out there alone with my catcher. It was so weird. I didn’t know what to do.”

After several minutes, the A.L. defense joined Rivera on the field. With the pro-Mets and pro-N.L. crowd supporting his every pitch, Rivera lived up to everyone’s expectations by retiring the N.L. All-Stars in 1-2-3 order. First baseman Prince Fielder handed Rivera the baseball as they were walking off the field to the cheers of the fans and other players. The first to greet Rivera with a big hug before he entered the dugout was Jutin Verlander of the Tigers.

Neither the team uniform jersey nor the league cap was a barrier to the respect in which every All-Star holds Rivera. Many explained the esteem for Rivera during the weekend, but the words of his Yankees teammate Robinson Cano is a good representation of how he is viewed as a player, a teammate and a human being, “I would say he’s [Rivera] the perfect player. That’s what you want in your life. You want to be successful, you want to be given respect by everyone in the game and outside the game, and always be humble.”

To cap off the evening properly, Rivera was awarded the Chevrolet Most Valuable Player Award for the game. At a post-game press conference, Rivera responded to the award, “I can’t describe it. As a team player, you don’t look for these things. I’m grateful for it.” He closed the conference with words and thoughts that exhibit who he is, “I give thanks to God for everything, my children, my wife, and to play in this All-Star Game.”t

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Local Girls Return form National Championship

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Local Girls Return form National Championship: By David Greene BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 17- The Norwood-based Family-Game Time Girls Basketball Team were invited to the AAU National Champi...

Bronx News Sports: Local Girls Return form National Championship

Bronx News Sports: Local Girls Return form National Championship: By David Greene BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 17- The Norwood-based Family-Game Time Girls Basketball Team were invited to the AAU National Champi...

Local Girls Return form National Championship

By David Greene

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 17- The Norwood-based Family-Game Time Girls Basketball Team were invited to the AAU National Championships in Kingsport, TN., on July 1 - 6, where they made it to the, "Sweet 16," finals.

The young ladies from the Mosholu - Gun Hill Road area were competing in the team's first season and captured the NY Metropolitan District Championship before they defeated the Virginia Outlaws (24-23) and the Cincinnati Switch (25-23.)

The team was eventually eliminated by the Ohio Phenom and were ranked 10th out of 26 teams invited.

After first thanking the coaches and parents for their sacrifice, team coach Vosco Hicks stated, "The trip was a great experience for the girls and the girls and the coaches will be ready to make another run at the championship next year."

The team is currently based out of the Richard R. Green Junior High School on Barnes Avenue. For more information on the team visit their web page at:www.Fcebook.com/Familygametime.

Take a Bow Mo

Last All Star game for all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 17- Before the start of the All-Star Game at Citi Field, the presence of Mariano Rivera on the field had more significance. The all-time leader in saves was taking in the festive atmosphere for the last time.

This was a special moment for No. 42, more significant than the previous 13 All-Star games wearing the uniform of the New York Yankees as a pitcher for the American League. To Rivera, though, every All-Star game has been special but his last one was in New York, where he established his Hall of Fame credentials.

“It’s great because it is home and to be here for the last time in New York. I could not ask for a better moment than that,” he said to a throng of media in the visitor’s American League clubhouse.

Rivera received congratulatory hugs from members of the AL team and just as many from the opposing NL all-stars when he got on field for batting practice.

It is the respect he earned, much of it around the country during the first half of this baseball season. On road trips with the Yankees, visiting teams have been giving Rivera one final moment, with accolades from fans and mementos presented to him at home plate prior to the first pitch.

Rivera will have his day in the Hall of Fame. Tuesday evening, he awaited the final moment and if the opportunity is presented Rivera could close the game. That has been hinted and speculated for weeks when he was selected once again to be a member of the American League All-Star pitching staff.

When asked if this game was more special, he commented, “Not as special. They all are, 13 of them they all have their meaning. Not because this is the last one will it be better than the others.”

The moment came earlier, in the eighth inning with the American League ahead 3-0. The Manager, Jim Leyland wanted to make sure Rivera had that opportunity to get in the game, save opportunity or not. Rivera, entered to his tune, "Sandman," The 45,186 cheered for 90 seconds. Rivera on the mound held back tears as members of the AL and NL squads came out of the dugouts and realized they were cheering also for a baseball icon.

"It almost made me cry," commented Rivera. "It was close. It was amazing. I will never forget that."

He threw 16 pitches, 11 going for strikes. It was, as Rivera said one of the best moments of his career along with the five world championships he has with the Yankees. But, this night not even Rivera could sense that this final Al-Star game would be so overwhelming.

It ended the way it was supposed to with Rivera getting the MVP Award. It was one inning with the best in the game.And there may never be another one like him,

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com







Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Horace Mann Grad Hits in Home Run Derby

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Horace Mann Grad Hits in Home Run Derby: Pedro Álvarez, Competes in MLB’s 2013 Home Run Derby By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK JULY 16- The favorite play for most modern basebal...

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Horace Mann Grad Hits in Home Run Derby

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Horace Mann Grad Hits in Home Run Derby: Pedro Álvarez, Competes in MLB’s 2013 Home Run Derby By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK JULY 16- The favorite play for most modern basebal...

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Pine tar controversy 30 years later

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Pine tar controversy 30 years later: Hall of Famer George Brett Remembers Historic Game at Yankee Stadium By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 16- Baseball Hall of Famer G...

Bronx News Sports: Horace Mann Grad Hits in Home Run Derby

Bronx News Sports: Horace Mann Grad Hits in Home Run Derby: Pedro Álvarez, Competes in MLB’s 2013 Home Run Derby By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK JULY 16- The favorite play for most modern basebal...

Bronx News Sports: Pine tar controversy 30 years later

Bronx News Sports: Pine tar controversy 30 years later: Hall of Famer George Brett Remembers Historic Game at Yankee Stadium By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 16- Baseball Hall of Famer G...

Horace Mann Grad Hits in Home Run Derby

Pedro Álvarez, Competes in MLB’s 2013 Home Run Derby

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK JULY 16- The favorite play for most modern baseball fans is the home run. Thus, the annual Home Run Derby, held the day before the All-Star Game, has generated a great interest among fans since its inception in 1985.

This year’s event, held at Citi Field in New York City, has brought forth more local interest than usual. The two team captains, Robinson Cano and David Wright, represented the two local MLB franchises. A third local candidate, by former residence rather than currently with a local team, Pedro Álvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates, was named by Wright as a replacement for the injured Carlos Gonzalez last week.

Álvarez was born in the Dominican Republic and plays for a team in Pittsburgh, but he also has an attachment to New York City. The Pirate slugger spent much of his childhood in Washington Heights and the Bronx. He began his education at a school for gifted and talented students in Harlem, Mott Hall School.

The "A" student and already a talented baseball player was accepted at Horace Mann, a respected private school in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. At that school, Álvarez succeeded both in the classroom and on the baseball field. His success on the high school level led to his selection by the Boston Red Sox in the 14th round of the 2005 First Year Player Draft. Always encouraged and supported by his parents, Pedro Sr., a cab driver and Luz, a teacher, in his scholastic and athletic endeavors, Pedro, Jr. believed it was best to first attend college.

He enrolled at Vandrebilt University in Nashville, where the star player still resides. During the three years he spent at college, his baseball skills and reputation improved substantially. He was recruited to the USA National Team, where his outstanding play received even more attention.

Álvarez, nicknamed “El Toro”, was the second overall pick in the 2008 First Year Player Draft. In the fall of 2008, he signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He began his career in the majors at the age of 23 on June 16, 2010.

Although 2013 is the first year Álvarez is an All-Star, he was active during All-Star week in 2009 when he was in the starting lineup in the Futures Game.
Álvarez is second in the National League home runs with 24, yet he was eliminated in the first round of the Home Run Derby after hitting six homers. Cano and Wright were also eliminated in the first round.

The surprise of the first round was the performance of Yoenis Céspedes, the only non-All-Star in the Derby. The Cuban defector belted 17 home runs, 12 traveling more than 400 feet. Mike Gallego, a former Yankees infielder and currently a coach for Oakland, tossed the pitches that brought the championship to Céspedes.
Céspedes led the four survivors to the second round with 23. The fan’s choice by votes to be in the contest, Harper, was second. Harper put eight balls into the seats in the final round. Once Céspedes hit his ninth, the contest concluded.

At a press conference held earlier in the day, the soon-to-be-home run champ said, “I am very proud to be here and proud to represent all the Latin players.”

Chevrolet, the sponsor of the event, presented $529,000 to the Boys and Girls clubs and the RBI Program. Tony LaRussa presented the championship trophy to the winner.

Pine tar controversy 30 years later

Hall of Famer George Brett Remembers Historic Game at Yankee Stadium

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 16- Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett was recently named interim hitting coach for the Kansas City Royals, the team on which he played all of his 21 years in the major leagues. Brett began his career in the big leagues at the age of 20 in 1973 and concluded it at the close of the 1993 season after having amassed a large array of on-the-field achievements and earned a plethora of honors.

Brett and the rest of the 2013 Royals were in the Bronx from July 8-11 for a four-game set with the Yankees. As the series was the only visit of the Royals to New York this year, the 30th anniversary of an unusual game between the Royals and Yanks was remembered. As Brett was the center of the controversial contest, he held a press conference at Yankee Stadium to reminisce of that day.

It’s strange that a baseball player who was elected to the Hall of Fame with 98 percent of the vote and whose achievements include a .390 batting average in 1980, being elected to the All-Star team of the American League 13 times, a World Series batting average of .373, an American League Championship Series batting average of .340, the American League MVP Award in 1980, a lifetime total of 3,154 hits and 1,596 runs batted in should be most remembered as the “tar guy.” He remarked, “It’s what I’m known for.”

The rivalry between the two clubs in 1983 was intense as they had battled in the A.L.C.S. in four of the previous seven seasons. Brett talked of his animosity towards the Yanks but also of how much he enjoyed the challenge of playing against them, especially in New York, “I loved playing here and I loved it when the fans booed me, which they did often. I loved the challenge of going out there and playing against a great Yankee team.”

The unusual game of which Brett spoke began on July 24 but did not conclude until August 18. The Yanks led, 4-3, until the ninth when Brett blasted a two-run homer off reliever “Goose” Gossage, now also in the Baseball Hall of Fame and a friend of Brett’s. The homer was followed by the Yankee manager, Billy Martin, never a stranger to an argument, exiting the dugout to complain to umpire Tim McClelland that Brett was in violation to MLB rules by having more than 18 inches of pine tar covering his bat.

The controversy intensified when the umpire disallowed the home run and called Brett out for violating baseball rules. Brett, enraged, rushed from the dugout and had to be restrained from physically attacking the ump. The decision resulted in a Yankees 4-3 victory.

The decision was overturned several days later by American League President Lee MacPhail. He ruled the home run counted and the game would resume with two out in the top of the ninth and the Royals leading, 5-4. The game continued on August 18. Several minutes later, the game concluded without a change in the 5-4 score.
Brett, three decades later, now looks at the circumstances very differently than he did during his outburst of anger, “To be remembered as a guy that hit that hit a home run off one of the great closers of all time, “Goose” Gossage with a bat that was, I guess, suspected of being illegal and proven not to be, and then having it reversed. I’m known for something positive.”

Anyone who saw George Brett play also can remember that they witnessed one of the great major leaguers of his generation and a player truly deserving of his Hall of Fame status.

Monday, July 15, 2013

All-Star Sunday- Baseball Past and Future

Yanks Look Good in Both Games

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 15- The All-Star game focuses on the best in the current year of MLB. The general voting public, the players and the managers of the two teams theoretically select those who they believe are having the most productive seasons in 2013. The only admitted exception is that every one of the 30 clubs in the majors must have a representative.

Sunday’s activities at Citi Field did not include any current stars of baseball. The first game provided fans a brief glimpse into the future. The 15th annual Futures Game featured 50 star players who may later this season or shortly after be playing in the majors. Five players selected to one of the two squads have already in the last two weeks been brought up to the majors.

Last year’s Futures Game included 19 players who have since been on a major league roster. Alumni of past futures contests comprise 34 members of the current 2013 American and National League All-Star game rosters. Obviously, this year’s 50 were worth to watch.

The two starting pitchers are hopeful of playing at Citi Field for years to come as they are in the Mets organization. 20 year-old Noah Syndergaard of the U.S, Futures and 22 year-old Rafael Montero of the World Futures may one day join Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler in the Mets rotation,

Each pitcher on both squads was limited to one inning so that every pitcher would have an opportunity to participate. Each of the starters only faced three batters. Syndergaard gave up a single to Xander Bogaerts, but the latter was thrown out trying to steal second. Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, got two of the three hits of the World. Montero set down all three batters he faced.

Brandon Nimmo, a potential future outfielder for the Mets entered the game in the fifth. Before the contest, he expressed his feeling of playing in Citi Field, “It’s nice to play where you want to play for the rest of your career. Hopefully, it’s the first of many, many games for me here.”

The only Yankees prospect on either roster was pitcher Rafael de Paula. The native of the Dominican Republic pitched the fifth for the World. The 22 year-old, now pitching for the class A Tampa Yankees, showed a fast ball in the mid-90s.

He fanned Minnesota phenom Byron Buxton to start the inning. CJ Wong grounded a single through the middle. De Paula lost control of an off-speed pitch and hit the next batter. C.J. Crons, the only U.S. batter with two hits in the game, grounded into a force play for the second out. A fly to center ended De Pula’s scoreless frame.
In the second, a single by Joc Pedereson followed by a double by Christian Yelich accounted for the first U/S. run. World took the lead with two runs in the fourth. A two-run homer by Matt Davidson in the bottom of the inning gave the U.S. a 3-2 advantage. The U.S. scored a final run in the eighth. Davidson was awarded the game MVP Award.

The look to the future was followed by a look to the past.

As major league veterans, some well-remembered for their years in New York, joined with a group of celebrities for an entertaining softball game. Seeing Bernie Williams, wearing a Yankees cap, Ricky Henderson, a former Yankee and Met, looking no older than in his playing days, Mike Piazza, a Mets icon who will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame this year, and Mets favorites Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden and John Franco joined with George Lopez, Ashanti, Aylssa Milano and other celebrities to form two teams. Also playing were Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith, Rollie Fingers, Andre Dawson and potential members of the Hall, Frank Thomas and Fred Lynn.
Pitching for the National League was Jennie Finch, a U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in softball. Unlike her normal fast pitch which probably would have handcuffed every batter, she threw a slow and high arcing pitch that could be hit. Fingers was given a rare start for the A.L.

Memories of the past were evoked and led to cheers when Williams and Piazza homered and Smith showed his prowess at shortstop has not disappeared since his retirement. A big cheer was reserved for the homer hit by amputee Josh Wege. Angelino Lopez wore Yassiel Puig’s jersey #66. The N.L. won the six inning affair, 8-5. Finch thus recorded a complete game win. A crowd of 39,185 had a great time.

Bronx News Sports: Sweltering CC Comes Up Short

Bronx News Sports: Sweltering CC Comes Up Short: Yankees finish first half with another struggle from Sabathia By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 15- If the New York Yankees have any...

Sweltering CC Comes Up Short

Yankees finish first half with another struggle from Sabathia

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 15- If the New York Yankees have any chance for a post season in October they need a strong and better second half from their ace CC Sabathia. His misfortunes of a first half continued to go sour on Sunday afternoon allowing eight runs to the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium.

New York closed the first half of their season in the Bronx with a 10-4 loss. It was the worst outing for Sabathia, (9-8) this season. His 4.0 innings tied for the fewest innings pitched in 20 starts, though of the season high 8-runs allowed only three were earned because of the sandlot like plays his defense caused.

And again the home run ball was a culprit. A three-run shot from Aaron Hicks to left in the third inning gave the Twins a 5-0 lead. However, Sabathia once again did not have it, and neither did the Yankees as they head into the all-star break with a 51-44 mark, sitting fourth in the American League east behind first place Boston, Baltimore and Tampa Bay.

Last year going into the Break, New York was 52-33.

The home run to Hicks was the 21st given up by Sabathia which tied his mark of last year. By all means, this final start going into the break is not what Sabathia expects to do when he gets on the mound again up in Boston next Sunday against the first place Red Sox. That game will be the final of a three-game series for the Yankees, theifirst one after the break.

“Part of the game, frustrating,” commented Sabathia. The outing marked the second most runs allowed he has allowed in a start since joining the Yankees in the 2009 season.

Sabathia was not helped by a shady Yankees defense. In the fourth inning, Minnesota scored three more runs led by an error from Lyle Overbay at first base. In total, the Yankees made two errors, but there could have been more charged that went for hits.

“I need to be better,” said Sabathia. He lost for the eighth time this season tying a career high in losses prior to the all-star break when he was 6-8 with Cleveland in the 2008 season.

The pitch to Hicks was a changeup over the plate. Sabathia said he was looking forward to the break and will work on some adjustments with pitching Coach Larry Rothchild.

When asked about the disappointing first half, he said, "No year is the same. Still have to work harder to do better. I am not pitching very well and look forward to the break and pitching better in the second half. Everyone in here knows we have to do better.”

Everyone, including Sabathia in the Yankees clubhouse realize, despite the extensive injuries, that they have to do better. Boston, with the best record in the American League shows no signs of a collapse, Tampa Bay ended the first half on a streak and Baltimore is keeping pace, second to the Red Sox in the Al East division.

The Yankees may or may not get Derek Jeter back after the break. He was not at the stadium again Sunday recuperating from a stomach virus. More so, Jeter may need more time or hit the disabled list again with an injured right quad.

Alex Rodriguez is continuing his rehab stint, now at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes/Barre. And barring any complications from a possible suspension by Major League Baseball, for his latest steroid exploits, the Yankees could see A-Rod back in the lineup in the Boston series.

Girardi said it is too early to decide the situation with Jeter and he will not comment about the status of Rodriguez. The Yankees went 9-5 over their last 14 games heading into the break and swept the Twins last weekend in Minnesota. They went 3-4 against the Royals and Twins on this home stand.

However, their goal, if they are to make it to October is to win series, and they failed to do that against the Twins, one of the worse teams in the American League.

“Not what you want,” said manager Joe Girardi about his team going into the break losing two straight to the Twins. “You want to play well going into the break. You are going to have these games and can’t let it affect you Friday.”

Friday night the Yankees resume the second half up in Boston. The games are significant, and perhaps four days of rest and recuperation is what the team needs to keep pace. They also hope 15 players, and a total of 18 stints on the disabled list becomes a thing of the past in the second half.

As Girardi said, when asked about the dismal first half, “Not what we wanted. You have to move on.” Meaning, the Yankees will have to take this first half as something that can’t be on their mind Friday.

“I don’t think anyone should be satisfied where we’re at,” said Giaradi.

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso



Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Yanks blow it

Bronx News Sports: Yanks blow it: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 14- On Saturday afternoon, Phil Hughes of the Yanks and Samuel Deduno hooked up as starters for t...

Yanks blow it



By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 14- On Saturday afternoon, Phil Hughes of the Yanks and Samuel Deduno hooked up as starters for the second time in ten days. On July 2, Deduno yielded three runs and received the loss while Hughes only gave up a single run and earned the win. The outcome was very different on Saturday afternoon.

The Yankees struck first by putting up a run with only one out in the first frame. Ichiro Suzuki doubled and scored on a single to center by the next batter, Robinson Cano.
The Yankees did not score again in the next 8.2 innings. Girardi credited the Twins starter, “Deduno’s been really tough on us; he’s given us trouble.” The Dominican native surrendered only one run and six hits in seven innings to earn the win.”

Hughes, as often takes place, was stung by the long ball. The game was knotted at one in the third as Trevor Plouffe parked his 10th home run in the seats in left field. The homer was Plouffe’s second off Hughes in his eighth at bat. Of the first homer off Hughes in the game, Yankee manager Joe Girardi remarked, “It was a fastball that ran back across the plate.”

The tie was broken with one out in the top of the seventh when Ryan Doumit blasted a slider into the right field seats. Doumit can accurately be termed a Yankee killer as he is batting .334 (28 for 83) against Yankees pitching. The catcher is even more effective against the pitches of Hughes as the home run was his seventh hit in 12 at bats against the righty.

The third home run given up by Hughes tied his single game high of this season, previously done on April 13, and was his final pitch of the afternoon.

Aaron Hicks led off the eighth with a single. He was followed by Clete Thomas, who was ruled out for interference. Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire vehemently argued against the call and was ejected for the 65th time in his career and the third time in 2013. The beef may have disturbed Hughes more than any member of the Twins as the next batter, Pedro Florimon, hit a 2-2 pitch for the third homer of the contest.

Girardi, in general, was very pleased with the performance of Hughes, “I thought he threw the ball exceptionally well except for a few mistakes. He’s going to give up some home runs.”

Speaking of the Yankees less than powerful offense this year, Girardi stated, “You’re going to make some mistakes [but] in a game like this, you can’t. I think we can be better, more consistent. I don’t think it’s an offense that can score six runs a game.”

Hughes talked about working harder to eliminate every pitching mistake, “I had one or two mistakes that I have to stay away from. I have to really concentrate on locating. I have to try to execute every single pitch.”

The rubber game of the three game series and the final game before the All-Star break will be played on Sunday afternoon with C.C. Sabathia (9-7) and Kyle Gibson (1-2) in the roles as starters.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Yanks Shutout Twins in Rain Drenched Yankee Stadiu...

Bronx News Sports: Yanks Shutout Twins in Rain Drenched Yankee Stadiu...: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 13- Friday night’s game between the Yankees and the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium was dominated...

Bronx News Sports: Jeter Out Again

Bronx News Sports: Jeter Out Again: Latest Jeter setback of quad strain is frustrating for Yankees and the captain By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 13-Friday night hou...

Jeter Out Again

Latest Jeter setback of quad strain is frustrating for Yankees and the captain

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 13-Friday night hours before the New York Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins on a rain drenched evening in the Bronx, Derek Jeter was not on the lineup card of manager Joe Girardi. After sitting out 91 games because of a setback to surgery of his left ankle, Jeter was sidelined again.

This time Jeter may not be disabled, but he and the Yankees will have to wait after the all-star break to see if a Grade 1 strain of his right quad is healthy enough to take the field.

Jeter, after going 1-for-4 Thursday afternoon, had to be removed from the game after aggravating the quad in his third at bat. An MRI result revealed the strain. General Manager Brian Cashman expressed concern Friday about the strain, though a possible return to the disabled list for the Yankees captain is not out of the question.

Though the question will be asked, was Jeter rushed back onto service sooner than expected because the Yankees have been pressing to score runs?

“It could resolve after that time, it could take more time, and I can’t rule out ultimately a disabled list,” said Cashman referring to possibly Jeter missing more time.

So, whatever enthusiasm the Yankees had a day before was quickly exhumed by this latest setback to their captain. Obviously the presence of Jeter in the lineup does have meaning and the Yankees for the time being again will go with Eduardo Nunez at short, Luis Cruz or Alberto Gonzalez.

Jeter was the designated hitter Thursday. And that was the plan for the time being to assure that the ankle was fit for an everyday role at short. However, the Yankees were always playing the precautionary role when it came to Jeter returning to the Bronx.

He was scheduled to play another game at Triple-A Scranton Thursday, but Cashman left a message for Jeter Wednesday night to pack his bags and come back to the Bronx,

“I guess you gotta be careful even when it’s just a DH situation,” said Cashman late Friday afternoon when asked about the circumstances of Jeter returning sooner than expected.

He added, “If there is a lesson to be learned on that, moving up one day appeared to be a harmless circumstance at the time. But listen, you go through the process for a reason.” He was referring to the rehab stint that Jeter went through to get back in the lineup.

Girardi said, Jeter wanted to play Friday night. He will have a short bench with Jeter not available for the last two games before the all-star break. “His frame of mine is good. He wants to give it a shot after these seven days to see where he’s at.”

Jeter was not available to the media for comment though he released a statement that said, “It’s frustrating. I don’t know what else you want me to say. I worked hard to get to the point of rejoining the team yesterday. It’s not how you draw it up, but hopefully I’ll be back out there soon and help this team win some games.”

Mariano Rivera closed out the win Friday night and recorded his 30th save. Part of five World Series championships with Jeter, he said about the latest setback “It was hard.”

“He worked so hard to come back and play and be with his teammates and help this team as much as he can. It’s incredible. You have to find out a way to get it done, get healthy and help the team.”

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Yanks Shutout Twins in Rain Drenched Yankee Stadium

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 13- Friday night’s game between the Yankees and the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium was dominated by rain. The contest began with the temperature at 73 degrees contrasted with the torrid temperatures during the earlier games of the current homestand. The rain intensified in the early innings until play was halted at 8:42

Neither team put a run on the board prior to the rain delay. Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda gave up five hits and one walk in his first four innings on the mound. Base runners of the Twins were in scoring position in every inning except the second, but Twins batters failed to drive any runners across the plate as they batted 0 for 6 with runners on second and/or third base.

Scott Diamond, a major league sophomore, held the Yanks to one hit, a single by Lyle Overbay in the second, but he issued three walks.

Play resumed in the bottom of the fourth after a one hour and 13minute rain delay. Rain did continue throughout the game, but the nine innings were completed. Diamond was removed from the game in the fourth, but Kuroda returned in the fifth.

After retiring the first two batters he faced, Joe Mauer, a three-time American League batting champion, doubled and Justine Morneau, the Home Run Derby winner in 2008 at Yankee Stadium, walked. It was the final rally that Kuroda quashed before leaving the contest.

When asked about keeping Kuroda in the game after such a lengthy rain delay, Yankees manager Joe Girardi remarked, “We had him throwing underneath. He did a good job when he came back.” Kuroda discussed his desire to remain in the contest regardless of the delay, “I did this 2 or 3 years ago. With all the preparation I made for this, I wanted to come back. The rain stopped earlier than I thought; I think that helped me come back.”

Kuroda earned his eighth victory of 2013 as the only runs of the game were scored in the bottom of the fifth. Luis Cruz opened the inning with a single. Cruz advanced to second on a sacrifice by Chris Stewart. Brett Gardner drove in the first run with a single. A ground out by Ichiro Suzuki moved him to second and Gardner scored on a single to center by Robinson Cano.

Yankee relievers, Preston Claiborne, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, did not yield a run to give the team its fifth shutout of the season. Lefty Boone Logan was called into the game in the seventh with two on and no outs to face three tough lefty batters, Chris Parmelee, Mauer and Morneau. Logan struck out all three, after the game, he commented, “I had to bear down and fight the elements. These guys have given me trouble my whole career. This was the time to do it.”

Rivera earned his 30th save by retiring the side in the ninth.

The Twins have lost 12 of the last 13 games and are 7-31 in the Bronx since 2002.
The starting pitchers for the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon will be Phil Hughes (4-8) and Samuel Deduno (4-4)






Friday, July 12, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Jeter's Back, But Was It Too Soon?

Bronx News Sports: Jeter's Back, But Was It Too Soon?: Yankees win as Jeter returns to the lineup and aggravates his quad By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 12- Derek Jeter was not expecte...

Jeter's Back, But Was It Too Soon?

Yankees win as Jeter returns to the lineup and aggravates his quad

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 12- Derek Jeter was not expected back at Yankee Stadium until Friday night. But minor injuries to Brett Gardner and Travis Hafner caused his four-game rehab assignment at Scranton cut short. General manager Brian Cashman called him late Wednesday night and he was ready.

“I was nervous going into the game,” said the 39-year-old Jeter who returned to the Yankees lineup Thursday afternoon. It was, as he said, “Opening Day” returning to the lineup for the first time since sustaining a break to his left ankle when turning a double play last October 12 in the Bronx during Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Tigers.

He went 1-for-4, scored a run on an RBI groundout in his first at bat, inserted second in the lineup as the designated hitter. There was some concern though, as Jeter was pulled for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning because of a tight right quad. He was going to undergo an MRI after the game.

“It’s just stiff,” said Jeter who does not expect to miss more time. “We’ll find out tomorrow.” Manager Joe Girardi also expects Jeter to be available Friday night when the Yankees open a three-game series at the stadium with the Minnesota Twins, their last series before the all-star break.

New York defeated Kansas City 8-4, splitting a four-game series with the Royals. It was the second straight game a struggling Yankees offense scored eight runs.

“Hopefully he will be back tomorrow,” commented Girardi when asked how serious the quad injury is, and if it would cause another setback for the Yankees captain. The original plan, according to Girardi and Cashman wasn’t to bring Jeter back Thursday.

“Just felt if he was going to play down in Triple- A today he could play here,” said Girardi. He said the team was excited he was back, adding, “It was great to put his name in the lineup.”

“We will see how he feels tomorrow, evaluate and see what the tests say,” he added when asked again if Jeter would be available Friday night.

“I felt fine, I felt good going from first to third,” said Jeter about his first inning and first at bat in the Bronx since breaking the left ankle. He also ran out a couple of ground balls and said he felt good up until the point when the quad gave him a problem.

With the Yankees down 3-0, Jeter stepped in the batter’s box in the bottom of the first inning. The Yankee stadium afternoon crowd of 40,381 made the introduction with a loud standing ovation. There was no announcement of his name from public address announcer Paul Olden. The recorded voice of the late Bob Sheppard, longtime PA announcer at the stadium, did not say, “Now batting for the Yankees, Number 2-Derek Jeter.”

Jeter reached on an infield single to third that Miguel Tejada had trouble handling. He hustled up the line to first, and easily made it to third when Robinson Cano singled to center. Vernon Wells got him home on a sacrifice fly and once again the stadium crowd roared for Jeter.

His next at bat in the Yankees two-run second inning, with two-outs and Ichiro Suzuki on first as the tying run, Jeter grounded out to third. This time though, the voice of Sheppard was heard. Jeter always said as long as he was a Yankee the voice of Bob Sheppard would announce his name when he got to the batter’s box.

Maybe Jeter returning to the lineup, days before the all-star break is what the Yankees needed to spark their offense that has been struggling, though the night before they scored 8-runs, their most at home this season.

“Fans were great, like opening day,” said Jeter about the ovation.” I expect the same thing, win games. I expect nothing different,” he said about what to expect now that he is back In the Yankees lineup after recovering the past nine months.

He added, ”After four games in Scranton, I had a lot of bats... I thought I was coming up Friday.” Cashman left him a message on his phone late Wednesday night when he was in the Scranton clubhouse.

“I wanted to be here but thought it would be Friday. Now I am ready to go at it again. I’m ready to go, I want to play. My ankle is fine. My job has always been to get on base, score runs and try and help us win. That’s the way it’s always been.”

Girardi was elated to have the captain back in his lineup. “He got a hit, scored a run, I’ll take that every day,” he said.

Pettitte (7-6) threw the ball well, 5.2 innings, four runs, a walk and strikeout despite yielding three runs in the first. It was his second straight win, the first time he has done that since winning each of his first three starts of the season.

Lyle Overbay, who drove in four runs with a grand slam home run Wednesday night, knocked in two more with a bases loaded single in the fifth inning.

For the moment, Jeter is back. And that has everyone smiling at Yankee Stadium. As Girardi said before the game Thursday, “Were better with him here regardless of the outcome today. It’s good for the club, good for the fans.”

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Yanks End Three-Game Losing streak

Bronx News Sports: Yanks End Three-Game Losing streak: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 11- A combination of power hitting and an outstanding pitching performance by starter Ivan Nova gav...

Yanks End Three-Game Losing streak

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 11- A combination of power hitting and an outstanding pitching performance by starter Ivan Nova gave the Yankees an 8-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday evening. The win ended New York’s three-game losing streak .

Ivan Nova pitched his second consecutive sterling start in July. Nova pitched his first complete game five days earlier, a game won by the Yankees, 3-2. He fell short by one inning of becoming the first Yankees hurler by pitch back-to-back complete games since Jack McDowell in 1995.

The 26 year-old kept the Royals scoreless during the first seven frames. He gave up two singles in the first and two singles in the fifth. The only run scored off Nova came in the eighth. After Nova retired the first two batters, Alcides Escobar drew a walk. The only Royals run was driven in by a double by Eric Hosmer.

Nova was lifted at the end of eight, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi commented on that decision, “We probably could have left him in for the ninth.” Despite missing nearly a month while on the DL with inflammation of the right triceps and nearly another month while in the minors, Girardi spoke of his long-time faith in Nova’s pitching, “I’ve always had high expectations. I’ve always believed in Ivan. He was out of whack in the second half last year. Getting him on track was very important."

Nova had a simple explanation for his five hit and one run performance in eight innings, “I’m throwing strikes with all of my pitches.” Girardi believes the last two starts “should build his [Nova’s] confidence.”

The Bronx Bombers have not lived up to that nickname as of late. Before Wednesday’s contest, the Yankees had homered in only 10 of their past 30 contests. The team’s record in homerless contests this year is only 13-26. The mark when they hit the long ball is 36-16.

Seven of the eight Yankee runs came via home runs. In the third, with Luis Cruz (walk) and Brett Gardner (hit by pitch) on base, Robinson Cano hit his 21st home run of the season. Next week, Cano will be starting at second base in his fourth straight All-Star Game and captain the American League Home Run Derby squad.

The damage was completed in the sixth frame. Cano led off with a single. Pinch hitter Vernon Wells followed with a single. The bases were filled after Zoilo Almonte walked. Lyle Overbay took a full count pitch deep for his first Grand Slam since 2006. Overbay commented after the contest, “I was a little aggressive. I was lucky.” Of his unexpected amount of playing time, Overbay remarked, “It’s been fun. I’m just enjoying it.”

The Yankees raised their record to 29-1 when scoring at least five runs.

The final game of the four game set will be a Thursday matinee in which Andy Pettitte (6-6) and Ervin Santana (5-5) will be the starting pitchers.

Will Derek Jeter return soon? Rumors were heard in and out of Yankee stadium on Wednesday that there is a strong possibility that Jeter will return to the club for Friday night’s contest at Yankee Stadium. When asked after Wednesday’s game, Girardi said, “We evaluate him every day. Let’s just see.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Yankees fail to hit again

Bronx News Sports: Yankees fail to hit again: More A-Rod steroid drama By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 10- Days before the all-star break and a few weeks before the trading dea...

Yankees fail to hit again

More A-Rod steroid drama

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 10- Days before the all-star break and a few weeks before the trading deadline, perhaps the New York Yankees need to look at their last three games, including a 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals Tuesday night in the Bronx.

CC Sabathia tossed his 37th career complete game but it went as a loss. The simple reason, again the Yankees failure to produce hits and runs, which has raised some questions about bringing some help before the deadline.

Though manager Joe Girardi has that concerned look on his face, as does a quiet Yankees clubhouse, there is no word if there will be any movement. For the moment, this is a team that will have to find some answers with or without a return of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez from the injured list.

And there are reports that Rodriguez, currently on a rehab assignment, may not return anytime soon. Reports Tuesday are stating that Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is close to leveling 100-game suspensions to the Yankees third baseman and other players in the latest steroid crisis to hit the game.

“They’re going out throwing pretty good ballgames, we’re just not scoring runs for them,” commented Yankees manager Joe Girardi about his pitching staff that has seen a lack of run support. During the last three ballgames the Yankees offense in losses to Baltimore and Kansas City has produced three runs.

That of course does not win ballgames, though Girardi said he expected out of spring training for this team to be playing tight ballgames and remains confident runs will be a matter of time.

“Feel these guys can get it done,” he said. “We’re going to score more runs. I believe they can do it. Any time you get four hits in an inning, you think you;ll get more than one run.”

Royals’ starter James Shield (4-6) got the win. And the only time Yankees fans could cheer was the first inning when they produced a run on four hits on singles from Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Robinson Cano and Zoilo Almonte.

Shields had 13 previous career starts at Yankee Stadium, 2-9 with a 5.31 ERA. The former Tampa Bay Ray right hander, in his first start against New York as a Royal, lost 3-2, May 11th at Kaufman Stadium allowing two earned runs and six hits over eight innings.

Prior to his start Tuesday night, his last win against the Yankees came as a Ray, 4-3 on September 3 of last season at Tropicana Field in Tampa.

Except for the first inning, Shields was sharp. He tossed 7.0 innings and shut down the Yankees after the first inning run and retired 17 consecutive batters after a Chris Stewart single in the second. In that inning he also recorded two of his five strikeouts.

“I had some good games here too,” he said about tough luck in the Bronx over the last few years. “It’s good to come to Yankee Stadium and get the win. We just want to win series, that’s all we want to do.”

Kansas City has won the first two of the four games in the Bronx with game three tomorrow night and the series finale Thursday afternoon.

On that first inning, Royals manager Ned Yost said about Shields, “James Shields after the first inning really settled in and did a great job. Holding the fort in the first inning was huge.”

The Yankees left three on in that first as Shields also got help from his defense. Lorenzo Cain ran down a drive in center and also made three other outstanding catches in the outfield.

Kansas City won their second in a row, and fifth in their last seven. New York on the other hand dropped their third straight after a season high six-game winning streak.

The Royals got to Sabathia (9-7) in the sixth inning for a run that tied the game at 1-1. David Lough hit a home run, a 1-1 pitch off a fastball in the sixth to the second deck in right field. Sabathia was reached for two more runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

Billy Butler hit a 0-1 fastball for his 8th home run off leading off the 7th to the lower right bleachers, a fastball in, breaking the 1-1 tie. It was his second home run in two games.

“CC threw a good game,” said Butler. “We hit his spots.”

With one out in the eighth the Royals produced another run off Sabathia. Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer hit back- to- back doubles that produced their final run.

Tim Collins relieved Shields and the Yankees got their first runner on since the Stewart hit with a Bret Gardner single to left. Greg Holland converted his 15th consecutive save opportunity retiring the Yankees in order, his 22nd of the season.

“Two big mistakes,” said Sabathia about the fastball home run balls to Lough and Butler. “It’s frustrating, a loss is a loss,” he said.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bronx News Sports: All wet

Bronx News Sports: All wet: Hughes outing cut short by rain delay in Yankees loss to Royals By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 9- Phil Hughes, the New York Yanke...

All wet

Hughes outing cut short by rain delay in Yankees loss to Royals

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 9- Phil Hughes, the New York Yankees right hander, won his last five starts against the Kansas City Royals. Monday night at Yankee Stadium a two-run second inning by the Royals would be the only runs he allowed. The unexpected 59-minute rain delay cut his night short and the bullpen could not keep the game close as the Royals took the first of four games, 5-1.

Billy Butler set the tone for Kansas City in the inning. On a 1-0 pitch, he homered off Hughes leading off. It was the 15th long ball Hughes has given up this season. Two doubles followed in the inning that led to another run. With two outs David Lough drove one inside the left field line that scored Mike Moustakes who got on base with a two-base hit to right..

As has been an often scene in the Bronx this season, rain delayed the game with one out in the Yankees fourth. After the delay Hughes did not return to the mound after tossing 4.0 innings and giving up the two runs. He threw 62 pitches.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Hughes had worked hard and threw enough pitches, a reason as to why he did not bring him back on the mound after the delay

“Once you get by an hour or so at that point with the amount of pitches that he had, I had some concerns,” said Girardi. “I wasn’t comfortable bringing him back out.”

Hughes, (4-8) who got the loss felt he could have returned. “That’s what was frustrating about tonight. I felt like I could have given us some more innings and gone pretty good.”

And with the exception of that second inning, and had the rain not interfered, Hughes could have been on his way to giving the Yankees a quality start. That second inning and the home run have epitomized his first half of a frustrating season.

In his last three outings, Hughes has allowed five earned runs in 19-innings.

“It seems like all season, I’ve run into some trouble early,” he said. “And then it feels like especially in these last few starts I’ve kinda found myself as the game goes on. I’ve felt pretty good the last few times out. But that’s baseball. You can’t expect the weather to cooperate.”

Adam Warren relieved Hughes after the rain delay. He pitched three innings, gave up a run on three hits and struck out three.

New York managed one run off Royals starter and winning pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, (8-6) who tossed 6/2-3 innings, gave up six hits and struck out three. The run came in the seventh. After two outs Lyle Overbay came off the bench and hit his 10th home run off a 2-1 pitch to the right field stands off Guthrie.

Guthrie went into the seventh inning allowing just three hits. He previously had given up 13-earned runs in 115 prior innings, so once again the Yankees had a problem getting on base.

Royals’ manager Ned Yost had a different strategy after the rain delay and opted to stay with his starter.

“Even though it was close to an hour rain delay we had Guthrie throwing every 10, 15 minutes in the cage to stay loose. He was adamant that he was fine. With a short pen, I said “let’s give it a shot.” He went out and did a great job.”

Two more Yankees would get on and were stranded when Guthrie was relieved by Tim Collins. Overall, New York left 10- stranded on base including the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. With no-out, Greg Holland recorded his 21st save striking out Eduardo Nunez, Brett Gardner and Zoilo Almonte on a foul tip.

In the end though, it was the Yankees failure to get on base and the rain getting in the way with a good effort by Hughes.

NOTES: CC Sabathia (9-6) will try and get the Yankees even Tuesday night opposing 3-6 James Shields…. Derek Jeter went 0-for-2 and a walk and a run scored in five innings in another rehab game Monday night at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

Girardi would not commit as to possibilities his captain will return to the Bronx the next few days as the Yankees want to make certain Jeter is completely okay to go after his setback from ankle surgery.

"There is always a chance,” he said. “You just have to see how he does the next three or four days.”

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Surprise Ending- Mariano Rivera Blows 2nd Save of ...

Bronx News Sports: Surprise Ending- Mariano Rivera Blows 2nd Save of ...: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK JULY 8- A sweltering heat wave continued in the New York area on Sunday. The temperature in the Bronx was...

Surprise Ending- Mariano Rivera Blows 2nd Save of 2013

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK JULY 8- A sweltering heat wave continued in the New York area on Sunday. The temperature in the Bronx was 92 at the time the first pitch of the game at Yankee Stadium was thrown, but an exciting baseball game was again completed.

The crowd of 40,218 in the ballpark included 4,000 guests from Newtown, Connecticut. Prior to the 2013 season opener, the New York Yankees promised to recognize the bereaved residents of the town as part of the healing process of the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the ceremony, “We need to reach out and continue to reach out to these families.”

The Newtown Youth Voices performed the National Anthem and the Sandy Hook Fire Department and the Newtown Police Department comprised the color guard. The pre-game ceremony also included a remembrance of the victims by the display of their names on the centerfield scoreboard.

The crowd was treated to a pitching clinic as baserunners were very few in number and runs were even more scarce. The Yanks scored their only run of the contest in the second frame off Orioles’ starter Jason Hammel. Zoilo Almonte drew a walk to lead-off the inning. He moved to third on a single by Lyle Overbay. The tally was registered after a sacrifice fly by yesterday’s hero, Eduardo Nuñez.

Hammel was removed after the fifth, but solely because of his pitch count (102). The four Baltimore relievers did not yield either a hit or a run. Two nights earlier, Oriole closer Jim Johnson blew the save opportunity and received the loss in the ninth inning as the Orioles were defeated. Johnson retired all three batters in the ninth on Sunday to record his 30th save of the year and his 81st since the start of the 2012 season.

Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda blanked the Birds for seven innings in his first outing in July. He scattered three hits, two by Nick Markakis, and walked only one batter. Girardi remarked on the effectiveness of his pitches, “His sinker was good and his split was exceptionally good.”

In Kuroda’s last start, on June 30 against Baltimore, he gave up three homers. He stated he was making a concerted effort to avoid that mishap again, “There are a lot of their home run hitters in their lineup, so I was just trying to make sure I didn’t give up one.”

Although he only threw 88 pitches, the lowest total in a game this year during which he pitched more than two innings, he was removed after seven. The modest Kuroda, after the contest, did not criticize the decision, “It was a good situation to have [David] Robertson in the eighth and Mariano [Rivera] in the ninth.”

Robertson set down the three men he faced in order in the eighth. “Enter Sandman” played and the crowd cheered Rivera’s entrance, expecting a rapid and happy ending of the game.
The first batter, Markakis, after pulling a ball deep into the stands but foul, singled. Starting American League All-Star Adam Jones followed with home run deep to left-center on an 0-1 pitch off the 13 time A.L. All-Star to give the Birds a 2-1 advantage.
Girardi spoke about the inning, “it just looked like he made a mistake to Jones. Markakis got an 0-2 hit. It’s only the 2nd [blown save] in 31 chances.”

Catcher Chris Stewart remarked, “They were getting good swings. It‘s tough but it happens.” To put the story in perspective, the Yankees have compiled a record of 668-44 in games during which Rivera had save opportunity.

In fourth place in the American League East after Sunday’s game, the Yanks now play host to the Kansas City Royals for four games. Phil Hughes (4-7) and Jeremy Guthrie (7-6) will start the opener on Monday night.









Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bronx News Sports: Scorcher

Bronx News Sports: Scorcher: Photos by Gary Quintal It wasn't just Andy Pettitte's pitching that was hot on Saturday. Fans tried to keep cool during the swelte...

Scorcher

Photos by Gary Quintal

It wasn't just Andy Pettitte's pitching that was hot on Saturday. Fans tried to keep cool during the sweltering heat at Yankee Stadium.







Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Nunez returns to Yankees lineup and that’s a plus ...

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Nunez returns to Yankees lineup and that’s a plus ...: By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 6- The New York Yankees have been waiting for one of their injured starting infielders to come off...

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Sixth Straight Victory for Yankees

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Sixth Straight Victory for Yankees: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 6- An oppressive heat with temperatures above 90 degrees hovered over Yankee Stadium on Saturday af...

Bronx News Sports: Nunez returns to Yankees lineup and that’s a plus ...

Bronx News Sports: Nunez returns to Yankees lineup and that’s a plus ...: By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 6- The New York Yankees have been waiting for one of their injured starting infielders to come off...

Bronx News Sports: Sixth Straight Victory for Yankees

Bronx News Sports: Sixth Straight Victory for Yankees: By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 6- An oppressive heat with temperatures above 90 degrees hovered over Yankee Stadium on Saturday af...

Sixth Straight Victory for Yankees

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 6- An oppressive heat with temperatures above 90 degrees hovered over Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The heat adversely affected those in the stands and those on the playing field, but did not prevent the Yankees from coming from behind to earn their sixth consecutive win. Interestingly, five of the six were comeback victories.

The 5-4 victory over the Orioles allowed the Yanks to move into sole possession of second place in the American League East, .5 games ahead of Baltimore.

A two run homer by Chris Davis off Yankees starter Andy Pettitte in the first scored the first two runs of the contest. The pitch, according to the veteran lefthander, “was exactly where I wanted it.” Yankees skipper Joe Girardi remarked about the young superstar, “He’s so strong his popups are going to go out.”

Davis is currently a strong candidate for the 2013 MVP award in the American League. He ranks 1st in home runs (33), 1st in slugging percentage (.721), 2nd in batting average (.324), 2nd in runs (63), 2nd in runs batted in (85), 2nd in doubles (26) and 4th in on base percentage (.399). His current totals of 33 homers and 85 RBIs are equal to what he achieved in the 2012 season during which he played 139 games.

Pettitte gave up a run on two hits in the second and fourth innings. Seven of the nine hits and all four runs he yielded came during the first four frames. Girardi commented regarding Pettite’s adjustment, “He kind of figured it out in the third.”

Pettitte spoke in greater length and more discouragement about his pitching difficulties, especially early in a game, “Same old story, they got runs early. It’s frustrating. It would be nice to throw up some zeros early and pitch with a lead. Right now, my pitch selection is not the right one.” The veteran expressed no doubt that he will be able to overcome any current pitching problems, “I’ll just continue to battle through this.”

Pettitte lasted 6.2 innings. Thanks to his bullpen mates, who did not yield a run, Pettitte earned his sixth win of the year. The win, his 251st tied him with Bob Gibson for 42nd place in MLB history. Mariano Rivera earned his 29th save of the season in 30 save opportunities. The duo of Pettitte and Rivera combined for the 4th win/save combination of this season and the 72nd career combo.

The Yankees won the game using small ball. They got 10 hits, everyone was a single. Hits by Zoilo Almonte, Lyle Overbay, Luis Cruz and a sacrifice fly by Eduardo Nuñez in his first game since May 5 led to two runs in the second. Singles by Nuñez, Chris Stewart, Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano added two runs in the fifth. The winning run was driven in by Nuñez in the sixth.

The Yanks hope to sweep the three game set on Sunday afternoon with Huroki Kuroda (7-6) facing Jason Hammel (7-5).

Nunez returns to Yankees lineup and that’s a plus for the infield



By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 6- The New York Yankees have been waiting for one of their injured starting infielders to come off the disabled list and make an impact. Saturday afternoon, Eduardo Nunez came off the 60-day list and started at shortstop for the first time since early May.

Nunez was off to a slow start, then a strain to his left side became too painful and possibly a reason why his average stood at .00 with four runs batted in. The Yankees have been without Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, and most of their infield has been on the disabled list the first half of the season.

Jeter and Rodriguez continue their rehab assignments and are expected back in the lineup sometime after the all-star break. Rodriguez is targeted for the end of the month and Jeter, assuming there are no more issues with his left ankle that required surgery, could return sooner.

For now, manager Joe Girardi was more than happy to welcome back Nunez. He batted eighth in the lineup and had the game deciding hit against Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth inning as New York extended their winning streak to a season high six games.

“I was disappointed in myself for being hurt so long,” said Nunez who went 2-for-3, scored a run and drove in two. His first at bat off Tillman, he flied out to left that scored Zollo Almonte in what was a sacrifice double-play.

In the eighth inning, Nunez was involved in an inning ending double play ball with David Robertson on the mound and the Orioles down by a run. After the inning, Robertson came off the mound, clutched his fist and gave Nunez a high-five in the dugout.

Almonte was in the lineup the first time with Nunez, He said: “It feels good to have one of the regulars back in the lineup.”

“That’s the best comeback you can do,” added Nunez. “Help the team to win.” And he did not have many bats in his brief rehab assignment, three hits at Double-A Trenton, The Yankees said Nunez was ready and had a roster spot open when they placed pitcher David Phelps on the disabled list with a strain to his right forearm,

“He’s the guy that you’ve kind of touted as an everyday player for a while, has the ability to really contribute offensively, play good defensively, steal bases and do a lot of different things,” said Girardi.

Nunez could be in the lineup often as long as he stays healthy. Jayson Nix, another infielder who played short and third, was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a right hamstring strain. So, the Yankees took a chance and hoped an unexpected early return of Nunez would pay dividends.

“For him, it’s getting him healthy and getting him out there,” added Girardi, Nunez arrived in the Bronx late Friday night after playing his last game at Trenton. He also said before he got hurt, there was a lot of work on his lower body with hitting Coach Kevin Long,

For now, the Yankees hope Nunez remains healthy. He is that valuable player also that can come off the bench in the late innings when needed.

“I feel excited,” said Nunez. “I feel real good. Happy to do what I love to do.”

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com