(Check the updates for news, including draft updates.)
Darrell Rasner (3-4, 3.64) has never faced any of the Padres.
Notes: The Yankees have won five straight and 8 of 10. … Yankee pitchers have thrown 20 consecutive scoreless innings. … A-Rod is 6 of 12 with seven runs scored, five RBI and three HRs in the last three games. … Robinson Cano is 5 of 8 since being benched on Saturday. … The Yankees have outscored their opponents 35-6 the last five games. … Yankees are 4-2 against the National League this season. … Wilson Betemit is 1 for 13 since June 5. … The bullpen has allowed five ERs in the last 34.2 innings. … The Yankees have homered in 10 straight games, belting 16 circuit clouts in that time.
Big start for Rasner, who has lost his last four. He gave up six earned runs against Oakland in his last start and lasted only 3.2 innings. Opponents have hit .326 against him the last four games with an .851 OPS. Now that Rasner is essentially the No. 4 starter, he needs to deliver.
Back later with some updates.
UPDATE, 4:19 p.m.: Hideki Matsui has a sore left knee, hence his exclusion from the lineup. “We’re giving him a day,” Girardi said. ‘zilla is available to pinch hit, however. … Your new long reliever: LaTroy Hawkins.
This press release from the Yanks:
The Yankees claimed RHP claimed right-handed pitcher Oneli Perez off waivers from the Cleveland Indians and optioned him to Double-A Trenton. Perez, 24, has appeared in 21 games combined this season at Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Triple-A Buffalo (Indians) to go 0-1 with two saves and an 8.49 ERA (29.2IP, 48H, 28ER, 17BB, 34K) in his first action at the Triple-A level.
He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the San Diego Padres in 2001 as a first baseman. Since converting to pitcher in 2003, Perez has gone 24-12 with 37 saves and a 2.65 ERA. In order to make room on the 40-man roster, the Yankees transferred right-handed pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo (right elbow stress fracture) to the 60-day disabled list.
UPDATE, 4:59 p.m.: The Yankees have signed Sidney Ponson to a AAA contract and he is en route to Scranton.
Ponson was 4-1, 3.88 for Texas in nine starts before getting released on June 17. This is what Rangers GM Jon Daniels said at the time:
“We’re trying to put together a team of 25 guys pulling together. Based on some recent comments, he did not want to be a part of that, and that’s something we’re not going to tolerate. We want guys who want to be here and want to pull for the team, and not guys who are here for their own self-interests.”
Sir Sidney was with the Yankees in 2006, lasting five games before getting DFA’d.
UPDATE, 5:04 p.m.: Turns out that Hideki Matsui is not “just getting a day.” According to Matsui, he has inflammation in his left knee and will be examined by a doctor later on today. He is not sure he can play tomorrow, but he hopes to.
Matsui had his right knee operated on last winter.
UPDATE, 5:05 p.m.: Here’s some exclusive draft news for you. Kyle Higashioka is in the clubhouse right now. He’s with SoCal area scout David Keith getting a look around the Stadium and meeting the players.
“First time in New York,” Higashioka told The Journal News. “This is really great.”
Higashioka has signed a letter of intent with the University of California. The catcher was taken by the Yankees in the seventh round of the draft out of Edison High in California.
The Yankeees are smart. Higashioka is in uniform, has the locker right next to Jorge Posada and he’ll take BP with the team. Think about how much that must impress an 18-year-old kid. Obviously it’ll come down to money. But this was the strategy the Yankees used with Carmen Angelini last season and it worked.
I’ll post more on Kyle after the game. But I will leave you with this. I asked him whether he had faced Gerrit Cole. “One time,” he said. I asked him how he did and he sort of smiled. “I hit a rocket,” he said.
You have to love a catcher who doesn’t back down. The Yankees haven’t started negotiations yet, Keith told me. But the visit to the Stadium usually works. Look for the Yankees to get this done.
UPDATE, 6:03 p.m.: Ponson will throw a bullpen for Scranton tomorrow and could start Saturday. He is a candidate to face the Mets in one of the doubleheader games.
Cashman spoke to Ponson today. “Hopefully what happened in Texas stays in Texas,” he said.
UPDATE, 6:06 p.m.: The Matsui story continues … he’s getting his knee drained today by team Dr. Stuart Hershon. There’s a chance he will be getting an MRI, too. “Whenever somebody is out of the lineup, I’m concerned,” Cashman said.
UPDATE, 7:11 p.m.: The game is being delayed by rain. I’ll let you know when it will start.
UPDATE, 7:19 p.m.: A little more draft news for you. The Yankees have signed fifth-round pick Chris Smith for slot money ($158,000). He’s the kid who hit .708 for Centennial HS in Compton, Calif. Damon Oppenheimer confirmed the signing earlier today. Baseball America’s web site (as it usually does) had the information first.
Yankees scout David Keith, who’s at the Stadium today, said that Smith had unusual strike-zone discipline for a player his age and could drive the ball to all fields. He did not play against a high level of competition, however.
Smith will be an interesting player to follow. I believe he will be assigned to the GCL Yankees in Tampa. The Yankees also inked outfielder Tom Baldridge, their 33rd round pick from Coastal Carolina.
UPDATE, 7:43 p.m.: They’re starting to pull the tarp. No word on a start time but likely shortly after 8 p.m.
UPDATE, 7:56 p.m.: Game time is now 8:20 p.m.
UPDATE, 8:29 p.m.: I get that Wilson Betemit has power and every few weeks he belts one out. But at what point does the fact that he’s not a very good baseball player start to matter? As Cashman said yesterday, the bench doesn’t matter much. But there’s got to be somebody more helpful than this guy.
That said, he’ll probably drive in three runs tonight.
UPDATE, 8:52 p.m.: The extra time off seems to have helped Darrell Rasner. He has fanned four of the seven batters he has faced. That’s two off his season high already.
UPDATE, 8:56 p.m.: Cano is 6 for 9 since his benching on Saturday. … Meanwhile Betemit will drive him in. Why? Because I said he was lousy earlier. You watch.
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: See? Pop-up double drops on the line and bounces into the stands. 2-0 Yanks.
UPDATE, 9:04 p.m.: Do they charge people to attend National League games? How does that work? The Padres appear to be sleeping.
UPDATE, 9:33 p.m.: That’s four homers in as many games for A-Rod. The Big G better hit one, too. … Meanwhile, we’re seeing why Sidney Ponson was signed. The bottom two guys in the rotation are Darrell Rasner and Dan Giese.
UPDATE, 10:20 p.m.: In an emotional moment here at the Stadium, “George, a Met Life Financial Advisor” pulled the countdown lever.
Apparently the homeless guy with the cart on the Deegan northbound ramp was busy. That’s like three Met Life employees who have done it this season. Did the Yankees give this thing any thought whatsoever?
UPDATE, 10:47 p.m.: There’s Edwar Ramirez in a nutshell. Strikes out three of five guys, then gives up a bomb. You can only fool Major League hitters for so long.
UPDATE, 10:49 p.m.: Ibid. 5-4 Padres.
UPDATE, 10:56 p.m.: Big hits by Jeter and Abreu. Yankees have to get six outs and need all the cushion they can get.
UPDATE, 11:01 p.m.: It’s like the Yankees can turn it on and off against these NL teams. Hmm, we’re only up one. Better score a few more. The offense is just relentless.
UPDATE, 11:10 p.m.: Maybe Sidney Ponson can pitch the eighth inning.
UPDATE, 11:25 p.m.: Like I said, Wilson Betemit (3 for 4, two runs scored, one RBI) stinks.
By the way, instead of a Hard Rock, the new Stadium needs to have a moat filled with giant snakes. That way they’ll have someplace to throw the guy who bangs on the pan. Is this New York or Arkansas?