Bring Back Doug Mientkiewicz RF
Notes: Justin Christian was called up today and is starting in left. Johnny Damon (sore foot) and Hideki Matsui (knee) can’t play the field, apparently. Not sure yet why Christian is here as opposed to Brett Gardner. … No official move yet but it appears Billy Traber is out.
The Yankees are coming off a 4-2 homestand and have won 13 of 18. … The Yankees are in Pittsburgh for the first time since the 1960 World Series. It is a certified Big Deal here in the Steel City and all three games are SRO. … Jeter (11 games, 14 of 44) and A-Rod (10 games, 15 od 26) are riding hitting streaks. … The ‘stache is 5 of its last 6. … Hideki Matsui is 4 for 11 since he had his knee drained. … The Yankees have gone 39 innings without a homer.
Hey, Phil Hughes, Happy Birthday. Have fun playing catch tomorrow.
Back later with updates.
UPDATE, 5:33 p.m.: LHP Billy Traber was in fact optioned out. There is no need for a 40-man move as RHP Steven White was taken off the roster last week. … Johnny Damon (left foot arch) is out for today and Hideki Matsui (left knee) can’t play the field. Hence, Christian. He hits right-handed and the Yankees will be facing several lefties the next few days, which is why he was selected ahead of Brett Gardner.
(I know Gardner hits lefties. I can only report the news.)
Damon said he “couldn’t do anything” on Sunday but doesn’t think the DL is likely. Girardi gave his standard “it’s just a day” answer. Two forces are at work here. Damon tends to be a little dramatic about injuries and Girardi tends to pretend they don’t exist. Figure the truth is somewhere in the middle. Damon could play by Thursday, Friday at the latest.
Christian is a good story. He attended three colleges and played independent ball before the Yankees signed him. He has been in the organization since 2004 and is now 28.
Girardi still won’t say that Sidney Ponson is starting on Friday. Maybe he’s afraid the Mets will leave a six pack on the mound. But trust us, he’s starting on Friday.
Hall of Fame nice guy and 2005 hero Aaron Small was in the clubhouse before the game. He was in Pittsburgh running a baseball clinic for inner-city kids. Small lives in Tennessee and said with a wide smile that he is enjoying retirement and being with his family. Good for him.
UPDATE, 5:51 p.m.: Check out this box score from the GCL today. Humberto Sanchez pitched a game for the Yankees for the first time. Dellin Betances also threw.
The Big G got himself some Just For Men and dyed it all dark brown. The Yankees then won, further confirming the awesome power of the ‘stache.
After dealing with all of the trivial baseball news, we sought out Giambi and asked him about the new ‘stache. “I look that guy who’s the neighbor on The Simpsons,” he said. “That (bleeping) guy.” He meant Ned Flanders.
Giambi also has given himself a new nickname. As I enjoy my job, I can’t repeat it.
UPDATE, 6:54 p.m.: This is pretty cool. The Pirates just had Bill Mazeroski throw out the first pitch. For you kids out there, he hit the walk-off home run to beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.
Outside of an exhibition game at Forbes Field in 1962, the Yankees haven’t been back in Pittsburgh since until today.
UPDATE, 7:06 p.m.: Just spoke to one of the Japanese reporters who follow Matsui. They watch his batting practice swings pretty closely and Matsui was favoring his left knee quite a bit. He also had it wrapped up before the game.
Godzilla is obviously a gamer but this injury appears to be something fairly significant.
UPDATE, 7:20 p.m: Welcome to the majors, Justin Christian. He just kicked around a single to left, allowing Freddy Sanchez to go to second.
UPDATE, 7:42 p.m.: The Yankees could have trouble scoring here as Hank Steinbrenner has ordered pitchers not to round third.
UPDATE, 8:35 p.m.: How was nobody warming up before this inning. Or now for that matter? It’s 7-1. Girardi’s (often unfounded) faith in his starters is puzzling.
UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: So much for Johnny Damon being available and Hideki Matsui being a “pinch-hitter deluxe.” It’s 7-3 and Jose Molina is hitting?
UPDATE, 9:18 p.m.: It’s 7-3 with LaTroy Hawkins pitching and you pull the infield in? Meanwhile, the infield is still in at 8-3. In other news, it’s the seventh inning. Perhaps under the Randy Levine Incentive Plan, Girardi gets paid by the strategic move.
By all means, cut down that ninth run.
UPDATE, 9:45 p.m.: At what is having LaTroy Hawkins on the roster outweigh the benefits of giving David Robertson, Jeff Karstens or random passers-by a shot? And much like last season, it would appear the days of Edwar Ramirez fooling anybody with that changeup have passed.
12-3 and the Pirates have 19 hits. Yikes.