Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (1-0, 1.29).
Pitching: RHP Andy Sonnanstine (0-1, 9.64).
IN MEMORY OF JACKIE: All of the players today will wear No. 42 in memory of Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Dodgers. Mariano Rivera is the only player who still wears 42.
END OF THE ROAD: The Yankees are 4-4 on their nine-game trip, which ends today. It was the longest trip to start the season in team history. Your friendly neighborhood beat writer has spent the night at home three days since Feb. 8. Yeah, it’s April 15.
SWISH AT THE DISH: Nick Swisher has hit in seven straight games this season at 11 of 24. He has 10 runs scored, 11 RBI and 9 extra-base hits. He has been on base in 15 of 28 plate appearances.
A STRIKING STAT: Yankee pitchers have 55 strikeouts in the last six games.
GOOD HISTORY: Andy Pettitte is 15-4 in 24 starts against the Rays in 24 starts. He is 8-2, 3.27 in 12 starts at Tropicana Field.
CANO NEARLY PERFECT: Robinson Canp has at least one hit in seven of the eight games this season.
BRETT THE JET: Brett Gardner is 4 for 10 with five runs scored in the last three games.
Back with more later on.
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE, 12:55 p.m.: Nothing official yet, but the word is that Xavier Nady will need surgery and miss the season.
UPDATE, 1:47 p.m.: We just spoke to Nady. He didn’t want to say too much until he sees team doctor Chris Ahmad in NYC tomorrow. But he indicated that the MRI showed a tear and surgery will be needed.
UPDATE, 2:04 p.m.: This is interesting Chien-Ming Wang is throwing live BP on the field. He’s facing Ransom and Cabrera.
UPDATE, 2:13 p.m.: Wang threw 21 pitches and looked good. Sinker was down. He said he felt good.
UPDATE, 2:47 p.m.: Joe Girardi said the news on Nady was bad but they’re hoping that the team doctor says something different. But the MRI wasn’t good. Nady will be going on the DL tomorrow. No word yet on who will get called up.
Girardi feels they have enough coverage in the infield with Melky Cabrera around. I asked him about Austin Jackson, who is off to a hot start at Scranton. But as I expected, Girardi said they felt it more important that Jackson play every day in AAA than ride the bench in New York.
It sounds like Juan Miranda is a possibility. Although Kevin Russo was taken out of the game in Scranton today.
As for Wang, Dave Eiland came up with the idea for the live BP session. It was encouraging, Wang said. He was able to keep the ball down and made the adjustment with his footwork in terms of keeping his arm at the right angle instead of trailing behind.
David Cone was standing behind the cage. “He looked good to me because everything was down, even when he missed,” Cone said. “That’s what you want to see from a sinkerball pitcher.”
In other news, Jorge Posada feels fine. The Yankees are being cautious with him, hence his being the DH two days in a row. Plus, let’s be honest, Hideki Matsui looks helpless. Girardi said Posada would catch tomorrow. He also plans to use Ransom tomorrow.
Alex Rodriguez could take BP by the weekend. … George Steinbrenner will be at tomorrow’s game.
UPDATE, 4:18 p.m.: We’re underway at the Trop. Ten minute delay to a power outage. It was caused by the storms yesterday.
UPDATE, 4:32 p.m.: Every time I look up I say to myself, ‘Why is Mo hitting?”
UPDATE, 4:33 p.m.: Meanwhile, it’s Cowbell Day at the Trop. Imagine my delight. There needs to be a Shut The Hell Up And Watch The Game Day at parks.
UPDATE, 5:01 p.m.: Wow, a first baseman who can throw he ball to third base. What a concept. Heck of a catch and tag by Jeter, too.
That is the kind of play the stat folks can’t possibly quantify. Jeter goes to third, makes a lunging catch and tags the runner. Next guy up singles, so Jeter helped prevent a run there.
That’s why you need to watch the games to appreciate certain players. Jeter has abhorrent range to hie left. But he makes a lot of plays like that, too. It doesn’t balance out. But he’s a better defender than the stats indicate.
UPDATE, 5:10 p.m.: Rough inning for Pettitte as three doubles leads to two runs. 2-0 Rays.
UPDATE, 5:17 p.m.: How fitting that on Jackie Robinson Day, Robinson Cano (who was named after Jackie) drills a two-run homer. Robbie wears 24 in honor of Jackie.
Now it’s 2-2. Great start for Robbie.
UPDATE, 5:55 p.m.: Pettitte is pitching a solid game (6 6 3 3 0 4) and trails 3-2.
UPDATE, 6:17 p.m.: Yankees just announced that Yogi Berra will throw out the first pitch tomorrow.
UPDATE, 6:33 p.m.: Doubles by Derek and Damon tie the score at 3-3. Yankees in business with a runner on second and nobody out. Big spot for Tex and Swish.
Pettitte has gone a solid seven and the bullpen is ready. If they get the lead it’s Swish and Mo to close it out.
UPDATE, 6:35 p.m.: OK, so Bruney is warming up.
UPDATE, 6:45 p.m.: Big mistake there by the Rays I think. Cano will deliver.
UPDATE, 6:47 p.m.: Or ground into a force. Bad job by the Yankees there, leaving a runner on second.
Stay tuned after the game for the complete home opener press release. Kelly Clarkson has the anthem. Paul Olden was named the announcer. All fans will receive a pin. Gates at 10 a.m.
Pettitte staying in the game.
UPDATE, 6:53 p.m.: The Rays have no class sometimes. Pettitte goes 7.1 and allows three runs and they play Hit The Road, Jack when Girardi takes him out. Please.
UPDATE, 6:59 p.m.: Bruney has retired 14 straight, 10 by strikeout. He has fanned the last five batters he has faced.
Oh, if only Joba was the set-up man.
3-3 into the ninth.
UPDATE, 7:06 p.m.: Big double there for Ransom. Now can the Yankees drive him in?
UPDATE, 7:10 p.m.: Derek Jeter can. 4-3 Yankees and the only 42 left in the majors, Mariano Rivera, should be coming in.
This would be a heck of a win.
UPDATE, 7:17 p.m.: Mo does what Mo does and the Yankees win 4-3.
They finish up the road trip 5-4 and open the new place tomorrow.
Check back later for the release on tomorrow’s festivities.