Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (1-3, 4.85).
Pitching: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-2, 5.05).
TIME/TV: 7:05, YES.
THE STATE OF THINGS: The Yankees have lost five straight and nine if their last 13. It’s the longest losing streak of the Joe Girardi Era and the longest since the Yankees dropped seven straight from April 20-27, 2007. They are 5.5 games out of first place.
THE RETURN: Alex Rodriguez will make his season debut today. He had surgery on his right hip on March 9, about a month after it was revealed that he was a steroid cheat. A-Rod played in seven extended spring training games in and around Tampa. He was 7 of 38 with eight walks, eight strikeouts and four home runs.
HERE’S HOW MUCH THEY’VE MISSED HIM: The Yankees have used Cody Ransom, Ramiro Pena and Angel Berroa at third base in the absence of Rodriguez. They have hit a combined .202 with a .248 OBP and a .283 SLG. They have no home runs and 10 RBI.
MOVES MADE: Catcher Kevin Cash was called up. Jose Molina is on the DL and RHP Mark Melancon was optioned out. There is a 40-man move as yet unknown. If they’re keeping Berroa around that wouldn’t seem to make much sense. But what does with that roster?
HOW LOW CAN CANO GO? Robinson Cano is 1 for 21 in the last five games with no runs scored and no RBI. His batting average has gone from .378 to .319.
DAMON HEATS UP: Johnny Dangerously is 8 of 13 with five extra-base hits and seven RBI in the last three games. He has homered in four of the last seven games.
MATSUI MATTERS: Godzilla has a 15-game hit streak as a starter. He is 21 of his last 60 with eight extra-base hits and 10 RBI.
PITCHING PROBLEMS: The Yankees have the second-worst ERA in the AL (5.77) and lead the league with walks.
AT LEAST THE FANS HERE LOVE HIM: Mark Teixeira was 4 for 16 before he hurt his left wrist. He is 15 of 80 since.
UN-CLUTCH: The Yankees have stranded 40 runners in the last four games and are 6 of 43 (.140) with runners in scoring position.
Back with much more later on. We’re hoping to bring you some A-Rod pre-game audio depending on what the circumstances are.
I’m also scheduled to be on ESPN News at 3:40 p.m.
UPDATE, 4:19 p.m.: The return of A-Rod has the national media out in force and most of the players are hiding out.
No press conferences until later, closer to BP. Alex is thinner than last we saw him. He seemed happy to be back. Short haircut, no frosted tips.
Cervelli said his experience with CC was limited to bullpen work in spring training.
UPDATE, 5:12 p.m.: A-Rod just said “no” asked if he took steroids in high school or as a Yankee.
He said be unsure of how he would feel on the field. Personally, he said he needed to straighten out his life.
“I needed to look in the mirror and grow up,” he said.
UPDATE, 6:06 p.m.: Terrible news for Ian Kennedy. He has an aneurysm and will have surgery in New York on Tuesday. The same surgeon that worked on David Cone, Dr. George Todd, will do the surgery.
UPDATE, 6:11 p.m.: Here is the audio of A-Rod’s pre-game press conference:
It was a very chaotic setting. Instead of having the press conference in the interview room at Camden Yards, which was unoccupied, the Yankees had Rodriguez meet with reporters in the dugout. There were dozens of TV cameras, radio reporters and print reporters pushing and shoving to try and get close enough to hear him.
Here’s the audio. It’s just the segment he did with the print reporters:
UPDATE, 6:21 p.m.: Just to Alex for a few minutes in the dugout during BP. He said that Chien-Ming Wang is working with the same rehab therapist he had — Dr. Mark Lindsay — and is making great progress.
“I’d still be a month away if not for Lindsay,” A-Rod said. “Wang looks different, he’s a lot stronger and his legs are better. He’s going to get back and be fine.”
Alex is an unusual dude. He’s standing there talking to Sweeny Murti and I when Jeter walked by. “You gotta help me out there, Jeet,” he says. “I’m going to be nervous. Very nervous.”
“What?” Jeter said with a quizzical look.
“Nervous,” Alex said. “I’m going to need your help.”
“You’re kidding me, right?” Jeter said.
I have no idea whether A-Rod was kidding or not. It was hard to tell. I hope he was. Jeter looked at him like he was crazy.
UPDATE, 6:31 p.m.: Here’s the roster move: RHP Steven Jackson was DFA’d.
I have no idea why they’re keeping Berroa around. I guess in case Alex gets hurt again. I asked Girardi and he hinted that more moves are on the way.
UPDATE, 6:36 p.m.: A little more on Ian Kennedy. The aneurysm is under his armpit and it’s what was causing the numbness in his fingers. He’ll be operated on at Roosevelt Hospital on Tuesday. No idea yet on the timetable. But Cone came back fairly quickly, all things considered. He was out four months.
UPDATE, 6:54 p.m.: Here’s a shot of Alex in the dugout.
I have a lot of newspaper work to do, but I will try and update the blog as needed. Enjoy the game. It should be interesting with everything that is going on.
Meanwhile, Steven Jackson had a 1.88 ERA at Scranton. He had allowed 16 hits in 14.1 innings and struck out only eight. But, still. I would expect some other club to want him.
They just introduced Alex and it was the usual amount of booing. Nothing more. They hate Tex more here.
UPDATE, 7:10 p.m.: It’s like a movie. One pitch and he crushes a three-run homer. The Yankees have the lead for the first time since Saturday.
The crowd was booing when Alex came to the plate. There were approximately 30-40 people waving these large foam syringes around.
There is a a very sparse crowd here, fewer Yankees fans than usual. Lots of empty seats.
UPDATE, 7:26 p.m.: Wow, it would seem young Mr. Cervelli can throw the baseball. Even if the umpire blew the call. Jones was safe. But heck of a throw.
UPDATE, 8:25 p.m.: A-Rod will be the story of this game and rightfully so. But Cartsen Charles has arrived as a Yankee: 5 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts. He’s mowing down the O’s. He has retired 14 of the last 15.