The Yankees had a conference call for a second straight day, this time with Nick Johnson and Brian Cashman (after yesterday’s Javy Vazquez/Cashman version). Johnson isn’t the most talkative fellow – though he is a very, very nice guy – and Cashman didn’t have all that much different to say from yesterday, but there were still three soundbites that I found interesting:
1. “He doesn’t have any pre-existing situation that you hope doesn’t occur; he has just gotten hurt quite often. … We’re going to go into the laboratory and experiment with the ability to provide him with most of his playing time in the DH slot and see if that provides a higher degree of health so he can do what he does best, which is be a hitter – one of the better ones in the game.” – Cashman on Johnson
I think this is an important point to remember. Unlike, say, Hideki Matsui, whose knees had become a chronic and degenerative condition, Johnson has just been prone to freakish accidents: He gets hit by a ball and breaks his cheekbone, or runs into a teammate and shatters his femur. The Yankees are betting that by keeping him out of the field, the likelihood of a similar misfortune is lessened.
Beyond that, I also enjoyed imagining Cashman (and Girardi and Dave Eiland and Kevin Long) all wearing white coats and goggles as they mixed potions in a laboratory, only to emerge with – gasp! – A HEALTHY NICK JOHNSON!!!!
2. “I’ll stick with my approach and work the middle of the field. Right field is inviting and it’s short – you see all the home runs on TV – but I can’t really go up there thinking about that. I need to get on base. If you pop one, you pop one.” – Johnson on his approach to hitting
During our live chat yesterday (which you can replay a few posts down), someone asked whether Johnson or Hideki Matsui will have more home runs in 2010. Chad said Matsui; I said Johnson, because I have a feeling about Johnson and right-field at new Yankee Stadium. Much like Johnny Damon took advantage of that fence to put up big power numbers, I think Johnson – whether he admits it or not – will give the Yankees more pop than he’s shown in the past.
3. “We’ll see where this takes us. It won’t be a big-name situation, I can promise you that.” – Cashman on the Yankees outfield situation
Translation: Don’t count on Matt Holliday or Jason Bay wearing pinstripes anytime soon.