When you try to pick an MVP for the Yankees from tonight’s win, there are a few options: Curtis Granderson is certainly at the top of the list, with Chan Ho Park and Andy Pettitte among others worthy of consideration.
But how about Steve Donohue?
Donohue is the Yankees longtime assistant trainer and he joined Joe Girardi in rushing on to the field after Pettitte collided with Jacoby Ellsbury at first base on the first hit of the game. Pettitte gutted through the rest of that inning but then retreated to the clubhouse, complaining of “whiplash,” he said, that left him with a nasty headache and stiff neck.
Donohue didn’t hesitate. First he started massaging Pettitte’s neck to loosen him up, and then he gave the pitcher “a few pills,” according to Pettitte, that softened his headache. Although Pettitte was “in survival mode” for a few innings, by the third inning he said the headache had improved and he was able to stay in the game and match John Lackey pitch-for-pitch. Six innings, one run in heat so bad that Pettitte needed ammonia water towels wrapped around his head between innings to stay cool? That’s a legit outing.
It was a gritty performance from a 37-year-old whose body may well be barking at him tomorrow morning, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Donohue, who is leading the training staff in place of the ailing Gene Monahan. On this night, the Yankees might not have won without him.
“I wasn’t coming out of that game,” Pettitte said. “There was no way I was coming out. I wanted to pitch. Stevie did a great job.”
Courtesy of Chad, here are some other post-game notes:
• Joe Girardi and Derek Jeter each said John Lackey did not intentionally hit Jeter in the sixth inning. “It’s a 1-0 game,” Girardi said. “I don’t think he was hitting him on purpose, that’s for sure. Especially when you’ve got two strikes.” Jeter said Kevin Youkilis actually joked with him that Lackey was going to hit him as retribution. “When (Youkilis) got hit in the head, he said they were going to hit me,” Jeter said. “He was joking around and then… They hit me.”
• Girardi’s plan was to use Chan Ho Park for no more than two innings tonight, but his pitch count was low enough that Girardi sent him back for a third inning. Park had been fighting a stomach virus the past two days — he went into fairly graphic detail to explain it — but Girardi was confident he could pitch multiple innings. “That’s one of the thing that made him so attractive to us,” Girardi said.
• Solid point from Alex Rodriguez: “We won two out of three, and Tex and I really didn’t do much to help out,” he said. “The bottom of our lineup did a great job all three games. They came up big for us.”
• It’s only three games into the season, but Nick Swisher and his hit-for-a-better-average approach seems to be working. He tied the game tonight with a two-out single and he hit .364 this series.
• Both Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada hit .417 this series.
• Jeter on Granderson: “Curtis is a good guy. I played with him in the WBC so I got a chance to get to know him a little bit. Outside of the fact that he’s a good player, he’s a good person, so he fit in perfectly. And he’s done that so far.”
• Rodriguez on Park: “Chan Ho was great today. Threw the ball very well. Threw four pitches, all for strikes. Great rhythm. Great slide step. He’s going to be a big asset for us, too. That’s a big key for us, pitching and defense. Yesterday Ace was outstanding for us to help us win that game, and today Chan Ho was huge.”
• Here’s Granderson talking about his game winner and his first series with the Yankees.
Great job from everyone tonight and all series. Lots of comments and passion, which is excellent. Off day tomorrow while Chad heads to Tampa, then back in action on Friday night from The Trop. Thanks for reading.