Ramiro Pena has not started in the outfield since late last season when he got a few Triple-A starts in center field to increase his versatility. But he has gone into the outfield as an emergency player twice this season, and he still takes fly balls every once in a while to stay sharp. He was in right field doing exactly that this afternoon when Alex Rodriguez was hit by a ground ball during batting practice.
“I saw that and I said, ‘Let’s go back to the infield,'” Pena said.
Starting in Rodriguez’s place, Pena had two RBI. He has a hit in five of his past eight starts. He’s not here for his offense — “I have to be ready for defense, and when I get a chance, I have to hit also,” he said — but he does have 13 RBI while starting just 24 times.
“He’s done a tremendous job in those situations,” Joe Girardi said. “In the second inning, all he needed was a ground ball up the middle. He didn’t try to do too much. He got that. He’s been really good in those situations. And this is not a young man that’s getting to play on a regular basis. For what he’s doing, it’s pretty amazing.”
Of course, of greater concern was the status of Rodriguez, who said he’s not sure whether he’ll be able to play tomorrow. He had just waved to Joe Buck and never saw the ball off Lance Berkman’s bat. I’m sure he’ll be ripped for taking his eyes off the field, but batting practice is such a routine, I don’t think it’s especially unusual for a player to look away for a second. There are balls flying all over the place out there. It’s not unheard of for someone to get hit.
“I had just fielded a ground ball and I was even with the bag,” Rodriguez said. “So I was up close kind of (doing) infield-in work, which made it worse. I never saw it. I just remember getting hit, and I started jumping around like a rabbit. I looked like a scene from Platoon. Jeter and Teixeira were making fun of me back there, like I went down for the count. I’m glad they all got a great laugh out of it.”
Here’s Rodriguez. It’s brief.
• CC Sabathia said that after the three straight extra-base hits in the second inning, he did a better job of working inside. His fastball command was much better than it had been since the all-star break, and that made his offspeed stuff more effective. “Not really getting an all-star break, throwing a bullpen and pitching the first game back, I think being able to get the extra day definitely helped,” Sabathia said.
• Joe Girardi had a different theory on what made the difference: “Maybe it was the extra day’s rest that helped him,” Girardi said. “He had a new baby, maybe that helped him, I don’t know. CC, he’s going to struggle from time to time, but they’re usually pretty short.”
• This was Sabathia’s 150th win.
• Robinson Cano went 2-for-3, his team-leading 42nd multi-hit game. He’s hitting .400 against Boston this season and has reached base in seven of his past nine plate appearances. The guy is good.
• Curtis Granderson had one hit in his previous 17 at-bats before tripling off the wall in the second inning. He finished 2-for-4.
• The Yankees are now have 24 triples, three more than their total from last year.
• Jorge Posada stole a base for the first time since April 29, 2009 in Detroit. Before that, he hadn’t stolen a base since July 15, 2007.
• The Yankees lead the big leagues with 35 come-from-behind wins, including eight of their past 12.
• When Pena stole second base in the sixth inning, Marco Scutaro landed on top of him and kind of hurt Pena’s neck. It was sore initially, “but it’s OK,” Pena said.
Associated Press photos of the outfield celebration and Cano’s fifth-inning RBI single