Derek Jeter sat at a table in the back corner of a Rangers Ballpark restaurant this afternoon. He had been answering questions for a while by the time I got over there — the room was full of Yankees answering questions at various tables — but the first question I heard Jeter answer was about a gyro ball and whether C.J. Wilson throws one.
“I haven’t seen it,” Jeter said. “Hopefully I won’t. I’m not looking for it.”
Apparently after five days off, there really wasn’t much left to ask these guys.
The Yankees are ready to play. They went through one last workout this afternoon, and the Texas writers were amazed at Robinson Cano launching home runs in that now famous net drill he does with Kevin Long. The ALCS logos are painted, there is bunting hanging all over the outfield, and there’s a fancy TBS camera hanging from a wire along the first-base line. There’s nothing left to do but play.
“We’ve got no choice (but to take the time off),” Jeter said. “That’s pretty much how it is. If you play well after they say it helped. If you don’t they say it hurt. The way I look at it is we have no choice, so you deal with it.”
• When CC Sabathia had extra time off leading into his ALDS start, he threw only one bullpen in between. This time he threw two bullpens, and did his flatground work twice. “Last time I was a little too strong and tend to get out of whack and it’s tough for me to throw strikes,” Sabathai said. “The toughest thing is making sure that my mechanics stay good and I’m standing tall and throwing downhill.”
• Even though he’s not planning on it, Sabathia said he could throw on three-days rest in Game 4 if necessary. “If they tell me that, I just go for it,” he said. “The only thing is (Girardi) would have to tell me before I throw a bullpen, because if I’ve thrown one on three days, I normally don’t throw a bullpen and just do two flat grounds and be ready to go.”
• One fairly minor lineup note for the Rangers, manager Ron Washington said he will start catcher Matt Treanor in Game 1. Treanor is the backup to Bengie Molina, but he’s been catching C.J. Wilson all year. Washington said he hasn’t decided on a first baseman.
• As for the Yankees, Girardi made no lineup announcement, but with a lefty starter on the mound, you can bet Marcus Thames will be in there. Thames has hit C.J. Wilson pretty well in his career. “Knowing I’m going to be in Game 1, make sure I get myself prepared and ready to compete against these guys,” Thames said. “He’s a strike thrower. Make sure you’re ready to hit. He’s going to try to get strike one, so you have to make sure you’re ready to hit.”
• In a big late-inning situation, it’s reasonable to expect Boone Logan to face Josh Hamilton, who’s 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his career against Logan. “No approach,” Logan said. “I know he’s Josh Hamilton. He’s one of my favorite players to watch. But he’s in my eyes he’s just another lefty to go in and get out. I’m not going to approach it any differently.”
• Dave Eiland remains encouraged by what he saw from Mariano Rivera in the division series. “Crisp,” Eiland said. “He located the ball where he wanted to, both sides of the plate. He was working ahead of the count. You could just see the way the ball was coming out of his hand, he was feeling good.”
• Girardi on A.J. Burnett’s simulated game: “I actually thought he threw the ball pretty well. I know a lot was made of him hitting a couple of hitters, and we talk about that with our hitters all the time and obviously you never want to hit your own hitters. It happens, and we don’t want to see the guys get beat up and I am confident in him and I’ve seen what A.J. can do and I saw what A.J. did in the last season for us. He went through some difficult times during the course of the last season, he did. And he also ran off 12 or 13 good starts in a row. We know that A.J. can do and we are looking for a good start from A.J.”
• There was even more talk today about the Rangers aggressive base running in the ALDS. “The other night, Bengie Molina stole his first base since September 9, 2006, if I remember right,” Brett Gardner said. “Suddenly it’s important to get in scoring position, I guess. Nothing against him but, that’s how guys are playing now because every game and every play is so important. That’s obviously heads up on his part. He saw something from the pitcher that he got a read against.”
• Any difference opening an ALCS on the road? “I don’t feel any different,” Sabathia said. “We’re a veteran ballclub, and we knew what the situation we got into getting the Wild Card and we knew that we had to win games on the road to win in the series. For me, I don’t pitch any different in any other park and it seems not to have affected us up to this point.”
• Girardi turned 46 years old today, on the same day our great friend Sam Borden celebrated his anniversary.
Associated Press photos of Posada, Sabathia and Jeter