Gene Monahan just had an emotional press conference to explain why he’s retiring at the end of the season when he will be 67. He has seen it all, being the longest tenured person in the organization at 49 years, and has been a Yankees trainer since 1973, the year George Steinbrenner became the principal owner. Monahan broke the news to the players yesterday. But the decision was made last November.
It had a lot to do with his cancer diagnosis.
“I had a big wake-up call a year ago,” Monahan said. “It affected me. Who wouldn’t it affect? … I realized there are some other things in life I need to do.”
So he’s moving to North Carolina where he has purchased a house and where he can follow his beloved NASCAR. He wants to get a pickup truck and a retriever. The Yankees have invited him to help out at spring training, but he isn’t sure yet whether he will.
He said he tried to not to get too close to players, but he did mention a few who were special to him, including the late Bobby Murcer, Thurman Munson and Catfish Hunter. The mention of Hunter’s name choked him up.
“I’ll wait to see him a little later,” Monahan said.
Rafael Soriano’s elbow trouble has been a recurring theme for him. He had Tommy John surgery in 2004 and another operation in 2008. Joe Girardi isn’t going to worry yet, especially since there is just a little inflammation, according to today’s MRI. The hope is he’ll be back in a few days.
“If it’s a recurring thing, we’ll start to get more concerned about it,” Girardi said.
For now, Girardi indicated he would go with last night’s setup combo of David Robertson in the seventh and Joba Chamberlain in the eighth, unless one of them needs a rest.
The Yankees did add a more experienced arm to the bullpen, activating Luis Ayala from his rehab assignment and optioning Lance Pendleton back to AAA.
Girardi also praised Russell Martin for his defense, especially for his ability to block balls in the dirt and handle the staff. “I’ve been impressed,” Girardi said.