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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Postgame notes: “I told him, ‘It’s like riding a bike’”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcast on Sep 11, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The Yankees have lost four in a row and they’ve scored one run in their past 25 innings. But we’ll get to all of that later.

Tonight’s most intriguing subplot was behind the plate where each of the four catchers on the active roster — and one who’s not yet on the roster — became newsworthy in one way or another.

Jorge Posada
Of course it starts with Posada, who hadn’t caught in a game — any game — since last year’s American League Championship Series. Even though Russell Martin initially stayed in the game, Joe Girardi told Posada to start getting loose just in case.

“That’s incredible, what he did today,” Girardi said. “It showed a lot of guts on his part. I told him, ‘It’s like riding a bike. Go ahead and get back on the bike.’ He wasn’t so sure. I’m not sure he believed me when he went back there, but he did a nice job.”

Chances are Posada won’t be back behind the plate. This was probably his one appearance of the season, and it was clear Posada enjoyed it. CC Sabathia said it was a “welcome sight” and Derek Jeter said it was “just like old times.”

“Fun again,” Posada said. “It was fun. I’ll be sore tomorrow. I’ll sleep well tonight… I didn’t think in September it was going to happen. You’ve got another catcher up here, but baseball’s a funny game.”

Russell Martin
X-rays were negative and Martin was diagnosed with a bruised thumb. After the game, he had it heavily wrapped, but Martin refused to rule out the idea of catching tomorrow.

“It was to the point when I really could feel the baseball in my hand,” Martin said. “I tried to throw to second base and didn’t have any feeling. The ball took off on me. They took me out of the game. We’re going to see probably how it feels tomorrow, just come in and get some treatment on it, and you know, go from there. It’s just a bruised thumb. The X-rays were negative. So, I’m feeling pretty good that I should be able to get in there tomorrow. We’ll see tomorrow. But I’ve played with a bruised thumb before.”

Martin asked to stay in the game, to at least give his hand some time for the feeling to come back. He said the ball hit the tip of his thumb, and his thumbnail split open a little bit, leaving blood coming from the side of his finger.

“I watched Russell throw to CC when he was warming up (before the third), then I saw his throw to second and said, ‘He can’t do it,’” Girardi said.

Francisco Cervelli
Dizzy for a third straight day, Cervelli is going to New York tomorrow for tests and treatment. Cervelli said this is his third concussion, though I was almost certain it was his fourth.

“I had a little dizziness (yesterday), but today is the same, so I had to say something because it’s not normal,” Cervelli said. “… I think I just need to rest a couple of days, but we’ll see what the doctors say.”

Doctors in Los Angeles have told Cervelli it’s safe to fly. Girardi’s not sure when Cervelli will rejoin the team. It might not be before the end of this road trip.

Jesus Montero
With Martin banged up, Cervelli heading for New York and Posada having just caught for the first time in nearly 11 months, Girardi really has only one option to start at catcher tomorrow.

“It would be pretty hard to ask Jorge to go back-to-back days when he hasn’t caught all year,” Girardi said. “We’ll see what we’re going to do tomorrow. Montero will probably catch.”

It would be Jesus Montero’s first time catching a big league game. He’s become a regular at designated hitter, even against right-handers, but he obviously wants to prove himself behind the plate. The first thing he did when he was called up was catch a bullpen with Freddy Garcia, who happens to be tomorrow’s starter.

“I haven’t heard any decisions,” Montero said. “I don’t know anything yet. I might catch. I might not… I would be happy, yeah, to catch my first game in the big leagues.”

Austin Romine
Girardi strongly hinted that the Yankees will add a catcher before tomorrow’s game. He wouldn’t say who — or even confirm that a move will be made — but he said, “Let’s see who gets here tomorrow.”

Asked specifically about Romine, Girardi smiled and said, “He’s a possibility.”

Here’s Posada.

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Here’s Martin.

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• CC Sabathia doesn’t have a start like this one very often. He allowed eight hits and four walks through six innings, but gave up only one run because he made huge pitches — and got some huge defensive plays — when he needed them. “I felt like I had to battle,” he said. “Fastball command was really off, and I couldn’t get ahead of anybody but we were able to make some pitches and try to keep the game close.”

• The Yankees still had a shot until Hector Noesi gave up four runs in the seventh, two of them on a home run by .183-hitter Jeff Mathis. George Kontos made his big league debut in relief of Noesi and gave up a solo shot to Torii Hunter. “That’s my fault,” Sabathia said. “I need to be able to go deep into games. I know the guys have been sucking it up in September. A lot of guys are tired. They’ve been used a lot. I blame that game on me.”

• Girardi on the bullpen: “Noesi has thrown the ball pretty good for us. He had a rough day today. We’re not scoring runs, and that changes the way you run a game, in a sense. We’re going to need those guys when we’re winning games or are tied. It’s frustrating, but this team has bounced back a lot this year. We’re in a tough streak right now, but we’ll bounce back.”

• The Yankees have scored just one run since the second inning of Thursday’s game in Baltimore. “We need to swing the bats better,” Derek Jeter said. “That’s the bottom line. They’ve pitched well; you run up against good pitching. It’s going to be tough at times. It’s one of those streaks where it doesn’t seem like too many people are hitting.”

• Girardi said the decision to go with Posada behind the plate was an easy one. He didn’t want to lose his DH so early in the game, and that would have happened had he gone to Montero.

• Posada said he expected the Angels to try to run on him, so he wasn’t surprised when the first base runner took off. “I knew they were going to attempt, so just be prepared, be ready,” Posada said. “It’s been a while, but I just got rid of it.”

• The throw was high, but Robinson Cano made a nifty leaping catch and tag to get the out.

• Jeter said he didn’t say much to Posada on the field. “’Good throw,’ that’s about it,” Jeter said. “I didn’t get too deep.”

• Martin was asked if he could have positioned himself differently to avoid being hit in the hand. “They talk a lot about having your hand behind your back,” he said. “When there’s guys on base, you have to have your hand in position to make the transfer. That was the situation where there was a guy on first base, or second base, I don’t remember where he was. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. My hand was right behind my glove.”

• Cervelli was asked if he was this dizzy before he left Baltimore. “After the collision, yeah,” he said. “I was catching. I don’t know how, but I stayed there. The next day, everything was sore: Nose, mouth, neck. I’m just dizzy right now. I just think I need a couple of days.”

Associated Press photos





20 Responses to “Postgame notes: “I told him, ‘It’s like riding a bike’””

  1. jacksquat September 11th, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Four concussions, dizzy for the third day, I think they should probably shut down Cervelli for the rest of the year.

  2. Yankees_Fan September 11th, 2011 at 2:44 am

    I don’t know how possible or fair it is at this point, but I think Girardi should talk to Posada and see if he can use him as a catcher at least once a week, just to practically make him the third catcher (Martin, then Montero).

    I never found logic in vanishing Posada from behind the plate without letting him at least become a backup C.

    Cervelli to me is a serious case right now. Romine may help for a few games, but if Cervelli can’t go, the best route would be to have Posada out there. Montero doesn’t know the rotation that well and while I’ll root for him to be great at C, I think we need insurance.

    Posada certainly did a fine job out there.

  3. Nilsson September 11th, 2011 at 2:57 am

    The cross country flight likely exacerbated Cervelli’s condition. It’s actually a scary situation. He needs to be careful about it.

    I think “the catcher not knowing the rotation well” is more narrative than truth. It gets overstated too much. Just block the pitches in the dirt and let a crafty veteran like Garcia do the rest.

  4. m September 11th, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Out of concern for Cervelli’s health and career, he should be shut down. These things don’t just disappear after a few days.

    Would love to break the streak tomorrow. I know the guys are beat up and tired and doing the best they can. besides today’s game, the three losses before that were winnable.

    just win tomorrow, and everyone will feel a lot better and more energized. Same goes for the players, too. :P

  5. sammiejohnson September 11th, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Nilsson September 11th, 2011 at 2:57 am
    I think “the catcher not knowing the rotation well” is more narrative than truth. It gets overstated too much. Just block the pitches in the dirt and let a crafty veteran like Garcia do the rest.


    I think that you are right. It is overstated a great deal. With Freddy pitching I foresee no problems. It would only be A.J. with his wild, in the dirt, curve-balls that might be a problem.

  6. Niki September 11th, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Chad – Thanks for all the Cervelli info. I feel bad for him. Hope he’s going to be ok.

  7. jaewon September 11th, 2011 at 4:06 am

    listen ya’ll.

    someone in a position of power needs to make this happen immediately.

    jesus is loose/has been turned loose is great.
    but all great players deserve two home run calls. I have four words for all of you tonight:

    “A Bombero from Montero”

  8. Gary September 11th, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Morning just looking at the schedules:

    Against common opponents the Yanks and Boston both have 6 games left against TB
    Yanks play 3 with Toronto and Boston plays 2
    They play either other 3 times

    Boston plays Balt 6 Games, the Yanks have some cats and dogs left, LA 1 game, Seattle 3 Games, and Minn 1 Game

    I guess if your a TB fan you have to like the schedule fright now, they play the Yanks and Boston a total of 12 games. When your behind you want to get it play the teams ahead of you. If your the Yanks the 9 games against Boston and TB will be critical to saying where they endup.

  9. sunny615 September 11th, 2011 at 8:43 am

    MLB needs to do something about the schedule. This is ridiculous. One day off for the month or something as stupid. Lucky for the Yanks, Boston is sucking almost as bad otherwise they’d be 3 games back by now.

  10. TheStraw September 11th, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Never forget. God Bless all the victims of

  11. TheStraw September 11th, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Never forget. God Bless all the victims of 9/11.

  12. randy l. September 11th, 2011 at 9:02 am

    randy l. September 7th, 2011 at 8:44 am
    “the player that the yankees can least afford to lose if they play texas in the playoffs is russell martin.
    if martin was injured and couldn’t play, texas would run wild on cervelli who has the 88th worst caught stealing percentage in the major leagues.

    without a significant improvement in cervelli’s throwing between now and the playoffs, every yankee fan should pray that martin stays healthy throughout the playoffs. he really is the player the yankees can least afford to lose for the playoffs.”

    sometimes the baseball gods intervene to make what is supposed to happen happen.

    jesus montero should have been catching before today precisely because of the possibility of martin or cervelli being injured lke they are.

    ok,it’s water over the dam. montero is the starter today and posada is the back up. stuff happens.

    i have no doubt that montero will be fine as a catcher. will he make some mistakes? probably. will he give up five stolen bases like martin did a week ago. probably not. that’s not a slam on martin either. they probably ran on the pitcher because martin has a good arm.i’m just saying montero will be fine, but he’ll make some mistakes and that’s not the end of the world. he’ll get the job done.

    so right now four catchers are in the mix for the playoffs. martin, montero, posada, and cervelli.

    depending on health and injury issues any combination for the postseason is possible.

  13. blake September 11th, 2011 at 9:03 am

    The world changed 10 years ago today……we rememeber those affected and honor those that were heroes that day.

  14. Ghostwriter September 11th, 2011 at 9:25 am

    The Yanks are all but a lock to get into the post-season. Despite the 4-game losing streak, the Yanks’ magic numbers have been falling. The magic number to claim the division against the Sox is down to 16, and the magic number to claim a the division (or the wild card) against Tampa is down 12.

    If the Yanks can play .500 ball down the stretch, splitting their games with the Rays, they are in the post-season as either the AL East champion or a wildcard.

    The math is a little tougher against the Sox. If the Yanks split their games with the Sox, their magic number against the Sox drops to 10. Considering the Sox current travails, I think that they safely can be expected lose another 4 games. So, again it seems like .500-ball should be enough to allow the Yanks to allow the Yanks to clinch the AL East.

    One big thing going in the Yanks favor is that Tampa and Boston cannot BOTH win out the rest of the season, because they play each other 6 times. This considerably simplifies things for the Yanks. The bottom line is that 96 wins for the Yanks should be more than enough to clinch a post-season berth, and likely will be enough to clinch the AL East.

  15. Ghostwriter September 11th, 2011 at 9:30 am

    blake September 11th, 2011 at 9:03 am

    The world changed 10 years ago today……we rememeber those affected and honor those that were heroes that day.

    Well said.

  16. Ghostwriter September 11th, 2011 at 10:03 am

    randy l. September 11th, 2011 at 9:02 am

    jesus montero should have been catching before today precisely because of the possibility of martin or cervelli being injured lke they are….

    Good grief. This kind of second-guessing is unwarranted. How many teams carry 3 catchers on their roster? What were the odds of losing both Cervelli and Martin within 3 days of each other? I’m sorry but you can’t plan for every conceivable worst-case scenario. The bad news is that this injury happened at a crucial juncture in the year and at an extremely important position. The good news is that the Yanks have a ton of depth at this position, and there are about 18 games left in the season for Monty to get somewhat acclimated to catching in the bigs. (I know 18 games aren’t much, but it’s better nothing.)

    Odds are that Martin will be able to play. However, his throwing is going to be suspect. Running teams are going to run on Martin. Unless I miss my guess, they are going to be successful at it. I think that Monty is our starting catcher, unless Martin can demonstrate that he can throw with that thumb of his. After last night, I’m not optimistic about Martin on this score.

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