In terms of real news, there’s more good stuff down in the notes below. In terms of raw entertainment, it didn’t get much better than Russell Martin’s pregame interview this afternoon. There’s obviously a way we’ve all come to expect athletes to respond when asked about opponents, but Martin pulled no punches when asked about the Red Sox.
“Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome for me,” he said. “… They are fun to play against just because they have a quality team, and they’re gritty, and they play hard and stuff, but I’d love to see them lose.”
“Because I hate the Red Sox,” Martin said.
Fair enough. The Yankees could play the role of spoilers down the stretch, but oddly enough, to help eliminate the Red Sox, the Yankees would have to lose against the Rays. Joe Girardi — of course — said he has no preference in the wild card race, and he said he feels no responsibility to either the Rays or the Red Sox.
“Our responsibility is to our club,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. I have to make sure our guys are healthy and rested and ready to go next Friday… Obviously our goal is to get home-field advantage, and the important thing to me about some of these lineups is that we take care of our guys and have them ready to play next Friday. I’ll rotate some days off with some guys and get them a little rest, but I want them sharp and we want home-field advantage.”
And what happens if the Red Sox hang on and meet the Yankees in the American League Championship Series?
“They gave us a hard time all year, but I don’t think we’re scared of them or anything,” Martin said. “We’ll see what happens. If we play them, we play them. We’ll just have to beat them.”
Here’s Martin. The best stuff is a couple of minutes into the interview.
• Looks like CC Sabathia won’t be getting 20 wins this season. Girardi said today that the Yankees are likely to have Sabathia pitch a simulated game, but not pitch in another regular season game this season. “Do it that way so you can control the environment,” Girardi said. Girardi said he wasn’t sure when that simulated game would be, but Sunday seems to be a possibility. The Yankees prefer a simulated game because they believe it lets Sabathia stay more or less on routine, rather than forcing him into a bullpen situation or a shortened start.
• The Yankees rotation for this weekend:
Friday: Freddy Garcia
Saturday: A.J. Burnett
Sunday: Ivan Nova
• The Yankees are hoping to have Phil Hughes start one of the games in Tampa next week. He’s hoping to throw a bullpen this weekend, and Hughes said he could have pitched at about “90 percent” yesterday, but the Yankees wanted to play it safe.
• The expectation is still that Francisco Cervelli will not be healthy enough to play this postseason. Girardi said that’s part of the reason Jesus Montero is getting a start behind the plate. The Yankees want to see him back there to help them make an informed decision about what to do about a backup catcher in the playoffs.
• Girardi said he expects to have six or seven regular players in the lineup every day, and he doesn’t see any one player as needing significantly more rest than others. “I think they’ll all get about the same amount of time,” Girardi said.
• No special treatment for Alex Rodriguez this last week: “I think since he’s come back this time he’s hit the ball better and he’s been more consistent,” Girardi said. “He’s going to get his at-bats this next week and I really, truly believe he’s going to be ready to go. When next Friday comes around, I truly believe he’ll be ready to go.”
• David Phelps, Adam Warren and Manny Banuelos will join the Yankees tomorrow, but they won’t be in uniform. They’ll just be here for a couple of days to sit in on meetings and see what it’s like at the big league level. It’s a pretty standard thing that the Yankees do with some young players at the end of the year.
Associated Press photos