The conversation is inevitable. Anytime a formerly bearded player joins the Yankees, he can’t avoid questions about losing the facial hair and accepting the properly pinstriped look. This morning, Casey McGehee showed up with both a shaved head and a shaved face, and he was ready to laugh about it. He said his Pittsburgh teammates wanted him to shave in front of them, just so they could see it, but he refused to give them the satisfaction.
Did MLB Network contact him — like Jose Reyes — to ask if he’d shave on camera?
“I don’t think they had enough viewers to watch that,” McGehee said. “Reyes might be able to pull that off. I don’t think they want to watch a chubby white guy shave his beard.”
McGehee doesn’t have a name tag above his locker yet, but his spot is right next to Chris Stewart, who’s played against McGehee since the low minors. And Stewart couldn’t say enough nice things about him as a hitter. Said that when he’s locked in, he’s dangerous. Even in a down year, McGehee has remained productive against left-handers, and that’s why the Yankees got him.
“It’s just facial hair,” he said. “It’s not like I was going to win any beauty pageants with or without it. I’m just excited — all joking aside — I’m just excited to be here. I’ll do whatever it takes. Shaving my beard is the least of my concerns.
“… I’m just excited to be able to not only come to a storied franchise, but also a team that’s been playing as well as they have been. Head’s been spinning a little bit. It’s been kind of a crazy last 24 hours. But the big thing is just excited. I’m really looking forward to the chance of coming over here to help win games. And hopefully, this is about as good a situation as you can, with guys who have been here before, to make a run in the postseason to try to put a ring on your finger which is something I haven’t had a chance to do. But it’s the reason why we all play so nothing but good things.”
• The Yankees knew Ichiro Suzuki would move to left field eventually, and they decided to make the move today. Andruw Jones has played left field this year, but with Phil Hughes on the mound, Joe Girardi decided he preferred Ichiro’s speed in left. “We were going to do it at some point,” Girardi said. “You have a fly ball pitcher today. You want your guys who cover the most ground in the biggest spaces.”
• Girardi seems completely unconcerned about Ichiro’s ability to make the move from right to left. “It’s a talented outfielder,” Girardi said. “There might be a little adjustment. We’re not really going to know until we get him out there in a game situation. You can take all the balls off the bat in batting practice that you want, but it’s going to be different when it’s a game situation. With all his experience, we just feel that he can do it and he’ll do a good job.”
• As for Nick Swisher going back to designated hitter, Girardi said there was no setback, he’s simply buying himself two more days before Swisher has to really test himself in the outfield. “Nothing in him yesterday (suggested he can’t play the outfield),” Girardi said. “Just a day game after a night game. I think we should be pretty good after this, starting Friday, where I can put him in the outfield and feel comfortable doing it.”
• Russell Martin has hit .233/.340/.512 since the All-Star break, and without Mark Teixeira or Alex Rodriguez in the lineup against a lefty, Martin has moved up to sixth it today’s lineup. “He’s been swinging the bat well,” Girardi said. “He’s been swinging the bat against left-handers – swinging the bat very well against left-handers – so I moved him up.”
• For the most part, Girardi is prepared to treat Joba Chamberlain just like every other reliever. “I don’t really see any limitations right now,” Girardi said. “But we’ll have to evaluate that as we go along. If he was to have a long inning, or if he was to go 30, 35 pitches, you might be careful the next day, where if it was July for him, not so much. But for the most part, I think we would use him like you would use a normal reliever.”
Associated Press photos