Here’s one way to look at it: The Yankees ace got back on the mound yesterday. Here’s another way to look at it: The Yankees ace is getting back on the mound tonight.
“When we signed (Hiroki Kuroda), we expected him to pitch really well,” Joe Girardi said. “But he’s pitched really, really well for us. We knew that he knew how to pitch, we knew that he knew how to handle pressure, and he’s done all of those things.”
Make no mistake, CC Sabathia is still at the head of this rotation. But it’s Kuroda who’s having the better season, putting himself in the mix for some mid-ballot votes in the Cy Young race. He has 12 wins but should have more with his 2.96 ERA. He’s 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA since the All-Star break, becoming a shutdown presence for a team that has put Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda all on the disabled list at different times this season. Only Kuroda and Phil Hughes have been in the rotation all year.
“I don’t think you’re ever sure how a guy’s gonna make the transition (to the Yankees),” Girardi said. “We’ve seen people take two weeks, we’ve seen them take a month, a year, a couple of years, so you just try to be there for the people when they’re going through that transition of playing in New York. He made it pretty quick, he really did. He made it quicker than a lot of other guys have.”
• Girardi said today that Alex Rodriguez is taking full tee and toss with both hands. Yesterday, he said Rodriguez would simply take dry swings this weekend, but today Girardi said Rodriguez is actually hitting a baseball.
• Andy Pettitte threw two “innings” of roughly 20 pitches today. He threw them all off flat ground, and Girardi said he never pushed off his left leg. It was essentially throwing everything from an exaggerated stance with his legs wide. “He didn’t really push off, but he threw what you might call some flat ground, a couple of innings,” Girardi said. “He’ll see the doctor Monday and hopefully then they’ll say he can push off a lot more.”
• CC Sabathia felt fine today after making yesterday’s start. “That’s really positive,” Girardi said. “Obviously it’s important that he stays feeling good. You want him to be able to do his side session tomorrow and come out of that feeling good, but that’s really positive.”
• No tests or anything for Derek Jeter after last night’s fastball to the helmet. Jeter was watching the Little League World Series in the clubhouse and seemed just fine. “I didn’t even check,” Girardi said. “I checked last night. He’s fine.”
• Girardi said he’ll begin meeting with staff in the next few days to talk about which players might make sense as September call-ups. “I’m sure Cash and I will sit down and talk this week,” Girardi said. “We’ll sit down with the coaches and talk this week about the people they feel can help us, what we feel like we need.”
• As you can imagine, there was plenty of reaction to the Red Sox trade. “I think everyone’s still shaking their heads wondering how in the world this even happened,” Derek Lowe said. “… To completely change the course of your team, I don’t know if it’s ever happened. It’s pretty drastic. It’s substantial changes. I think if you’re a player that likes the big market but yet doesn’t have the big market feel, L.A. is perfect.”
Associated Press photos