I made a choice yesterday. Batting practice was going on, and I wasn’t planning to write much about Mariano Rivera’s latest stop along his farewell tour — it’s always good, interesting stuff, but I simply wasn’t writing much about it this time — so I went upstairs to start my pregame notes and get the blog updated. I knew Rivera was talking to reporters after BP, but it simply didn’t have much to do with what I was writing, and I decided it would be better to get the pregame notes posted and my early newspaper stories filed.
So I wasn’t in the dugout for the suddenly infamous Joba/Mo confrontation. I believe there were four beat writers there, and the story began to circulate. It was unusual, two teammates — one of them Mariano Rivera, no less — were legitimately upset with one another in a public setting, directly in front of media and fans. It doesn’t happen often, but it happened yesterday.
“He’s a brother to me,” Joba Chamberlain said today. “I’m pretty sure everybody has ha an argument with their sibling at one time or another. It was good. I saw him, we laughed and joked this morning. It’s just another day. … I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t change anything I do in life. It happens, it happens. you fess up to it, you talk about it, you laugh and move on. That all you can do. It’s not really a story to begin with.”
Here’s the basic story of what happened: Rivera was doing an interview in the dugout. Chamberlain was standing nearby, talking loudly with fans and family (Chamberlain is from Nebraska and has a huge group at the ballpark this weekend). Rivera asked Chamberlain to be quieter so he could do the interview. Chamberlain took exception to being asked to stay quiet and confronted Rivera about it.
“It shouldn’t happen,” Rivera said. “These are not things that we need to bring in front of you guys or anybody. But it happened and I hope you guys (understand), this is done. This is, again, in-house and we keep it like that.”
Chamberlain told reporters that he saw no reason to apologize and would not change anything about yesterday’s interaction — “I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t change anything I do in life,” he said — but Rivera said that Chamberlain did, in fact, apologize today. It is a big deal? Probably not, except that it’s a glimpse at teammates in a way that we rarely see them. And obviously it carries more weight because of the personalities involved. Was Rivera angry or insulted?
“No, I’m better than that,” Rivera said. “When you’re in the team or you’re in the family for so long, you know the members of your family, you know what I mean? He’s a good kid, man. He’s a good kid. Sometimes we all say things that we don’t mean to say. It’s the way it is, and I keep it like that. That doesn’t make me angry because something like that happened. You guys were there in the meeting with the family. That is different. There’s a lot of other things that I have to worry about. I’m better than that, guys, so thank you.”
• Ivan Nova will not start one of tomorrow’s doubleheader games. He was playing catch today and felt something in his left side, which is a new injury. Girardi said it happened to recently to know what the injury is or what it means long term. For now, it means Nova is out of the mix for tomorrow.
• David Phelps is starting tomorrow’s first game, but who starts the second? Girardi said it won’t be CC Sabathia. The top choices are either Adam Warren or Vidal Nuno, depending on whether the Yankees have to use one of them today. That said, Girardi said the Yankees will likely have a Triple-A starter on standby in a Cleveland hotel in case the team has to make a move between games.
• From my friend Donnie Collins: The Yankees scratched Brett Marshall from today’s scheduled start. They also took second baseman Corban Joseph out of the lineup. I’m putting two and two together just like Donnie is. My best guess — and apparently Donnie is hearing this from someone – is that the Yankees will add Joseph as their 26th man tomorrow, and then keep Marshall on standby. If I had to guess, I’d say that Adam Warren starts tomorrow’s second game and Marshall replaces Nuno if Nuno is needed either today or in tomorrow’s first game. I know Girardi said he wanted a pitcher as that 26th man, but having Marshall ready between games is basically the same thing. And there really isn’t another pitching option on the 40-man unless the Yankees are going to call someone from Double-A or take a chance on Dellin Betances.
• Speaking of tomorrow, Girardi said he won’t play Robinson Cano in the field for both games. He also won’t play Vernon Wells in the field for both games. That likely means a DH game for Cano and a game on the bench for Wells.
• Eduardo Nunez is going to try to swing later this week. If that goes well, he could go for a short rehab stint, but the Yankees are hopeful that he won’t miss any more than 15 days. He’s already missed seven, counting today.
• Alberto Gonzalez has arrived. He’s a slick fielder, but not much of a hitter. He gives the Yankees a legitimate shortstop.
• Girardi once again indicated that it’s at least possible Curtis Granderson could be activated in the next few days. “It’s probably worth it to have a call with him sometime tomorrow to see where he feels he’s at,” Girardi said. “That will give us a better idea.”
• According to Donnie, the Yankees have traded Juan Cedeno to the Braves. Cedeno is now on the Gwinnett roster.
Associated Press photos