Two fresh outfielders are on their way to Boston as the Yankees continue to put players on the disabled list and search for ways to make this lineup productive.
Donnie Collins noticed that both Melky Mesa and Thomas Neal were packing their bags after tonight’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre game. Those two are scheduled to be in Boston tomorrow, one of them to replace Zoilo Almonte and the other to fill a yet-to-be-opened roster spot. My guess would be something involving Alberto Gonzalez, but that’s strictly a guess. I’ve only been told which two are coming, not sure the second guy who’s going.
Almonte sprained his left ankle while trying to beat out a double play. He didn’t leave the game immediately but was on crutches in the clubhouse.
“It started hurting right away after the play,” Almonte said. “But I did try to run on it to see if it would get better.”
With Almonte hurt and Brett Gardner ejected for slamming his helmet, the Yankees played the second half of the game with utility infielders Brent Lillibridge and Alberto Gonzalez — two guys who have spent most of the year in Triple-A — playing the outfield corners.
“There’s no need to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves,” Gardner said. “We have another game tomorrow at 4 o’clock. We’re going to do what we can to go out there and compete and try to get a win, and it doesn’t matter who we send out there. We’ve been pretty good this year about going out there and battling. We’ve had trouble scoring runs at times, but Hiroki’s pitching tomorrow, which is good news because he’s been throwing the ball great, so hopefully we score a couple runs, he holds their offense down, and we get a win.”
• Andy Pettitte actually pitched pretty well today. He gave up the leadoff home run to Jacoby Ellsbury, and he gave up a two-run shot to Jonny Gomes — on a pitch that Chris Stewart told Pettitte was a well-executed changeup — but Pettitte settled in to hardly let the ball out of the infield through his final 5.1 innings. “I’m thankful I was able to stick around and give us some innings,” Pettitte said. “But that’s a moot point whenever you’re not able to win the game.”
• Pettitte has had a real problem lately giving up early runs, and he doesn’t know how to explain it. “It’s got to change,” he said. “I can’t keep going out there and giving up two, three, four runs in the first inning and second inning. I feel too good, settled in too good in the middle innings. I’m feeling decent, but I have to obviously try to minimize the damage here early in the game.”
• On the Ellsbury home run, Pettitte said he was simply trying to get back in the count and throw a strike with his second pitch of the game. The Gomes home run was a changeup down and away. “Stew told me he felt like it was a real good pitch to Gomes,” Pettitte said. “Obviously I haven’t seen it. If it was a good pitch I didn’t set it up well.”
• Pettitte has now allowed four runs or more in seven straight starts, tied for the longest such streak of his career. He’s 4-7 with a 5.14 ERA in his last 14 starts.
• Girardi said he wasn’t mad at Gardner for the ejection. He was made at home-place umpire Mike Everitt. “I don’t think the ejection makes any sense to me,” Girardi said. “He ran him up for throwing equipment. It’s an emotional game. It’s a game that has some meaning to it. He didn’t say anything to the umpire, so I disagree with Mike, what he did. I think you give him a warning there, you write him up for throwing equipment, and then if he says something you toss him, but I really disagree with what he did.”
• Gardner said he never said anything to Everitt, but he also recognized the trouble he created. “I’ve got to have better control of my emotions and not do what I did,” Gardner said. “I put (Girardi) in a bad spot, and caused some other guys to play out of position, and I feel bad about it.
• Before the ejection, Gardner generated the Yankees first run by drawing a walk, stealing two bases and scoring on an error. They were his 14th and 15th stolen bases of the season. He now has 152 stolen bases in his career, moving ahead of Horace Clarke and Roberto Kelly for the 10th-most in Yankees history. He’s one shy of Mickey Mantle in ninth place.
• This was Gardner’s second career ejection. He’s the first Yankees player to be ejected this season.
• Alberto Gonzalez made his first career appearance in left field. He had previously played right field. He’s also pitched this season.
• Final word goes to Pettitte: “We’ve got two pretty good pitchers going the next couple of days. Hiro (can) go out there and give us a good game tomorrow and give us a chance to win. Just want to go out there and give us a chance to win. I put us down in the hole (tonight). You don’t feel real good about that, but we tried to battle back. That fourth run hurts. We’re battling right now, man. The guys are grinding ,and this isn’t easy so we’ll get C and Hiro to go out the next couple of days. Hopefully we score some runs and we win the next two games and win the series and everybody feeling real good about what we’re doing.”
Associated Press photos