Joe Torre is in town for this weekend series between his former teams. Last night, he was honored by the Milwaukee Braves Historical Assocition. Later this summer he’ll have his number retired at Yankee Stadium.
“It would always be special when you get honored by a particular team,” Torre said. “But when it’s the Yankees, you realize what their history is. You know you only have so many umbers to choose from. I remember when I came over, I wanted a single digit. That’s how I got the number, No. 6. I had worn 9, I had worn 15. Flip the six, it’s a nine, add it to nine, it’s 15; who knows? I wanted a single digit and I had it and there it was. Who could have ever dreamed at that point in 95-96 that this would be the result? It’s been awesome to me.”
Obviously Torre left New York on fairly bad terms, but he said those harsh feelings began to thaw four years ago.
“I think what really broke the ice was when Donnie (Mattingly) and I came back for George’s memorial at the stadium,” Torre said. “I had never hesitated about going back over there, it was just something I needed to exhale a little bit. It was both our faults when we split after the ’07 season. I don’t think either one of us knew how to say goodbye. I think that’s probably what broke the ice, because I saw the family that night. Then this job helped, because I’ve spent a lot of time over there because I’m in New York quite a bit.”
Derek Jeter did not know until pregame that Torre’s number was being retired.
“He’s going to go down as a great Yankee, not just a great Yankee manager,” Jeter said. “He’s meant a lot to this organization. When are they doing it? This year? Good. It’s well deserved. We have a great relationship. I’ve said it before, he’s been like a second father to me throughout my career playing for him and now even though he’s not the manager here, we still have a close relationship. So I’m extremely happy.”
Quite a year for Torre so far. He’s also being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
“I know the Hall of Fame is going to be emotional,” Torre said. “But I guarantee being at Yankee Stadium on the 23rd of August — I even think about it, I get emotional.”
• Pretty good line from Torre about why Goose Gossage, Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill are also being honored this summer but Bernie Williams is not: “Bernie is going to be honored next year because they can’t find him, right?” Torre said.
• Torre said he plans to be at Fenway for the final game of the season. It will obviously be the final regular-season game of Jeter’s career. “He’s special, he always has been special, and I feel very blessed that we still have a relationship where we stay in touch,” Torre said. “Just a text here and there. He’s going to be missed. I think it’s great that he’s retiring, where he can finally admire what he has accomplished. If there was ever a role model, what he represents is something that doesn’t come along very often.”
• Here’s Joe Girardi on the Yankees attempts to get their pitchers ready for interleague: “Well, we started (having them hit) in spring training, then gave them a little bit of break, and then we started over a month ago,” Girardi said.”Then we started swinging, tee, a little toss, and then BP and having them on the field. The good thing is within two weeks or whatever, our pitchers will be done hitting for the rest of the season, which is a good thing.”
• Girardi said he feels like his roster is pretty well suited for these games. “I grew up on (the National League),” he said. “My first managerial job was doing it. I do enjoy it. It’s nice that we have a full bench, a couple lefties, a couple righties, and guys that we can put in some different spots, so it works pretty well for us. Probably the most versatile team that we’ve had in years. Just because Solarte can play everywhere, Kelly Johnson can play a number of different positions, you can put Ich anywhere in the outfield – it’s pretty versatile.”
• Carlos Beltran has been pretty bad lately, and Girardi said he wonders if there’s been some carryover from that wall collision in Tampa. “There could have been,” Girardi said. “He swung the bat really well in Boston after that. But I’ve thought about that, wondering could there be something there. He says he feels good and doesn’t get a lot of treatment, but I still wonder about it.”
• Both Girardi and Brian McCann have said they don’t expect any sort of carryover from last year’s incident between McCann and Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez. “I respect the guy,” McCann said. “I respect the way he plays. He plays hard every single night. It’s way, way over.”
• A few minor league moves to have on your radar: 1B Kyle Roller and reliever Branden Pinder have been promoted from Double-A to Triple-A (both had extremely good numbers in Trenton). To make room on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster, Yoshinori Tateyama has been released and Corban Joseph has been placed on the temporarily inactive list (I’m not sure what that’s about). Also, Chris Leroux has been sent to Double-A to fill a spot in their rotation. Trenton has also added Peter O’Brien, who was just bumped up from High-A and will apparently see most of his time in right field.
Associated Press photos