Friday, June 30, 2006


joel.sherman @

June 30, 2006 -- DEREK Jeter celebrated his 32nd birthday earlier this week, which means he is in his prime, yet clearly beginning the back nine of his career. Alex Rodriguez turns 31 next month, putting him at roughly the same juncture.

Both are hard workers and both have starry seasons ahead of them. But baseball history suggests that prime years generally end somewhere between ages 32-34. So Jeter and Rodriguez likely have completed their best seasons. Thus, the Yankees, for 2006 and beyond, are beholden to how long their signature everyday players can remain elite.

Jose Reyes celebrated his 23rd birthday earlier this month, reaching the same age as David Wright. Both are younger than Jonathan Papelbon, who might be the AL Rookie of the Year. Neither Reyes nor Wright has yet approached his prime, but nevertheless both are performing like prime-time players. They are part of the NL MVP debate, at least the non-Albert Pujols category.

It is easy to believe their best seasons are still to come, that 2006 is merely an appetizer for the possibilities. They are going to form the backbone of a long-time Met contender along with Carlos Beltran, Lastings Milledge and Mike Pelfrey.

In many ways, the final Subway Series of 2006 - at least the final regular-season Subway Series of 2006 - and the never-ending battle for the hearts and minds of New York fans revolves around the left sides of the infields. At the beginning of the season, you could have instigated a good debate about which tandem you would rather have for the next five years, but it still would have been baseball blasphemy to suggest the Mets had the edge this season. More and more, however, the future is now in this debate.

When the Subway Series begins tonight, the majors' two top infield left sides will be at Yankee Stadium. The argument will be which is the best?

Now this is not a history contest. There are no questions there. The Mets will be blessed if Reyes and Wright approach the Cooperstown-tinged careers of Jeter and Rodriguez. And the great advantage Jeter and A-Rod maintain is that they've been there, done that season after season. That includes the 2006 season. When it is over, we will look back and say they were both great again. There is not as much certainty with the Met pair, particularly Reyes.

But if you can somehow ignore the resume of the Yankee duo and concentrate wholly on the capabilities of the players right now, a case can be fashioned that the Mets have the edge. The two obvious areas in which you would have expected Jeter to dominate Reyes are not as obvious. Despite his natural aggressiveness, Jeter still has much more plate discipline than Reyes, though Reyes has made up ground there. And it is hard to firmly state any longer that Jeter has more power. Reyes is outdoing his Yankee counterpart in both doubles and homers.

Jeter is heady and quick on the bases, but Reyes led the majors in steals (34), triples (10) and runs (67). Jeter was at 15, 2 and 51.

The largest discrepancy, though, might be in the field where Reyes is no less sure-handed than Jeter while having more range and a stronger arm.

Defense should have been a big edge for A-Rod over the still-evolving Wright. But Rodriguez clearly has taken a step back in 2006, both in range and sure-handedness. On offense, Wright has A-Rod in batting average, homers, RBIs and steals.

Perhaps Rodriguez initiated what will be a run toward a third MVP with his game-ending, two-run, 12th-inning homer Wednesday against the Braves. But, even here, Wright currently holds an edge. He has three walkoff hits in 2006, including one vs. the Yanks, to that one by A-Rod.

Now, again, remember this is a snapshot midway through a season. It is easy to see Rodriguez moving beyond Wright in most, if not all of those categories. The same is true for Jeter. These are great players, still playing at a high level.

However, the snapshot does tell us something for sure as this Subway Series begins. We now have a real debate.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006



June 27, 2006 -- THE YOUNG shortstop who helped carry the Yankees to four championships turned 32 yesterday.

"Can you tell everybody I'm 28?" Derek Jeter asked me, flashing his trademark smile.

"It's hard to believe it's been that long," Jeter said, reflecting on his incredible Yankee journey. "This is my 11th year, that's a long time.

"And in New York, it's like dog years."

Jeter is the lead dog and knows a lot is expected here. A lot has been delivered by No. 2, most importantly, those four rings. Jeter is the Yankees' glue and 100 years from now this will be known as the Jeter Era.

He is having another terrific season. He reached base and scored his first two times up last night, riding home on Jason Giambi's two home runs in the 5-2 win over the Braves. Randy Johnson, the Big Unit, looked big again against the small National League, throwing seven shutout innings, recording seven of his last eight outs via strikeouts. In the ninth, when things got tight, Mariano Rivera came on and did his thing.

You can make the case for Jeter being the AL MVP. He owns the third best average (.335) in the league. In so many different ways, he stirs the drink.

Reggie Jackson knows all about that.

"Derek's got real good vision of the trail that he leaves," Reggie said. "I look forward to the day he goes into the Hall of Fame. I look forward to sharing Old Timer's Days with him."

Bobby Cox was in the other dugout with the Braves in 1996 when the Yankees won their first title with Jeter at short.

"I remember talking to Gene Michael about him his first year," Cox recalled. "I was telling him what I saw, and he told me, 'Your eyes aren't lying. He's that good.' "

Summing up these 11 years, Cox said: "Put it this way. He's about as good as there is - or ever was."

Still, there are 5-year-olds walking around New York who have never seen a Yankees championship.

When will Jeter and the Yankees win another ring?

The challenge grows tougher each day. Injuries have devastated the lineup, but Jeter remains confident.

"We've been playing pretty good of late," he said. "We've been pitching well and overall, the intensity level has been there. The games that we've lost, we've forced the other team to beat us. We could be in a whole lot worse shape."

The Yankees are three games back of the Red Sox in the loss column. They must win the AL East, because the way the AL Central is going, it looks like the wild card is going to be won by the Tigers or White Sox.

Jeter loves challenges and this is a great one. Yankees third base coach Larry Bowa knows what it takes to play shortstop.

"Jeter could have played in my era, any era," Bowa said. "He could have played with Babe Ruth."

No one is more competitive than Bowa and that's the trait he loves most about Jeter.

"He takes it to another level," Bowa said. "He deals with failure, but he doesn't accept it."

As long as the Yankees have Jeter at short and Rivera closing, they have a chance, no matter how many injured players there are in the Yankee clubhouse.

Joe Torre recalled it was August of '96 when teammates really started looking to the young Jeter for leadership. They haven't stopped.

"I'm proud to have the honor to be in this position to watch him play for the past 11 years," Torre said sincerely.

Added GM Brian Cashman: "Jeter was hatched out of the egg as a veteran. He really was. He was mature beyond his years."

The great lesson Jeter has taught so many teammates is this, Cashman said: "When the game is on the line, you have to slow the game down. You can never let the game speed up. I think anybody in any sport can learn from a comment like that. Don't let your emotions get the better of you."

Not even on your birthday.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Jeter questionable for finale

06/21/2006 1:17 AM ET
Notes: Jeter questionable for finale
Already battling right foot problem, shortstop hit in left knee
By Mark Feinsand /

PHILADELPHIA -- Derek Jeter was hit on the side of his left knee by a Rheal Cormier in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 9-7 victory over the Phillies, and while he remained in the game, he is questionable for Wednesday's finale at Citizens Bank Park.

Jeter discussed the injury in the same fashion that he always does, saying that his knee was "all right" and that he would be in the lineup on Wednesday.

But Joe Torre revealed after the game that the shortstop has been battling a minor problem with the inside of his right foot for a couple of days.

"It's no problem," Jeter said, again brushing off the injury question. "It's all right. It's no big deal."

But as Jeter, who had wraps on his leg, walked out of the clubhouse following the game, it was clear that he was limping.

Jeter has played in 64 of the Yankees' 69 games this season, missing three games from June 5-7 with a bruised right thumb and two games from May 31-June 1 with a sprained right hand.

Jeter is hitting .339 with five home runs and 45 RBIs this season.

Resting rookie: Melky Cabrera was not in the lineup on Tuesday, the first time since May 23 that the rookie did not start, a span of 24 games.

Kevin Reese, called up from Triple-A Columbus earlier in the day, started in left field. Reese was batting .286 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 49 games with Columbus this season.

"It looks like he's forcing it a little bit; he's a little long in his swing," Joe Torre said of Cabrera. "Kevin has been swinging the bat very well, so we'll throw him in there and see what happens."

Cabrera has struggled at the plate recently, going hitless in his last 14 at-bats. Cabrera is just 1-for-18 on the road trip.

"He's a little overanxious, I know he's not as patient and he certainly doesn't appear as comfortable," Torre said. "He's dealing with this for the first time after he had that good start. It's more a young player experiencing his first slump than anything else."

Torre stressed that Cabrera was still the Yankees' everyday left fielder, and that he would be in the lineup on Wednesday against lefty Cole Hamels. Right field will continue to be a rotating position between Bernie Williams, Bubba Crosby and possibly Reese.

"We have to mix and match somewhere," Torre said. "That seems to be the most comfortable position for Bernie right now, and he's not going to play every day."

To make room for Reese on the roster, right-hander Jose Veras was optioned to Triple-A.

Dotel hanging around: Octavio Dotel's plans to head to Trenton on Thursday have been changed, as the reliever will remain with the Yankees through the weekend, joining Columbus on Monday.

Dotel will throw on flat ground with the Yankees on Thursday, then pitch in a game on Monday for Columbus. One or two outings could be enough for him to declare himself ready, at which point he could join the Yankees next week.

"If he's comfortable, we're certainly going to go along with that," Torre said. "He's the one that has to feel good about what he's doing."

Catching a rest: Jorge Posada will not start on Wednesday, as Kelly Stinnett will be paired up with Jaret Wright in the series finale against the Phillies.

Posada may see action later in the game, but Torre believes that the partial day off, combined with Thursday's off-day, will give the catcher a nice break.

"I think that will be more of a benefit for him," Torre said.

First things first: Andy Phillips has had just three at-bats on the road trip, as Jason Giambi has started each of the past five games at first base in National League parks.

Torre plans on giving Phillips some playing time when the team returns home this weekend, giving him a chance to play while giving Giambi some time at designated hitter.

"It will probably help Jason to DH, so there's a pretty good chance," Torre said. "It's tough when they make the schedules to have you play two [NL] cities in a row. It's a disadvantage to American League teams to have players not play for six days."

Coming up: The Yankees and Phillies close out their three-game set on Wednesday, as Wright takes on Hamels. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006



June 21, 2006 -- PHILADELPHIA - Derek Jeter limped out of Citizens Bank Park last night with a compression wrap on his bruised left knee and a problem with his right foot he didn't want to discuss.
And, yes, Jeter said he will be in the lineup tonight against the Phillies.

Jeter was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning of last night's 9-7 win. By the time he reached second base, Joe Torre and trainer Gene Monahan visited.

"I got hit on the inside [of the knee]," Jeter said.

Asked about an ankle problem Torre talked about after the game, Jeter said, "It's good." Pressed on it, Jeter said, "It's nothing."


Torre said Mike Mussina could have been distracted by plate umpire Gary Cederstrom confronting Mussina for looking at him when Mussina believed Cederstrom missed a strike on Pat Burrell before Ryan Howard followed with a three-run homer in the first inning.


T.J. Beam worked one-third of an inning for his first major league victory.


Mariano Rivera was brilliant posting a two-inning save but not so pretty at the plate. In his first regular-season at-bat ever (he has three in the postseason), Rivera fanned with bad swings.


Following a weight-room workout, Randy Johnson dressed and left Citizens Bank Park to serve the first game of his five-game suspension.


Octavio Dotel will test his balky right elbow with a game of catch tomorrow, but it won't be in Trenton, as originally planned. Instead, Dotel will toss at Yankee Stadium under the supervision of the training staff since the Yankees are off.

Dotel has been shut down from a rehab assignment due to triceps tendinitis in the elbow area that underwent Tommy John surgery a year ago. ... Carl Pavano's return from elbow surgery to remove a bone chip continues today when he plays catch for the second time in three days.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Four Yankees ahead in All-Star voting

06/13/2006 7:20 PM ET
Four Yankees ahead in All-Star voting
Giambi, Posada within striking distance at their positions
By Mark Feinsand /

NEW YORK -- With less than three weeks remaining in All-Star voting, four Yankees are on track to represent the American League in the starting lineup July 11 at Pittsburgh's PNC Park.

Derek Jeter continues to lead all AL players, racking up 1,121,712 votes to take a commanding lead of more than 345,000 votes over Baltimore's Miguel Tejada at shortstop.

Alex Rodriguez's lead over Boston's Mike Lowell is even larger, as the Yankees' third baseman has received 1,067,369 votes to Lowell's 468,031, a difference of nearly 600,000.

The second-base race looks to be the tightest, with Robinson Cano maintaining his lead over Boston's Mark Loretta by just 67,594 votes. Cano's 602,637 votes are the least by any position leader in the AL.

Johnny Damon remains in the third starting outfield spot, trailing Los Angeles' Vladimir Guerrero and Boston's Manny Ramirez. Damon has received 754,396 votes, keeping him 77,000 ahead of Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.

Aside from the four would-be starters, the Yankees have two other players challenging for a spot on the AL team. Jason Giambi is in second place at first base, though Boston's David Ortiz holds a solid lead of almost 290,000 votes. Jorge Posada ranks third at catcher, roughly 140,000 behind the leader, Boston's Jason Varitek.

Although voting at Yankee Stadium is over, fans can cast votes up to 25 times with the 2006 All-Star Online Ballot at and all 30 club sites. Online balloting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 29. The rosters will be unveiled at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 2.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Jeter returns to defensive lineup

06/13/2006 11:55 PM ET
Notes: Jeter returns to defensive lineup
Veteran back at shortstop after three games as DH
By Mark Feinsand /

NEW YORK -- For the first time in more than a week, Derek Jeter played shortstop for the Yankees.

Jeter, who missed the first three games of the homestand after being hit on his right thumb by a pitch in Baltimore last Sunday, was originally penciled into Tuesday's lineup as the designated hitter, which would have marked his fourth consecutive game in that position.

But after Joe Torre watched Jeter take batting practice and field some ground balls, the manager decided to insert him back into his regular position.

"I'm ready to go," Jeter said. "I always expect to play. As long as I'm capable of doing it I could play."

Jeter went 1-for-5 on Sunday, snapping an 0-for-14 stretch with a fifth-inning double. The hitless streak was the longest for Jeter since May 2004, when he also went 0-for-14.

Jeter's biggest problem since being hit by the Rodrigo Lopez pitch wasn't his hitting, it was his inability to throw the ball without pain.

With Jeter back in the field, the Yankees moved Bernie Williams from right field to DH, inserting Kevin Thompson into the lineup in right field.

Giambi still out: Jason Giambi was hopeful for a return to the starting lineup Tuesday against Cleveland, but was expected to sit a second straight game with an injured thumb after being hit by a pitch Saturday. Giambi said there has been a "huge" improvement to the thumb after icing it on the team's off-day and again before Tuesday's game.

"That left hand is sore," Torre said. "We'll just have to see what he can do."

But after putting pads in his batting glove and all the treatment, discomfort remained. Even the amount of padding felt unusual to the slugger.

"It felt like I had an oven mitt on," Giambi said with a laugh. "We put pads on, did whatever, but just couldn't get over the top where I could swing. It's not going to help just to go stand up there."

Giambi is shooting for a Wednesday return as the DH. The thumb is still black and blue and there is pain between it and the next two fingers, but Giambi said there has been marked improvement.

"The other day I couldn't even use it," he said. "So they made big headway."

Sheff surgery a success: Gary Sheffield underwent successful surgery on his left wrist Tuesday, putting him on track to return in about 12 weeks.

Dr. Charles Melone, the hand specialist that has been working with Sheffield, performed the surgery. Melone told general manager Brian Cashman that the surgery went well, and that no other damage was found in the wrist.

"He just told me it went extremely well, but the time frame is the time frame and I think there's going to be a real good, positive result," Cashman said. "He'll work extremely hard. He'll be fine and it will be stronger than it was before."

"We hope that everything goes well," Torre said. "He's anxious to get back, but he knows what the process is going to be."

Sheffield will likely have to wait about six weeks before he can begin his rehab program, and he should return about six weeks after that.

"We've just got to go with what we've got here," Cashman said. "I hope for a speedy recovery for him now and in the future. It's just nice to know that when he goes through rehab, we'll get him back."

Dotel on the way: Octavio Dotel continued his rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday, as the weather in Tampa called for rain most of this week.

Dotel allowed two runs on three hits -- including a home run -- in one inning against Ottawa, striking out one in his first appearance with Columbus.

Dotel, who is in the final stage of his rehab from last year's Tommy John elbow surgery, could join the Yankees in about 10 days.

"He's the one that has to say, 'I'm ready to go,'" Torre said. "I think he's close to doing that, whether it's in five days or 10 days. I think we're close enough to see the finish line."

When he joins the team, Dotel will join Kyle Farnsworth and Scott Proctor as the primary setup men for Mariano Rivera. Torre stressed that, despite the recent problems in the bullpen, the Yankees aren't rushing Dotel back.

"It's important, as long as we've waited for Dotel, not to rush this thing," the manager said. "Whatever he's comfortable with, we'll be ready for him. The fact that he feels good and he's throwing all of his pitches is great."

Bubba Crosby also played for Columbus on Tuesday, going 1-for-4 as the DH. Crosby could return by Wednesday or Thursday.

Torre said before the game that Crosby was feeling "a little sore" from playing over the weekend, but that the soreness was not related to the hamstring injury that landed him on the DL to begin with.

A new day: Monday's off-day couldn't have come at a better time for the Yankees, who had lost four straight games after being swept by Oakland over the weekend.

"What you do on an off-day is try to forget what's happened the last few days, come out here and try to feel better about yourself," Torre said before Tuesday's game. "The only way to do that is to go out and play a winning ballgame."

The Yankees had won nine of their last 11 games before this recent skid. Torre held a meeting with his players before Sunday's game, though one player said that the manager did not raise his voice. Instead, he gave players the opportunity to stand up and speak, and a couple of players, including Johnny Damon, did just that.

"The general message was basically, 'Don't beat yourself,'" the player said. "We've been giving too much away. If we're going to get beat, we have to make the other team earn it."

Torre said that the day off probably had mixed effects on the team, as veterans have an easier time leaving the game at the ballpark, while youngsters may spend the day worrying about what they're not doing right.

"A week ago, we were playing lights out and doing everything right," Torre said. "The last few games, we've stumbled and haven't been as good. We have to turn that around. Over 162 games, things like that happen."

Coming up: The Yankees play the second of three games against the Indians on Wednesday, as Randy Johnson (7-5, 5.63 ERA) takes on Jason Johnson (3-6, 5.70 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for Associate reporter Ryan Mink contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Jeter returns to lineup

06/09/2006 9:25 PM ET
Notes: Jeter returns to lineup
Captain starts as team's designated hitter on Friday
By Peter Zellen / Special to

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter figured if his sore right thumb was well enough to allow him to throw, then he could return to the field after missing the last three games.
Turns out Joe Torre didn't even need to see that much.

After watching Jeter take batting practice for the first time since getting hit in the thumb by Baltimore's Rodrigo Lopez on Sunday, Torre felt it was time to get his captain back in the lineup, even if it wasn't at shortstop.

So Torre inserted Jeter back into his usual place as the No. 2 hitter on Friday, only as the designated hitter.

"He had a couple of rounds and [batting coach Don Mattingly] was comfortable watching him; and what I saw, I was comfortable watching," Torre said. "It may be a few days before he can throw, so if we wait for him to throw, he's going to be out for a while. We'll just take what we can get right now."

Taking fielding practice for the first time since Sunday as well, Jeter said the thumb was improved, but he was still having problems throwing the ball. With a day off on Monday, the Yankees will probably err on the side of caution and keep Jeter off the field the rest of the weekend to give his thumb more rest.

Miguel Cairo started his fourth straight game at shortstop in Jeter's place.

"I'm not throwing as the DH, so it should be OK. It's pretty much a day-to-day thing. Hopefully I'll be able to play [the field] tomorrow," Jeter said coming off the field. "I'll be all right. It's better than it was. It's more of a feel thing. I can't squeeze [the ball]."

Still, Jeter couldn't avoid getting hit again, as Oakland's Dan Haren plunked Jeter on the left elbow in the third inning during his second at-bat of the game.

Jeter came into Friday night's game hitting .344 with five home runs and 41 RBIs in 53 games.

Proctor no gamble: A day after suffering a blown save and letting in five Red Sox runs, three of which were charged to him, right-handed reliever Scott Proctor wants the ball again -- as soon as possible.

Asked if he wanted to pitch on Friday, Proctor said: "Oh, heck yeah. I think a guy using that as an off-day is an excuse. It's just, 'Go out there and do your job.'"

Proctor pitched 1 1/3 innings and was pulled in the seventh inning on Thursday after giving up a three-run home run by Jason Varitek, raising Proctor's ERA to 4.02, the highest it has been since the first week of the season.

Torre, however, remains confident in Proctor, who has filled in exceptionally well in a setup role while Tanyon Sturtze struggled early in the year and was eventually lost for the season to rotator cuff surgery.

"Proctor is a young man with a great arm who's still learning to do a job. We sort of forced him into this," said Torre, who wants to see Proctor be more aggressive with his fastball rather than nip at the corners like he has a tendency to do. "This was Sturtze's job that he's doing."

Bubba on the mend: Outfielder Bubba Crosby, on the disabled list since May 19 with an injured right hamstring, started a rehab assignment Friday with Class A Tampa. Playing in his first game, Crosby went 1-for-3 with a single and was hit by a pitch in the 2-1 win over Dunedin.

Red Sox re-do: Wednesday's rainout at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox will be rescheduled as part of a separate-admission, day-night doubleheader at the Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 16.

The regularly scheduled game that day will start at 1:05 p.m. ET, with the makeup game scheduled to start at 8:05 p.m. Tickets for the June 7 game will only be honored for the 8:05 p.m. game. Tickets may also be exchanged for any remaining regular-season home game this season and can be done so only at Yankee Stadium advance ticket windows.

On deck: The Yankees continue their three-game series with Oakland on Saturday as Mike Mussina matches up with Kirk Saarloos. First pitch is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. ET.

Peter Zellen is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Jeter misses second straight game

Updated: June 6, 2006, 6:06 PM ET
Jeter misses second straight game
Associated Press
Major League Baseball News Wire

NEW YORK -- Shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees sat out a second consecutive game Tuesday night against the Boston Red Sox because of a bruised right thumb.

Jeter, third in the AL with a .344 average, was injured Sunday when he was hit by a pitch in Baltimore by Rodrigo Lopez. He had five hits in his last 11 at-bats before he was hit by Lopez.

"It's better," manager Joe Torre said. "Obviously, it's not good enough to play. When I said he'd be out a couple of days, it was something of a guess."

With Jeter hurt, Miguel Cairo started at shortstop Tuesday night and the Yankees purchased the contract of infielder Nick Green from their Triple-A Columbus affiliate. To make room for Green, the Yankees designated outfielder Terrence Long for assignment.



June 9, 2006 -- Don't look for Derek Jeter tonight at Yankee Stadium when the A's visit to open a three-game series.

"We're looking toward Saturday right now," Joe Torre said of his shortstop's return from a bruised right thumb that has kept him idle since Sunday.

Jeter didn't take batting practice indoors and since the tarp was on the field before the game, he didn't throw, either. It was the second straight day Jeter didn't do anything physical other than receive treatment.

"He feels better," Joe Torre said of his captain. "As long as it's going in the right direction. As long as it gets better, he could get back in short order."

By the time Jeter arrived in the clubhouse yesterday, Torre's lineup was on the wall and had Melky Cabrera hitting second and Miguel Cairo at short for the third straight game.

Cairo was 3-for-11 as Jeter's replacement and played solidly in the field.


Now that advance scouts have data on him and pitchers are armed with video, Melky Cabrera is in a funk. Cabrera, the feel-good-story of the season, went 0-for-3 in last night's 9-3 loss and is in a 5-for-28 (.179) slide. . . . Bubba Crosby will play for Single-A Tampa tonight. Crosby, who went 1-for-5 in an extended spring training game yesterday and played all three outfield positions, will start a rehab assignment in Tampa because Triple-A Columbus is playing on turf and Double-A Trenton is on the road. Crosby said the right hamstring problem that has had him on the DL since May 19 is 100 percent healed. GM Brian Cashman hasn't put a timetable on Crosby's return, which is more important with Gary Sheffield undergoing surgery Tuesday.


The A's are pitching Kirk Saarloos tomorrow instead of the ailing Rich Harden. Should Harden be out for an extended period of time and the A's fall out of the AL West race, look for them to attempt to move Barry Zito. The Yankees don't appear to have what it would take to land Zito, and A's GM Billy Beane likely wouldn't want to trade him to an AL club. . . . Octavio Dotel's 30-day rehab clock starts the next time he pitches. Dotel, who had Tommy John surgery a year ago, pitched the second of back-to-back games yesterday in extended spring.

"We don't anticipate it being 30 days," Torre said of adding the hard-throwing right-hander to his pen.


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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Easy Call: Pain in Thumb Keeps Jeter Out of Lineup

June 6, 2006
Easy Call: Pain in Thumb Keeps Jeter Out of Lineup

Published: June 6, 2006

Joe Torre was still talking with reporters in the Yankees' dugout yesterday when Derek Jeter's voice boomed from his left. Torre, the Yankees' manager, had planned to watch Jeter take batting practice and test his right thumb. But Jeter would not be hitting.

"Geno!" Jeter said, shouting for the team's trainer, Gene Monahan.

Jeter was headed down the dugout steps, toward the clubhouse, and Monahan scurried over to join him. Jeter, who was hit by a pitch from Baltimore's Rodrigo López on Sunday, said he had wanted to show Torre he could play last night.

But Jeter's attempt did not go well. He was playing catch on the field when he felt pain in his thumb while throwing. He was out of the original lineup, and that is where he stayed.

"I never had to make the decision," Torre said in the clubhouse later. "I came in here, and he was already getting ice. If he couldn't throw, he wasn't going to hit."

Jeter, who missed two games last week with a strained right hand, may miss that many again.

"I'm not counting on him for a couple of days," Torre said after the game. "Hopefully it's no longer than that."

To protect themselves in Jeter's absence, the Yankees will purchase the contact of Nick Green, the former Atlanta and Tampa Bay shortstop who has been playing for Class AAA Columbus, Green's agent, Tom O'Connell, said last night. Green is expected to join the team for tonight's game.

CHACON READY FOR RETURN Joe Torre said Shawn Chacon, who is on the disabled list with a hematoma in his left leg, needed to throw in the bullpen today before he would clear him to start Friday. But Chacon said that Ron Guidry, the pitching coach, had told him to expect to start.

Chacon pitched five innings for Class AA Trenton on Sunday, and Aaron Small has struggled in his absence. In three starts, Small is 0-2 with a 10.50 earned run average.

“You’ve got to take that into consideration,” Torre said.

NO BROKEN BONES Scott Proctor was relieved to learn that X-rays of his right hand yesterday revealed no broken bones. Proctor punched a clubhouse door in Baltimore after Saturday's game, which he won after blowing a lead for Randy Johnson.

"They need to X-ray my head," Proctor said. "It was immature. It's been corrected and it won't happen again."

MATSUI ON THE MEND Hideki Matsui was back at his locker before last night's game, telling teammates he felt much better and joking that he could play now if he swung with one hand. Matsui, who broke his left wrist May 11, will see a doctor Thursday to get a better idea of when he may return.

Matsui is wearing a removable plastic cast around the wrist and has been doing exercises to improve his range of motion. He had not missed a game since 1993 and said he had been reading fiction, watching movies and following the Yankees on television.

“It was certainly somewhat strange, after all these years, to have all this downtime,” Matsui said through an interpreter.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Monday, June 05, 2006

Jeter hit by pitch, leaves game

06/04/2006 6:16 PM ET
Jeter hit by pitch, leaves game

Yankees captain struck on right hand in sixth, bruises thumb
By Mark Feinsand /

BALTIMORE -- The Yankees have been ravaged by injuries this season, so the sight of Derek Jeter doubled over in pain on Sunday afternoon was very discomforting for New York.

Jeter was drilled on his right thumb by a Rodrigo Lopez pitch in the sixth inning of Sunday's 11-4 loss at Camden Yards. He left the game, but X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day.

"It's all right," Jeter said. "It hurts every time you get hit. It didn't feel good, but it happens."

"He dives into a lot of balls and they like to pitch him inside," said manager Joe Torre. "It scared us."

Jeter missed two games this week in Detroit after spraining his right hand while sliding into second base. Both Torre and Jeter expect the shortstop to be in the lineup on Monday, as the Yankees open a four-game series in the Bronx against the rival Red Sox.

"Hopefully, he'll be fine for tomorrow; if there's any chance at all, he'll be playing," Torre said. "Everybody seems to forget what's wrong with them when these two teams play."

"I'm sure he's going to have to see me swing and throw," Jeter said, "but my plan is to play tomorrow."

Some Yankees privately expressed their unhappiness over the pitch, which came while the Orioles held a 10-0 lead. Kevin Millar, who hit a three-run home run in the third inning against Aaron Small, had been hit by Scott Erickson in his fifth-inning at-bat, and some of Jeter's teammates believed that Lopez hit Jeter in retaliation.

Jeter, however, did not say he thought that Lopez's pitch was intentional.

"I don't see any reason why it would be," Jeter said.

"I was trying to come in -- down-and-in. I just missed it," Lopez said. "It was high and didn't cut. I was trying to make it cut back to the plate, and it never cut. ... That was a bad pitch. I didn't mean to do it."

Jeter was doubled over in pain after being hit. With the game seemingly out of hand, Torre, who had gone to tend to Jeter on the field with assistant trainer Steve Donahue, told the shortstop his day was done.

Torre moved Miguel Cairo from third base to shortstop, Andy Phillips from first base to third base and Jorge Posada from catcher to first base. Kelly Stinnett took over behind the plate for Posada.

"The score the way it was," Torre said, "I thought it was the safest thing to do."

"I told him I could play when he hit me," Jeter said. "It was his decision."

With Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui on the disabled list with wrist injuries, and Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera coming back from minor maladies of their own, the last thing the Yankees needed was for Jeter to join the list of the walking wounded.

"We're fortunate," Rodriguez said. "If it hit his front wrist it could have been more serious."

"It's part of the game," Jeter said of the Yankees' injury bug. "It happens at times. Fortunately, it's no big deal. You can't sit around and think that way."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sunday, June 04, 2006




June 3, 2006 -- BALTIMORE - Johnny Damon anointed Derek Jeter the MVP last night, and it was impossible to disagree with him.

"He has been that good," Damon said of the Yankee captain.

And that clutch.

In his first game back after missing two due to a jammed right hand, Jeter drove in the game-winning run with a ninth-inning, two-out single to right that helped lift the Yankees to a 6-5 win over the Orioles in front of 48,168 at Camden Yards.

Jeter - who went 3-for-4, batting in the third spot for the first time in almost three years, scored a run and drew a walk - was given a second chance to be the hero when Damon kicked the ball out of second baseman Brian Roberts glove on a steal attempt with two outs in the ninth. Initially, umpire Lance Barksdale called Damon out and that would have ended the inning.

"It was a combination. I hit his glove and it created a force and he tried to show the ball," said Damon, who singled with one out off hard-throwing Chris Ray. "The umpire called me out and I told him the ball was on the ground behind second base. Then Derek came up with that huge hit."

Jeter stroked 3-2 pitch to right that scored Damon easily and put Kyle Farnsworth in a position to redeem himself after Thursday night's meltdown in Detroit.

"This would have been a tough game to lose," Jeter said of the Yankees' sixth win in seven games, a victory that kept them one-half game behind the AL East-leading Red Sox. "We had the lead a couple of times."

The Yankees played without Alex Rodriguez, scratched due to a bad stomach, and Gary Sheffield, who was put on the DL Thursday. And Jorge Posada didn't start because he was being rested.

Even though Farnsworth was charged with a blown save when third baseman Miguel Cairo failed to turn Melvin Mora's bad-hop grounder into a double play in the eighth, he atoned for Thursday's night debacle by retiring the O's in order in the ninth to get the victory.

"You don't want to sit around day after day," said Farnsworth, who adjusted his delivery with the emphasis on not rushing toward the plate. "I wanted to get back on the mound."

While Damon executed a clutch kick with his injured right foot, Jeter delivered when it mattered most and Farnsworth worked the ninth like Mariano Rivera, there were other contributors.

Jason Giambi hit a two-run homer in the sixth after Andy Phillips homered with the bases empty in the fifth. After three shaky innings Jaret Wright settled down to allow three runs (two earned) across six frames.

"To win a game on the road in which we came back three times, it was a case of bend but not break," manager Joe Torre said.

Because Torre has been with Jeter every step of the way, he never takes what he sees for granted. Nor is the manager ever surprised Jeter delivers at the most important time.

"You appreciate him all the time," Torre said of Jeter, who is batting .346 and also delivered a two-out RBI single in the seventh. "He is very special. Something happens when a must situation comes up and there he is, twice in a row."

Of course, the ball had to spill out of Roberts' glove to give Jeter a chance. And there is always the possibility of a ball being smoked right at a fielder like Jeter did in the second, when he banged into a double play.

Yet, when it mattered the most Jeter delivered, something he has been doing since 1996.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Jeter's 9th inning single lifts Yankees

Jeter's 9th inning single lifts Yankees
Fri Jun 2, 11:43 PM ET

The list of big-name players unavailable to New York Yankees manager Joe Torre was staggering. Alex Rodriguez. Hideki Matsui. Gary Sheffield. Mariano Rivera.

None of them were healthy enough to face the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night. Derek Jeter was in the lineup, though, and he provided two clutch hits to lift New York to a 6-5 victory.

Returning from a two-day absence because of a hand injury, Jeter put New York ahead with an RBI single in the seventh inning, then drove in the tiebreaking run in the ninth to cap a 3-for-4 night.

"I can't say you don't appreciate him until you see something like that. You appreciate him all the time. He's very special," Torre said. "Something happens when a must-situation comes up and there he is, twice in a row."

Andy Phillips and Jason Giambi homered for the Yankees, who finished with 12 hits. New York has at least 10 hits in nine straight games for the first time since July 1958, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

With the score 5-all in the ninth, Johnny Damon singled off Chris Ray (1-1). With two outs, Damon tried to steal second and was called out when tagged by Brian Roberts, but the second baseman was charged with an error when the ball popped from his glove.

"The guy slid, the tag was put on him," crew chief Bruce Froemming said. "But upon the tag, the ball came out and when he brought his glove up, he didn't have the ball. The call was changed."

Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo came out to argue, but without much fervor.

"I didn't see a big argument out of Brian," Perlozzo said. "We still had to get Jeter out, and he came through."

Jeter followed with an opposite-field single to right, assuring the Yankees their sixth win in seven games.

With Rodriguez out with a stomach ailment, Jeter batted third for the first time since Sept. 28, 2003, against Baltimore.

"I was able to play the last couple of days, (but) he gave me those days off," Jeter said. "Fortunately, I felt pretty good today."

Miguel Tejada, Ramon Hernandez and Javy Lopez all had three hits for the Orioles.

Rodriguez was a late scratch, and may not be ready Saturday. But the Yankees played another game without Sheffield and Matsui, who are both on the disabled list with wrist injuries.

Rivera, the closer, was also unavailable because of a sore back, and catcher Jorge Posada was rested until being summoned as a pinch hitter in the ninth.

But the Yankees did have Jeter, who provided enough offense to enable New York to overcome the Orioles' 13 hits.

"It was an exciting game once you look back," Torre said, "but I don't want to play it again."

With the score 3-3, Baltimore's Todd Williams struck out the first two batters in the seventh before Damon singled and Melky Cabrera walked. Jeter then bounced an RBI single up the middle, and Cabrera scored on a wild pitch by Kurt Birkins.

Baltimore tied it in the eighth. After Luis Matos hit an RBI double off former Oriole Scott Erickson, Kyle Farnsworth (2-3) entered with the bases loaded and one out. Melvin Mora hit a potential double-play grounder to Miguel Cairo, who was playing third for Rodriguez. Cairo momentarily lost control of the ball and had to throw to first as the tying run crossed the plate.

Farnsworth, who had blown two straight save chances, worked a perfect ninth.

"That's the one thing you need to do, get right back out there, get that taste out of your mouth," Torre said. "I know he was still struggling with it somewhat today."

New York trailed 2-0 before Phillips homered off Kris Benson leading off the fifth.

The Yankees went up 3-2 in the sixth when Jeter walked and Giambi hit a 3-2 pitch from Benson over the right-field wall, his 15th homer of the season and third in four games.

New York starter Jaret Wright allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings. He retired 10 straight before he mishandled a bunt by Corey Patterson with two outs in the sixth. Patterson stole his AL-leading 22nd base and scored on a single by Lopez.

After a double by Nick Markakis put runners at second and third, Wright finished up by getting Matos to ground out.

The Orioles got a run in the first inning when Tejada hit a two-out single, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Hernandez.

The duo helped produce another run in the third. Tejada singled, took third on a double by Hernandez and scored on a groundout by Kevin Millar.

Notes:@ The Orioles put OF Jay Gibbons (hip, knee) on the 15-day disabled list after the game. ... New York has held the lead in 14 straight games. ... The game attracted 46,168 fans, the Orioles' second sellout of the season. ... Phillips had his fourth straight multihit game.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Several Yanks are MIA

05/31/2006 10:07 PM ET
Notes: Several Yanks are MIA
Sheffield may head to DL, Jeter and Damon sit against Tigers
By Mark Feinsand /

DETROIT -- Gary Sheffield returned to New York on Wednesday to visit a hand specialist, as his injured left wrist continues to keep him out of action.
Sheffield said on Tuesday night that he believed he was headed back to the disabled list, as he was unable to even take batting practice before the game.

"I don't know what's going on," Sheffield said. "I felt like it was getting better, but it's in a different spot now. It's right on the wrist, right on the bone. It's really painful.

"I'm trying to get back, especially with [Hideki] Matsui down, and do what I'm accustomed to doing," he added. "When you're not able to do that, it's frustrating."

Joe Torre couldn't estimate how long the Yankees would be without Sheffield, who was examined by team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon and specialist Dr. Charles Melone on Wednesday afternoon. An MRI was taken at a local hospital, but general manager Brian Cashman said the results would not be available until Thursday.

"We'll find out what's going on there," Torre said. "I know he was frustrated yesterday with it."

"It's unfortunate," said Jason Giambi. "He's a big part of our lineup, and he definitely helps us. Hopefully, it won't be that serious."

Sheffield was 6-for-25 since returning from the DL last week, having missed more than two weeks with a bruised left wrist. He was in the lineup on Tuesday, only to be scratched less than an hour before first pitch.

"He swings it so violently," Torre said. "He doesn't go half-speed at all once he starts the bat."

Injury bug: Sheffield wasn't the only one missing from the Yankees' lineup on Wednesday, as Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon were also on the bench.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves," Torre said. "The Yankees don't garner much sympathy from anybody. We have a job to do, so we have to find a way to do it."

Jeter sat out with a sore right hand, which he suffered during Monday night's game. It marked the first time this year that Jeter was not in the starting lineup, leaving Alex Rodriguez as the only Yankee to start every game.

"It's really not that big a deal," said Jeter, who tried to talk his way into the lineup. "It's not the first time someone is hurt. I can play with it, but [Torre] decided he didn't want me to play."

Jeter went 0-for-5 on Tuesday night, as Torre saw something in those at-bats that made him sit the shortstop.

"Last night, I thought he was very uncomfortable," Torre said. "It looked like he was cheating a little to get the bat going."

Damon missed his second consecutive game, as Torre decided to give the center fielder another day to rest the broken sesamoid bone in his right foot.

"He was willing to be a player, but I said, 'Let's wait one more day, see if we can get through this thing and make it a little more comfortable,'" Torre said. "He'll probably be a gamer tomorrow."

For the second straight night, Damon was replaced in the leadoff spot by Melky Cabrera, who went 4-for-6 with a double, triple and two RBIs on Tuesday.

"He's straight Wally Pipp-ing me," Damon joked in reference to the man Yankee legend Lou Gehrig replaced at first base.

"Other guys have to continue to do the job," said Jeter, who was replaced by Miguel Cairo. "You can't sit around and feel sorry for yourself, because no one else does. You have to pick up the slack."

Mo-town: Mariano Rivera hadn't thrown three innings in a regular-season game since Sept. 6, 1996, when he tossed three innings of two-run ball in a 5-2 win over the Blue Jays at SkyDome, now called the Rogers Centre.

Rivera matched that feat again in the 2003 American League Championship Series, pitching three shutout innings against the Red Sox in Game 7.

But if Rivera was going to throw another three-inning outing this year, it figures that it came against the Tigers, who haven't scored a run against the closer since 2000 -- and that was an unearned run.

Rivera has pitched 19 times against Detroit since he allowed an earned run on July 6, 1999, throwing 22 2/3 innings. In that span, he has allowed one unearned run, striking out 26 batters.

In fact, Rivera has dominated the Tigers throughout his entire career. In 36 games, Rivera is 4-1 with 20 saves and an incredible 0.83 ERA against Detroit.

"I said this for a long time, and I'll say it again," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland after Tuesday's game. "I think there was about a four-year stretch where Mariano Rivera wasn't just the most valuable pitcher in baseball, he was the most valuable player in baseball."

Roster rumblings: Needing another pitcher to bolster the bullpen for Wednesday's game, the Yankees recalled right-hander Darrell Rasner and designated third-string catcher Koyie Hill for assignment.

Rasner, 25, was 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA as a starter for Triple-A Columbus. He was claimed off waivers by the Yankees from the Nationals on Feb. 11.

Rasner started for Columbus on Saturday, but Torre said he could get two or three innings out of him if necessary.

"Whatever role it is, I'm very grateful for this opportunity that I've been given," Rasner said.

Coming up: The Yankees and Tigers close out their four-game set on Thursday, as Chien-Ming Wang (5-2, 4.50) takes on Justin Verlander (7-3, 2.55). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET at Comerica Park.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.