Saturday, October 28, 2006

Phillies' Howard, Yankees' Jeter win Hank Aaron Award

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Phillies' Howard, Yankees' Jeter win Hank Aaron Award
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter were honored Wednesday with the Hank Aaron Award, which is presented annually to the top offensive performer in each league.

In 1999, winners were selected by assigning a predetermined number of points for each hit, home run and RBI. From 2000-02, play-by-play broadcasters and color analysts from club radio and television rights holders voted for the winners, and in 2003 it was a combination of fan and broadcaster voting.

Howard, who received 33 percent (25,349) of all National League votes, led the major leagues with 58 homers, 149 RBI and 383 total bases. He finished third with a .659 slugging percentage and seventh with a .425 on-base percentage, while also capturing the Home Run Derby title during All-Star weekend in July.

Jeter, who accumulated 37 percent (29,275) of the American League vote, finished second in the league with a .343 batting average. He also was second with 118 runs, tied for third with 214 hits and placed fourth with a .417 on-base percentage.

Along the way, Jeter also compiled a career-best 25-game hitting streak -- the longest by a Yankees player in 64 years -- and also recorded his 2,000th hit against Kansas City on May 26.

"To win an award named after the great Hank Aaron is a wonderful achievement and I congratulate Ryan and Derek for the spectacular seasons they had in 2006," commissioner Bud Selig said. "They are truly deserving of this prestigious award and I look forward to joining Hank in making the presentation at the World Series."

The current format was introduced in 2004, with fans voting for one player from each team to determine the 30 finalists. A baseball panel whittled the field to 12 -- six in each league -- and the fans voted again over the season's final three weeks.

Andruw Jones of the Atlanta Braves and David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox won the award in 2005.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jeter adds to postseason legend

10/04/2006 2:18 AM ET
Jeter adds to postseason legend
Yanks captain sixth player to collect five hits in playoff game
By Ian Browne /

NEW YORK -- There was no easing into this postseason for Derek Jeter. His October reputation already set for the ages, Jeter somehow managed to add another chapter to his legend in Game 1 of this Division Series against the Tigers.

By the end of the night, the Yankees captain had once again awed everyone from teammates to opponents to fans.

All Jeter did was go 5-for-5, tying the record for most hits in a postseason game. The feat had only been done five times before, so naturally, Jeter had to do it. He did it in the flow of the game, helping the Yankees to an 8-4 victory over the Tigers.

"It's easy to fall into the trap of, 'Oh, it's just Derek being unbelievable in the postseason.' To him, it's just another game," said Yankees slugger Jason Giambi. "I don't know if it's because he started his career young and has been in the playoffs, but he's definitely a special talent, no doubt about it. He's unbelievable. He just gets into those games and bears down and just starts throwing hits all over the place."

Jeter capped off the magical night by belting a solo homer to left-center in the bottom the eighth. Deafening roars cascaded from the packed house at Yankee Stadium. A curtain call followed.

Just another night at the office for one of the great clutch players of the last decade. Jeter extended his postseason hits record to 147 and his Division Series hits record to 64.

Per usual, the least impressed person at Yankee Stadium seemed to be Jeter, who was interested in the win and not much else.

"Not necessarily when I have a night like this, [but] when the team has a night like this, you're able to relax a little bit," said Jeter. "But it's a short series. You can't relax in this series. You come right back [Wednesday]. You want to win the first game, especially at home."

It was as if Jeter was on a mission to get a win. Before he had reached full throttle with the bat, Jeter made a brilliant play with the glove in the top of the third inning. He went into the hole to field a grounder by Placido Polanco, swiftly got it to second base for the force, and watched Robinson Cano complete the 6-4-3 double play.

Then, in the bottom of the third inning, Jeter grabbed a big piece of momentum by smashing a basehit into center and stretching it into a double with all-out hustle. A game that was scoreless up to that point suddenly had Yankees at second and third with nobody out. From there, the Yankees wouldn't be stopped. Bobby Abreu hammered a two-run double. Gary Sheffield slapped an RBI single. Giambi roped a two-run homer and it was 5-0, Yankees.

Jeter had set the tone.

Most hits in a postseason game

Paul Blair, Bal, 10/6/69, ALCS vs. Min.
Paul Molitor, Mil, 10/12/82, WS vs. Stl.
Marquis Grissom, Atl, 10/7/95, NLDS vs. Col.
Mike Stanley, Bos, 10/10/99 ALDS vs. Cle.
Hideki Matsui, NY, 10/16/04, ALCS vs. Bos.
Derek Jeter, NY, 10/3/06, ALDS vs. Det.

"The thing is, every at-bat means something," said Jeter.

Just as the Tigers crept back into it at 5-3, Jeter helped spread it back out. His double in the sixth once again set up runners at second and third with nobody out. And Abreu came through with another two-run hit, this one a single.

"He was awesome as usual," said Sheffield. "He stepped up for us big today, and once we got up big, he kept pouring it on for the rest of the game."

Coming off a regular season that just might win him his first Most Valuable Player Award, Jeter again reinforced that the postseason is what counts most for him.

"Derek is a special player," said Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. "I'm very proud to be his teammate."

Of course, the Yankee who is linked most often to Jeter is the manager. Joe Torre and Jeter planted roots together in New York in 1996. Ten years later, Torre still shakes his head in disbelief when asked to recap another heroic night by his shortstop.

"I don't want to say he has a plan, but he just seems to relish this atmosphere," said Torre. "He's been so big for us for 11 years here and, you know, again, I can't say I'm surprised. Everything worked well for him tonight. Starting that double play was not an easy play. Swinging the bat tonight, he was on everything."

This was what Abreu saw on television for all those Octobers he was a spectator. Tuesday night, he got to witness the Jeter legend up close.

"That guy is amazing," said Abreu. "Right now, being behind him, watching him play, it's amazing. That guy, he's a gamer, he's a leader and you can learn a lot of things from him. Like I say, it's amazing. That's amazing, watching him play."

Most amazing of all is that such a performance was not entirely unexpected when you consider who produced it.

"He doesn't amaze me at all," said Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. "I've seen it before, and he'll keep doing it as long as he's here."

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

© 2001-2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Abreu, Jeter lead way in Game 1 win

10/04/2006 2:00 AM ET
Abreu, Jeter lead way in Game 1 win
Right fielder drives in four; shortstop goes 5-for-5 for Yanks
By Mark Feinsand /

NEW YORK -- Bobby Abreu is relatively new to this whole postseason thing. Derek Jeter is not.
Both players made a huge impact for the Yankees on Tuesday night, sparking New York to an 8-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

Abreu, playing in his fourth career playoff game and first since 1997, drove in four runs for the Yankees to kick off his first pinstriped postseason.

Jeter, playing in the 116th game of his postseason career, collected his first five-hit night, homering and scoring three runs. The homer was the 17th of Jeter's postseason career, and he extended his own record for hits in the playoffs to 147.

"What more can you say about Derek's night or Bobby Abreu?" Johnny Damon said. "Those guys came up really big for us. Our offense was clicking."

"He's been so big for us for 11 years here," manager Joe Torre said of Jeter. "I can't say I'm surprised."

Chien-Ming Wang didn't have his best stuff, but the sinkerballer managed to give New York 6 2/3 effective innings, holding Detroit to three runs, all of which came in a rocky fifth inning.

"I wasn't nervous," Wang said. "Joe told me to treat it like any other game."

The Yankees lead the best-of-five series, 1-0, with Game 2 scheduled for Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. Mike Mussina starts for New York, while Justin Verlander gets the nod for Detroit.

"This crowd is our 10th man," said Gary Sheffield, who also drove in a run for the Yankees. "If we can win tomorrow, it would put the pressure on, big-time."

That Abreu was in the middle of the action only seemed appropriate, given what he has meant to the Yankees since being acquired at the trade deadline. When Abreu arrived in the Bronx at the beginning of August, he re-energized a Yankees offense that had been struggling to find consistency.

His two-run hits in the third and sixth innings helped New York jump out to a lead it would never relinquish.

"It's exciting. After we clinched in Toronto, I was so happy, just going to play in October," Abreu said. "I came here to New York and played my first game in the postseason, it's amazing."

Wang survived leadoff doubles by Detroit in both the second and third, thanks to some help from his defense. In the second, Jorge Posada threw out Magglio Ordonez at third base on a botched hit-and-run.

An inning later, Wang induced a double-play ball off the bat of Placido Polanco to end the frame, as Jeter made a nice play on the ball. Robinson Cano took the throw at second, firing to first, where Sheffield -- playing his first playoff game at the position -- made a terrific stretch to complete the play.

"That's what got us going," Sheffield said. "Wang came up with a big pitch to get a ground ball, Jeter made a great play and Cano got it to me as quick as possible. All I was thinking about was Fred McGriff telling me, 'Stretch as long as you can.'"

New York snapped a scoreless tie in the third, hammering starter Nate Robertson for five runs. Damon singled and Jeter doubled, setting up Abreu's two-run double to right.

"I was just trying to put the ball in play," Abreu said. "There were no outs, so all you want to do is just hit a ground ball to second; I was trying to do that and elevate the ball a little bit and knock the two runs in."

"Bobby had a huge day," Jeter said. "I thought for the most part, everybody swung the bat well. Bobby did a great job with runners on to give us that lead."

Sheffield added an RBI single before Jason Giambi drilled a two-run shot, his seventh career postseason homer.

"I just got a mistake up and in," Giambi said. "Thank God it was warm tonight, because it carried out of the ballpark."

The Tigers fought back with three runs in the fifth, getting a solo homer by Craig Monroe to open the inning and RBI doubles by Polanco and Sean Casey. Wang struck out Ordonez, who represented the tying run, to end the inning.

"It's like he doesn't really get rattled. He just keeps coming at you," Posada said. "He knows what he's got to do to be successful, which is to keep the ball down."

With two outs in the sixth, Damon singled and Jeter doubled, putting two runners in scoring position for Abreu. This time, Abreu poked a single past Polanco in the hole at second, scoring both runners to boost the lead to 7-3.

"It would have been tough to hold them off if that ball didn't go through," Damon said. "It was one of those slow-rollers that hardly ever gets through the infield, but it had eyes on it."

Wang retired the first two batters in the seventh before being removed by Torre, as he walked off the mound to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 56,291, tipping his cap as he approached the Yankees' dugout.

"He really settled in," Torre said. "I was very proud of him, after he gave up the three runs, to be able to pitch the way he did the rest of that inning and the following inning."

Mike Myers served up a solo home run to Curtis Granderson, the only batter he would face. Scott Proctor allowed a pair of singles, bringing Ordonez to the plate once again as the tying run, but Proctor got Ordonez to fly out to center, preserving the three-run lead.

Kyle Farnsworth survived a leadoff walk in the eighth, retiring the next three batters. In the past, Torre would have been tempted to call on Mariano Rivera in the eighth, but after battling a muscle strain in his right forearm late in the season, Rivera was left in the bullpen until the ninth, when he closed the game with a scoreless inning.

"It was tough, but we have to give credit to the boys. They came back and did the job," Rivera said of watching the seventh and eighth innings from the bullpen. "We've been working a lot on my arm. I think it's working, definitely. It felt good to be out there, so hopefully we'll come back and do the same thing [in Game 2]."

"It's big for us," Jeter said. "But it means absolutely nothing unless we win tomorrow night."

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

© 2001-2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions.

Jeter off to dominant start in Division Series

Jeter off to dominant start in Division Series
October 4, 2006

NEW YORK -- The chants of "M-V-P, M-V-P" grew louder with each hit Derek Jeter recorded against the Detroit Tigers.

Following a five-hit outing in the opening contest of the American League Division Series on Tuesday, Jeter has a tough act to follow when the New York Yankees host the Tigers in Wednesday's Game 2.

The start of the game is being delayed by rain.

Although voting for the AL Most Valuable Player encompasses regular-season play, the fans made their feelings known as Jeter became just the sixth player in postseason history with a five-hit game as New York posted an 8-4 triumph over Detroit.

Days after falling short to Minnesota's Joe Mauer for the AL batting title, Jeter went 5-for-5 with his 17th career playoff homer in the eighth. The Yankees' captain raised his career postseason batting average to .315.

"You're not always going to come through," Jeter said. "There's been plenty of times that I haven't. But when I'm in that situation, I feel as though I'm going to produce, if I come up with a hit or make a play."

New York broke open the contest with a five-run third inning. Bobby Abreu delivered a two-run double, Gary Sheffield had an RBI single and Jason Giambi smacked a two-run homer to right field off starter Nate Robertson.

Mike Mussina (15-7, 3.51 ERA) won 13 of his first 16 decisions and appeared to be headed to his first 20-win campaign before suffering a minor groin injury that slowed his momentum. He went 2-4 in the final two months of the regular season.

A 37-year-old righthander who is still looking for his first World Series ring with the Yankees, Mussina is 8-2 in 15 home starts and beat the Tigers in Detroit on May 31.

"Mike Mussina presents problems because he never gets in a pattern," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He very rarely throws the same pitch twice in a row. So he keeps the hitters off-balance and that's what pitching is. You'll see guys with better arms in the postseason, but you won't see people that know how to pitch any better."

Detroit counters with Justin Verlander (17-9, 3.63), who will try to keep his team from losing the first two contests of the best-of-five series. The 23-year-old righthander won 10 games before the All-Star break but went 4-5 in the last two months of the year.

In his only appearance against the Yankees this season, Verlander was charged for six runs and seven hits in five innings on June 1 but did not figure in the decision.

Craig Monroe and Curtis Granderson homered for the Tigers, who fell in their first postseason game since 1987 after finishing the regular season with five consecutive losses.

"You have to manufacture as much runs as you can," Granderson said. "We had opportunities but we have to learn from our mistakes and manufacture runs."

The series shifts to Detroit for Game Three on Friday.

Copyright ©2006 ESPN Internet Ventures.

Sunday, October 08, 2006



October 4, 2006 -- A record-tying five hits, a crushing homer in his final at-bat, three runs scored and the starting of a nifty double play that killed an early Tigers scoring chance.

So, what did Derek Jeter think of his fingerprints being all over an 8-4 Yankees victory over the Tigers in Game 1 of the ALDS last night at Yankee Stadium in front of 56,291?

"It means absolutely nothing unless we win (tonight)," said Jeter, who tied a postseason record for hits in a game and hiked his postseason career record for hits to 147.

After all these years, what else would you expect Jeter to say?

Prior to the game, Tigers manager Jim Leyland alluded to some people viewing the Tigers-Yankees matchup as the varsity against the freshmen. While it wasn't exactly that, Jeter played like a man competing against toddlers.

"Derek Jeter is a great player," Alex Rodriguez said. "I'm very proud to be his teammate."

On the way out of the clubhouse, Johnny Damon was asked about Jeter's sizzling night.

"He was OK," Damon said.

Can Jeter be better in Game 2 tonight?

"Let's hope so," Damon said through a huge grin.

If Jeter improves from Game 1 to Game 2, then those who predicted the Yankees would leave cleat marks on the Tigers' backs will be right, because Jeter was perfect last night.

He singled in the first, doubled and scored in a five-run third, singled in the fourth, doubled and scored in the sixth and homered with one out in the eighth to at give Mariano Rivera an 8-4 lead to work the ninth with. Jeter killed a Tigers threat in the third when he went to his right to field a Placido Polanco grounder and turned it into a 6-4-3 double play, thanks to a quick throw to second baseman Robinson Cano. Cano's pivot and strong toss to Gary Sheffield completed the twin-killing and kept the game scoreless.

Of course, Jeter wasn't the only act, just the main one.

In his first Yankees postseason game, Bobby Abreu drove in four runs. Jason Giambi hit a two-run homer, was hit by pitches twice and drew a walk. Sheffield added an RBI single and played flawlessly at first. Rodriguez had one hit in four at-bats, but two of the outs were line drives. Chien-Ming Wang (three runs, eight hits in 6 2/3 innings) was beatable because his signature sinker didn't behave and Mike Myers, Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth were shaky. However, the Yankees danced out of the Stadium up 1-0 in the best-of-five series.

Game 2 tonight features Mike Mussina against Justin Verlander. Because the Tigers lost the last five games of the season - including three straight to the lowly Royals - and flushed the AL Central title, many believed the wild-card Tigers were nothing more than a pesky mosquito on the muscular Yankee arms.

Leyland, of course, wasn't in that crowd.

"I think a lot of people for whatever reason, they have this as the Yankees' varsity vs. the freshman team," Leyland said. "I don't feel that way. Those that said we lucked out and snuck in, I totally disagree with that. We won more games than only three teams in baseball. That's pretty good. I don't think we have to apologize for being here. We won two less games than the New York Yankees. That's not bad."

Yet, Leyland's club couldn't overcome a 5-0 third-inning deficit caused by Giambi's two-run homer, Abreu's two-run double and Sheffield's RBI single off Nate Robertson.

Nor did it have an answer for Jeter.

Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Jeter streak longest for Yanks since '42

Jeter streak longest for Yanks since '42
9/16/2006, 9:23 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 25 games Saturday night, the longest for the New York Yankees since Joe Gordon's 29-game string in 1942.

Jeter went 1-for-5 in the opener of a day-night doubleheader, a 5-2 New York loss to Boston, then singled in the third inning of the night game against Julian Tavarez. Jeter began the day leading the AL in hitting at .346, just ahead of Minnesota's Joe Mauer

Joe DiMaggio set the major league record with a 56-game hitting streak for the Yankees in 1941.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

©2006 New Jersey On-Line LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Jeter and Ortiz lead tight AL MVP chase

Jeter and Ortiz lead tight AL MVP chase
Rachel Dolin
Posted: 9/20/06
Talk about a twist in fate.

For maybe the first time all season, the National League is overshadowing the American League-and it's doing it when it counts.

As the Chicago White Sox dropped their fourth game in a row against yet another playoff-contender on Monday evening, the other league saw the New York Mets clinch their first division title since 1988, and the Los Angles Dodgers' Hollywood-esque comeback against the San Diego Padres, dubbed by Dodger second baseman Marlon Anderson, "the most wonderful game I have ever seen in my life."

So where's the AL's pennant-race drama?

Although ill-advised, Big Papi's comments last week drew our attention to the right place-the MVP race. Unlike in the standings, where even the worst gamblers have a fair shot in picking the right teams, there is no unanimous winner here. Baseball writers and fans everywhere are on their own.

Fans will remember last year's battle between Ortiz and rival Alex Rodriguez, or Vladimir Guerrero's 100-point victory over Gary Sheffield in 2004. But this year, there aren't even two clear-cut opponents.

Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter heads the list right now, with his recent 25-game hitting streak drawing the praise of teammates and fans alike. Jeter is having his best year since 1999, when he posted a .349 batting average, hit triple digits in RBI for the first time in his career, and boasted a .438 on-base percentage. Jeter finished sixth in MVP voting that year.

This season, Jeter is second in the AL batting race, behind Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer, with a .340 average. The Yankee shortstop currently has 95 RBI and a league-leading .414 on-base percentage.

Compared to the other three position players legitimately vying for the title-Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau, Boston DH David Ortiz, and Chicago right fielder Jermaine Dye-Jeter's power numbers are weak. All three are well over the century mark in RBIs, and Jeter's 14 homers are dwarfed by the 33, 49, and 42 posted by Morneau, Ortiz, and Dye, respectively.

Jeter has never excelled in the power category, so does that put him a notch below the other candidates? Ortiz proponents would say that the MVP award should go to a power hitter.

Backing up his claim to the crown is Ortiz's lead in a possibly more reliable category, OPS. Ortiz leads the pack with a 1.030 OPS, followed by Dye at 1.020, Morneau at .947, and Jeter at .898.

And just to make matters more complicated, Johan Santana's numbers cannot be ignored. The Minnesota hurler leads the majors with 18 wins, 237 strikeouts and a 2.77 ERA. Although these statistics have their respective flaws, such apparent dominance from the mound is hard to overlook. Apart from Yankee closer Mariano Rivera, no other pitcher has made as much of a candidacy for himself in recent years as Santana.

Inevitably, as in most MVP races of the modern era, baseball writers will be in conflict over whether the winner should come from a playoff team. Should Dye be penalized for his team's poor play over the final couple weeks of the season? Should Ortiz be disregarded for injuries that plagued his final month? Other than A-Rod's 2003 victory, history would answer yes to both of these queries.

And then there is the other perennial question: can an MVP be a player who only takes the field every fifth day, or a player who doesn't take the field at all? Does Ortiz's plate-only showing penalize him? Does Jeter's crucial field position at shortstop bump him up?

As MVP criteria are vague at best, baseball writers will have to answer those questions themselves, making for a tight race. And as for the rest of us, we can only ask the simple, yet perplexing, question, as we anticipate the results: who is 2006's MVP?

© Copyright 2006 Tufts Daily

Magic number 1, but Giambi, Jeter are concerns

Magic number 1, but Giambi, Jeter are concerns
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Star-Ledger Staff

TORONTO -- The Yankees could begin chilling the champagne after last night's victory, but a couple of concerns did emerge from their 6-3 defeat of the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Jason Giambi will be out indefinitely after leaving in the middle of the fifth inning with what the team described as mild soreness in his left wrist. And Derek Jeter was hit on the outside base of his right hand in the first inning; he finished the game but is not expected to play today.

With a magic number of one, and the Jays officially eliminated, all the Yankees need tonight to clinch the AL East title is a victory or a Boston loss to Minnesota.

"(Today) is going to be a big day for us," said Bobby Abreu, whose two-run homer in the seventh inning broke a 3-3 tie.

"That's what you wait for," manager Joe Torre said, "you wait for that one opportunity to wake up in the morning and you know something special can happen."

Giambi's issue first cropped up about a month ago, and he has received two anti-inflammatory injections in the wrist, on Aug. 30 and Sept. 9. But he has yet to regain his power, going 65 at-bats since his last homer, on Aug. 20. In that time, Giambi has hit .185 with a .262 slugging percentage and just eight RBI.

"We're going to shut him down now for however long it takes," Torre said. "Hopefully it's a couple, three days.

"He's just not getting to the ball right now."

Torre thought another injection was unlikely, but Giambi said team doctors would discuss it.

"I was starting to really swing the bat good (last weekend against) Boston," Giambi said, "driving the ball real good, and just took a couple of steps backward the last couple of days. Just today after my third at-bat it started to really flare up again."

Giambi guessed that playing more first base lately, and the pounding on his wrist from catching throws, could have exacerbated the problem.

"I hope it's quick," he said. "It's not back to where it was at the very beginning when I needed to get the original shot.

"(But) it's starting to get to the point where I can't really touch it again."

Although Gary Sheffield is on the active roster and slated to play first base down the stretch, Torre said he does not want to play him in place of Giambi tonight against Jays ace Roy Halladay.

"I just don't think that's the right thing to do," Torre said.

Although Jeter said his hand wasn't bothering him, he had it wrapped after the game and said the impact of Shaun Marcum's pitch on his hand felt like "(slamming) it in a door."

So the Yankees will try to clinch tonight with a lineup missing Jeter, Giambi, Sheffield, Jorge Posada (getting a breather) and Johnny Damon (in a 9-for-44 slide and "leaking a little bit in the batter's box," according to Torre).

Damon contributed last night on defense, making a diving catch on the warning track of Russ Adams' deep fly ball with two outs, the bases loaded and the score 3-3 in the fifth. That set the stage for Abreu, who followed Jeter's infield single off the right shin of Jason Frasor (2-2) with a blast to center off Justin Speier

Rookie Jeff Karstens (2-1) got the win despite allowing 10 hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings. Mike Myers, T.J. Beam, Jose Veras and Kyle Farnsworth combined for the final eight outs, with Farnsworth earning his sixth save.

"We want to get this thing clinched," Torre said. "The sooner the better. We're tired now, but the fact is that (if) you're tired, fine -- go play and get it done first."

© 2006 The Star Ledger
© 2006 All Rights Reserved.

©2006 New Jersey On-Line LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Jeter, A-Rod lead Yanks past Jays

09/19/2006 1:12 AM ET
Jeter, A-Rod lead Yanks past Jays
Pair of two-run blasts lead way as Bombers hold on for win
By Mark Feinsand /

TORONTO -- Life without Mariano Rivera is no picnic. Just ask Joe Torre.
Torre and the Yankees carried a four-run lead into the ninth inning on Monday against the Blue Jays, only to watch four pitchers struggle to record the final three outs.

Troy Glaus hit a three-run home run off Octavio Dotel to cut the lead to one. Two batters later, Toronto had the tying run on base, but Jose Veras retired Aaron Hill to seal the 7-6 victory for New York.

"It's sort of helpless," Torre said. "It makes you hate Mariano Rivera. I told him not to send me a Christmas card."

"He was going nuts," Rivera said of his manager's demeanor in the final frame. "The most important thing is that we won the game."

Derek Jeter furthered his case for the American League's MVP Award on Monday, coming through with a huge two-run home run against A.J. Burnett in the seventh, giving the Yankees their first lead of the game.

Alex Rodriguez also had a two-run home run, helping the Yankees move one step closer to their ninth consecutive division title. New York's magic number now stands at 3.

"You want to take care of that, because we haven't clinched anything yet," Jeter said. "It doesn't matter how we do it, we just want to get it done. It doesn't matter if it's pretty or ugly, we just need wins. We were fortunate to get this one."

"Our job isn't done yet," Johnny Damon said. "We need to win our division -- and we hope to do it soon."

Darrell Rasner, starting in place of Cory Lidle (tendinitis in his right index finger), allowed three runs in six innings. Rasner, who was pitching on three days' rest after throwing 45 pitches over four innings of relief on Thursday, struggled early before settling down.

"It was good; I really didn't throw many pitches in my last outing, so it was really no issue for me," Rasner (3-0) said. "It was a battle from the get-go today, but I got through it."

Following back-to-back day-night doubleheaders against the Red Sox, Torre contemplated giving some of his regulars the night off. After speaking with his coaches and hearing some lively chatter and laughter in his clubhouse before the game, Torre opted to send out his normal lineup.

"It's really not the message we wanted to send," Torre said of resting his regulars. "Guys were having a good time today, so I felt pretty good about that decision. They seemed to be in good spirits."

Unfortunately for New York, Burnett looked virtually unhittable in the first five innings, holding the Yanks to a pair of singles -- both coming with two outs in the second inning -- while striking out five.

"We were dead," Rodriguez said. "He was dominating us as much as we've been dominated all year."

Rasner, meanwhile, needed 28 pitches to get through the first inning after loading the bases before recording an out. The right-hander managed to pull a Houdini act, getting Lyle Overbay and Glaus to pop out before striking out Bengie Molina to end the inning.

"One pitch at a time," Rasner said of his approach. "Damage control."

Rasner wasn't as lucky in the second, as the Jays touched him for a run. Toronto added two more in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead.

Damon was ejected by home plate umpire Bill Miller for arguing a call against Hideki Matsui, who was called out on a questionable check swing that Miller ruled a swinging strike.

"The only thing I wanted out of it was for him to get help; there's a third-base ump out there for a reason," Damon said. "I'm not going to say I was right, I'm not going to say I was wrong, but there are four umpires out there for a reason."

A-Rod cut the lead to one in the sixth with a two-run blast to center field, his 34th of the season. The homer was No. 463 of Rodriguez's career, moving him past Jose Canseco for sole possession of 29th place on the all-time list. He stands one homer behind Dave Winfield for 28th place.

"Alex left a wake-up call for us with the two-run homer," Torre said. "It looked like we were being dominated, but it was only 3-2."

The next inning, Burnett was one out away from completing the seventh, but Aaron Guiel -- who entered the game for Damon -- doubled to left, setting up Jeter's two-run homer to left-center.

"It's not like that's the first time we saw Jeter get the big hit," Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That's why he's one of the top players in the game -- he does those things."

The homer came on a 3-0 pitch, marking the second time in two days that Jeter has put the ball in play with a 3-0 count. Before Sunday, Jeter hadn't done that since 2002.

"I got the green light; you have to get the OK before you can swing at it," Jeter said. "If you get ahead in the count, you have to be selective with the pitch you swing at. I didn't try to hit a home run, but fortunately, it went out."

Brian Bruney pitched a scoreless seventh, while Scott Proctor did the same in the eighth. Guiel and Bobby Abreu singled in runs in the ninth, then Andy Phillips drew a bases-loaded walk, pushing the lead to 7-3 and giving Ron Villone a nice cushion to close out the game.

But Villone gave up a pair of one-out singles, prompting Torre to pull the left-hander in favor of Dotel, who opened with three straight balls against Glaus. Dotel threw a strike to make the count 3-1, but Glaus blasted the next pitch over the wall in right-center, cutting the lead to make it a 7-6 game.

"It's so unfair to rely on him," Torre said of Dotel, who is still trying to find his groove after returning from Tommy John surgery. "You bring him in there based on the fact that he's done this before, even though he's not at full strength."

Mike Myers took over for Dotel with one out, retiring John Hattig for the second out. Jason Phillips singled off Myers to put the tying run on base, as Torre called on Veras -- who got Hill for the final out, earning the first save of his career.

"It got interesting at the end there," Jeter said. "There's only one Mo; you get spoiled with him pitching the end of the game here. You have to tip your hat to them, because they never gave up. They battled, but Veras got that big out."

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

© 2001-2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Former players see Joltin' Joe in Jeter

Published September 19. 2006 3:30AM
Former players see Joltin' Joe in Jeter
By T.J. Quinn
New York Daily News

New York Every day the Captain walks into the clubhouse with his grande skim cappuccino from Starbucks, answers questions at his locker, goes off to the training room, takes batting practice, takes the field on a sprint ahead of the rest of the guys, plays baseball without much more emotion than an occasional pumped fist.

There is something in Derek Jeter's routine, the clean lines and the gentle strides that looks familiar to a couple of old Red Sox.

He was born to pinstripes, never grandstands, never gives voyeurs a glance within.

He has the unquestioned respect of a clubhouse where players carry enough MVP and Cy Young awards to fill a wing of a museum and the same respect from those who play against him.

The old Red Sox players remember someone else like that.

"He's got a little Joe DiMaggio in him," says Bobby Doerr, the 88-year-old Hall of Fame second baseman who came into the game a year after DiMaggio.

"You look at a player for what he does, for what he represents. That's the awe we had with Joe D."

Jeter, Doerr says, is worthy of the mantle.

"Right now, I think he might be the best player in baseball. There's nothing he can't do, for God's sake," says the Red Sox' 86-year-old legend-in-residence Johnny Pesky, speaking New England heresy. "He's the epitome of a Yankee."

There has been a quiet search for the modern DiMaggio ever since Paul Simon wondered about Joltin' Joe's forwarding address in 1968, although Simon was singing about more than a lost ballplayer.

Red Smith, maybe the greatest of all sportswriters, laid it out in the final column of his career in January of 1982, about why he maintained his faith that he wouldn't spend the rest of his days with middling, uninspiring ballplayers: "I told myself not to worry. Some day there would be another Joe DiMaggio."

They were the last words Smith wrote. There hasn't been one since.

Jeter is playing toward what might be his first MVP award this season - both Doerr and Pesky say he deserves it - or possibly his first batting title. DiMaggio had three of the former and two of the latter, in a career that lost three years to World War II.

He was also considered the greatest centerfielder anyone had seen until the emergence of Willie Mays. By that standard, the Clipper eclipses the Captain.

But those who knew DiMaggio and have seen Jeter say the comparison is legitimate.

"They have the same kind of mannerisms," Yogi Berra says.

"Joe never walked to the outfield - he always ran on the field, he always ran off, just like Jeter. (Players) all looked up to Joe. Joe did everything perfect like Jeter does. I knew Jeter as he came along; he's a loner a little bit, he likes to be private. But all the girls go after him. With Joe, it was the same thing."

Frank Torre, Joe's older brother, knew DiMaggio for years and has watched Jeter since he was a rookie shortstop and Joe was a new manager in 1996.

If anything binds Jeter and DiMaggio, it is their sense of occasion.

"Some people perform at a higher level when the chips are down and that's why it's important not to look at stats," Frank Torre says."But look at (Jeter). One of them plays they still talk about in Oakland. The flip. That's leadership taking over."

In David Halberstam's book, Summer of '49, he writes of how Charlie Keller was awed by DiMaggio's intensity when he had to rise to a moment, such as facing Bob Feller: "You could actually see the veins and muscles in DiMaggio's neck stand out, Keller remembered."

From his home in Nantucket, Halberstam says, "I think (Jeter is) more a real leader than DiMaggio was in some senses. DiMaggio was clearly the best player of his era, but he was very aloof, so the leadership was that he was the great DiMaggio and that he always played hard and that the bigger the game, the better he played."

Jeter, ever reserved, gives the expectedly demure response when asked about the comparison.

"I've heard people say it. It's flattering anytime you hear something like that. It's kind of unfair to him, though," Jeter says, sitting in front of his locker. "I've only been here a little while."

If there are similarities, they are accidental, Jeter says. "It wasn't like I molded myself after him. You can't be something you're not or you aren't going to be believeable." There may never be another Joe DiMaggio in the way Paul Simon and Red Smith pined for one. Elegance has been replaced by hipness, swing by hip-hop. The counterculture DiMaggio despised is rooted in the game and baseball no longer dominates the cultural landscape the way it did in the 1940s, before television was common, before cable existed, before the NFL and NBA were viable leagues. In that sense, it would be hard for Jeter, or anyone, to be larger than the game.Dom DiMaggio, now 89 and living in southeastern Massachusetts, admires Jeter, but he isn't so quick to dub him his older brother's successor.

"For one thing, we know that Joe was extremely graceful. On the field, his every move was just as graceful as can be," Dom says. "I think Jeter is a little more, not voluntarily showy, but Jeter plays hard and it shows. Joe, everything he did, he played hard, but he did it so smoothly and gracefully it didn't appear he was doing it hard."

For decades he has been hearing baseball people talk about the next Joe DiMaggio.

He heard Paul Simon's song, heard Red Smith's vision that someday there would be another.

"Has there been one?" Dom DiMaggio says. "I haven't seen one come around."

For now, Jeter might come the closest.