Steve Karsay's HOF connection

July, 25, 2014
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Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby CoxAP Photo/John RaouxThese three managers combined to win 7,558 games (with a little help from Steve Karsay).

On Sunday, the Hall of Fame will induct six members, all of them first-ballot selections, all of them contemporaries. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre took different paths to Cooperstown, but they shared one particular common denominator along the way.

Steve Karsay.

Karsay, now 42, played in the big leagues for 11 years, retiring after the 2006 season. A right-handed pitcher, he went 32-39 with a 4.01 ERA, mostly as a reliever, over the course of that career. Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau found that Karsay is the only man to have been a teammate of this year's three player inductees and a player for the three manager inductees. He played with Maddux and Glavine in Atlanta and Thomas in Oakland. He played for La Russa with the A's, Cox with the Braves and Torre with the Yankees.

These days, Karsay is the pitching coach for the Carolina Mudcats in the Carolina League (advanced Class A). And now he is a trivia question.

"And I think," he says with a hearty laugh, "I'm the only one who knows the answer."

Karsay began his connection to this year's Hall of Fame class in 1993 with La Russa's A's.


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Yankees acquire Chris Capuano

July, 24, 2014
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NEW YORK -- The Yankees acquired left-hander Chris Capuano from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for cash considerations on Thursday.

The Rockies signed Capuano as a free agent on July 4. He's made four combined starts with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs, positing a 1-0 record with a 2.79 ERA. He went 1-1 with a 4.55 ERA in 28 relief appearances with Boston before being released on July 1.

Yanks might be strongest of the weak

July, 24, 2014
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NEW YORK -- The Yankees might not be good, but they might be good enough.

The beat-up Yankees (53-48) are piecing it together a week into the second half, and it is paying off. They entered Thursday night's Baltimore-Seattle game tied for the AL's second wild-card spot with Robinson Cano's Mariners and just 2½ games behind the Orioles in the AL East. The Yankees are tied with the Toronto Blue Jays (54-49), who come to the Stadium for three this weekend.

It is sort of hard to tell if the second-half Yankees are any better than the .500 first-half club. They just took three of four from the worst team in baseball in a weird series. Somebody had to win each game, and this year, that team has not been the Texas Rangers in most cases.

But that is not the Yankees' issue. They lost the first game of the series with five errors. They needed nearly five hours and 14 innings to win the second. In the third, their grounds crew was their MVP, as poor tarp placement allowed the Yankees to escape a Yu Darvish start with a rain-shortened win after just five innings. Thursday, played in a tidy two-hours, 47 minutes, was of the more conventional variety, 4-2 in nine innings.

[+] EnlargeIchiro Suzuki
Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsAre the Yankees beginning to turn the corner?
Well, if conventional, you had the Yankees winning games with Brandon McCarthy, pitching as well as any starter over the past month, on the mound, Chase Headley smashing RBI singles off the right-field wall and Francisco Cervelli swinging like Thurman Munson in his prime.

Add it up, and it left manager Joe Girardi intent on tuning in to the O's and M's on Thursday night.

"I'm sure I'll put it on," Girardi said. "And it will help me go to sleep."

Girardi is sleeping a bit easier because the Yankees have won six of seven after the break. After Thursday, they are an MLB-best 32-20 (.615) in games decided by two runs or less, which is mostly a tribute to Dellin Betances and David Robertson and the way Girardi has used them.

The Yankees might have found a little something with McCarthy and Headley. McCarthy is 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his past five starts, three of which have been with the Yankees.

"It is a nice feeling," McCarthy said. "It is the opposite of how I felt earlier this year, where I was a burden on a team. I was the guy holding things up."

Headley has hit in 14 of his past 16 games, batting .322 (22-for-66) over that span. He is starting to feel like himself, he said.

Both have brought a little urgency to the clubhouse, energized by the pennant race.

"I was really at a point where I feel I really wanted more pressure, kind of the fight-or-flight thing," McCarthy said. "I've always responded well to it."

Headley has been in only one pennant race. Back in 2010, his San Diego Padres lost to the San Francisco Giants on the last day of the season to miss October.

"It is a tough pill to swallow, especially if you have been in the league as long as I have and not been in the playoffs," said the 30-year-old Headley, who broke into the majors at 23 years old. "Those opportunities don't come all the time, so you want to take advantage of those."

The Yankees have chances every year. The level of talent is in the eye of the beholder. Most fans and media haven't been impressed with this 2014 club. Headley has never seen anything like it.

"It is certainly far superior than anything I’ve ever been a part of," Headley said. "I don’t say that to knock the guys in San Diego. I have a lot of tremendous friends and teammates over there, but the collection that is in this clubhouse is much different than anything I’ve ever been a part of."

With Brian McCann shifting to first with Mark Teixeira out, Cervelli continues to step up. He played every inning behind the plate of this long series. Cervelli called it no sweat, smiling, saying his season just started since he was out with a hamstring injury for a couple months.

"He is probably as energetic as any player I've got," Girardi said. "He loves to play."

The Yankees need grinders, like Cervelli, if they are somehow going to be one of the strongest of the weak. Being good -- maybe even just OK -- might just be good enough this year.

Jerome Williams to start Friday

July, 24, 2014
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NEW YORK -- The Rangers named Jerome Williams as their starter for Friday's game against the Oakland A's. The club will make a corresponding roster move Friday to clear a spot for Williams.

Williams was 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA for Triple-A Round Rock. In his last start July 18 vs. Iowa, he allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings of work with three strikeouts in a loss. Opponents are hitting .348 against him with three home runs in 10 1/3 innings.

The move was necessary after the club deemed Nick Tepesch wouldn't be able to start Friday after being used as an emergency reliever in Tuesday night's 14-inning loss to the Yankees.

"We got to keep what we got in the bullpen," manager Ron Washington said. "We signed him (Williams) and take a look at him and he's ready to go."

The Rangers didn't want to insert a reliever into a spot-starting situation. Scott Baker had also been considered a possibility.

Williams was signed by the Rangers on July 11 and assigned to Round Rock after he was released by the Houston Astros. He was 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA as a reliever this season for Houston. In his career, Williams is 43-51 with a 4.45 ERA. His last start came against the Rangers while he was pitching for the Los Angeles Angels in September of 2012. He lost a 6-5 decision.

"He's a (right-hander), can sink the ball pretty good and he can run it in on right-handers, got a good breaking ball and we'll see what he has to offer," Washington said.

The scheduled starters for the weekend will be Tepesch on Saturday and Miles Mikolas on Sunday. Yu Darvish is on target to pitch against the New York Yankees on Monday.
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NEW YORK -- Brandon McCarthy threw six more solid innings, fellow newcomer Chase Headley delivered another timely hit and the New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 4-2 Thursday for their sixth win in seven games.

Brett Gardner doubled, scored a run and drove in one as the Yankees kept up their push since the All-Star break.

Texas fell to 3-17 in July and dropped 22 games under .500 for the first time since the final week of the 1988 season.

McCarthy improved to 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three starts since the Yankees got him in a deal with Arizona earlier this month. He was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA at the time of the trade.

McCarthy limited Texas to one run and four hits. He struck out five, and fanned Alex Rios to finish off an 11-pitch at-bat that ended the first inning.


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Chuck Knoblauch accused of assault

July, 24, 2014
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Former Minnesota Twins star Chuck Knoblauch was arrested Wednesday night on charges that he allegedly assaulted his ex-wife. 

The Twins issued a statement Thursday saying that Knoblauch's scheduled induction into the team's Hall of Fame had been canceled. The team was slated to honor Knoblauch on Aug. 23 at Target Field. 

The Twins did not directly address the details of the arrest in their statement but did say their decision was made "in light of recent news reports" and after "direct communication" with Knoblauch.

"There are no plans to reschedule," Twins President Dave St. Peter said. "I suppose over time this could be revisited, but at this time from the Twins' organization perspective, we currently have no intent to reschedule."

Knoblauch was released after posting $10,000 bond. He is due in court on July 30.

Knoblauch, 46, divorced Cheri Knoblauch in 2012. He was convicted of hitting a previous wife in 2010 and sentenced to a year of probation. 

"I strongly had the belief that he was in a different place and that he had made amends and was looking forward to being a better husband and a better dad," St. Peter said. "Obviously we need to see what transpires, but it's disappointing, to say the least."

Knoblauch was the 1991 American League Rookie of the Year and a four-time All-Star with the Twins. 

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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Rapid Reaction: Yankees 4, Rangers 2

July, 24, 2014
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NEW YORK -- The Yankees took three of four from the worst team in baseball. They weren't pretty games, but they count, nonetheless.

Don't look now, but the Yankees (53-48), who beat Texas 4-2 today, are tied for the second wild card with Robinson Cano's Seattle Mariners.

The Yankees are 2 games back of the Orioles in the AL East; the Orioles face the Mariners tonight in Seattle.

McCarthyism: Brandon McCarthy is now 3-for-3. Three starts as a Yankee, all three excellent.

The Rangers are awful, but that is not McCarthy's problem. McCarthy went six innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out five. He set down who was put in front of him.

Journeyman or not, McCarthy has been one of the better starters in baseball in the past month, starting with the end of his stay with the Diamondbacks. His ERA in his past five starts is 1.72, and his team has won each of the games.

That's Cervelli: The hot-hitting Francisco Cervelli gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Cervelli nailed a double into the corner, which allowed the speedy Ichiro Suzuki to come around from first without a play at the plate.

Cervelli has hit safely in eight of his past nine starts. He is 12-for-32 (.375) in those games.

The Yankees would add another run in the fifth on a Brett Gardner sacrifice fly to deep left.

RBI Chase: In the fourth, Chase Headley showed off some of that recent "hit velo" general manager Brian Cashman was fond of talking about. Headley nailed an RBI single off the right-field wall for the Yankees' first run, tying the game at 1.

The Yankees were hitless for the first three innings before Gardner led off the fourth with a bloop single. He scored on Headley's rocket to right.

Pen pals: If you want to be optimistic about the Yankees, look to their pen. Yes, Adam Warren gave up a solo homer in the seventh, but Warren, Dellin Betances and David Robertson are a pretty good trio. Matt Thornton picked up the last out of the seventh for Warren, then Betances and Robertson took care of business in the eighth and ninth.

Betances only struck out one of his three outs.

Insurance: Brian McCann added an RBI double to make it 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth.

Attendance watch: There were 45,105 here and none got to see Derek Jeter, who had the day off.

What's next: The Yankees finish off this 10-game home stand with three against the Blue Jays. Here are the pitching matchups: Friday, Hiroki Kuroda (6-6, 3.88) vs. Mark Buehrle (10-6, 2.86); Saturday, Shane Greene (2-1, 2.79) vs. Drew Hutchison (6-9, 4.54); Sunday, Chase Whitley (4-3, 4.60) vs. J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.55).

A-Rod vs. Varitek turns 10

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
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NEW YORK -- Think about where you were 10 years ago today. There is a pretty good chance you were in front of a TV or you heard later about the fight between the Yankees and the Red Sox that featured none other than Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek.

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Joe McDonald did a long piece for ESPN Boston on the anniversary. It was at the height of the Red Sox-Yankees' recent saga, as Rodriguez is the biggest figure in the rivalry since Babe Ruth. McDonald writes:

The image of Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek shoving his mitt into the face of Alex Rodriguez has become an iconic symbol of the storied rivalry between Boston and the New York Yankees.

The picture hangs in sports bars, restaurants and man caves all over New England. It is sold in memorabilia stores -- even though both players refuse to add their autographs to the print -- and it represents to Red Sox Nation all that went right that season.

It's been 10 years since those two players ignited a bench-clearing brawl on July 24, 2004, at Fenway Park. The Red Sox, who had fallen to the Yankees in a heart-wrenching seven-game ALCS the year before, were trailing 3-0 with two outs in the top of the third inning when pitcher Bronson Arroyo drilled Rodriguez on his heavily padded left elbow with an inside fastball.

For all the hoopla generated by the 2004 incident involving Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek, the principals remain reluctant to discuss it.

As Rodriguez slowly started toward first base, he stared down Arroyo and had words for him.

Rodriguez then turned his attention to Varitek, who was telling the Yankees' cleanup hitter to shut up and go to first.

"I told him, in choice words, to get to first base," Varitek said at the time. "And then it changed from him yelling at Bronson to [us] yelling at each other, and then things got out of hand."


The Yankees face the Red Sox in Boston next Friday. It is still a rivalry, but it is not the same as it was a decade ago. It doesn't have the same intensity as it did then.

And by the way, whatever happened to A-Rod?

Neftali Feliz: Closer today, beyond?

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
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NEW YORK -- At least for one day, the Texas Rangers anointed Neftali Feliz as their closer.

Feliz was put in that role for Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Yankees but didn't get a chance to earn a save as the Rangers lost their series finale against New York 4-2. Texas traded closer Joakim Soria to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night for two pitching prospects.

Feliz was a dominant force as Texas' closer in 2010 and 2011 before being moved to the starting rotation.

"If there's an opportunity, I would like to become the closer again," Feliz said. "I did it for a couple of years, and I will take advantage of the opportunity and do the best that I can."

Manager Ron Washington said he's unsure whether Feliz can close on consecutive days. It will depend on the number of pitches he throws in a given appearance, but Washington thinks Feliz is ready to do it.

"I'm going to give him the ball and tell him to do what he feels he needs to do with it," Washington said. "This is what, Neftali's fifth year? I can't motivate Neftali. That [being the closer again] should motivate him enough. You got a chance to close and that's what it is, a chance."


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Notes: Tex DL decision expected Friday

July, 24, 2014
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NEW YORK -- The Yankees expect to make their decision on if Mark Teixeira needs to go on the disabled list or not on Friday. Teixeira has been out since Monday because of a lower lat strain that in his words was "killing me."

"We'll probably have something [Friday] and make a decision," Girardi said.

If the Yankees think Teixeira will be ready in the near future, they will ride it out and essentially play with a 24-man roster. If he is going to be 12 days or more -- with the starting point on Monday -- then Girardi said they will probably put Teixeira on DL.

Jeter
Jeter
Cap Off: Derek Jeter is not playing because it is a day game after a night game. Girardi thought it was time for a rest for Jeter. Jeter had started the six previous post-All-Star Break games.

Ellsbury leading off: With Jeter out of the lineup, Girardi shifted Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off spot and batted Brett Gardner second. Girardi really wouldn't reveal his reasoning.

"I don't want to get into a strategy about why I did it," Girardi said.

Backup to the Backup: If Teixeira stays on the bench and Brian McCann is behind the plate in the near future, Girardi said his options for first base are Chase Headley, Zelous Wheeler and Brendan Ryan. Headley has played one game in his major league career at the position.

Pineda
Pineda
Pineda throws: Michael Pineda threw down in Tampa on Thursday without an injury incident. Pineda could not throw in the simulated game because it rained, but he threw in the batting cages without hitters. He will go again in five days, throwing around 45 pitches. Girardi did not know if it would be a simulated game or a minor league outing.
NEW YORK -- With a day game after a night game, Joe Girardi is giving Derek Jeter the day off. If there is more to it, we'll let you know at 11 when Girardi speaks.

With Jeter out, Jacoby Ellsbury is leading off.

Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Brian Roberts 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Brendan Ryan SS

Brandon McCarthy RHP

Ortiz talks evolution of Sox-Yanks rivalry

July, 24, 2014
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BOSTON -- The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees is considered one of the greatest in all of sports.

It's built on incredible moments, amazing comebacks, plenty of bench-clearing brawls, and memorable triumphs and heartbreak. Both sides have experienced it all. This rivalry was at its peak during the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

During Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS, Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez hit the Yankees' Karim Garcia in the top of the fourth inning at Fenway Park. The benches cleared, but order was quickly restored. In the bottom of the inning, Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens delivered a pitch high and inside on Red Sox hitter Manny Ramirez.

The benches and bullpens emptied again, only this time punches were thrown. The melee escalated when Martinez grabbed Yankees coach Don Zimmer by the head and tossed him to the ground.

The Yankees eventually won that series on Aaron Boone's walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7 at Yankee Stadium.

In 2004, another epic chapter was written in the history books. On July 24 at Fenway Park, Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo drilled Yankees cleanup hitter Alex Rodriguez with a pitch in the top of the third inning. Rodriguez had words with Arroyo, before Red Sox captain and veteran catcher Jason Varitek stepped in and shoved his mitt into A-Rod's face, inciting another bench-clearing brawl.

“I knew it would never get any better than that,” Arroyo said in a recent phone interview. “I was 27-years-old and I was seasoned enough in the big leagues where I didn’t feel totally uncomfortable, but I was still young in my career. I knew it was never going to be any better than playing against those guys 19 times a year. It felt like a playoff game every time.

"Things like that dramatize it even more and that was one year removed from the whole Don Zimmer and Pedro Martinez fight, so it was like a heavyweight boxing match all the time, the electricity of a Mike Tyson fight all the time, because you never knew what was going to happen. It was definitely fun to be just in the place, much less in uniform. It was just high drama all the time.”

In October of that season, the Yankees held a 3-0 series lead on the Red Sox in the ALCS, but Boston mounted a historic comeback to win in seven games, before sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals for the Red Sox's first World Series title in 86 years.

There's been plenty more to add to this rivalry since the '04 season, but the fisticuffs subsided.

In August 2013, Rodriguez was able to play after he appealed a suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. This did not sit well with many players in the majors, including most everyone on Boston's pitching staff. So, on Rodriguez's first trip to Fenway Park after his appeal, Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster drilled Rodriguez with a fastball.

The benches and bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown.

This season, with Rodriguez serving a season-long suspension, the rivalry seems a bit different. Red Sox veteran DH David Ortiz believes he knows why.

"People right now still question a lot if the rivalry's still going on just because they're not seeing [fights]," he said. "What people need to understand is that right now there are so many rules and so many suspensions that in case something happens with a guy like myself, and I decide to charge a pitcher, I already know I'm going to miss five games at least, and if I miss five games out of that lineup it's going to hurt us.

"Everybody's trying to stay away from that. MLB is trying to keep everybody away from that. MLB has been doing an unbelievable job when it comes down to sending the right message to the fans and there's so many big suspensions because of that. Plus, another thing I believe, you know how pitchers back then used to get mad and angry when you take them deep, and next thing you know they were hitting somebody on purpose, but that's not part of the game anymore, because you know the minute [MLB] finds out that you hit somebody on purpose you're going to have to pay a fine and be suspended, too. So, there's a lot of different things going on right now compared to what the game was 10 or 11 years ago, and that has confused the fans when it comes down to the rival thing. I believe the fans need to pay attention to that a little more."

Gardner a steal for Yankees

July, 24, 2014
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NEW YORK -- There was plenty of head-scratching when the New York Yankees signed Brett Gardner to a four-year, $52 million contract extension back in February, just a couple months after they had signed Jacoby Ellsbury for the next seven years at $153 million.

Among the heads being scratched was my own, I must admit. What did the Yankees need Gardner for, I reasoned, when they already had Ellsbury, who was the same type of player, though, according to the numbers, a little bit better?

Five months later, I am scratching my head again, though I am asking the question the other way around: What did the Yankees need to sign Jacoby Ellsbury for, when they already had Brett Gardner?

[+] EnlargeBrett Gardner
Elsa/Getty ImagesBrett Gardner's solo shot stood up as the difference in Wednesday's 2-1 Yanks win over the Rangers.
Statistically, the two players are remarkably similar this year. Ellsbury is batting .291, Gardner .278. Ellsbury's on-base percentage is .354, Gardner's .359. Ellsbury, hitting mostly third, has 47 RBIs. Gardner, leading off, is right behind him with 41. Ellsbury has drawn 37 walks, Gardner 42. Ellsbury's OPS is .775, Gardner's .786. In perhaps the most important category of all, runs scored, Gardner has a clear edge, 60 to 47. His WAR, if you value such things, is 3.1; Ellsbury's is 2.3.

In fact, the only significant areas in which the two players differ is stolen bases -- Ellsbury has 27, Gardner 17 -- and strikeouts, a category in which Gardner leads the team with 89. Way too many, but in large part because he is also the most selective hitter the Yankees have, and often seems to prefer to go down looking rather than swing at a pitch he doesn't love.

The other significant difference between the two comes on payday. Ellsbury's contract calls for him to be paid slightly more than $21 million a year between now and 2020, with a $21 million club option -- or $5 million buyout -- for 2021, when he will be 38 years old.

Gardner will be paid $5.6 million this season under his previously existing contract, and an average of $12 million a year for the next four seasons.

Now, which one of the two players do you think is a better value?

It's unfortunate that we have to keep score this way, but that's the way it is.

And after seeing Gardner whack the solo homer off Yu Darvish that gave the Yankees a 2-1 win in Wednesday night's rain-shortened game against the Texas Rangers, the thought occurred once again, as it has many times this season, that Gardner may have sold himself way too short. And that the Yankees, notorious for being profligate spenders for players who truly make you scratch your head, certainly got away with highway robbery here.

In fact, if you think they stole a game from the Rangers on Wednesday night -- it was halted after 4 1/3 innings when both managers, but mostly, I suspect, the Yankees' Joe Girardi, beefed to the umpires that the Yankee Stadium field was unplayable after a brief but violent rainstorm -- that was nothing compared to the grand larceny they committed in locking up Gardner until 2018, with an option.

Gardner's home run off Darvish -- his second off the Rangers ace in just seven career at-bats -- gave him 10 for the season, which is not only his career high but the same number hit so far by Brian McCann (five years, $85 million, or an average of $17 million per) and Carlos Beltran (three years, $45 million), both of whom are considered sluggers.

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And it is two more than Ellsbury, five more than Brian Roberts and eight more than Derek Jeter. In fact, if there was no Mark Teixeira, who has 17, Brett Gardner would be in a three-way tie for the team lead in home runs.

Hitting home runs is not what he is being paid to do, of course, but it is a nice little bonus to go with what he is already doing, which is everything the Yankees expected of him, and more. Have I mentioned that he plays a mean left field, besides?

This is not to say that Gardner is a better player than Ellsbury, who is an excellent player who over the course of his contract may someday be considered worth every penny the Yankees paid for him.

But there's no "someday" involved with Gardner. He, too, is an excellent player who already has shown he is worth more than the Yankees have been paying him, and is likely to remain so for the life of his contract.

Mother Nature smiles upon Girardi: In the viewpoint of the Yankees manager, the proverbial controller of the weather sometimes giveth and sometimes taketh away. On July 13 in Baltimore, the Yankees believe the volatile lady took one away from them when their game with the Orioles was halted in the fifth inning after a two-hour rain delay with the home team leading 3-1.

And Wednesday night, she gave them one back, when their game with the Texas Rangers was halted after the visitors had batted five times but still trailed 2-1. The rainstorm that cut the game short was brief but violent, and caused the Yankee Stadium grounds crew to struggle with the tarp for 13 minutes before they could get it down. What was left underneath was a soupy mess of an infield, and even after the rain stopped and the crew put a solid 45 minutes into trying to dry the skin with water-absorbing agents, both Girardi and Ron Washington told the umpires they felt the field was unsafe to play on.

[+] EnlargeRon Washington, Joe Girardi
Elsa/Getty ImagesJoe Girardi and Ron Washington felt the infield was unsafe to play on and requested reinforcements.
"Ron Washington said he thought a hamstring would be blown and I said, ‘I question if this is safe for our players. Is there anything you could do to firm it up?'" Girardi said. "There were spots in the infield that you could see this much dirt would come up very easily."

Girardi said the umpires "called New York," as if he had forgotten which city the Yankees play in, to get a ruling, but before a decision could be made, the rain resumed and the game was called after a 1-hour, 49-minute delay.

"Both managers had concerns about injuries, hamstrings, that kind of stuff," crew chief Dale Scott said. "It would be really bad if we started playing and somebody blew out a knee or a hamstring or whatever because of that."

Girardi admitted that a call like this was a lot easier to make when your team is ahead. (For a guy willing to give up the game, it was strange that Washington had Darvish warming up to go back in when it resumed.)

“Always if it’s a win," Girardi said. "Neither one of us can really afford anyone else to go on the DL because of conditions that players shouldn’t be on.”

A first for Phelps: David Phelps has pitched well in his role as an emergency starter this season, but he accomplished something on Wednesday he never had before: a complete game.

OK, so it was only a five-inning complete game, but officially, Phelps started the game, Phelps finished the game, Phelps won the game. So there.

“Complete game. That’s what we needed tonight," Phelps joked, but there was an element of truth to it since the Yankees had used eight pitchers -- their entire bullpen -- in Tuesday night's 14-inning 2-1 win.

The highlight of Phelps' performance came against the last batter he faced, Rougned Odor, with two outs and a runner on third after Leonys Martin's one-out triple. Phelps got Odor to chase a breaking ball out of the zone to end the inning, and as it turned out, the game.

“It’s nice being on every five days," said Phelps, who improved to 5-4 and lowered his ERA to 3.77. "I’ve been able to get on a routine and just getting comfortable with going out there every fifth day. It’s what I’ve done my whole career being a starter, and it’s nice being able to get back into that role.”

Varitek/A-Rod brawl, 10 years later

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
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BOSTON -- The image of Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek shoving his mitt into the face of Alex Rodriguez has become an iconic symbol of the storied rivalry between Boston and the New York Yankees.

The picture hangs in sports bars, restaurants and man caves all over New England. It is sold in memorabilia stores -- even though both players refuse to add their autographs to the print -- and it represents to Red Sox Nation all that went right that season.

It's been 10 years since those two players ignited a bench-clearing brawl on July 24, 2004 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox, who had fallen to the Yankees in a heart-wrenching seven-game ALCS the year before, were trailing 3-0 with two outs in the top of the third inning when pitcher Bronson Arroyo drilled Rodriguez on his heavily padded left elbow with an inside fastball.

As Rodriguez slowly started toward first base, he stared down Boston's pitcher and had words for Arroyo.

"Throw that [expletive] over the [expletive] plate," Arroyo recalled in a phone interview. "Then he said the exactly same thing again."

Rodriguez then turned his attention to Varitek, who was telling the Yankees' cleanup hitter to shut up and go to first.

"I told him, in choice words, to get to first base," Varitek said at the time. "And then it changed from him yelling at Bronson to [us] yelling at each other, and then things got out of hand."

That included Rodriguez throwing out a string of profanities to Varitek. 


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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.289 8 47 47
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 61
OPSB. Gardner .787
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135