"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Yankees 5, A’s 1

Jose Contreras pitched his best game of the year, and the Yankees beat the A’s on a beautiful spring night in New York. It was a relatively tension-free game and it was a relief to see Contreras pitch with more confidence. The A’s have some good hitters, but they swing at far more pitches than the Red Sox do. Jason Giambi made a nice, diving grab to rob Eric Chavez of a hit with two men on in the third, and that’s as good a scoring opportunity as Oakland would get. Tyler Kepner and John Harper have good reports on how Jorge Posada guided Contreras to a strong outing. Posada added a solo home run, and so did Jason Giambi (who hit a seed off of Arhur Rhodes in the ninth). Giambi had three hits on the night, and Gary Sheffield had two.

I was at the game with a group of guys. We didn’t reach our seats until the bottom of the first, as the Yankees were putting three runs up against Mark Mulder. To be honest, I was too caught up in conversation to remember much of the game. The most memorable part of the night was the standing ovations that Derek Jeter received in his final two or three at-bats. Unfortunatley for the Yankee captain, the cheers didn’t help him get a hit. Jeter is now 0-for his last 32. While Jeter continues to be humbled, at least his team has won a couple of games.

It was a good, if not terribly exciting night for the Yankees. In fact, there wasn’t any bad news until I read the morning papers. Bernie Williams was not in the line-up after he strained his left knee on Tuesday night. Though Williams will not go on the DL yet, the news is troubling:

“I am concerned,” Torre said of the 35-year-old outfielder who will wear a brace or sleeve when he returns. “It’s frustrating for him and I decided to give him a blow. We will give it a day and take it day to day.”

“You know what’s interesting about Bernie, during this whole time I’ve been here, it’s been one problem or another,” Torre said. “He’s been disabled a couple of times. I don’t think he’s ever been 100 percent when he’s played. He really hasn’t.”

Not so long ago I wondered if Williams would be able to make it to the Hall of Fame. Now, who knows if he’ll play out his contract (2005) with New York. As much as it pains him to admit, Steve Bonner thinks it’s time for the Yankees to trade Bernie. Maybe Rob Neyer isn’t just crying wolf when he insists that Carlos Beltran will be playing center field in the Bronx by August. Travis Lee is also hurting, and it appears as if he’s going to have surgery on his left shoulder, which means Tony Clark is here to stay for now.

Meanwhile, Curt Schilling and the Red Sox shut out the Devil Rays, 6-0.

Oh, and for the latest on Barry Bonds and the steroids story, head on over to John Perricone’s Only Baseball Matters, forthwith.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver