Last night Mike Mussina had nothing, David Robertson had less, and the Yankee offense apparently missed the plane home from Boston. After five and a half innings, the Yankees had put just three men on base against Jeremy Guthrie on a single (promptly erased by a Derek Jeter double play), a walk, and a hit-by-pitch. The Orioles, meanwhile, had scored 11 runs off Mussina and Robertson, the key hits being consecutive second-inning home runs by Kevin Millar and Ramon Hernandez and an RBI triple by Adam Jones in the fifth off Mussina and a grand slam by Jones off Robertson (the first home run Robertson has allowed in his 148 1/3 professional innings) in the sixth.
The Yankees finally mounted a threat with two outs in the sixth, loading the bases on another single, another walk, and another hit-by-pitch, but Guthrie struck out Jason Giambi to end the inning. Xavier Nady finally broke through with a solo homer in the seventh, his first Yankee hit and Guthrie’s last pitch of the night. Johnny Damon added a three-run shot off reliever Lance Cormier later in the inning, but that was all the Yankees would get, while the O’s would tag on two more in the eighth on a two-run jack by Aubrey Huff off Kyle Farnsworth. Final score: 13-4.
The big news of the night, however, was word that, after conferring with the team, Jorge Posada has decided to have his shoulder surgery. Both Posada and Brian Cashman indicated that the acquisition of Nady was what allowed them to finally make that decision, which is a not insignificant mark in that trade’s favor. “As difficult as it is,” Posada said in a statement, “I can focus on coming back 100 percent for next season instead of coming back at less than that now.” Said Brian Cashman, “It’s just the obvious way to go.”
In other injury news, Hideki Matsui donned a new knee brace and took 20 swings off a tee followed by five swings against soft toss. He’s hoping to be able to start a rehab assignment in a week or two. Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano (yes, I said it) were scheduled to pitch two innings a piece for the Gulf Coast League Yankees last night, but the game was rained out. They’ll try again tonight with low-A Charleston. Also, Shelley Duncan is taking batting practice in Tampa, and Eric Milton is scheduled to throw batting practice.
In minor league news, Alan Horne came off the DL to pitch for Scranton last night and got lit up. Chris Britton and Brian Bruney both pitched in relief. Britton allowed two of the runners he inherited from Horne to score, but didn’t allow any runs of his own over three innings while striking out five. Bruney threw one pitch, hit former Yankee farmhand Randy Ruiz in the back of the head, and got ejected. Also, Mark Melancon and Chase Wright have been promoted to triple-A, lefty reliever Wilkins Arias has been promoted to double-A, and Steven White’s fall continues as he’s been demoted to double-A Trenton.