Today’s news is powered by some REALLY bad cartoon featuring the Tampa Bay Rays:
- Here are the rehab updates on Alex Rodriguez and Chien-Ming Wang:
Rodriguez, who had surgery on his right hip March 9, could take live batting practice for the first time Tuesday. He might start playing in minor league games later this week and the Yankees expect him to rejoin the team by May 15. . . .
The three-time AL MVP ran the bases for the third time in five days, and added situational drills when taking grounders at third. He hit 13 homers on 89 swings in regular batting practice. . . .
“We need to see him slide,” Girardi said. “He hasn’t done that yet unless he went out on a Slip And Slide in his yard.”
Wang threw in the outfield for 10 minutes and did sprints as part of a rehab program. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with weakness in his hips. . . .
“He’s doing great,” Yankees vice president Billy Connors said. “There is no discomfort. We did some drills that will help bring his velocity back to where it’s got to be.”
- Over at SI.com, Jeff Pearlman notes the empty seats at the Stadium:
In case you haven’t heard, the Yankees have opened their new, state-of-the-art stadium by asking their dutiful fans to pay inordinate amounts of money for the right to sit in a plastic chair, drink $9 bottles of beer and watch Cody Ransom. To be precise, individual-game tickets range from $14 for bleacher seats to $2,625 to sit mere feet away from the batter’s box. Yet here’s the wacky part — with the economy mimicking a Jason Marquis sinker (down-down-down-plop), there are a limited number of cheap seats, leaving gameday fans with an onerous choice: spend a small fortune on a ticket, or don’t go.
For a franchise that has long flaunted its patriotism, one must ask, where is that help-thy-neighbor American spirit when we actually need it? In 2001 it was easy for the Yankees to fly a tattered flag from Ground Zero and unearth President Bush to throw out the first pitch of Game 3 of the World Series. Emotional as those moments felt, they were, relatively speaking, no-brainers. Eight years later, people are once again struggling. They are losing jobs. Losing investments. Losing homes. They could use a good faith gesture of keeping the ticket prices the same as a year ago. Baseball, after all, is the ultimate stress-buster: Enduring a tough day? Kick back in the sun for nine innings, down a beverage, keep score, relax.
. . . With a jarring (and, many would agree, justified) number of unfilled blue “premium” seats making the new Yankee Stadium appear to be half empty on TV — consider the numbers: with nearly 4,000 fewer seats the Yankees are averaging 8,500 fewer fans in a new stadium — Hal Steinbrenner and Co. could have stepped up and offered the vacant turf for temporarily discounted costs; could have donated the seats to a local YMCA or Boys & Girls Club; could have done 8,000 things to help make right a time period gone bad. . . .
- Hideki Irabu is coming back!:
Former New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu has come out of retirement and made a contract with Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League . . .
- What does Derek Jeter have 8,103 of?:
Derek Jeter logged his 8,103rd career at-bat for the Yankees on Monday, surpassing Mickey Mantle for the most in franchise history.
Jeter stepped in for the milestone at-bat in the top of the first inning at Comerica Park, looking at a called third strike from Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander.
Jeter was informed of his accomplishment on Sunday night after the Yankees’ 4-1 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park, but he was nonplussed given the circumstances.
“Is that right? I didn’t know that,” Jeter said. “We lost, so I can’t really care too much.”
- On this date in 1985, the Yankees hire Billy Martin as their manager for a fourth time. Martin replaces Yogi Berra, who is fired just 16 games into the season.
- On this date in 1989, Rickey Henderson sets a major league record when he leads off a game with a home run for the 36th time in his career, breaking a tie with Bobby Bonds.
- On this date in 2006, long-troubled reliever Steve Howe died in a one-vehicle accident when his pickup truck overturned while he was driving in Coachella, CA. He was 48.