So, Jorge Posada’s achy foot that got hit by a foul ball off the bat of Michael Cuddyer on Sunday? Yeah, it’s broken. He’s out three to four weeks. Hey, but he wasn’t playing anyway, so at least putting Jorge on the disabled list frees up a roster spot for . . . a backup catcher that will never play? Right. And Nick Swisher . . . still isn’t ready.
Oh, and Marcus Thames stepped on his own bat while running to first on a single during Wednesday night’s game and sprained his ankle. Oh, but he’s not going on the DL. No, his x-rays were negative and he’s day-to-day. So, the Yankees will still have two unusable players on their bench tomorrow and heading into Queens this weekend, where their pitchers will have to hit.
Yeah, it was that kind of night for the Yankees. Jason Bartlett hit A.J. Burnett’s second pitch for his first home run of the season. Brett Gardner got picked off in the bottom of the first. Burnett gave up a run in the third without allowing a hit by walking the ninth-place hitter, hitting Carl Crawford in the back foot, walking Ben Zobrist, then giving up a sac fly to Evan Longoria.
Hey, but that could have gone worse, what with Longo up with the bags juiced, right? Oh right, it did go worse in the fourth, when Burnett coughed up four runs. That inning that started with a pair of infield singles and a double steal, with Hank Blalock of all people on the back end, followed by a two-RBI double by Rays catcher John Jaso, a Francisco Cervelli throwing error that moved Jaso to third, an RBI double off the right field wall by Crawford, yet another walk to Zobrist, and an RBI single by, hey, look at that: Evan Longoria.
The Yankees eeked out a run in the bottom of the fourth when Rays starter Wade Davis issued a leadoff walk to Alex Rodriguez and Rodriguez came around to score on a Robinson Cano single and a Cervelli sac fly. Rodriguez later doubled the Yankee tally by leading off the sixth with a solo homer that made it 6-2 Rays, but Derek Jeter ended that inning by grounding out with the bases loaded, and Boone Logan gave that run back in the eighth, giving up a walk and an RBI double to the only two men he faced.
Down 7-2, Joe Girardi broke the glass on Mark Melancon, and Melancon returned the favor by shattering the Yankees’ hopes completely by coughing up three more runs (the first of which was charged to Logan) on a series of singles and a sac fly.
Down 10-2, the Yankees were in the process of going down meekly in the bottom of the ninth, Randy Winn grounding out on a 1-2 count, Derek Jeter grounding out on the first pitch he saw, when suddenly they found a new life. Eight runs behind and down to their final out, the Yankees rallied against Tampa Bay longman Andy Sonnanstine.
Brett Gardner singled to center. Mark Teixeira drew a four-pitch walk. Tex beat the flip to second on an Alex Rodriguez grounder to short that was ruled an infield hit and loaded the bases. Robinson Cano singled home Gardner. Francisco Cervelli walked on five pitches to force in Teixeira. Ramiro Peña, who had been the only available man on the bench and thus came in for Thames in the sixth, hit a dying quail to center that ricocheted off the glove of B.J. Upton, who lost track of the ball long enough for both Rodriguez and Cano to score and Peña to reach second on what was scored a single and an error.
That brought Juan Miranda up one baserunner shy of bringing the tying run to the plate, but Joe Maddon killed the mojo by taking Sonanstine out of the game and replacing him with Joaquin Benoit, who struck out Juan Miranda to kill the rally and earn an extremely unexpected save.
I expect the Yankees will move Nick Johnson to the 60-day DL on Thursday to create room on the 40-man roster for veteran backup Chad Moeller, who will play sparingly, though Robby Hammock, who could double as a utility man having played all four corner positions in the majors, would be an even better option. Jesus Montero, who is struggling at the plate and behind it and was recently benched for loafing, won’t be considered, nor will Austin Romine, largely because Cervelli is already well-established as the starter. Also look for the Yankees to shed a pitcher, likely Melancon, in favor of an outfielder, likely Greg Golson, who can be recalled as an injury replacement for Posada.
By the way, everyone saying they’ve never seen a player step on a bat and injure himself before is forgetting about John Olerud, who did just that in Game Three of the 2004 ALCS, leaving first base in the hands of Tony Clark until the seventh inning of Game Seven, when his return was too little too late. Talk about your bad omens . . .