Frustrating loss for the Yanks yesterday. 4-3. They got out of bases loaded jams in the sixth and in the ninth and had the tying run on base a few times, but came up short. Nick Swisher hit a long home right that bounced off the facade of the upper deck in right but the game can be summed up in the final at bat. Robinson Cano was up with Jeter at third. The count was 1-1 when Cano raised his arm to the home plate ump for time. He was too late and time was not granted. The pitch came and Cano, unsettled, swung. It happened too fast; he didn’t mean to swing. But he did and hit an easy ground ball to short for the final out.
Speaking of futility, check out this fine profile of Kei Igaway by Bill Pennington in the Times:
The five-year saga is a story of a giant mistake of a contract and an overmatched pitcher, a huge organization digging in and a quiet, somewhat mysterious Japanese pitcher with a sense of honor and a durable love of the game. The Yankees made it pretty clear Igawa would never pitch again in the Bronx, but they were determined that he pitch somewhere for his $4-million-a-year salary. They tried to return him to Japan, too. Igawa refused to go, standing fast to his childhood dream of pitching in the American big leagues.
And so, the stalemate — remarkable, if almost entirely un-remarked upon — continues.
The Yankees let him gobble up innings before small crowds in distant outposts as a cavalcade of younger prospects push past him on their way to Yankee Stadium. Igawa never complains, and in a tribute to either willpower or lower level longevity, he has set farm system pitching records. And with just a few months left on his contract, he still dreams of the major leagues, if no longer as a Yankee.
About two weeks ago, on a rare day off, Igawa celebrated his 32nd birthday alone at his Manhattan apartment. He did not consider attending a Yankees game in the Bronx, nor did he tune them in on his television.
“I don’t watch their games anymore,” Igawa said. “I never follow them.”