It was an extremely busy pregame at Yankee Stadium. Lots of little things going on with the albatross that is the speculation of Cliff Lee being traded looming over the Mariners constantly, but particularly large since he starts tonight … in New York.
GM Jack Zduriencik was engulfed by the media, hoping to get a hint about where Cliff Lee might be going and where.
But likes he’s done since becoming GM, he stayed tight lipped.
“I don’t have much to say,” he said. “We are just trying to win baseball games, improve this record and see what happens, you know. There is a lot of speculation, but I don’t want to comment on that at all. We’re here to play baseball the best we can.”
So what will he be looking at over the next month or so.
“You evaluate things every day, every week, every month,” he said. “What we are trying to do right now is win baseball games. We have added a bat we think helps us, we have our 1-and-2 going in this series so let’s see what happens.”
Other news …
The Mariners made a roster move. They activated Josh Bard from the 15-day disabled list and designated fellow catcher Eliezer Alfonso for assignment. Bard arrived in time and is taking batting practice as I type this. So why Bard and not Alfonso?
“He’s a switch hitter, No. 1,” Wakamatsu said. “We were pretty impressed when he came up last time with the energy. He can communicate and relate to the pitching staff. A lot of guys were comfortable with him. We felt his status and what he showed in spring training, he was going to be that first guy (to come up), and once he showed he was healthy, it was just something we were going to go back to.”
Because of his service time, Alfonso can opt to become a free agent once he clears waivers, but Wakamatsu said he told Alfonso he’d like to keep him in the organization.
The recently reacquired Russell Branyan is in the lineup at first base and batting third. Does that mean Wak has the batting order the way he wants it?
“I’ll tell you after the game if we figured it out. We talked about where he’d hit this year in Cleveland,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s hit anywhere from four to six. I think the biggest thing with him is being able to see what impact he has on the other guys around him, whether it’s Lopez, or Gutierrez or even Bradley, if he takes pressure off those guys and backs everybody up. We’ll see after today’s game, and as we go forward if that’s a good fit, or we move him somewhere else. Right now, I feel pretty comfortable with the third spot.”
DH Mike Sweeney wasn’t too pleased about going on the disabled list because of his back.
“I feel very well,” Sweeney said. “I told them in Milwaukee I’d be ready on Tuesday and I’m ready today. So it’s a bit frustrating to go on the DL, I felt didn’t need to. But I know there’s other things involved. We needed a pitcher on Sunday, and 8nfortuatnely the time they made the move I wasn’t 100 percent.”
Sweeney took batting practice with the team before the game. He said he injured the back diving for a couple ground balls.
“I kind of hyper-extended a few times,” he said. “It flared up a little bit, but I knew I’d be ready to do go today. I’m ready to go, but I’m not available. I understand it. I just want to be a part of this. I can understand their position on Sunday, but it’s tough because you always dream about helping a team win, especially at Yankee Stadium.
Closer David Aardsma is back with the team after returning to Seattle to be with his wife for the birth of his first child. David Zachary Aardsma was born on Saturday at 8:05 p.m.
Aardsma’s wife, Andrea, went into labor on Friday during the Mariners game against Milwaukee. Aardsma tried to go home Friday night, but couldn’t get a flight. So he flew home early Saturday morning.
“I was there for everything,” he said. “I didn’t miss a single thing, it was wonderful.”
And seeing his son being born is better than any save. Perhaps even in Game 7 of a World Series.
“I can’t imagine anything would ever compare to that,” he said. “Holding him for the first time was just unbelievable.”
- Ichiro RF
- Chone Figgins 2B
- Russell Branyan 1B
- Milton Bradley DH
- Jose Lopez 3B
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Jack Wilson SS
- Rob Johnson C
- Michael Saunders LF
LHP Cliff Lee (6-3, 2.39 ERA)
- Derek Jeter SS
- Nick Swisher RF
- Mark Teixeira 1B
- Alex Rodriguez 3B
- Robinson Cano 2B
- Jorge Posada DH
- Curtis Granderson CF
- Chad Huffman LF
- Francisco Cervelli C
RHP Phil Hughes (10-1, 3.17 ERA)