Yankees Notebook: Mesa debuts, Teixeira continues rehab
Not many can say their major league debut consisted of missing third base in the 14th inning, but that was Melky Mesa’s introduction to the majors.
Mesa came on as a pinch runner for Eric Chavez, moved to second on a sacrifice and then seemed destined to score on Alex Rodriguez’s single. Instead, Mesa stumbled, missed the bag and alertly did not try to attempt scoring.
“He missed the bag and I’ll give him credit, he didn’t compound the problem by continuing to go,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He went back to third base because I’m sure everybody would have seen it and he would have been called out and that would have been the end of the inning.”
Teixeira continues workout
Injured first baseman Mark Teixeira spent his Saturday morning working out his sore left calf before the first pitch. The workout consisted of fielding grounders, light running and taking batting practice outside for the first time since reinjuring his calf two weeks ago in Baltimore.
“Everything felt fine,” Teixeira said. “I obviously wasn’t pushing it really out there, but it was a good workout.”
Teixeira said he was experiencing some improvement but still remained concerned about the playoffs, especially if the Yankees are in the one-game wild card. His main concerns are if he has to react quickly to dive, race out of the batter’s box or run with full force.
“I want to be comfortable that I can do those things and not blow out again, because then we’re right back to square one,” he said. “The first game of the playoffs, we’re down one run and I need to beat out a double or beat out an infield hit and I blow out and I’m out for the rest of the playoffs, we’ve accomplished nothing. I just need to be able to play.”
In the last week, Rafael Soriano has thrown 90 pitches to 22 hitters while pitching in each of the Yankees’ wins during their six-game winning streak. Normally Soriano would not have pitched in six straight games, but the Yankees had Monday off and a rainout Tuesday.
During the first five games of this stretch, Soriano allowed two base runners but Friday he blew a CC Sabathia start for the second time this year against Oakland.
Girardi said afterwards that Soriano’s arm might have been a little dead, possibly caused by the sudden save situation created Thursday when a 10-4 lead turned into a three-run game in the eighth.
“I talked to [Girardi],” Soriano said Friday. “It’s a little bit sore, like normal sore. I tried to make a good pitch. That happened. I’ll come back tomorrow. … I’m not tired. No excuses. I made one pitch and that’s it.”
Not surprisingly, Soriano was unavailable for Saturday’s game regardless of the score. Soriano has pitched 64 1/3 innings this season, which is his second-highest total since becoming a regular closer. He pitched 75 2/3 innings while converting 27 saves for the Braves in 2009, when he gave up 53 hits while pitching to a 2.97 earned run average.
“I take his word for it,” Girardi said. “I really believe it was the twice in one day. Soriano is a guy that knows his body pretty well. He’s closed before. He communicates very well how he’s feeling. I’m pretty sure that will go away.”
After the game, Girardi reiterated that he would not have used Soriano or David Robertson, who also pitched in each of the previous three days.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.