Yankees Notebook: Girardi refuses comment on Dempster suspension
Manager Joe Girardi had a late-night flight from Boston and a day off to think about Ryan Dempster’s actions toward Alex Rodriguez in the second inning of Sunday’s 9-6 win over the Red Sox.
A day and a half later, the Yankee manager is still steamed over Dempster appearing to purposely hit Rodriguez with a fastball.
Dempster was not ejected by plate umpire Brian O’Nora Sunday. Instead O’Nora issued warnings to both teams, meaning if the Yankees attempted retaliation, they would face ejections.
“It just makes him open season for people,” Girardi said before Game One of Tuesday’s doubleheader with Toronto. “And that can’t happen. It’s not fair.
“If a player is suspended for throwing at someone, they’re going to get their appeal. Are we just going to throw that out too?”
As expected Dempster was suspended for his actions, receiving a five-game penalty, which essentially is one turn in the rotation. It might not even be one turn since the Red Sox are off Thursday and next Monday.
Girardi was also fined an undisclosed amount though the AP reported the fine was for $5,000. The AP also reported that Dempster’s fine was for $2,500.
Girardi didn’t comment on it directly but his body language seemed to indicate dissatisfaction with the decision.
“I don’t really have any comment,” he said. “I don’t know.”
When asked a different way, Girardi said: “No comment is no comment.”
As for Rodriguez, he did not make an appearance in the clubhouse when it was open to reporters.
Cano reaches milestone home run
Two-hundred home runs do not quite have the same cache as 400, 500 or 600 but it still is a notable number.
Until Tuesday afternoon, only 15 Yankees had joined that club. Robinson Cano became the newest member of that group with a three-run home run in the third inning against Toronto starter Esmil Rogers.
“It means a lot,” Cano said. “As a kid you always dream to hit one.”
Kids should dream to hit the way Cano is hitting recently. The milestone was part of Cano’s third four-hit game of the season. He has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, producing at a .408 clip (24-for-53) since Aug. 8.
“He’s been swinging the bat really well and that’s special,” Girardi said. “Two-hundred home runs is a lot of home runs and obviously he he’s got a lot of career left in him. But he had a big day. He got us right back in the game with that three-run home run.”
Ichiro approaches hits milestone
If Ichiro Suzuki is going to reach 4,000 combined hits in Japan and the United States, he will have to do it as a pinch hitter in Tuesday’s nightcap.
Since Toronto started left-hander Mark Buehrle, Suzuki was not in the lineup. Suzuki did not start despite having a .421 lifetime average (24-for-57) against Buehrle.
“I didn’t have 4,000 hits my whole career and you go back to T-ball,” Girardi said. “For me it’s been unbelievable to see and he’s some kind of player.”
He reached the verge of 4,000 with a double in the third inning of the opener and a single in the seventh. Ichiro nearly had a chance to reach it in the eighth but wound up grounding out to first base.
Ichiro has 2,721 hits in the majors after getting 1,278 in Japan’s Pacific League. Only Ty Cobb (4,191) and Pete Rose have reached 4,000 hits in the majors.
“I think getting a hit is not as easy as what [YES Network announcer] Michael Kay thinks,” he said through an interpreter. “It’s definitely not as easy as he thinks.”
As for his knowledge of Rose and Cobb, Ichiro has differing levels of awareness about them.
“I know the name,” he said while adding someone gave him an autographed picture off Cobb at some point. “I know back in his day, there were no numbers on players’ back.”
“Obviously I know of him and hear a lot of stories about him but I actually haven’t met him.”
Ichiro’s lengthy interview about approaching the milestone ended playfully when he was asked to respond to Ken Griffey Jr.’s claim that the 4,000th hit would be a home run.
“You don’t have to listen to Junior,” Ichiro joked.
Derek Jeter is not likely to rejoin the Yankees in time for fans to watch him against the Blue Jays, but he seems to be making some progress on the simulated-game circuit.
Jeter is two weeks into his third DL stint this season, this time for a strained right calf. The injury occurred less than a week after he returned from a quad injury.
Jeter’s first simulated game on Monday consisted of sprints in the outfield, at-bats and taking ground balls in the infield. It did not feature running the bases, but Jeter ramped up his activities on Tuesday to include base running.
There is a possibility Jeter could return this weekend in Tampa Bay but the Yankees have yet to make that declaration.
“There’s a plan in place,” Girardi said. “It’s not just that they wing it. I’m not going to reveal the plan until we get there.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.