Other than some nagging injuries to playoff-tested veterans virtually all is well for the Yankees.
On a night that ended with Jorge Posada getting an MRI for a strained right calf and Mariano Rivera being unavailable due to a tight left side, the Yankees still won, getting a three-run home run from Randy Winn in last night’s 4-1 victory over the Orioles.
Winn’s first home run in 491 at-bats was definitely the biggest hit in the Bombers’ 17th win in 25 games but somewhat of an afterthought.
Two innings after Winn’s 107th career homer, Posada was lifted and taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital for an MRI. The Yankees do not think he will be on the disabled list but Posada will available on an emergency basis the next few games.
Winn’s blast and eight stellar innings from CC Sabathia, who battled an inconsistent strike zone by Bill Hohn, created a save situation. Sabathia allowed a home run to Matt Wieters among six hits but induced enough ground ball outs that it seemed like he was throwing a 2006 version of Chien-Ming Wang’s sinker. He did not reach 100 pitches until one out in the eighth.
An inning earlier, Sabathia barked at Hohn. He regained his focus, headed towards second base and finished off his 11thcareer victory against Baltimore.
“A couple of years ago, I probably wouldn't have been able to control that emotion," Sabathia said. "I probably would have been all over the place. Being older, I'm able now to calm down and just go out there and pitch."
Sabathia creating a save situation would not have even been notable except it was for Joba Chamberlain, whose other save was Sept. 23, 2007 on his 22nd birthday.
Occasionally Rivera will not be available because the Yankees do not want to use him too many nights in a row. Since Rivera last pitched Friday, this clearly was not the case and manager Joe Girardi said he had been experiencing the stiffness since that appearance.
Rivera said he never experienced tightness there and does not believe it is serious. It just hurts when he sneezes.
“I’m not worried at all,” Rivera said. “Like I said, I threw today and it felt good but I didn’t want to push it.”
It was the second time in less than a week that a minor injury caused Posada to sit. Last week, a knee injury caused him to miss a few games and this injury also came a day after some apparent knee stiffness or cramping led to Alex Rodriguez’s first day off. It also occurred just two days after Curtis Granderson suffered a groin injury that will sideline him for at least a month.
Granderson’s injury created the opportunity for Winn because Brett Gardner, who has proven he can hit lefties so far will be the everyday center fielder. That leaves a lefty-righty platoon with Winn and Marcus Thames.
When Winn demolished a 1-0 fastball from Jeremy Guthrie and sent it into the Yankee bullpen, it halted a dry spell of 373 days. Winn had last homered April 25, 2009 as a Giant off Max Scherzer; so when he made contact he just put his head down and ran, allowing the big celebration to take place in the dugout.
"I'm really, really not a home run hitter," said Winn, who has played 1,614 games without appearing in the playoffs. "That felt really good. It's always nice when you can get in there and help your team win. When you're not playing every day, you have to do what you can."
Doing what they can has worked well for the Yankees so far. Based on the starting pitching they get four out of five days, it seems the Bombers can survive what they can until injuries clear up.