Joe Torre returned for Sunday’s Old Timers’ Day and unsurprisingly faced questions about Roger Clemens and his chance at being elected to the Hall of Fame.
Clemens was recently cleared of eight perjury counts, but faces his next test in January when he could becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame. That seems unlikely based on how extensively he was named in the Dec. 2007 Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs.
Torre felt the pitcher who won 83 games for him in 1999-2003 and in 2007 belongs in Cooperstown, but admitted that the questions will always persist.
“He is to me,” Torre said. “I can’t make other people look at him that way. I can just tell you the way I feel. There is a question mark. There always will be.”
Torre also said that like many Yankees, he disliked Clemens when he was an opponent on the Blue Jays and Red Sox but once he joined the team, Torre said he regarded him like a son.
As for Derek Jeter, Torre does not think he will stay around long enough to reach 4,000 hits.
“When people start talking about 4,000, it’s probably out of reach,” Torre said. “But I never question anything this kid has set his mind to, so we’ll see. He has a long way to go. This game is not easy to play on an everyday basis. I don’t think he’s going to hang around for a personal record unless he’s able to contribute.”
Girardi reflects on Old Timers’ Day
Joe Girardi has seen the annual ceremony as a player, coach, broadcaster and manager. For him, the best thing is seeing a few former teammates.
“The interesting thing is you get a chance to see a lot of your teammates that you played with and had success,” he said. “And then you always get a chance to see the guys who came before us and had a ton of success. I absolutely love it.
“I always like seeing guys that I played with and busting their chops about being old timers. That’s enjoyable to me.”
Among the former teammates that Girardi had a chance to tease were Homer Bush, David Cone, Cecil Fielder, Charlie Hayes, Graeme Lloyd, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill, Darryl Strawberry and Bernie Williams.
Jeter, Cano and Granderson named All-Star starters
The Yankees landed three starters for next week’s game in Kansas City as Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano won the fan voting at their respective positions.
Jeter was selected by the fans for the seventh straight time and is going for the 13th time. He skipped last year’s game in Arizona due to exhaustion chasing his 3,000th hit and the fact that he recently was on the disabled list.
Cano will also lead the AL team in the Home Run Derby became a four-time All-Star. This will mark his third straight appearance.
Granderson, along with Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista, won the fan balloting for outfielders. Granderson and Bautista are both three-time All-Stars and in the starting lineup for the second straight year.
“I’m the one who gets to tell them,” Girardi said. “So it’s kind of nice. It’s a thrill for me to tell them. They deserved it. They earned it and I’m very proud of what they accomplished.”
Rounding the American League starting lineup is Adrian Beltre at third base, Prince Fielder at first base, Mike Napoli at catcher and David Ortiz at designated hitter.
Yankees add bullpen help
Brian Cashman made his first trade of 2012 Sunday when he acquired right-handed reliever Chad Qualls from the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Qualls was designated for assignment by the Phillies after having a 4.60 earned run average and 1.53 WHIP over 35 appearances.
Qualls has a career ERA of 3.82 and the Yankees will be his sixth team. Besides the Phillies, Qualls has appeared for Houston, Arizona, San Diego and Tampa Bay.
“We mix and match a lot,” Girardi said. “So hopefully he’ll be effective.”
After the game, the Yankees announced that infielder Matt Antonelli was designated for assignment from the 40-man roster. The Yankees will announce another move Monday.
One possibility might involve putting Raul Ibanez on the disabled list if his mouth is seriously hurt. Ibanez was struck in the mouth by a foul ball in the ninth inning and the Yankees say he has a lacerated lip and a broken front tooth.
The injury did not appear serious so the corresponding move might be sending D.J. Mitchell back to the minors after promoting him on Saturday.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.