Results tagged ‘ Michael Young ’

No action for Yanks as trade deadline passes

The non-waiver trading deadline came and went at 4 p.m. Eastern Wednesday without the Yankees making a swap. Despite rumors throughout the day regarding Phillies infielder Michael Young, who reportedly waived the no-trade clause in his contract to clear a possible deal to the Yankees, nothing came of it.

“We had a lot of conversations with a lot of organizations,” general manager Brian Cashman said on a conference telephone call with Yankees beat writers, “but we didn’t get anything that would lead us to deal. We will have to contend with what we have right now unless we find ways to improve it. It wasn’t a deep market at all, and obviously what I was offering wasn’t enough.”

So for the time being, the addition of outfielder Alfonso Soriano will have to suffice. Cashman alluded to the impending return from the disabled list of outfielder Curtis Granderson maybe as early as Friday night at San Diego will serve as a major addition akin to a big trade. Cash is also holding out hope that corner infielder Kevin Youkilis, who is recovering from back surgery, may be back sometime in September.

The GM was less optimistic about a return of catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has soreness in his right elbow while recuperating from a broken right thumb and will be examined by Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist, this week.

“None of this information is positive,” Cashman said. “We’re running out of time and it’s looking like he’s done for the year.”

Robertson a candidate for top union honor

Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson is one of six finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, which has been presented annually since 1997 by the Major League Players Association. The award, named after the first executive director of the union, goes to a player elected by his peers as the one who best combines on-field performance with community service.

Thousands of baseball fans participated in an Internet poll on http://www.MLBPLAYERS.com between Sept. 9-12 to determine which six players, one from each division, inspire others to higher levels of achievement by on-field performances and contributions to their communities.

From the list of 30 players, Robertson was selected to represent the American League East. The other finalists are White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko (AL Central), Rangers designated hitter Michael Young (AL West), Mets third baseman David Wright (National League East), Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright (NL Central) and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (NL West).

These six players will have their names placed on the 2011 Players Choice Awards ballot to determine the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award winner. The 2011 Players Choice Awards mark their 20th anniversary. The 1992 winners were Dennis Eckersley (AL) and Barry Bonds (NL). The Players Choice Awards also honor the outstanding player, rookie, pitcher and comeback player in each league, as well as the overall Player of the Year. 2011 Players Choice Award winners in all categories will designate charities to receive grants totaling $260,000 from the Major League Baseball Players Trust that has contributed more than $3 million to charities around the world.

No Yankees player has won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. Center fielder Curtis Granderson was honored in 2009, his last season with the Tigers. Another Detroit player, Brandon Inge, won last year. Ballots are being distributed to players Tuesday and Wednesday.

After watching tornadoes tear through Tuscaloosa, Ala., and spending an off-day touring the damage first-hand, Robertson was determined to help his hometown rebuild. In May, he and his wife established the David and Erin Robertson Foundation to raise relief funds and lend support to local charities helping those affected by the storms, with Robertson personally donating $100 for every batter he strikes out this season through his High Socks for Hope campaign.

All-Star voting down to last 3 days

With three days remaining in the fans’ balloting for the Major League All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix, the Yankees remain in first place in five of the nine positions for the American League squad. Make sure to get your vote in to ensure your favorite Yankees make the trip to Arizona.

Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are just about locks at second base and in the outfield, respectively. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have substantial leads at their respective positions of shortstop and third base, and Russell Martin is still the leader of the pack among catchers.

Cano’s vote total of 4,724,816 is second among all AL players to only Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who has 5,263,840, and well ahead of second-place second baseman Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox at 2,979,181.

There is a race heating up in the outfield for the third spot alongside Bautista and Granderson (4,582,419). The Rangers’ Josh Hamilton has 3,173,000 votes, which is only 121,325 ahead of the Red Sox’ Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yankees’ Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner ranked eighth and ninth, respectively, among outfielders.

The Yankees are trying to nail down three-quarters of the infield spots. Jeter has 3,392,128 votes and a 506,350-vote lead over second-place shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians. A-Rod’s total of 3,735,406 is 800,033 ahead of third base runner-up Adrian Beltre of the Rangers. At first base, unfortunately, the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez with 4,014,722 has moved out to a 937,480-vote head over Mark Teixeira, who is tied with Bautista for the AL home run lead.

Martin, trying for his first All-Star starting assignment, has gotten a huge break with the injury to the Twins’ Joe Mauer and has a 434,527-vote edge over the Tigers’ Alex Avila. Boston’s David Ortiz is a runaway leader at designated hitter with 4,237,014, more than two million higher than his closest competitor, the Rangers’ Michael Young. The Yankees’ Jorge Posada is running third with 1,453,385.

Fans may cast votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 club web sites, including Yankees.com, online or via their mobile devices with the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint, which offers English- and Spanish-language versions of the online ballot as well as audio CAPTCHA functionality for the visually impaired. Voting runs until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.

Last week of All-Star voting

The Yankees are still leading in five positions of the American League voting for the All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix. There are eight days remaining in the balloting for fans to make sure a large contingent of Yankees players qualify for the AL starting lineup.

Second baseman Robinson Cano is the second leading vote-getter among AL players with 3,664,498 behind only Blue Jays right fielder Juan Bautista (4,156,940). Cano’s lead is more than a million votes over runner-up Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox.

Also leading in the infield are shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Despite being on the disabled list since June 14, Jeter has totaled 2,654,040 and is ahead of the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera (2,242,157). A-Rod has 2,876,537 votes and leads by more than half a million over the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre (2,307,380).

Curtis Granderson ranks second among the outfielders with 3,473,227 votes, followed by the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton (2,400,408). Granderson has more than 1.2 million more votes than fourth-place Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox for one of the three starting spots. Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner are eighth and ninth, respectively, among the outfielders.

The other position leader for the Yankees is catcher Russell Martin with 2,226,797, leading the Tigers’ Alex Avila (1,730,511).

Mark Teixeira was leading early in the voting at first base but has since been passed by the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez, who continues to lead, 3,017,960 to 2,407,665. Jorge Posada (1,120,830) is running a distant third in the designated hitter voting behind leader David Ortiz (3,116,578) of the Red Sox and runner-up Michael Young (1,760,195) of the Rangers.

Fans may cast their votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and Yankees.com – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint, which offers English- and Spanish-language versions of the online ballot as well as audio CAPTCHA functionality for the visually impaired.

When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes Friday, June 24, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com and Yankees.com until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.

Tex falls to 2nd in Star voting; 5 Yanks still in lead

The Yankees’ lead at all four infield positions in the American League All-Star balloting took a hit in the latest tally released Tuesday in which Mark Teixeira was overtaken at first base by the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez in voting for the All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Gonzalez, the AL leader in batting average, runs batted in, hits and total bases, jumped to 2,027,537 votes, more than 250,000 ahead of Texeira, who has 1,774,024. The Yankees still lead at the other three infield positions with Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.

Cano, whose 2,649,737 votes are the second highest overall behind only Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (3,042,091), is running away with the balloting at second base. A-Rod’s lead at third base is more than 300,000 over the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre. Jeter has a 238,000-vote edge over the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera and may be jeopardized by going on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday night because of a strained right calf.

However, despite being out of the lineup much of the past week, Russell Martin remains the leading vote-getter among catchers with 1,712,156. The Tigers’ Alex Avila jumped over the Twins’ Joe Mauer, who is on the disabled list, into second place with 1,093,070 votes.

Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson is still a strong second among the outfielders with 2,406,946, a lead of more than 600,000 over third-place Josh Hamilton of the Rangers. Nick Swisher is running eighth and Brett Gardner ninth in the outfield balloting.

In the designated hitter voting, Jorge Posada is running a distant third to the Red Sox’ David Ortiz and the Rangers’ Michael Young. Now that Jorgie is heating up, it is up to Yankees fans to get on his bandwagon, not to mention getting Tex back ahead of Gonzalez.

Fans may cast votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and Yankees.com – online or via mobile device using the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint up to 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.

Rosters will be announced July 3 during the 2011 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS. Fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

Tex early casualty in Yanks-Sox opener

It is certainly rare to see Jorge Posada enter a game as a pinch runner, and his appearance in that role in the first inning Tuesday night was not a good sign for the Yankees. Jorgie was called on in that unusual role for him because Mark Teixeira had to be replaced after he was struck on the right knee by a pitch from Jon Lester.

It was already a painful inning for the Yankees to that point because the Red Sox came out of the gate zooming and scored three runs in the top half against Freddy Garcia. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a home run. After Dustin Pedroia walked, Adrian Gonzalez tripled to right-center. He scored on a fly ball by Kevin Youkilis.

Just like that, the Yankees were in a hole against their rival, one that grew deeper as Teixeira, their leading home run hitter and RBI man, had to be helped off the field by manager Joe Girardi and bench coach Tony Pena. The Yanks got a run back on a two-out single by Robinson Cano. Lester filled the bases by hitting another batter, Russell Martin, but a nice play at third base by Youkilis ruined Nick Swisher’s bid for a game-tying hit.

The Yankees’ streak of games in which their pitchers held the opposition to three runs or fewer ended in the second inning when Garcia allowed a fourth run on a double by Pedroia. It led to a move to the bullpen for Luis Ayala as Garcia’s 1 2/3-inning outing was the second briefest of his career.

Posada took over at first base for Teixeira, who is currently locked in a battle with Gonzalez for the starting assignment for the American League in the All-Star Game balloting. The Yankees still lead in all four infield positions, although Tex’s advantage over Gonzalez is the slimmest of the four.

The latest results show that Teixeira has around 65,000 more votes than Gonzalez. At the other positions, the Yanks are stronger, particularly at second base where Cano leads Pedroia by nearly one million votes. Cano is second overall in the AL balloting, only to Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista.

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez each have leads of around 290,000 at shortstop and third base, respectively, over the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera and the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre. The Yankees have two other leaders in Martin behind the plate and Curtis Granderson in the outfield.

Martin is helped by the Twins’ Joe Mauer being on the 60-day disabled list. Mauer has played in nine games this year and still has 829,000 votes, almost 500,000 fewer than Martin. Granderson is second among the outfielders, behind Bautista and almost 500,000 votes ahead of the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, who also missed a large chunk of time to injury.

Swisher ranks eighth and Brett Gardner 10th among outfielders. Posada is a distant third in the DH voting behind the Red Sox’ David Ortiz and the Rangers’ Michael Young.

Fans may cast their votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and Yankees.com online or via their mobile devices with the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint, which offers English and Spanish-language versions of the online ballot as well as audio CAPTCHA for visually-impaired fans. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes June 24, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club Web sites, including Yankees.com, until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30.

Yanks could use some late-inning lightning

I had an interesting exchange earlier in the day with Yankees Universe member Marc Cantelmi about a pattern that has developed to this point in the season that is a bit disturbing, and it was in evidence again Saturday night in the Yankees’ 7-5 loss to the Rangers.

Give the Yankees a lot of credit for coming back from a 5-0 deficit in the second inning to tie the score by the sixth. After that, however, nothing. Derek Jeter, who swung the bat with authority, led off the seventh with a single, but the Yankees went down in order the rest of the way against relievers Darren Oliver and Neftali Feliz. The duo followed Arthur Rhodes, whom the Yankees have historically dominated but who struck out both batters he faced in the sixth, Jorge Posada and Russell Martin, after Nick Swisher’s solo home run off Brent Tomko had tied the score.

The Yankees’ offensive letdown after the sixth inning has been a problem all year. As Cantelmi pointed out, the Yankees have scored 45.3 percent of their runs in the first three innings. After that the percentages drop to 31.5 percent from the fourth to sixth innings and 20.1 percent from the seventh to ninth innings (they have scored 2.5 percent of their runs in extra innings).

The Yankees are batting .247 as a team and only .194 after the sixth inning. As I mentioned to Marc, this suggests that the Yankees have problems once they get into an opponent’s bullpen. This was once considered a team strength, working starters into deep counts, running up pitch counts so that opposing managers have to turn the game over earlier than they would like to the pen where save the closer and perhaps the setup reliever you are looking at the dregs of the staff.

The Yankees followed their 2011 pattern again Saturday night. They knocked out starter Derek Holland one batter into the fourth inning and had four runs, four hits and five walks against him. Against the Texas bullpen, though, the Yanks had one run, two hits and one walk in six innings and failed even to put a runner in scoring position.

As for whether this can eventually become a major problem, I would say yes. Beating up on relievers in the middle innings of games is how teams mount victories, and the Yankees are showing a pattern of not doing that. It may just be part of an overall hitting slump. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson aside, the Yankees are getting underwhelming offense from what should be a devastating lineup.

Bartolo Colon’s first poor outing put the Yankees in a five-run hole, but they climbed out of it. The Rangers won the game against the Yankees’ bullpen, specifically lefthander Boone Logan, who gave up successive hits to left-handed swinging Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis and a suicide-squeeze bunt to another lefty swinger, Julio Borbon. Michael Young’s fourth hit, a single off righthander David Robertson, knocked in a two-out insurance run.

The Yankees need to turn this around. Don’t look now – and normally glancing at the standings daily doesn’t start until June – but the Yankees are now in a virtual tie with the Rays for first place in the American League East. Tampa Bay started the season 1-8 but is now 19-14 with a .576 winning percentage that is only slightly behind the .581 of the 18-13 Yankees.

Sustained rally a promising sign

The Yankees’ comeback from a 5-0 deficit with four runs in the third inning to make a game of it was an encouraging sign since they did not have a home run to help them along the way until Nick Swisher brought them all the way back with his solo shot in the fifth off Brett Tomko.

The Yankees won Friday night with not much offense other than Curtis Granderson’s two home runs, so the homerless, third-inning rally was good to see. It looked for a while as if the Rangers would run and hide after battering Bartolo Colon for two innings, but the Yankees proved to have their pitcher’s back with the four-run rally in the third that came about after two were out.

Derek Jeter restarted the inning with a double off the left field wall, his first extra-base hit in 44 at-bats since April 24 at Baltimore. The Yankees got help from Rangers starter Derek Holland, who walked four batters in the inning, and a big lift from center fielder Julio Borbon, who made a very questionable decision to dive for a liner by Robinson Cano that fell free and shot past him for a bases-clearing triple.

Mark Teixeira also had an RBI hit earlier in the inning on a bloop single to center as suddenly the Yanks found themselves in a one-run game. Bolstered by his teammates’ support, Colon pitched a scoreless third and fourth but was lifted in the fifth after yielding a pair of one-out singles.

That marked the first time in 19 games since April 15 that a Yankees starter failed to last the required five innings for a winning decision. But Colon was not hung with a losing decision, thanks to the home run by Swisher, who did not play Friday night because of a head cold.

Colon was taken deep twice, by Michael Young and David Murphy (the Rangers aren’t much into nicknames), but the bases were empty each time. Colon had location problems and was touched up on a two-run triple by Borbon and a sacrifice fly to the left field warning track by Ian Kinsler. Colon’s 4 1/3 innings of work matched Ivan Nova’s start of April 15, the last previous tine a Yankees starter didn’t make it through the fifth.

Jeter made history once it became an official game in the middle of the fifth. It was the 2,324th game of his career, surpassing Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer of the Detroit Tigers for 20th place among players who spent their entire careers with one club.

Jeter took over from Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles the distinction of most games at shortstop for one club with his 2,303rd game at that position. Only three players have played more games at shortstop than Jeter: Omar Vizquel (2,692) and Hall of Famers Luis Aparicio (2,583) and Ozzie Smith (2,511).

How much did Lee lose?

Did Cliff Lee hurt his bargaining power with his two losses in the World Series? Although he pitched brilliantly for six innings Monday night, the three-run home run Lee allowed to Edgar Renteria in the seventh essentially lost the World Series for the Rangers, who will have to dig deep into their pockets, which aren’t exactly Texas size, to retain the lefthander bound for free agency.

The Yankees haven’t made any secret of their interest in Lee, who beat them twice in the 2009 World Series and again in Game 3 of this year’s American League Championship Series. General manager Brian Cashman tried to trade for Lee in July and almost had a deal in place before the Rangers swooped in and grabbed him from Seattle.

Lee was not exactly lights out for Texas during the regular season (4-6, 3.98 ERA) after a terrific start with the Mariners (8-3, 2.34 ERA). That’s a combined record of 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA, which is not all that imposing. Lee is looking for CC Sabathia-type money, but those statistics aren’t CC Sabathia-type numbers.

Speaking of numbers, Lee went from 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in the 2009 World Series to 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA in the 2010 World Series. Now I’m not forgetting his two victories over the Rays on the road in the Division Series or his Game 3 gem against the Yankees in the ALCS, also on the road. In fact, Lee did not lose on the road or win in Texas in the post-season, so maybe Rangers Ballpark In Arlington is not the place for him.

One thing the Yankees have to be careful about is how they look at a pitcher who has been successful against them (9-4, 3.81 ERA, including post-season play). Not to pick on A.J. Burnett, but his attractiveness to the Yankees two off-seasons ago was based a lot on how he pitched against them. The problem is that if a player goes to his “cousin,” then he doesn’t have that “cousin” anymore.

Don’t get the idea that I’m ranking on Lee. He would be a great addition to the Yankees. I’m just saying his price tag may have to be re-arranged a bit.

For old-time Giants fans, the ones still sore at their leaving the Polo Grounds for San Francisco in 1958, you will have to admit that the Curse of Coogan’s Bluff is over now that the Giants have their first championship in the Bay Area. The 1962 Giants of Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal couldn’t do it. The 1989 Giants of Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell and Matt Williams couldn’t do it. The 2002 Giants of Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and Robb Nen couldn’t do it. Managers as talented as Alvin Dark, Roger Craig and Dusty Baker couldn’t do it.

It came down to the Bruce Bochy-directed Giants of Renteria, Juan Uribe, Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross, plus a string of excellent young pitchers Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, plus an exceptional rookie catcher Buster Posey, plus a paint-it-black bearded closer Brian Wilson, not to be confused with the Beach Boy.

Lincecum outpitched Lee in Game 5, which was also characterized by Bochy out-managing Ron Washington. In the sixth inning, Mitch Moreland led off with a single for the Rangers in what was then a scoreless game. Instead of playing for one run against the overpowering Lincecum, Washington eschewed the sacrifice and had Elvis Andrus swing away on a hit-and-run play, but he lined out to center and Moreland had to scurry back to first base. Again, no bunt with one out, and Michael Young flied out to center as well.

In the seventh, when the Giants put their first two runners on with singles by Ross and Uribe on two-strike pitches, Bochy ordered the bunt from Huff, who did not have a sacrifice in a 13-season career.  A pro, Huff got the ball down and put the runners in scoring position. Lee got the second out by punching out Pat Burrell, who had a brutal Series (0-for13, 11 strikeouts).

Again, Washington blundered by not ordering Renteria walked intentionally and let Lee go after Aaron Rowand. Lee appeared to be pitching around Renteria, but why take the risk of a pitch going awry, such as the 2-0 cutter that the Giants shortstop clubbed for a three-run homer? Never mind that Lee didn’t want to walk Renteria; who’s running the club, the pitcher of the manager?

It was the second game-winning hit in a World Series clinching game for Renteria, who won the 1997 Series for the Marlins against the Indians with an 11th-inning single. Only two other players have done that in Series history, both Yankees – Lou Gehrig (Game 4 in 1928 against the Cardinals and Game 6 in 1936 against the Giants) and Yogi Berra (Game 4 in 1950 against the Phillies and Game 7 in 1956 against the Dodgers). Joe DiMaggio also had two game-winning RBI in Series clinching games (Game 4 in 1939 against the Reds and Game 5 in 1949 against the Dodgers), but the latter was not on a hit but a sacrifice fly.

Renteria’s were far more dramatic than the others because in each case the hits broke ties from the seventh inning on. The Giants simply shut down the Rangers after Texas got back into the Series by winning Game 3. The Rangers scored one run (on Nelson Cruz’s seventh inning solo homer off Lincecum) in the last 21 innings and did not get a single runner in scoring position in Game 5.

It was hard to believe this was the same team that had, in Cashman’s word, “manhandled” the Yankees.

Giants push Lee off cliff

Cliff Lee’s invincible reputation as a post-season pitcher took its first hit Wednesday night in Game 1 of the World Series. The lefthander spit out a 2-0 lead and watched from the dugout after being knocked out in the fifth inning as the Giants rolled to an 8-2 spread on the way to an 11-7 victory.

Given his previous work in the post-season this year for the Rangers and last year for the Phillies, Lee seemed in total control at 2-0. He even helped build the second run with his bat on a double off a butcher-boy swing that got tortoise-slow Bengie Molina to third base from where he scored on a fly ball by Elvis Andrus.

Door closed, everybody might have thought considering that Lee had won three starts on the road in this post-season (two at Tropicana Field and one at Yankee Stadium) with a 0.75 ERA and had a career post-season mark of 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA.

The Giants’ comeback started with their starting pitcher, Tim Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner with the violent delivery who settled in effectively after a shaky first two innings. Mitch Moreland, who doubled and was stranded in the fourth, was the only base runner off Lincecum after the Andrus sac fly until two out in the sixth when Ian Kinsler walked and scored on a double by Molina.

The Giants began chipping away in the third when an error by third baseman Michael Young opened the gate for a rally which Lee fed into by hitting a batter and giving up the second of three doubles to Freddy Sanchez. It looked as if Lee righted himself with two called strikeouts to end that inning followed by a perfect fourth. But he failed to stop San Francisco’s merry-go-round in the fifth after one-out doubles by Andres Torres and Sanchez tied the score.

After striking out Buster Posey, Lee, who never walks anybody, put Pat Burrell on with a wayward 3-2 pitch and gave up two-out singles to Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff as the Giants moved ahead. Lee was at 104 pitches, which is usually where he is in the ninth.

Juan Uribe, whose home run against the Phillies in the National League Championship Series got the Giants into the World Series, greeted reliever Darren O’Day with a three-run shot.

For Yankees fans, there was a dual pleasure in watching what happened to Lee after the way he had tormented them in the World Series last year and the American League Championship Series this year. The Yankees nearly traded for Lee in July, and it is no secret that he is high on their off-season shopping list. Should the Rangers triumph in the Series with Lee playing a major role, Texas may be able to persuade him to stay with a club on the rise located only a 40-minute flight away from his Arkansas home.

If the Rangers don’t win the Series, however, Lee might find rejoining his former Indians teammate CC Sabathia a better option. Much was made this week of a story in USA Today in which Lee’s wife, Kristen, complained about rude behavior toward Rangers family members in the stands at Yankee Stadium in which she said beer was tossed at them and that some fans in the upper deck spat upon them.

Lee said he could not blame the Yankees organization for the oafish behavior of some fans. Still, a wife’s view can be important to where a player signs. One of George Steinbrenner’s many strengths in the pursuit of free agents was his penchant for charming players’ wives in convincing them there was no better place to play, or shop, than in New York. The current front office could find Mrs. Lee to be quite a challenge.

At the seventh inning stretch at AT&T Park, Tony Bennett sang “God Bless America.” The singer, 84, has long been identified with the Bay Area because of his 1962 hit, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” He is, however, a native New Yorker. The former Anthony Benedetto grew up in Astoria, Queens, in the same neighborhood as a guy named Edward Ford, who would find success with the Yankees by the nickname of “Whitey.”