Lincecum faces off with Sabathia in Yankee Stadium debut
On Sunday, Andy Pettitte will make his final career start at Yankee Stadium, on the day the club honors Mariano Rivera. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Chad Gaudin won't pitch again this year, and he'll be a free agent this offseason. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
NEW YORK -- Here’s a way to pass the time before Friday’s series-opening first pitch at Yankee Stadium:
Try to guess what Giants CEO Larry Baer and Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees’ embroiled and embattled third baseman, were laughing about as they chatted near the batting cage.
We’ll go with something along the lines, of, “Hey Larry, I make that Bonds mess look like a pleasure cruise, huh?”
Kidding aside, it’s a big deal when the Giants and Yankees meet. It used to involve a World Series and a quick trip between the Bronx and Coogan’s Bluff. Now it requires the novelty of interleague play.
But regardless of the opponent, this will be a huge week for the Yankees. They’ll pay tribute to retiring closer Mariano Rivera, perhaps the greatest calming presence in baseball history, with a ceremony on Sunday. (As it happens, before Rivera broke the Yankees’ franchise saves record several years back, it belonged to Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti.)
And now Sunday gets even bigger because left-hander Andy Pettitte has announced he will retire after this season as well. Sunday will be Pettitte’s final home start as a Yankee; he’ll make one more in Houston, where he also pitched for several years, in the Yankees’ final series.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy has a lot of respect for Pettitte, who beat his Padres in a clinching Game 4 of the 1998 World Series at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. As you might recall, Pettitte’s father was in the hospital at the time after undergoing a triple bypass.
“Class acts,” Bochy said of Rivera and Pettitte. “Those are two of the best guys you could hope to have on your club.”
Bochy recently told a story about the All-Star Game this past July, when he sat across from Rivera on one of the buses that went from New York’s Citi Field to the team hotel. It gave them a chance to talk for the first time.
“He’s extremely humble,” Bochy said. “He has his whole family with him, but they’re not taking a limo. They’re on the bus.”
Of course, Bochy wouldn’t mind if his team knocked around both pitchers this weekend.
“They’ll respect the day,” Bochy said. “But they have a job to do.”
Like Jeremy Affeldt, Chad Gaudin and Sandy Rosario likely won’t pitch again this season.
Gaudin just hasn’t come around after throwing two simulated game sessions. His carpal tunnel issues still cause his hand to feel weakened and he’s pushing the ball more than throwing it. He said it’s improved from where it was a month ago, though, so he doesn’t think he’ll need surgery. It’s a bummer for him that he won’t make it back for a glimpse; he’s a free agent after the season. Sounds like the Giants will be interested in monitoring his progress and maybe pursuing a way to bring him to camp next spring.
Rosario’s back and hip remained sore and so he’s probably going to shut it down, too, Bochy said.
Santiago Casilla also won’t pitch except in an emergency after being used the previous two nights. Everyone else is good to go, though.
Marco Scutaro took some light swings on Thursday and did a little more activity Friday as he tests his sore left ring finger. He hasn’t been ruled out to DH in this series, Bochy said.
Turns out the eight rookies spent more than two hours in Midtown dressed as “naked cowboys” Thursday night. They walked a dozen blocks from their hotel to Times Square, which actually wasn’t so bad, because they didn’t stick out.
They had to collect cash tips and the vets didn’t let them go until they collected several hundred dollars. I’m thinking Strikeouts for Troops is going to get a donation. That or they could buy eight pairs of really nice leather chaps.