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April 13, 2008
Girardi faces heavy questioning
Joe Girardi is quickly learning the difference between managing in Florida and in New York.
It’s not likely that Girardi ever had a meeting with reporters in Florida, when he was the Marlins’ manager, quite like the one he just had with the writers and broadcasters who cover the Yankees. Rather than looking ahead to tonight’s game, virtually the entire focus of tonight’s session was yesterday’s loss to the Red Sox.
Specifically, Girard was asked _ over and over and over again _ how he came to make the decision to pitch to Manny Ramirez in the sixth inning and whether he would do it again. With runners on second and third and two outs, Girardi let Mike Mussina pitch to the Red Sox slugger. And Ramirez ripped the first pitch into the gap in right-center for the two runs that won the game.
``I’m not going to second-guess what I did yesterday because I took the information that I had at the time and made a decision,’’ Girardi said. ``I thought it was the best decision at that time. I think you can look back on any decision you make in your life and hindsight is 20-20. I can look back at my life and say if I did this, maybe this wouldn‘t have happened.’’
Does that mean he would do the same thing again?
``You learn during the course of a year,’’ he responded. ``You gather information and it has a chance to effect your next decision.’’
What amounted to the same question was asked in about a dozen different ways. Girardi kept his composure throughout.
``The most critical person I have to worry about is myself. How if effects me is what I worry about, not how other people think it’s going to effect me,’’ he said. ``The heart that I have to worry about is the one inside my own body. That’s the one that takes losing hard.’’
Girardi, who was a catcher himself, said he often second-guessed decisions he made calling pitches. He told the story of a game in Minnesota about 10 years ago when he called for a curve from Mike Stanton.
``It lost us a game,’’ Girardi said. ``This is something I’ve been doing along time. You think about the situation you go through.’’
Did the fact that Mussina is a veteran pitcher impact his decision?
``A pitcher of Mike Mussina’s credentials, obviously you’re going to want to know what he thinks. Each decision will be based on that pitcher. It won’t be a blanket decision. It’s a feeling you have,’’ he said.
The only time Girard seemed to get a bit frustrated was when one writer insisted, about the fourth time around, that he was no longer looking back, but more wanted to get an idea how Girardi would manage for the rest of the season.
``I guess we can watch and find out,’’ the new Yankees manager shot back. He obviously wanted to look ahead, not back.
``That’s the great thing about baseball. You’ve got another game you have to worry about,’’ Girardi said. ``As I said yesterday, you live with it and you move on.’’
Posted by Paul Kenyon at 7:26 PM to Projo Sox Crawl
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David Ortiz Sits, Speaks
Struggling designated hitter David Ortiz received a mental health day off tonight, sitting on his .070 batting average while the Red Sox entertained the Yankees in the rubber game of their three-game series.
And Ortiz, in droughts of 0 for 17 and 1 for 29, sounded like a man who needed the day off.
"I know exactly what I'm doing wrong. Everything is right here," said Ortiz, pointing to his head, as he sat at his locker before batting practice.
Ortiz said manager Terry Francona told him the previous night that he would have tonight off.
"I'm just going to chill," said Ortiz. "I have to stop thinking too much and fighting myself. I've been there before. I've been messed up before. Big time, big time. I know I'll be out of it at some point. It happens to all of us. I'll be all right.
"This game is very mental. Your mind takes over. I know in my my situation, my mind works more than anything else. Once you get physically prepared your mind takes over and sometimes you're fighting, fighting, fighting (yourself). Sometimes you have to chill out and come back with a fresh mind. The manager can see things. Terry knows what to do. I always do everything Terry tells me to do," said Ortiz.
Ortiz said his troubles at the plate are not the result of offseason surgery on his right knee.
"I'm fine," said Ortiz. "I don't get frustrated at all. I'm just trying to get back to being Big Papi again."
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 5:41 PM | Permalink
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Posted by Joe McDonald at 5:34 PM | Permalink
Sox bullpen shorthanded tonight
The Red Sox need innings by Daisuke Matsuzaka tonight, even more than usual.
Sox manager Terry Francona, who normally does not like to discuss the availability of his pitchers before games, decided not to be coy for tonight’s contest against the Yankees, at least not in the case of Jonathan Papelbon.
``He’s not going to pitch tonight, that’s just the way it is,’’ Franconca responded when asked about Papelbon in his usual pre-game meeting with reporters. ``I don’t think it’s any big secret. You can run over and tell the Yankees.’’
Papelbon threw 26 pitches (19 for strikes) in recording the last four outs to get the save Saturday against New York. More than that, he got up to warm up four different times, split by a more than two-hour rain delay. Some were surprised that Papelbon came out for the ninth after striking out Alex Rodriguez with two on in the eighth.
``We kind of made a determination yesterday that we had played a pretty good game. we’re committed to winning this game,’’ Francona said. ``We have to live with our decisions. . . I’m just glad we won.’’
Of the last 14 outs he has recorded, Papelbon has retired 11 on strikeouts. He simply will not add to that total tonight.
What’s more, Hideki Okajima is not likely to be pitch tonight, either. He has appeared in three straight games. Francona was a bit more coy on that situation.
``Probably not,’’ he responded when asked whether the lefty was available. ``But let's hold off on that. We don’t want to give the Yankees too much.’’
Posted by Paul Kenyon at 5:32 PM to Projo Sox Crawl
Ortiz given the night off
As expected Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has been given tonight off.
Manager Terry Francona hinted after Saturday's game that it would be a possibility. The two met late Saturday and the manager told him of the decision.
“I just think it’s the right thing to do,” said Francona. “When he came in today he had a little more bounce to his step and a little more lighthearted than he’s been. He’ll have a good work day and then he can take a little bit of a mental break. It got to a point where he needed a break, and that’s the best way to put it. . . You can see it's weighing on him. This is done to help him take a deep breath."
It was clear when Ortiz walked into the clubhouse he was in a good mood, almost relieved that he wasn't playing.
“It’s never a lot of fun to not have his presence in the lineup, but I think it’s the best thing to do,” Francona said.
Papi is hitless in his last 17 at-bats and he's 1-for-his-last 29. His .070 average is the lowest in the majors.
Ortiz had surgery on his right knee during the offseason, and even though Francona said tonight he doesn't think that has anything to do with it, Ortiz was sitting in the dugout prior to Friday's game with a huge ice pack on his knee. He said he felt okay and this day off could be just what he needs.
He will hit in the cage and probably watch video with hitting coach Dave Magadan.
Teammate Sean Casey said he knows how Ortiz feels.
"We've all been there," he said.
Manny Ramirez will serve as the DH with Jacoby Ellsbury in left field and Coco Crisp in center.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 5:17 PM | Permalink