One of the many facets of my job is collecting intelligence on people. You hear stuff about a player, a manager, an executive and what have you. You put together a dossier.
And then, if that person enters your domain, you keep what you've learned in mind while also trying to keep an open mind.
With Rafael Soriano, though? So far, reality has matched the perception.
Weird, weird guy. Not particularly likeable, for sure. And just as George Costanza noted in this "Seinfeld" episode that his mother never laughs, I'm not sure if Soriano ever smiles.
Last night, as you can see in the linked story, Soriano set off an alarm in a way that perhaps only he could. It's bad enough that his right elbow is bothering him, but he said after the game that Felix Lopez _ the husband of George Steinbrenner's daughter, Jessica, whose background is in gardening, not medicine _ advised him to take some time off.
It was a stunning moment. The reporters all looked at each other, just to confirm that each of us was not crazy and we heard what we thought we heard.
Later last night, the Yankees sent out a statement that Lopez was acting merely as an intermediary for the Yankees' trainers, who don't speak Spanish. I actually believe that, as I believe that Soriano would convey what happened in such a twisted way.
It would be like Hideki Matsui saying, "Yeah, my interpreter told me that I need to stop trying to pull those two-seamers on the outside corner and just go with the pitch, send it the other way." When the interperter was just conveying the message of the hitting coach, of course.
I criticized Joe Girardi for not lifting A.J. Burnett sooner out of last night's game, and Soriano's health compromised Girardi's bullpen options. I still think that anyone else would've been better than Burnett at that juncture. But I realize that Girardi no longer has the bullpen depth he thought he would get this season.
We'll see today whether the Yankees put Soriano on the disabled list. And whether Lopez is on site, perhaps wearing a lab coat.
--Great feature by Jim Baumbach on Carlos Beltran and the school he is building in Puerto Rico. It provides some much-needed perspective (for one segment of Mets fans, at least) on Beltran.
--Ike Davis will continue his rehabilitation in Florida.
--The Royals' Vin Mazzaro allowed 14 runs to Cleveland, then got demoted to Triple-A Omaha. And you thought that you had a bad day.