Plenty going on here at Fenway...
--Mariano Rivera should be available tonight, and I'd expect him to pitch should a save (or extra-inning) situation arise. It seems to me the Yankees knew by start of this past week that Rivera would be all right, and they figured, "We can beat the Orioles without him. Let's save him for Boston."
--Jorge Posada attended and participated in an early batting-practice session, and he could return to the starting lineup as soon as tomorrow. He could pinch-hit tonight.
--Andy Pettitte provided the most humor of the pre-game session. Joe Girardi announced that Pettitte would indeed miss a turn in the starting rotation, with Segio Mitre taking his place Monday in Detroit. Pettitte would then rejoin the rotation next week at home against the Twins, probably May 15.
But Pettitte was not happy, because he was hoping to not miss a turn, and he didn't appreciate Girardi's refusal to hear his case.
"I would've loved to come in and throw, because I feel so good," Pettitte said. It was about as upset as I've ever seen Pettitte, and yet you couldn't help but chuckle. He looked like a petulant little boy who wasn't getting his way. And you know that he'll get over it and be fine, because he's Andy Pettitte
--With Mitre going Monday, Javier Vazquez will move back a day to Tuesday at Detroit for his big reboot. When Joe Girardi was asked to explain, he noted that such a shift would put Vazquez in line to start on Friday, May 21 against the Mets at Citi Field, and that Vazquez was a good hitting pitcher.
Now, Vazquez is an okay hitter, for a pitcher. But you needn't be a genius to realize that, by moving Vazquez back that one day, you keep him out of the Red Sox and Rays series that precede the Mets series. The Mets are a considerably easier assignment, obviously.
--Alex Rodriguez responded to Dallas Braden's latest salvos, with just one salvo: "I really don't want to extend his 15 minutes of fame." Major League Baseball already has gotten involved, informing the A's that Braden is well on his way to a huge suspension if he's foolish enough to try something with A-Rod when the Yankees return to Oakland in July.
--Stephen Strasburg will make his Triple-A debut tonight, and the Nationals' plan calls for Strasburg to start five games for Syracuse before ascending to the big-league club.
--We had our annual New York-Boston media game today, at Fenway Park, and the New Yorkers won, 20-3. We were winning, 14-1, when I reached first base on an infield single.
"You're not gonna steal, right?" the Boston first baseman asked me. "You guys are killing us."
"Yeah, no problem," I said. I took two steps off first base, and I engaged the first baseman in a conversation as John Harper stood at the plate.
All of a sudden, the pitcher threw the ball to the first baseman, who tagged me as I - shocked - dove back to the bag. I was out, but the umpire called me safe. Perhaps the umpire was listening to our conversation, and heard me promise not to steal and understood that spiritually, if not technically, I deserved to stay on the field. I came around to score a run.
So that's my new unwritten rule: If the defensive team asks you not to steal, and you agree, said defensive team then can't try to pick you off and embarrass you.