BOSTON - Brian McCann isn't the first person you think of when you need a pinch runner. But he was manager Joe Girardi's choice to replace Derek Jeter at first base after Jeter's infield single in the final at-bat of his career Sunday.
It was the second time in the day that McCann was called on to run. The first was when the Yankees catcher and first baseman Mark Teixeira staged a pregame foot race in the outfield.
"We knew we were going to race at some point this weekend," he said. "And it was inevitable that I was going to win."
Joe Girardi's choice of McCann to replace Jeter might have been a not-too-subtle passing of the leadership torch.
The pregame foot race was more about the relaxed manner in which the Yankees faced the final game of a disappointing season. The heavy emotion of the Jeter Retirement Tour seemed to pass, too, and the players focused on having a good time as the Red Sox honored their former foe.
"Everybody was very happy the whole time," David Robertson said. "There was no sadness in the dugout. It was a lot of fun. Everyone enjoyed it. Jete got to end his career with a base hit."
That base hit was a high chopper to third in the third inning. Jeter was replaced by McCann, who shared a few words with the captain at first base.
"I just said, 'Congrats on everything and you're the best,' and that was it," McCann said.
Before the game, the Red Sox honored Jeter with gifts and a ceremony involving Boston sports legends such as Carl Yastrzemski and Bobby Orr. Former Yankee Bernie Williams played "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on his guitar during the seventh-inning stretch.
"I thought it was real cool," CC Sabathia said. "Even having Bernie come out. I think they showed a lot of love, which was awesome."