Joe Girardi has fond memories of Dwight Gooden. How could he not? It was Girardi who caught Gooden’s no-hitter in 1996.
That’s why the news of Gooden’s arrest on Tuesday on charges of driving under the influence of drugs and leaving the scene of an accident in Franklin Lakes, N.J., saddened the Yankees manager when he learned of it tonight.
“Your heart goes out to him,” Girardi said. “He was a great teammate. Doc and I will always be linked, in a sense. Played on a championship team and had a no-hitter together. Loved playing with Doc. He was fun. He was great to be around, great teammate. You hope everything’s OK.”
Derek Jeter, also a teammate of Gooden’s, said: “It’s real unfortunate. Especially in Doc’s circumstance. He’s had issues in the past and you always pull for him to make it through those issues.”
Gooden has not been around the Yankees much in recent years as he has returned to his Mets roots.
CC Sabathia will pitch tomorrow in a minor-league game. Nominal fifth-starter candidates Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre will face the Orioles in Sarasota.
Girardi said the Yankees wanted to have more “healthy discussions” before announcing the winner of the fifth-starter battle. Phil Hughes is the strong frontrunner with Aceves, Mitre and Joba Chamberlain likely headed to the bullpen.
If Aceves and Mitre both make the roster, that would leave the Yankees with one lefthander in the bullpen in Damaso Marte and send Boone Logan to Triple-A. Logan, who has impressed Girardi this spring, still has minor-league options.