Hal Steinbrenner didn’t equivocate.
“If we don’t make the playoffs, it’s a failure,” the Yankees owner told reporters Wednesday afternoon at the quarterly owners’ meetings in Chicago. “Any year, any year. That’s just the mindset for us.”
Told of the remarks later in the day, Joe Girardi had little reaction.
“That’s how we look at it every year,” he said before Wednesday night’s game against the Mets at Citi Field.
Before the season there were modest expectations from the outside as contention was thought to be a year away. But a 38-23 start changed the equation and the Yankees entered Wednesday 4 ½ games behind the Red Sox in the AL East and the clear favorite for one of the two wild-card spots.
“It was a great first two-and-a-half months,” Steinbrenner said, according to MLB.com. “It’s been a tough last two months for the most part. But I think they’re coming out of it and the pitching additions we made at the deadline are already helping, and we’re going to have a strong last five, six weeks.”
No tests for Chapman
Aroldis Chapman’s right hamstring apparently is OK. The closer, who complained of “tightness” in the hamstring after Tuesday night’s game, did not undergo any tests on Wednesday.
“We won’t close with him tonight because we’re going to let him go through some things,” Girardi said of on-field work to test the hamstring. “We don’t think his leg is going to be an issue but we want him to go through some things to make sure he’s OK.”
The 29-year-old has struggled of late, allowing a combined five runs, three hits and four walks in his last three outings, but Girardi reiterated what he’s said since Sunday night when Chapman blew a save against the Red Sox.
“He will continue to be my closer,” Girardi said. “I have a ton of confidence in him. He’s too good not to get back on track.”
CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation), after a 25-pitch bullpen session Wednesday, declared himself ready to come off the DL when he’s eligible and start Saturday night in Boston.
“I was able to finish my pitches a lot better,” said Sabathia, forced from his start Aug. 8 in Toronto because of pain in the knee. “I’m good [for Saturday].”
“I don’t see him not starting Saturday unless there are some unforeseen circumstances,” he said.