Joe West, who criticized the Yankees and Red Sox for the slow pace of their ballgames in April, was the plate umpire for Yankees-Mariners last night - the first time he has worked a Yankees game since his comments.
In April, West called the teams "pathetic" and "embarrassing" for the length of their games. The Yankees responded then and again Tuesday that taking pitches and working counts are part of their M.O. and isn't going to change no matter how long the games take.
"It might be interesting," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Who knows how the fans react? I didn't take it personal. The way I see it is our team is based on people seeing a lot of pitches and that's the type of hitters we have. That's the type of baseball that we play and that we believe in. I didn't really get too caught up in it."
West, who drew a reprimand from Major League Baseball for his comments, didn't want to talk about the subject before the game. "That was in April," he said. "No, I don't have any comment.''
But consider West's mission accomplished. The time of the game was a swift 2:30.
Brett Gardner, who had to leave Sunday's game in Los Angeles after getting hit in the right wrist with a pitch, was available last night but only for pinch running and defense. He hopes to swing a bat Wednesday, but likely won't rejoin the lineup before Friday because the Mariners are starting a lefthander Thursday in Ryan Rowland-Smith. "Feels a lot better today," Gardner said. "Still a little sore and stiff." Marcus Thames (hamstring) is scheduled to DH Thursday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in his first rehab start.
Derek Jeter received the USA Weekend Magazine "2010 Most Caring Athlete" award before the game . . . Nets first-round draft picks Derrick Favors and Damion James visited the field during batting practice . . . John Isner, who won an epic match at Wimbledon last week, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Isner beat Nicolas Mahut, 70-68, in the fifth set of a match that took a total of 11 hours, 5 minutes.