ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Matt Daley was philosophical on March 29 when he received the news that he would not be making the Yankees out of spring training and was headed to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start the season.
"Once the sting wears off, I'll realize I'm in a good spot. I'm with the organization I want to be with,'' Daley, 31, a graduate of Garden City High School, said at the time. "It's a long season and I know at some point, if I do what I'm supposed to do, that I will be helping this team win games.''
That opportunity presented itself late Friday night when the Yankees designated lefthander Cesar Cabral for assignment. Cabral hit three batters in the eighth inning of an 11-5 loss to the Rays and was ejected by plate umpire Joe West.
Daley was informed late Friday that he had been promoted and flew out of Scranton at 9 a.m. Saturday. He arrived in Tampa at 2 p.m.
"It's great that it's early [in the season] and I'm just excited to be here," said Daley, who allowed one run in 82/3 innings with nine strikeouts in spring training. "I want to show them what I have again and hopefully be able to stick this time. I'm just raring to go right now."
Daley got his chance Saturday night, but it didn't go well. He allowed two inherited runners to score, one on Wil Myers' three-run homer, and wound up being charged with six runs (four earned) in 11/3 innings in a 16-1 loss to the Rays. He allowed five hits and two walks.
Daley had a 5.40 ERA in four games with Scranton but thought he threw the ball as well as he had in spring training. He struck out 13 in five Triple-A innings and walked one. "I gave myself a day to be bummed about not making the team out of spring," he said. "But then after that, it's time to get going and focus on getting outs and pitching the way you want to.''
There was some grumbling in the Yankees' clubhouse, not to mention in the manager's office, late Friday night regarding what essentially was an umpire making a pitching change after West threw out Cabral for lack of control.
"Do I think he did it maliciously? Probably not," West told a reporter from The New York Times. "But before somebody got hurt, something had to be done."
Joe Girardi did not expand on his displeasure Friday night but opened up a bit more Saturday. He understood West's reasoning, but with only closer Shawn Kelley and Sunday's starter, Vidal Nuño, available out of the bullpen, Girardi didn't want to make a move. He wound up going to Kelley to retire one batter.
"I've never seen a guy thrown out when they didn't feel there was intent," Girardi said. "Obviously, I didn't want him to hit any guys, but in that situation, you don't want to use your closer, and we were forced to do it when he threw him out."
A special visitor
Former Met Roger Cedeño, also known as the uncle of surprising rookie infielder Yangervis Solarte, attended Saturday night's game and took in batting practice on the field. "It's more exciting for me than when I signed because I get to experience what my family felt," Cedeño said. "I'm not surprised at Yangervis' success because he's such a hard-working guy."