NO!

If you haven’t seen the video, here it is. Mariano got hurt before the game tonight shagging flies.

To me, the lack of sound in the clip makes it even worse. You see Rivera crumpled along the fence. You see A-Rod grimace and look concerned before yelling to Girardi. You see Harkey trying to get someone’s attention by whistling. You see Girardi sprint out to the outfield. It’s the original “Nosferatu” playing out in front of you. (Look it up)

Let’s dispense with the obvious complaint, Rivera has shagged flies for twenty years without getting hurt. In fact, if you had ever witnessed him doing it you would have thought he was an outfielder, he was that smooth. Hindsight is 20/20, but you can’t wrap these guys in bubble wrap and expect them to emerge unscathed. Don’t blame Rivera or the Yankees for what happened tonight, it was a freak accident.

Now we have to face the very scary reality of what happened. At worst, it is probably a torn ACL and Rivera is out for the year. (or career?) At best, his knee is twisted and he is headed to the 15-day DL. No matter what the verdict, it seems certain that the Yankees are about to lose the one thing that made them better than every other team in baseball for these past 16 years. For all those years we have had the luxury of knowing the 9th inning was in good hands. There are plenty of names who could step up in his place, but there is only one Rivera.

It Was A Cold And Windy Night

It’s funny how life works some times. While watching last night’s game at the Stadium a guy in the seat in front of me turned to his buddy and said “Nunez has looked really good on ball hit his way tonight” Not a minute later, he made that big error to cost the Yankees two runs.

But the thing is, the guy in front of me wasn’t wrong. Nunez had looked good and as the title of this post suggests, it wasn’t a very easy night in the outfield. There was a pretty strong wind blowing from right to left that took the ball on some strange flight paths. You may have heard the buzz of the crowd on TV on some routine flyballs because it was very hard to pick up where the ball was headed right off the bat.

Now, an outfielder should have made that play, but remember Nunez is not an oufielder! He is a guy who never played the position in the minors and has a grand total of 36 innings playing it in the bigs. If the Yankees keep running him out there, he is going to make mistakes like this. That doens’t mean the Yankees should give up on him out there, I am becoming more and more convinced that outfield is his ultimate destination, but they are going to have to put up with his growing pains. If they don’t want to give him on the job training in the majors, perhaps they send him to Scranton for two weeks after Gardner comes back and let him play in the outfield every day? Otherwise, I hope fans give him a little more latitude than they did last night.

One other note from last night. While it wasn’t what I would call a good start by Phil Hughes, I think it was a much better one. He challenged guys and I saw the scoreboard show a fastball speed of 95mph a few times. He didn’t seem afraid of trying to put guys away. It’s a small step forward, but a step nonetheless.