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How is Chris Russo’s relationship with Mike Francesa? Mad Dog explains — September 30, 2016

How is Chris Russo’s relationship with Mike Francesa? Mad Dog explains

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Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo reunite the Mike and the Mad Dog show during FrancesaCon 2016 at Irving Plaza featuring WFAN’s Mike Francesa. 3/12/16 New York, NY

By Randy Miller

We know Mike Francesa can’t stomach WFAN’s morning show hosts, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton — and even believes they have persuaded callers to dial Francesa and torment him on the air.

But what about Francesa and his former partner, Chris Russo? They reunited for a show in March to raise money for charity, but are they really as chummy as they seem?

Here’s what Mad Dog told the New York Post after renewing his contract with Sirius:

“[We’re] much closer,” Russo said. “I’ve texted Mike a lot, he reached out when I got hit in the head with the golf ball and we talked about his horse that ran at Saratoga. That show secured the bond. We hadn’t talked in a long time and I think we both thought we did as well as we could under the circumstances. I feel the relationship with Mike and I now is very, very good.”

Russo said he didn’t huddle with Francesa before re-signing with Sirius, because there really weren’t any options for reuniting on the air.

“I know people are going to bring up the “Mike and the Mad Dog” thing — I understand that — I didn’t run it by Mike or ask him, ‘What do you think, you and I?’ This was just an independent decision that I had to make based on the fact that Sirius was good to me,” Russo said.

He added: “I didn’t look around for demand this time, I probably did four years ago. Mike was settled in, there was a scenario of, “Where was I going to go?” When you do these deals you have to have somebody that wants you. You have to be in demand. Sometimes you hit it right, and sometimes you don’t. I knew Mike wasn’t going to go anywhere at WFAN, I knew they weren’t going to pay the both of us. It was smart to settle in, supplement it with MLB Network — because they wanted me — and figure out a way to do both shows.”

Boomer and Carton took a shot at Francesa in June when Francesa botched an injury report on Mets pitcher Zach Wheeler. Francesa fired back in Newsday:

“They can’t see straight, they’re so jealous. And that’s sad. I mean, I feel bad for them. You know what, soon I’ll be retired and then they can go about their business like they do now. And I won’t know any difference because I never paid attention to them since the day they’ve been here. Not one day. They don’t affect me or my show. So I don’t worry about that stuff. … You’d have to have some respect for someone before you could ever let what they say bother you.”

Francesa later admitted in a podcast he might have been cold to the morning drive hosts:

“We probably weren’t very accommodating to them when they first got there because we were very loyal to Imus. If I did anything wrong I probably just ignored them. I didn’t promote them, I didn’t try to sabotage them, I don’t do negative things to people. I don’t sabotage anybody. The worst I’m going to do is ignore you.”

Fans cheer as David Ortiz honored at Yankee Stadium —

Fans cheer as David Ortiz honored at Yankee Stadium

By Chad Jennings

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Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz is greeted by former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera as Ortiz is honored before the team’s baseball game against the Yankees on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, in New York.

Sweet Caroline played at Yankee Stadium tonight.

The song is a nightly anthem at Fenway Park and might have been completely out of place in the Bronx, but the Yankees used it to punctuate their pregame ceremony to honor longtime nemesis David Ortiz.

“On behalf of the entire New York Yankees organization, we congratulate you and wish you well upon your retirement,” public address announcer Paul Olden said, to a crowd that mostly cheered the Red Sox designated hitter.

Ortiz was presented two gifts during a ceremony reminiscent of those held in Boston to honor the final Fenway games of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and former starting pitcher David Cone – each of whom played for both the Red Sox and Yankees in their careers – presented Ortiz with a leather-bound book filled with handwritten notes from current and former Yankees wishing Ortiz a happy retirement. Rivera appeared as a surprise guest and gave Ortiz a long hug before unveiling a painting of Ortiz tipping his cap from in front of home plate at Yankee Stadium.

The ceremony singled out the impact Ortiz had in Boston after the Boston Marathon bombing, calling him an “inspirational leader” while noting his “jovial and fun-loving nature.”

The crowd at Yankee Stadium was heavy with Red Sox fans, and any boos were easily overwhelmed by cheers. The cheering continued for his first at-bat, during which quite a few fans chanted “Papi” until he struck out swinging.

When Ortiz drew a walk in the fourth inning, he was replaced by pinch runner Brock Holt and acknowledged the cheering crowd as he stepped into the dugout.

Teixeira’s ninth-inning walk-off keeps Yankees alive — September 29, 2016

Teixeira’s ninth-inning walk-off keeps Yankees alive

By Chad Jennings

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New York Yankees’ Bryan Mitchell delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, in New York.

NEW YORK – By the time Mark Teixeira stepped to the plate, the Yankees had no more margin for error.

Yankee Stadium’s out-of-town scoreboard showed the Orioles had already won their game in Toronto, which left the Yankees one loss away from playoff elimination. And there they were down by two runs, with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth.

But they’re not finished just yet.

With what may very well be the final home run of his career, Teixeira hit a walk-off into the Yankees bullpen for a stunning 5-3 win against the rival Red Sox. Teixeira will retire at the end of this season and has just four games left.

“I’m going to take away a lot of memories, and this is going to be one of the best,” he said.

The Yankees are now four games out of the second wild card with four games to play. Best the Yankees could do is tie for the final playoff spot, but with four teams ahead of them, even that scenario seems far-fetched.

The Red Sox still clinched the American League East because the Blue Jays lost.

Before the ninth inning, the Yankees had just one hit, and even that was an infield single. In the ninth, though, Brett Gardner led off with a hit before Jacoby Ellsbury, Gary Sanchez and Brian McCann drew three straight walks. Two outs happened without another run scoring, which gave Teixeira his game-winning moment, and he held both arms out wide as he ran the bases.

Before the ninth, the only bright spot was starter Bryan Mitchell, who had a happy ending to a season that stared with overwhelming disappointment and frustration.

In all likelihood, this was Mitchell’s final game of the year, and he went seven scoreless innings.

Mitchell was supposed to make his first Opening Day roster this year, but one day after being told he’d made team, Mitchell fractured the sesamoid bone of his big toe while making a routine play in his final spring training game. He needed surgery and spent nearly five months on the disabled list.

He did not make his first big league appearance until September 7, but in five down-the-stretch starts, Mitchell pitched to a 3.24 ERA with scoreless outings against Boston and Toronto, the cream of the crop in the American League East.

The Yankees’ problem came in the eighth, which started with Starlin Castro botching a routine ground ball at second base.  Dustin Pedroia then ripped a double that hopped over the wall in center field, Xander Bogaerts lined out and David Ortiz was intentionally walked to load the bases.

The big blow was MVP candidate Mookie Betts chopping a ball over third base and just inside the foul line for a two-run, go-ahead double. A passed ball scored Ortiz for further insurance.

All three runs were charged to Adam Warren. Only one was earned.

Yankee clippings: The Yankees remain undecided whether Masahiro Tanaka will make his final regular season start on Saturday. Tanaka is coming back from a mild forearm strain and could skip the start with the Yankees already eliminated. … One day after getting three hits including a game-winning home run, Tyler Austin was out of the lineup so that the Yankees could load up on left-handed hitters against Buchholz. … Reliever Nick Goody is not with the Yankees due to a family issue. His locker has been cleared out.

Yankees’ rookies given one-sie pajamas for team flight — September 23, 2016

Yankees’ rookies given one-sie pajamas for team flight

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.
A baseball ritual lightened the mood in the New York Yankees’ clubhouse after a tough defeat.

Rookies were given Yankees’ one-sie pajamas to wear for the flight to Toronto after a 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay Thursday night, part of a “Baby Bombers” theme.

Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams, Luis Cessa, Tyler Austin and Richard Bleier were among those modeling the attire for a group photo with manager Joe Girardi. Infielder Ronald Torreyes sported a baby bonnet.

A number of coaches and teammates were all smiles and laughing when taking cellphone photos just before the team left Tropicana Field for the airport.

Teams through the majors have similar activities during the final month of the season.


New York Yankees second baseman Ronald Torreyes wears a baby’s hat as he leaves the locker room after a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Yankees’ rookies wore baby clothes as part of hazing before flying to Toronto.


New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, center, poses for a photo with Yankees’ rookies wearing baby clothes after a during a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016

MLB rumors: Yankees, Rich Hill a good fit? Report says … — September 22, 2016

MLB rumors: Yankees, Rich Hill a good fit? Report says …

By Brendan Kuty

According to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, the Yankees would be wise to go after lefty starter Rich Hill in free agency.

The rest of Olney’s post is behind the website’s subscriber-only paywall, so we’re not going to break it down here. But here are a few thoughts on the idea:

BACKGROUND: Hill, 36, will be a free agent in the offseason. The Yankees know him. Hill was pretty good as a lefty specialist for the Yankees at the end of 2014. But that might as well have been forever ago. Since then, Hill has reinvented himself as a starting pitcher — thanks, Long Island Ducks — and a pretty good one, at that.

RECENT HISTORY: In four starts with Boston last year, Hill shined, going 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA. Those four starts — four! — earned him a $6-million, one-year deal with Oakland. In 2016, Hill been equally good, going 12-5 with a 2.05 ERA. He gets tons of strikeouts (10.7 K/9). He could do better limiting walks (2.7 BB/9) but he’s not walking the park. Hill has looked like a very good starting pitcher.

Why top prospect was sent to instructs

WHY THE YANKEES SHOULD WANT HIM: Because they need pitching. They need starting pitching. Right now, here’s what the 2017 rotation would look like, in-house: Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia … then who? Luis Severino has to prove himself. So, too, must Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell and Adam Warren. The Yankees don’t have a clear fourth or fifth starter. That’s not good. Really, Pineda might be better as a No. 3 or 4, and Sabathia might be an OK No. 5. So they don’t have an obvious No. 2 or 3. That’s even worse. If healthy — Hill continues to battle blister problems — maybe Hill could slide into that role.

WHY THE YANKEES SHOULDN’T WANT HIM: At age 36, Hill will want to get paid. P-A-I-D. It will be his last chance at a big-money contract — and we’re talking big-money-for-potentially-good-but-older-starting-pitcher standards. He probably won’t leave much money on the table. So the Yankees might have to overpay to get Hill. Is that so bad? Maybe. Then again, they might rather do that than trade some of the prospect depth they have acquired this season. The Yankees can spend money. Losing young talent? They haven’t had this much of it in years. Does that mean it’s a surplus or does it mean the Yankees need to keep all of it to complete the rebuild?

Joe Girardi manages by the book and it’s tanking Yankees’ season — September 19, 2016

Joe Girardi manages by the book and it’s tanking Yankees’ season

By Kevin Kernan

BOSTON — Bad, bad Binder.

For those who thought Joe Girardi could not have had a worse performance as manager this series, he saved his worst night for the series finale.

Goodbye Yankees.

The Red Sox finished off their four-game sweep, their Yankees’ massacre, with a thunderous 5-4 win at Fenway Park on Sunday night with Hanley Ramirez once again doing the damage.

Ramirez blasted a two-out, three-run home run off CC Sabathia in the fifth to get the Red Sox within one after the Yankees opened up a 4-0 lead. Then with the game tied at 4-4, Ramirez crushed another long home run over the Green Monster in the seventh off reliever Tyler Clippard to lift the Red Sox to victory and the four-game sweep.

In all, Ramirez blasted four home runs and drove in nine runs in the series.

This is the same Ramirez who crushed a three-run, walk-off home run in the first game of the series, but none of that mattered to Girardi.

Girardi let Sabathia pitch to Ramirez. He also let Sabathia start the sixth inning. And Girardi elected to pitch to Ramirez again in the seventh — and Clippard surrendered the go-ahead home run.

Bad Binder decisions.

In the fifth, Girardi said he was not going to walk Ramirez to bring the tying run to the plate in Chris Young. Sure, why face Young with two outs when you can face Ramirez, who is hitting .421 with runners in scoring position since Aug. 11?

The Yankees fell a full eight games back of the first-place Red Sox and dropped four back in the wild-card chase, having to jump four teams. The Fat Lady is singing.

Ramirez’s second home was his 28th home run of the season and gave him his 21st career multiple home-run game.

Granted Ramirez was 0-for-10 lifetime against Sabathia coming into the game, but he lined a single in the first. Ramirez is on fire and this is not the same Sabathia that Ramirez has faced his entire career. This is a new, soft-tossing Sabathia and therein is the rub for Girardi.

The manager is so reliant on numbers. He rarely manages by feel. He rarely reads the situation as it is happening in the present but goes by what happened in the past.

But that’s the way the numbers game works and Girardi, although admitting Ramirez has had an “incredible September,’’ did not want to walk him.

The big fifth was set up by a throwing error by Sabathia, yet another example of the Yankees’ sloppiness as they lost their fifth straight game.

Girardi was defiant in his decision-making saying, walking Ramirez in that fifth inning, “Doesn’t make any sense to me.’’

Or the Binder.

Girardi also could have brought in a right-hander to face Ramirez, but evidently that didn’t make any sense either. He stayed with the tiring Sabathia, whose 3-1 pitch was hammered by Hanley.

“What if [Young] hit a home run?’’ Girardi said. “I trust CC.’’

In the sixth, Girardi let Sabathia remain in the game and he gave up the tying run on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s single. Right-hander Blake Parker came on and got three outs, two on strikeouts, one being pinch-hitter David Ortiz. But it was too late, the damage was done.

Most of Girardi’s key decisions this series backfired.

The Yankees could have won all four games, but this was the kind of series that ends seasons.

The Yankees’ season is kaput. The Red Sox are the better team and they have showed it time and time again. The Red Sox have won 11 of 16 games against the Yankees this season and this was their first four-game sweep of the Yankees in 26 years.

The Yankees’ season is done and these decisions will haunt Girardi over the winter.

The Binder has more much information to compute.

Yankees listed as ‘likely suitor’ for Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes — September 17, 2016

Yankees listed as ‘likely suitor’ for Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes

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New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits an RBI single against the Minnesota Twins during the seventh inning at Citi Field

By Joe Giglio

NEW YORK — It’s never too early to look ahead to the hot stove.

As the Mets attempt to secure a wild card berth and Yankees try to stay alive in the American League, it’s easy to live in the moment around the local baseball teams.

But whenever baseball does end in New York this fall, a huge decision will impact how the summer of 2017 looks: Yoenis Cespedes’ ability to opt out of his contract with the Mets and re-enter free agency. While Cespedes has downplayed the ideaof actually doing it, few believe that the 30-year-old would leave a possible $100 million deal on the table.

If Cespedes does use his contractual right, the Mets will surely hope to negotiate and retain the biggest star in Queens. But according to former Mets GM—and current MLB analyst—Jim Duquette, the second-most likely suitor for Cespedes’ services plays its games across town.

Here’s what Duquette wrote for MLB.com when listing Cespedes as the No. 1 bat in the potential upcoming market:

Cespedes suffered from a top-heavy free-agent class last offseason and settled on a three-year deal with the Mets that allows him to opt out of his contract at the end of this season. And while he has hinted that he won’t opt out because he likes New York, that seems unlikely, as he would be the top position player on the market. Despite battling a quad injury for most of the second half, Cespedes has carried the Mets’ offense again with his second successive 30-homer season and a career high in slugging.

Likely suitors: Mets, Yankees, Indians

Considering Duquette’s standing in the game and relationships throughout front offices, that could be an informed take and inside look at what the Yankees may be looking for this winter. Or it could simply be a guess based on all the money that’s in the process of exiting the books in the Bronx.

A Cespedes opt-out would be must-see free-agent television, but a flirtation with the Yankees would take it to an entirely bigger level.

Heading into play on September 17, Cespedes owns a .288/.357/.544 slash line this season.

Yankees, Billy Butler agree to deal: What it means — September 15, 2016

Yankees, Billy Butler agree to deal: What it means

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The Yankees have reportedly agreed to a deal with DH Billy Butler

By Brendan Kuty

The Yankees and Billy Butler have agreed to a major-league deal, according toFanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

Here’s what it means:

NEED HELP VS. LEFTIES: On Wednesday, the Yankees started backup catcherAustin Romine at designated hitter against Dodgers lefty ace Clayton Kershaw. Romine has shown he’s a fine hitter. But he’s not what the Yankees envision out of the DH spot against lefties. The Yankees are also without Aaron Hicks (hamstring) until at least the Rays and Aaron Judge (oblique) for the rest of 2016 — two bats that would help combat southpaws from the right side (Hicks switch hits).

NEW DH: With the Yankees expecting to see seven left-handed starters on their upcoming 11-game trip, Butler will be expected to jump right in. Butler has a career .299 batting average and .872 OPS against lefties. He hit just .262 with a .685 OPS against them n 103 at-bats this years, though, before the A’s released him.

EASY DECISION: Adding Butler makes sense. With rosters expanded to 40 players, the Yankees can shift one of their many injured (Chad Green comes to mind) to the 60-day disabled list and open a spot for Butler. He’s also only owed the prorated major league minimum as Oakland still owes him the $10 million left of his deal.

SHORT TERM: Hard to see Butler sticking with the Yankees beyond this season. They like to rotate the DH spot around. Butler has played just 22 games at first base this year.

SEPTEMBER ONLY: Since the Yankees signed Butler after the Aug. 31 waiver deadline, he can’t be added to their postseason roster. His job is just to help get them there, presumably starting Thursday in Boston.

RECENTLY PRODUCTIVE: Sure, the A’s cut Butler. But he’s just a season removed from hitting 15 homers in 151 games. He was an All-Star in 2012 with the Royals.

The latest Baby Bomber was once their brightest hope — September 14, 2016

The latest Baby Bomber was once their brightest hope

By Post Sports Desk

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Forgotten Yankees prospect Mason Williams was called up from Triple-A on Wednesday, joining the ranks of Baby Bombers trying to keep their unlikely playoff bid afloat.

The roster move bodes poorly for Aaron Judge’s return this season. The rookie slugger strained an oblique muscle on a swing in Tuesday night’s win over the Dodgers, and was headed for an MRI exam Wednesday.

“I have to talk to [general manager] Brian [Cashman] and see if we have to make a move here,” Joe Girardi said after the game. “There are outfielders [in the system] that are a possibility that we’re going to have to talk about.”

That outfielder proved to be Williams, a one-time top-100 MLB prospect (peaking as Baseball America’s No. 32 going into the 2013 season) whose development repeatedly has been sidetracked by injuries. Once considered to be the Yankees’ center fielder of the future — part of a would-be outfield with since-released Slade Heathcott and resurgent Tyler Austin — Williams is now 25 years old and coming off an abbreviated campaign at Triple-A.

Williams posted a line of .296/.313/.376 in 31 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with no homers and one stolen base (in two tries).

The lefty swinger posted a .890 OPS in 22 plate appearances in the big leagues during a cup of coffee last June, before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury.

The Yankees (77-67) are four games back in the AL East, and two games behind the Orioles and Blue Jays for wild-card position.

Could Yankees hire this ex-Red Sox executive? — September 12, 2016

Could Yankees hire this ex-Red Sox executive?

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Former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington could join a new team this winter

By Joe Giglio

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

If former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joins the Yankees front office in the offseason, that famous line will feel pertinent.

Cherington, fired by the Red Sox when Dave Dombrowski came in to oversee the organization in 2015, had ups and downs during his tenure in Boston. But as time passes, some of the perceived mistakes (Rick Porcello’s $82.5 million contract, signing Hanley Ramirez to a long-term deal) that led to a regime change in Boston don’t look quite as bad.

As the Red Sox attempt to close in on a playoff berth, Cherington undoubtedly deserves some of the credit for the team that enters play on September 12 at 80-62 and atop the AL East. When Cherington attempts to find his next front office role, that will be a boon on his list of credentials. And according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, the Yankees could be the team that brings the former Red Sox GM aboard—especially considering that the union almost happened last year:

Yankees GM Brian Cashman was on the verge of offering Cherington a job not long after he left the Red Sox. Could that be a possibility again?

Cherington wasn’t the perfect executive and did make mistakes (Rusney Castillo, Pablo Sandoval), but clearly had patience with young talent like Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr.

As the Yankees head into a period where patience with the ups and downs of young players will be crucial to long-term team building, Cherington could provide an important voice in the decision-making process.