The Yankees made a minor trade yesterday afternoon with the Indians. The Bombers get outfielder Karim Garcia---who was with the team last spring---and right-handed reliever Dan Miceli. Mike Thurman, and your boy Charles Gipson¡ªwho'd a thunk it?---were designated for assignment.
(Picked off three fuggin times. Pack your bags jelly legs.)
Garcia has been hurt, but he's a better outfielder than Juan Rivera, Bubba or Ruben Ruben. He is a lefty who can hit with a little bit of pop too. The line on Miceli this year is 3.79 ERA in 35.2 innings. He's got 37 strikeouts.
Can't be worse than wack-ass Al Reyes---or Juan Acevedo, right?
And would you believe there is more. In the feel-good maneuver of the year, the Yankees have brought back one of the most popular Yankees of recent times---both in the clubhouse and with the public---none other than uncle Luis Sojo. I kid you not. Santa Clause is coming to town. And he'll be traveling with the team for the duration.
At least we know some common sense still exists in the Yankee command. I'm not suggesting that Sojo will make the Yankees a better team, but he makes them a significantly more enjoyable and likable team. Just being able to watch his fat ass on the bench every night for the rest of the summer is going to be one of those small pleasures that make life worth living.
Luis was interviewed on the Yankee pre-game show last night and was asked where he was when the Yankees contacted him?
Sojo has been hired as a "special assignment instructor" but he's really being brought back to be Jose Cardinal, the coach/liason to the Latin players. He is berry chappy to be back with the Jankees, babies. And let me speak for Yankee fans everywhere when I say we're happy to have him back. Even if the ol' mule won't be able to pick out a bat and pinch hit anymore---and don't discount that happening at some point either---Luis is the luck rabbit's foot the Yankees have been missing this year. Jeter isn't really the Bomber's lucky charm, it's his fairy godfather, Luis Sojo.
When you think about it, Sojo should have been treated like Lou Pinella, and should have moved directly from player to coach. Why wait? The Yankees haven't had a coach that could relate to the Latin players in a minute, and Joe Torre was frank in his pre-game interview when he said that they hope he'll have a big influence on Soriano. We already know that Jeter adores him, Posada loves him. I'm sure Mel, Zim, Torre, Willie and Maz love him too.
Sojo described how many of his old teammates jumped all over him with excitement when he showed up in Tampa yesterday. Forget Uncle Buck, this is uncle Luis. It was great watching Luis being interviewed too (I love his big head, which looks like it came right out of the pages of Mad Magazine). In interviews, Luis follows the standard jock-speak formula, but some of his line readings are priceless. He's not a pushover and not a clown, just a naturally funny man. Sojo, like Tim Raines, is a cut-up, the guys who help relieve the tension in a clubhouse. Or spark a little fire.
Meanwhile the Bombers walked all over the Rays 8-5 last night as Tampa issued twelve walks. Andy Pettitte was less than spectacular but he got the win. It's funny, but Pettitte is one of the rare players who has been with the Yankees for a long time that I've grown to like less and less as time goes on. I'm sure it will feel weird if and when he goes to another team, and maybe then I'll look back on his time with the Yanks with fondness, but I can't remember an instance like this where I feel less loyal to a longtime Yankee.
Jason Giambi was in the line up despite a bruised wrist and Derek Jeter is starting to swing the bat much better.
Bernie Williams took batting practice with the team before the game, but the news on Nick Johnson isn't as encouraging. Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus had this to say in his UTK column yesterday:
The fracture news isn't as good for Nick Johnson. Johnson is expected back around the All-Star break, but there are whispers that the bone scan done on Johnson had very troubling results. Some Yankees officials think that Johnson should be dealt as soon as he looks healthy, making brittle Nick someone else's health problem. (For the record, if I'm a GM, I'll take that risk and buy low.)
I can't say I'm surprised about the Johnson news, but I feel badly for the guy. I hope he can stay healthy enough to enjoy a somewhat productive career.