Today is May 11 and at various points of his 49-year association with the Yankees, Gene Monahan has overseen medical treatment of Sparky Lyle, Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez among others.
Next year though will be different as Monahan announced that this will be his last season and that he will be retiring to North Carolina. Monahan, who described himself as quiet and reserved seemed humbled by holding a press conference and talking about himself.
And that among the reasons he will be leaving the Yankees, the organization he served in spring training as a bat boy in 1962 and then in the minors in outposts such as Fort Lauderdale, Columbus, Binghamton and Syracuse, is because of the wakeup call he received from battling throat and neck cancer last year.
While he talked about himself, Monahan explained how the occupation changed from trainers carrying around just two bags to six big trunks because of the evolution of diagnosing injuries.
He also recalled the first time he walked into the Yankee clubhouse as a major league trainer. That was in 1973, a time when all the Yankee players had big boom-boxes. Sparky Lyle's radio was blasting "Elton John's, Get Back Funky Cat". Lyle looked at Monahan and approved.
It was a decision Monahan recently made the players aware of. He said his did so while gathering them for oral cancer screenings.
"It was very difficult for me," Joe Girardi said. "With Geno, he has been someone that I would call a close friend even though as a player he was responsible for keeping me healthy. Geno was someone I thought I could go to about anything. He has meant so much to getting people healthy and getting them back on the field. His sense of humor and love for the game, I'm going to really miss him."
Five years ago, Monahan was treating Hideki Matsui, who fractured his left wrist in the first inning and because of baseball rules, saw his consecutive games streak end at 1,768 games (combined Japan and Yankees). After not being able to play for a 519th straight game, Matsui apologized for getting hurt, which is rare.
Speaking of current health concerns, Rafael Soriano is not avaiable tonight on the recommendations of Monahan and the team doctor. Soriano's MRI showed a little inflammation in the right elbow and the hope is he will return for the Boston series.
That means Joba Chamberlain is the eighth inning guy. Chamberlain has a streak of six straight scoreless outings after needing just nine pitches in an electrifying eighth inning last night.
Chamberlain spent part of last night attributing his improved results to a mechanical adjustment of consistently keeping his hands from the center of his body.
"I just put them (my hands) back to my belt," Chamberlain said. "It was exactly where I put them when I first got called up. I don’t know what happened in the whole process of the last four years. It’s just coming back up.
"So it’s something that I felt like would be a big adjustment for me because my hands were always kind of bouncing and traveling. So the less movement I have it makes it a little simpler."
Chamberlain will have that opportunity if A.J. Burnett pitches well. Burnett is coming off a loss in which he took a no-hitter past the fifth in Detroit. Also helping Burnett has been the 6.31 runs per game in his start, which they will try to add to against New Jersey native Vin Mazzaro.