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Posted by: Jack Curry on Oct 9, 2013 at 06:47:06 PM

There are numerous times when Joe Girardi is asked questions and gives brief answers. That is Girardi's approach as the manager of the Yankees. Sometimes, topics are off limits. But there are also times when Girardi offers enough insight to reveal what he is thinking. I think Girardi did that during his end-of-the season press conference in Houston.

If you analyzed Girardi's answers that day, you wouldn't have been surprised that Girardi agreed to a 4-year, $16 million deal Wednesday to remain as the Yankees manager. As a relaxed Girardi sat in the dugout on that Sunday, he was chatty about his future. My evaluation of what Girardi uttered is that he needed to talk with his family, but that he was almost certain to be back with the Yankees in 2014.

In the end, that's what happened.

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Posted by: Jack Curry on Sep 27, 2013 at 04:24:03 PM
We all knew Mariano Rivera was going to pitch at Yankee Stadium for the final time on Thursday night. We all knew the bullpen door was going to open and Rivera was going to jog to the mound and do what he has done for almost two decades. We all knew the star of the show and we all knew what was supposed to be in the script. We had this night all figured out, right?

But there wasn't actually a script for Rivera's last appearance in pinstripes. There was emotion, an endless flow of emotion from the unforgettable pitcher, and there were tears, an abundance of tears that Rivera predicted would never appear. So, on a night where we all thought we knew what to expect, we witnessed scenes that we had never envisioned. Rivera's good-bye was riveting.

Even though we presumably knew what was about

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Posted by: Jack Curry on Jul 17, 2013 at 02:06:31 PM
The memorable night was over, but Mariano Rivera wanted to revisit it. He was still wearing his Yankee uniform, still gushing about a night like no other. Rivera wanted to go back on the field, wanted to climb back on the mound and wanted to feel what it was like to be universally adored. Again.

There has never been another pitcher with the distinct talents of Rivera and there aren't enough people with the gentlemanly traits of Rivera. As the 43-year old Rivera leaned against a cinderblock wall near the visiting clubhouse at CitiField, he grew emotional while discussing how both teams delayed the All-Star Game to stand and cheer for him.

"They almost made me cry," Rivera said. "Almost. It was close. It has been tremendous. I was telling them I hope this night doesn't end."

If Rivera

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Posted by: Jack Curry on Jul 17, 2013 at 10:20:16 AM
As soon as Matt Harvey's 96-mile per hour fastball collided with the back of Robinson Cano's right knee, the sound was enough to concern the Yankees. It was a loud and ugly sound, a sound that was followed by the sight of a wounded Cano trying to walk to first base. He made it to first, but then quickly removed himself from the game.

In a season that has been littered with injuries, the Yankees wondered if their best and most durable player had suffered a major injury in the first inning of the All-Star Game on Tuesday night. For several anxious minutes, Cano and the Yankees waited and wondered. The Yankees were relieved to learn that Cano's X-rays were negative and that he merely had a contusion on his right quadriceps.
After Cano learned of the X-ray results, I spotted him sitting in
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Posted by: Jack Curry on Jun 17, 2013 at 09:26:18 AM

There are some Spring Training mornings that are sleepier than others. Mornings where the players you planned to interview are unavailable and you spend an hour staring at your iPhone, the clubhouse television or the carpet. Every reporter hates those unproductive sessions.

On one of those mornings that was headed toward being sleepy this spring, I ended up having my first conversation with Thomas Neal. Neal was a long shot to make the Yankees to open the season after being signed as a minor league free agent, but I had been impressed with his at bats so we started chatting. Soon, I was impressed with Neal’s demeanor, too.

For a player who only had 24 plate appearances in the Major Leagues with the Cleveland Indians and who spent most of 2012 with Class AA Akron, Neal was confident.

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Posted by: Jack Curry on Nov 20, 2012 at 10:36:19 PM

A relief. That was how general manager Brian Cashman described the signing of Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $15 million contract with the Yankees yesterday. It was the perfect description. Kuroda was a smooth, confident and low-maintenance pitcher last season. He was also the Yankees’ best pitcher so it was definitely a relief for them to know that he will return in 2013.

The relationship between Kuroda and the Yankees is an appropriate one. The Yankees strongly prefer to sign any starting pitchers to one-year deals because they are insistent on keeping their payroll under $189 million for 2014. Kuroda prefers to sign one-year deals because, eventually, he wants to return to Japan and finish his career in his native country. So, in pursuit of these goals, the pitcher and the team

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Posted by: Jack Curry on Oct 7, 2012 at 02:12:21 PM

In the middle of September, in the middle of a Yankees’ post-season dash that was much tenser than they ever expected, there were some doubts about CC Sabathia. The Yankees need Sabathia to be a certainty, but he had lost four straight starts, he had lost velocity on his fastball and there had to be a loss of confidence in Yankeeland.

Sabathia is a proud pitcher, a pitcher who is confident enough to say when he should and could dominate hitters. Across Sabathia’s last three regular season starts, that dominant pitcher returned. He went 2-0 with a gaudy 1.50 earned run average, minimizing the doubts with a rejuvenated fastball, with better location and with an effectiveness that the Yankees were desperate to see again.

“It was vintage CC,” Manager Joe Girardi said.

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Posted by: Jack Curry on Sep 5, 2012 at 06:41:27 PM

The Yankees have tip-toed around the obvious for a few weeks, tip-toed around the notion that they were struggling and allowing the Orioles and the Rays to rumble back into the race in the American League East. As long as the Yankees had a lead, even if it was a dwindling, they could still talk about how they were alone in first place and they were fine. But that changed on Tuesday night.

Once it changed and once the Yankees fell into a first-place tie with the Orioles, Kevin Long, the batting coach, offered a candid assessment of how this free fall has impacted the batters. While hitters are taught to focus on the next pitch or the next at bat, it is natural for them to also wonder about how a once-sturdy lead has disintegrated.

“There’s some pressure, obviously,” Long

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Posted by: Jack Curry on Aug 31, 2012 at 08:04:19 AM

When the Yankees gazed at their schedule last week and noticed that they had six games with the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays, they realized they had a superb opportunity to silence two wobbly teams and strengthen their lead in the American League East. It is politically correct for the superior team to say that the inferior team could win on any given day. But, in sports, politically correct isn’t always correct.

So what happened in those six winnable games? The Yankees played some uninspired baseball and went 3-3 against two struggling teams. After winning two of three against the Indians, the Yankees allowed the Jays to swipe two of three games from them at Yankee Stadium. Included in that series was an 8-5 loss on Wednesday in which CC Sabathia lost two leads and

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Posted by: Jack Curry on Jul 23, 2012 at 09:01:43 PM

There was a time when Ichiro Suzuki was one of the best five players in baseball, someone who was a delight to watch at the plate, on the bases and in the outfield. There aren't many singles hitters who force you to watch every move they make, but Ichiro was that kind of must-see player.

While Ichiro isn't a top-five type player anymore, he can still be a very effective player for the Yankees as they refine their roster and push toward the post-season. By acquiring Ichiro from the Mariners for right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar, the Yankees didn't surrender any premier prospects and improved their outfield. In addition, the Yankees will only pay Ichiro $2.25 million for the rest of the season. They believe Ichiro is still worth watching and, of course,

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