Remembering Former Yankee Reserve Outfielder Sammy Byrd
May 11, 1981-Former Yankees reserve OF Sammy “Babe Ruth’s legs” Byrd (1929-1934) passed away. (1906-1981) Outfielder Sammy Byrd was often used as Babe Ruth’s late inning defensive replacement, earning the nickname of “Babe Ruth’s legs”. He appeared in 565 games for the New York Yankees, hitting .281. Sam appeared in one game of the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs for the Yankees with no hits. On December 19,1934, Sam was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from the New York Yankees. He later became a professional golfer, who won 23 pro events.
After committing two errors at third Thursday night, Eduardo Nunez was demoted today when the club activated Eric Chavez.
Nunez had played in a utility role with the Yankees since he was promoted in 2010, but had committed 25 errors in just 155 games. That included 20 in 106 games in 2011. He had four errors this season, including two at third base on Thursday night against Tampa.
The utility role was a major adjustment for the 24-year old, who had played 600 of his 636 minor league games at shortstop.
“We asked (Nunez) to do some things you normally ask a more veteran player to do — to play third, short, second, left, right,” Joe Girardi said. “For the best interest of him and us moving forward, we thought it was probably more important that he goes down and plays shortstop six days a week and maybe second a day a week. Getting back to playing every day.”
Nunez was not available in the clubhouse prior to tonight’s game. Derek Jeter said he spoke to him and admitted Nunez was shocked at being sent down.
“He needs to play,” Jeter said. “We’d love for him to be here, but he needs to play. That’s the best thing for him.”
Girardi said Nunez would focus primarily on playing shortstop at Scranton. He could also occasionally play second.
One of Nunez’s closest friends on the team was Robinson Cano. He had yet to speak to Nunez, but didn’t believe the defensive struggles had depleted his confidence.
“I haven’t talked to him, but that’s a part of the game,” Cano said. “Guys are going to make errors. Hopefully, this is going to get him stronger and make him a better player.”
Nunez hit .296 with no home runs and five RBI so far this season, but had a .356 on-base percentage and stolen six bases.
Despite Jeter being under contract through 2014, Girardi said this decision does not mean Nunez was blocked for the foreseeable future.
“He’ll be back,” Girardi said. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Here’s a defensive breakdown of Nunez by position since he joined the Yankees in 2010:
Happy Birthday to New York Yankees Hall of Fame Catcher and Former Manager Yogi Berra
May 12, 1925- Future Yankee Hall Of Fame player, MLB Coach and Manager Lawrence Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra was born. MLB Player: 1946-1963, MLB Coach: 1976-1983, Team Manager: 1964,1984. Yogi Berra was one of the most beloved players to ever wear the New York Yankees pinstripes. He hit .285 playing 2,116 games with 358 HRs, 9 Grand Slam HRs and 1,430 RBIs in 18 seasons as a Yankees player. Yogi played in 14 World Series for the Yankees with 10 World Championships (1947,1949-1953,1956,1958, 1961-1962) with 71 World Series hits in 75 games, finishing with a .274BA, 12 HRs with 39 RBIs. Yogi in 1951 caught both of Allie Reynolds no-hitters. In 1956, he was catcher for Don Larsen's Perfect Game in the 1956 World Series against the Brookly Dodgers. Yogi was an American League All Star catcher for 15 seasons and three-time American League Most Valuable Player Award winner (1951,1954-1955). He led the American League catchers in fielding twice (1957 and 1959.) Yogi became one of the greatest catchers in the game through the help of former Yankees great Hall Of Fame Catcher Bill Dickey. Yogi Berra is one of few MLB managers to win a pennant in each major league: New York Yankees (1964) and New York Mets (1973).
Hugging Pitcher Don Larsen in 1956 World Series after The Perfect Game was over.
Manager Yogi Berra celebrating winning 1964 AL Pennant
good morning...Saturday, May 12th...my Saturday to work...but things are good...going to be a fantastic weekend weather-wise...great for baseball...looking forward to a couple of real ood ones...wins of course...wonderful game last night...Happy Birthday Yogi, we love you...forever and ever and ever...you are truly blesed...what else can one say about such an individual?...
"...let it be known that as of this date in Major League Baseball history the one, truly honest single season home run record...61 in '61..."
Phil Hughes turned in his best start of the season on Saturday, pitching 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a 6-2 win over the Seattle Mariners. The right-hander allowed just one solo home run to Mike Carp in the seventh. He gave up six hits and one walk while striking four on 112 pitches to earn the win and improve to 3-4.
The Yankees did most of their damage in the bottom of the second thanks to four extra-base hits. Mark Teixeira doubled down the right field line, before Nick Swisher flew out to left field for the second out of the inning. Raul Ibanez – who has been extremely clutch for the Yankees all season – came through with a big two-out RBI double to drive in Teixeira.
Russell Martin, who came into the game marred in a 1 for 16 slump, followed with a double of his own to the center field wall to bring home Ibanez. Jayson Nix added to the two-out rally with a two-run homer to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead. For Nix, who was playing shortstop for the first time since 2010 with the Chicago White Sox, it was his first hit since last season. He was 0 for 20 over that span.
Ibanez tacked on another run for the Yankees with his solo homer in the fourth. It was his seventh of the season, and he is now second on the team with 21 RBI.
In the bottom of the eighth, Robinson Cano made it 6-1 with an RBI double, giving him six consecutive games with an extra base-hit. He drove in Derek Jeter, who earlier in the inning tied Tony Gwynn for 17th all-time with his 3,141 career hit.
According to Phil Hughes, the pitch that we’ve heard so much about in the past few seasons was his biggest key today. The right-hander turned in his best start of the season, pitching 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball while relying heavily on his changeup to lead the Yankees to a 6-2 win over the Mariners.
“It was a good day,” Hughes said. “I probably didn’t have my best fastball or my best curveball today, but my changeup really allowed me to get out of some jams and make some good pitches when I was behind in counts. I think that was the pitch that I really look at as the equalizer today.”
Granted, Seattle’s lineup won’t be mistaken for the ’27 Yankees anytime soon, but Hughes has now turned in three consecutive good starts after looking very shaky to start the season. Each has been better than the last, and this is certainly something he can continue to build on.
“It’s been a process overall to get myself right,” Hughes said. “There’s sometimes when you can hang onto momentum when you’re pitching well, but as far as a turning point, it’s kind of hard to get any worse than I was in the beginning of the year. I’m just trying to build on every start and get us some wins.”
Hughes talked about taking a “reliever mentality” into the game, which meant attacking hitters and not shying away from contact. He didn’t have a ton of strikeouts (four), but he was efficient, pitching deeper into a game than he has all season.
“Larry and him talked about just being aggressive – going as long as you can, as hard as you can,” Joe Girardi said. “He was so successful coming out of the bullpen and locating everything, it’s just been an attitude that we want him to take on.”
• The fact that Hughes’ changeup was his most consistent pitch today was very encouraging. That’s a pitch that he’s been working on for quite some time, but has never had tremendous success with. Coupled with a fastball that hit 95 on the gun several times today, it was very effective. It’s also worth noting that Hughes used very few cutters today, which usually sit in the 88-91 MPH range. “I think the main thing is probably that there were eight left-handers in the lineup today,” Hughes said. “I feel like my cutter is a little bit more effective to right-handers. I did throw a few to Montero, but other than that I feel better with my four-seamer going into lefties.”
• While the rotation did not have a good month of April, the tide seems to have turned here in May. Ace CC Sabathia has won five consecutive starts, and the rest of the rotation is shaping up. With Andy Pettitte completing his comeback tomorrow, the five-some of CC, Pettitte, Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova is looking pretty formidable. “CC sets the pace for everybody,” Hughes said. “If we get him pitching the way that he has been pitching, everyone kind of feeds off of that.”
• The big inning for the Yankees came in the bottom of the second. After Mark Teixeira doubled, Nick Swisher recorded the second out of the inning with a fly out to left. As he has all season, Raul Ibanez followed with a clutch two-out RBI double. Russell Martin broke out of his 1 for 16 slump with a laser to dead CF to score Ibanez, and then Jayson Nix laced a two-run homer. Just like that, it was 4-0 Yankees. “I love it,” Girardi said. “Those are the runs that kill teams. Those are the runs that are big for you and hurt other teams, and we got them today.”
• Ibanez continued his hot play with a solo shot in the fourth. I’ve interviewed him several times, and while he’s a really nice guy, he’s not one for juicy quotes. “I’m just trying not to do too much,” he repeated several times. “Trying to hit a ball hard and put it in play.”
• Girardi talked about Nix, who broke an 0 for 20 slump that dated back to last season with his opposite field homer in the second. “I’m sure it’s extremely gratifying,” Girardi said. “This kid just goes out and does his business every day. He’s a pleasure to watch work… He gave us a huge cushion with that two-run homer.”
• Girardi strongly disagreed with the umpire’s decision to allow a runner to score in the ninth when Carp’s homer was overruled after a replay review and changed to a double, which cost Boone Logan a run. “He said he slowed up and he would have scored, and I don’t necessarily agree with that,” Girardi said. “We’re about wins, but guys care about what they give up – that’s the bottom line. They have pride in their work.”
• Hughes talked about what it’s going to be like watching Pettitte take the ball tomorrow. “I can’t speak for everybody else, but I’m really excited about it,” he said. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere, and obviously he wouldn’t be here if he didn’t think he could do it.”