06/09/2002 7:43 pm ET
It's a win-lose day for Yankees
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- It was a successful day for the New York Yankees, as they mounted an eighth-inning comeback against Robb Nen and the San Francisco Giants, winning 4-2 to take two of three over the weekend.
Roger Clemens won his seventh straight decision, though his much-anticipated showdown with Barry Bonds resulted in three walks (two intentional) and a hit batter. Clemens was pleased with the overall results, as he allowed two runs over eight innings to help his team to victory.
"To keep him and their other guys in the stadium, it's a pretty good ballgame," Clemens said. "I think the fans really enjoyed it. It was a great weekend at the stadium, a great weekend in sports. All around, it was a lot of fun."
Nick Johnson, whose two-run double proved to be the game-winner, seems to be coming around, giving the Yankees a timely hit they desperately needed.
"It was a big hit," Johnson said. "It helped us out a lot, especially considering how well Roger threw. We haven't been able to get big hits lately, so it was nice."
But even after Johnson's game-winning hit, Clemens' eighth win (and 288th of his career) and a weekend that saw 165,622 fans pack Yankee Stadium with a playoff atmosphere, the focus after the game was about two guys named Rivera, neither of whom played Sunday.
Juan Rivera, who was called up last week to take over as the Yankees' everyday right fielder, was placed on the disabled list Sunday with an avulsion fracture of his right kneecap. He suffered the injury Saturday during outfield practice, when he ran into a parked golf cart in foul territory.
"It's very frustrating. He had an opportunity to come here and try to secure the job in right field, but that's been short-circuited," said general manager Brian Cashman. "We'll have to wait until his knee gets better. Hopefully we'll get him back sooner rather than later."
The Yankees will call up outfielder Marcus Thames from Triple-A Columbus, and he will serve as a backup outfielder. Shane Spencer and John Vander Wal, who were platooning in right field before Rivera's callup, will probably see most of the playing time.
In 45 games with Columbus, Thames was batting .222 with six home runs and 20 RBIs.
"I'll let Joe [Torre] play with the lineups," Cashman said. "Juan had been going real well at Triple-A, and when we brought him up, it was to play on an everyday basis. Marcus will come up, and Joe will use the personnel as he sees fit."
The other news in the clubhouse concerned closer Mariano Rivera, and this could be much more costly for the Yankees than the injury to Juan Rivera.
Mariano Rivera aggravated a groin injury with which he had first sat out last month and was taken for a precautionary MRI. The test showed a strained right groin, and the All-Star closer was placed on the disabled list Monday.
"We're taking the cautious approach. His long-term health is more important than the short-term," Cashman said. "The first time, it was a tweak. This time, he's got a strain. That's the difference. Putting him down and making sure he gets it right is the best situation for him and for us."
Rivera, who has 18 saves and a 1.69 ERA, said he thought going on the DL was a good idea.
"It works better for me," Rivera said. "It would help. We're not even in the middle of the season."
Cashman said that Mariano Rivera will likely remain in New York during his rehab and not travel to Tampa, as Andy Pettitte and Orlando Hernandez have done in their stints on the DL. Pettitte, who will pitch Friday at Shea Stadium against the Mets, will assume Rivera's spot on the active roster.
"We'll wait and see. In about seven to 10 days, he'll start to throw. If he feels it, it may take a little longer. If he doesn't, then maybe we're not looking at more than 15 days," Cashman said. "The neck bone is connected to the hip bone, so you don't want him favoring it, trying to pitch through it and pumps it up against some guy and then he tears it. Then we're really looking at a problem."
In the interim, Torre said Steve Karsay and Mike Stanton would be used to close games, depending on the matchups in the game. Karsay pitched a scoreless ninth Sunday for his second save of the season.
"I'll pitch anywhere. Wherever I'm needed, that's where I'll fit in," Karsay said. "I've done it before; I've closed in other places. The game is the same between the lines, it's only in New York now."
Mark Feinsand covers the Yankees for MLB.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.