08/17/2002 4:52 pm ET
MLBeat: Weaver gets first save
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Jeff Weaver has a new souvenir, but Joe Torre does not think it will go on his personal Wall of Fame.
The starter-in-exile's fifth career relief appearance, and his third as a Yankee since his July 5 trade from Detroit, brought an extra dividend Friday night.
When the Bombers broke open a tight game with four runs in the ninth, Weaver went from setup man to closer, staying on the mound for a third inning to finish a 9-5 victory over the Mariners, thus picking up his first career save.
"I gave him the lineup card for a souvenir," Torre said. "I don't think he'll be framing it. I don't think it's his ambition to stay a relief pitcher.
"Although he could do it. He has the stomach for it. He's a very competitive guy."
Weaver wound up as the odd-man out when New York's five incumbent starters, three of whom battled through various injuries, reunited in the rotation. He has accepted the invaluable role of being Torre's long reliever/emergency starter.
Ch-ch-changes: Before Saturday's game, the Yankees made a roster change to return them to a more common 11-deep pitching staff.
Right-hander Mark Thurman, added as a 12th arm when Nick Johnson (strained left wrist) went on the disabled list on a week ago, was returned to Triple-A Columbus.
Taking his place is Alex Arias, the veteran infielder who has hit .265 in 61 games at Columbus since being signed to a minor-league contract this spring.
In the vault?: With a seven-game division lead over Boston entering Saturday's action, are the Yankees as good as in as far as the postseason is concerned?
Yes, if you have any faith in history.
This is a team which, to say the least, has been involved in many pennant races. They are not known for fading at the wire.
In fact, the largest league- or division-lead the Yankees have ever squandered was one of six games, in 1933, when the Washington Senators pulled away to take the AL flag by seven games.
Furthermore ...: Former Yanks manager Ralph Houk, looking quite sprite a week after his 83rd birthday, was a clubhouse visitor. ... The Yankees bullpen entered Saturday's play with a streak of 15 2/3 shutout innings in the first four games of the trip, a big slice of that coming in Wednesday's 14-inning victory in Kansas City. ... With two walks wrapped around his 10-hit streak, Bernie Williams started play Saturday having reached base in 12 consecutive plate appearances. He is the first Yankee to do that since Reggie Jackson in 1978. Ted Williams holds the Major League record by reaching base 16 straight times, in 1957.
Fantasy Edge: Arias should prove to be a valuable man off the Yankees' bench. He is a 10-year veteran who broke in as a 19-year-old with the Chicago Cubs in 1992, and most recently appeared in The Show with the Padres, batting .226 in 70 games for them last season. He has played every infield position, and is a good contact hitter, with a .266 career average.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.