10/19/2003 6:54 PM ET
Notes: Torre juggles the lineup
NEW YORK -- Joe Torre made some changes to the Yankees' lineup for Sunday night's Game 2, as New York tries to even the World Series against the Florida Marlins.
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
Jason Giambi, who batted seventh for the Yankees in the last two games, is back in his familiar No. 3 spot, while Nick Johnson was dropped from the No. 2 hole to eighth in the lineup.
"It was just for the sake of change," Torre said. "I don't think there's any strategy involved. We've been here all year, and it's just a matter of this combination working.
"We're doing things on a daily basis because we are where we are," he added. "It's the same cast of characters, so it's nothing drastic."
The Yankees' lineup starts with Alfonso Soriano (2B), followed by Derek Jeter (SS), Giambi (DH), Bernie Williams (CF), Hideki Matsui (LF), Jorge Posada (C), Aaron Boone (3B), Johnson (1B) and Juan Rivera (RF), who is making his first career World Series start.
The biggest move by Torre was one he did not make, as he left the struggling Soriano in the leadoff spot. Soriano, who went 1-for-5 with an infield single in the first inning, is batting just .143 (5-for-35) in the ALCS and World Series.
"He's been with us for three years," Torre said. "Maybe this is my way of telling him that I have confidence in him and how important he is to us."
Torre talked with Soriano on Sunday afternoon, trying to gauge the 25-year-old's temperament as he struggles to get back on track.
"I wanted to get a sense of how he was feeling, just to try to check with his confidence level," Torre said. "We talked for a while. Like everybody else this time of year, every day is its own year. You can't count batting average here. I explained to him how important he was to us, and not to get down if he doesn't do something in one at-bat."
The second baseman started the playoffs on a tear, hitting .368 in the Division Series against Minnesota. Lately, Soriano has come up dry, going 1-for-10 in the last two games with five strikeouts. Torre said that Soriano appeared "overanxious" at the plate, causing him to jump at pitches before they get to him.
"I wanted to give him the thoughts going through my mind, let him know that it's OK to have a range of emotions," Torre said of their conversation. "This is a very humbling game. It's different than golf, where you're playing against the course, because you have other people on the other side trying to get you out."
Dazzling debut: Hideki Matsui may be a rookie by Major League standards, but the left fielder didn't look like one in his World Series debut, collecting three hits in the Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Marlins.
"As I thought, the World Series has a very unique atmosphere," Matsui said through an interpreter. "What I did (in Game 1) was focus and I had some success. I hope to continue to take the same approach."
Matsui, who will bat in the same No. 5 spot that he did in Game 1, played in four Japan Series while with the Yomiuri Giants, winning three titles.
"He's swinging it," Torre said. "I wanted to keep him up in an RBI position."
Rivera ready: Mariano Rivera, who pitched three innings on Thursday night in the Yankees' ALCS Game 7 win over the Red Sox, was available to pitch an inning in Game 1, though his services weren't needed.
Torre said that his all-world closer would be ready to go in Game 2, though he hopes not to have to use him for two innings.
"I don't want to," Torre said. "But I think he's physically able to do it."
Pressing Pudge: The Yankees didn't shy away from trying to steal bases against Florida catcher Ivan Rodriguez, whose arm is unquestionably the best in the game among backstops.
Soriano and Posada each stole second base against Rodriguez, though Pudge nailed Johnson at third with a pickoff throw in the third, ending the inning and a Yankees threat.
"We can't change our game," Torre said. "We know Pudge, but I certainly don't want to tell my players they can't do something. That will get us on our heels a little bit."
Rocket taking off for Japan? A report in Sports Nippon said that Roger Clemens may try to pitch in Japan next year as a way to keep himself in game shape so he can pitch in the 2004 Athens Games. The report said that Clemens' agent was talking to several teams about the possibility.
Randy Hendricks, Clemens' agent, called the report "ridiculous," saying that he had "explored Roger making a promotional trip to Japan," but nothing more.
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.