Notes: Molina regrets preconception
Unsure of Yanks' chemistry before deal, catcher proven wrong
ANAHEIM -- Jose Molina returned to Angel Stadium on Monday with a different perspective, and only part of it had to do with his former status with the home team.
As Molina approaches the one-month anniversary of a July 21 trade for Minor Leaguer Jeff Kennard, the 32-year-old catcher said that his time in New York has changed his viewpoint of the Yankees dramatically.
"When you're in the other dugout, you think about this team having a lot of superstars," Molina said. "They're not selfish, but [we thought] they probably were playing for themselves. That's the way, when I was on the other team, we were looking at it.
"But I got here and got inside. I just ate my words. It's the opposite of what you see from the outside. You have to be inside with these guys to see the way they treated me when I came in. It changed the way I think about anybody now."
Molina had deep roots with the Angels, joining the organization as a free agent in 2001 and serving as a backstop into this season, including experiencing the World Series title run in 2002 and duty as a starting catcher last year.
Joining the club at Yankee Stadium the day after his trade, Molina put in the necessary time to adapt to the Yankees' pitching staff. He credited starting catcher Jorge Posada for his assistance in learning a new assemblage of hurlers in limited time.
Molina has already proven to be a more consistent offensive performer than his predecessor, Wil Nieves. In 11 games since joining the Yankees, Molina is batting .276 (8-for-29).
Though he still maintains a residence near Angel Stadium -- he slept there last night after the Yankees' team charter came in at about 10 p.m. PT -- Molina says he has left his Angels days behind.
"I'm here now, right?" Molina said. "You've got to just change the pace and move on, and remember all the good things that happened over there. Now, I think we have a lot of good things coming up for the team and me here. That's what we're looking for."
On the field at last: The Yankees' trip to Anaheim proved to be even more memorable for Edwar Ramirez, the 26-year-old reliever who was twice released by the Angels organization before finally making his Major League debut this season upon being plucked from an independent league club in Texas.
"I've waited a long time to be here," Ramirez said.
He had also resisted temptation to set foot on the Angel Stadium turf. Ramirez recalled how, in 2003, the entire roster of his Rancho Cucamonga team -- the Angels' High-A affiliate in the California League -- was summoned to the Major League facility for an event, about a 45-minute trip away from their home ballpark.
While most of Ramirez's teammates -- including current big leaguers Jeff Mathis, Mike Napoli and Ervin Santana -- didn't think twice about walking from the seating area to the field, Ramirez held out.
"I said, 'No, I don't want to stand there,'" Ramirez said. "When I stand there, I want to stand there because I'm playing in the big leagues. So I never went out."
That is, until Monday, when Ramirez could finally dress and have unfettered access to the playing field as a Major League player. Was it worth the wait?
"Oh, yes," he said.
A-Rest: Alex Rodriguez assumed his regular duties in the Yankees' lineup on Monday, batting cleanup and playing third base, but manager Joe Torre is considering offering A-Rod reduced duty, perhaps as soon as the latter games of the Angels series.
"We'll see over these next couple of days," Torre said. "He feels good today, but he's been dragging a little bit, like [Derek] Jeter."
Torre suggested that Wilson Betemit would play third base in place of Rodriguez, who could DH or rest entirely. Surely, the Yankees would be elated if they garnered similar results to the rest Torre placed upon Jeter; playing shortstop on Sunday, Betemit drove in four runs in the Yankees' 9-3 victory over the Tigers.
Farnsworth firing: Kyle Farnsworth's midseason struggles have not been entirely forgotten, but a string of four consecutive scoreless outings -- including a dominant one against the Tigers -- have yielded encouraging signs.
"The biggest difference I see with him when he's out there is that he doesn't look like he's trying to throw a ball through a wall," Torre said. "He's not trying to overthrow and muscle up. He just seems to be a lot more fluid in what he's doing, and the result is that he's locating down more often."
The Yankees are still mindful to protect Farnsworth, who is not likely to be asked to pitch more than one inning and is being discouraged from repeating. With Joba Chamberlain also on a modified schedule, Torre said he would continue to rely on Luis Vizcaino and Ramirez as his so-called "bail-out guys."
Bombers bits: Two former 2007 Yankees have found new homes -- left-hander Mike Myers signed a one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox with an option for next season, while Miguel Cairo has inked a Minor League contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. ... Over their last four games, the Yankees' bullpen has allowed just three hits and one earned run in 11 innings, walking two and striking out 14.
Coming up: The Yankees match up for the second game of a three-game series on Tuesday at Angel Stadium, sending right-hander Mike Mussina (8-8, 4.76 ERA) to the mound opposite right-hander Kelvim Escobar (13-6, 2.68 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET on the YES Network.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.