Nets' new coach visits Yankee Stadium
Johnson thrilled to meet Girardi and others on field
NEW YORK -- On the same day he was introduced as the newest head coach of the New Jersey Nets, Avery Johnson took in batting practice on the field before the Yankees' series opener with the Phillies on Tuesday.
Johnson chatted with several players and for a long time with manager Joe Girardi, who passed along some advice about handling the New York media and what it's like to work for a high-profile owner. The latter is an area Johnson already has some expertise in, having coached under Mark Cuban in Dallas.
Johnson said he grew up following the Yankees, at least in part because his father was a Dodgers fan.
"We had our little rivalry," Johnson joked, adding that he understands how the sports scene works in New York. "Fans in New York are very passionate, and I'm going to feel that. I've felt it already."
This, however, was Johnson's first trip to the Bronx to see the Yankees play in their home stadium. He came away impressed.
"This is fabulous," Johnson said of Yankee Stadium. "I've been to quite a few baseball stadiums, and nothing compares with this."
-- Tim Britton
Yanks put Mitre on DL; Logan recalled
NEW YORK -- Yankees right-hander Sergio Mitre was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday after he tweaked his left side while taking batting practice over the weekend.
Manager Joe Girardi said that Mitre felt something in his side while hitting on Sunday, in preparation for New York's upcoming Interleague road slate against the D-backs and Dodgers.
Girardi said that Mitre "felt a lot worse" when warming up on Sunday and did not report much improvement when he came in for treatment on Monday at Yankee Stadium.
"The doctors felt that it would be more than a couple of days -- maybe not the whole two weeks, but we'll have to wait and see," Girardi said. "Obliques are funny. That's the thing that managers, when you're an American League club, don't like about Interleague."
Mitre was 0-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 12 games (two starts) for the Yankees this season. In a corresponding roster move, the Yankees recalled left-hander Boone Logan from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Logan had no record and a 5.06 ERA in 13 appearances this year for New York, after narrowly missing the Opening Day roster out of Spring Training. He had a 1.32 ERA in nine outings at Triple-A.
"Boone has been throwing the ball well down there," Girardi said. "With the Phillies and their left-handed power, we thought we'd bring another lefty in."
-- Bryan Hoch
A-Rod prepares for Wednesday return
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez's strained right hip flexor didn't prevent him from signing autographs for fans outside Yankee Stadium's Great Hall before Tuesday's game against the Phillies, but it was enough to keep his name from appearing in the starting lineup against Roy Halladay.
The Yankees' plan has been adjusted to have Rodriguez play third base on Wednesday against Philadelphia, with manager Joe Girardi believing that the Yankees could be "full-go" after Rodriguez came through a full batting-practice session healthy on Tuesday.
"You want to be smart about this and also take more of a long-term approach," Rodriguez said. "I'm following the doctor's instructions and trying to listen to my body. Hopefully, I'll come back [Wednesday], and that's a good thing."
Hours after Rodriguez and teammate Robinson Cano ventured outside the Stadium's Gate 6 to glad-hand fans as part of the Yankees' once-per-homestand meet-and-greet effort, Rodriguez said he took ground balls, threw and hit in the underground cages.
"I felt OK -- no setbacks," Rodriguez said. "I'm just going to finish the last part of my treatment today. Yesterday, I had a good day, and today is also a good day."
Girardi said that his original plan was to have Rodriguez serve as New York's designated hitter against Halladay and have Jorge Posada catch, but team medical staff advised that one more day for A-Rod would be the safer route. Rodriguez could still be available as a pinch-hitter on Tuesday.
Girardi said that Rodriguez's issue -- and not a recurrence of Posada's right foot injury -- was responsible for Posada's DH duty after Monday's off-day. Francisco Cervelli was in New York's starting lineup at catcher instead, paired with left-hander CC Sabathia.
Rodriguez said that he has never experienced a groin situation like this one, but he said that he understands his March 2009 right hip surgery and his age -- he turns 35 next month -- were magnifying the issue somewhat.
"If you're 24 and you have a groin [situation], you don't get those questions asked," Rodriguez said. "It's obviously something you have to keep an eye on. I did have the surgery, although this has nothing to do with it. I really don't think age has anything to do with it, because I feel pretty darn good. I was beginning to swing the bat pretty well, and unfortunately, I had a little setback."
Rodriguez said that team physician Christopher Ahmad and Dr. Marc Philippon -- the Vail, Colo.-based specialist who performed his hip surgery -- have both assured the slugger that the hip flexor injury has no connection to last year's procedure -- or the scheduled follow-up surgery which was nixed after the World Series.
"Dr. Philippon assured me that the pictures were as clean as they could possibly be and there's no need to worry about a second surgery," Rodriguez said. "With that, we can really narrow in on the groin and the hip flexor."
Rodriguez is hitting .290 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs in 58 games for New York, after hitting .286 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in 124 games upon coming back from surgery in 2009. A-Rod said that he did not believe the drop in power was as pronounced as it was late in 2008.
"I thought in '08, it was a very obvious situation that I wasn't catching up to anything over 88 [mph]," Rodriguez said. "That's not the situation this year. As far as my home runs, they're just down. The year is not over yet."
-- Bryan Hoch
Pinstripe Bowl tickets on sale now
NEW YORK -- Tickets for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl Game, to be held on Dec. 30 at Yankee Stadium, were placed on sale to the general public on Tuesday at yankees.com.
Those purchasing tickets before Sept. 8 for the inaugural college football bowl game at the new Bronx facility can take advantage of special early-bird pricing, which will start at $30.
The New Era Pinstripe Bowl Game will feature a matchup between teams from the Big East Conference and Big 12 Conference. It will be nationally televised by ESPN, which has also secured national and local radio rights for ESPN Radio.
The contest will mark the first NCAA football bowl game in the Bronx since the Gotham Bowl on Dec. 15, 1962, when Nebraska edged Miami (Fla.), 36-34, at the original Yankee Stadium.
-- Bryan Hoch
Phillies deliver NL ring to Park in Bronx
NEW YORK -- When the Yankees were in Oakland for an April series, right-hander Chan Ho Park had to watch as Chad Gaudin and Edwar Ramirez were presented with their World Series championship rings.
Park also saw the Yankees celebrate last Nov. 4 while wearing the uniform of the visiting Phillies, and he again kept quiet while New York staged a gala ceremony before its 2010 home opener. This was enough.
Park urged the Yankees repeatedly to knock it off, yelling, "Hey, we've got to stretch!" to laughter. But the club would have its chance to give Park some retaliation on Tuesday, when the Phillies delivered Park's National League championship ring to Yankee Stadium.
"To bring the ring in this clubhouse, nobody is going to be mad," Park said. "It reminds me of a sad moment when we lost, but it was a pretty good experience. We could have won and got the real rings, but this is the best in the National League.
"I had a lot of fun -- this ring is going to make me not forget how the teammates and staff treated me. Me and my family had fun a lot last year. This ring will make me remember forever."
Park was a key contributor for Philadelphia last year, going 3-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 45 appearances (seven starts) before shining in the postseason, posting four scoreless World Series appearances against the Yankees.
But as Park said hello to his former teammates, nobody was traveling down memory lane about the 2009 postseason.
They were more interested in quizzing Park about an April postgame interview at Fenway Park, one that has become an international YouTube sensation, when Park -- in exceedingly honest fashion -- explained how a recent illness had affected his pitching.
"It's great -- everybody talked about the diarrhea," Park said. "Stop the diarrhea. That's all you want to know? I said, 'Stop it.' It was fun, you know? Everybody back in Korea saw it, too. It's good."
-- Bryan Hoch
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.