Yankee Stadium a thrill for Nets rookies
Favors and James enjoy batting practice before opener
NEW YORK -- A week before making their Summer League debuts for the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets, recent Draft picks Derrick Favors and Damion James made a pit stop at Yankee Stadium.
Favors, the third overall pick in the Draft, and James, the No. 24 selection whom the Nets acquired from the Hawks, watched the Yankees take batting practice on Tuesday night prior to their game against the Mariners.
James certainly soaked in the experience. The former University of Texas forward said he is an avid baseball fan, listing Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia as his favorite Yankees.
"Not many dudes where I'm from can say they've done this, so it's a great experience," James said. "It's a new stadium -- a couple of years old -- and it's great."
Favors, though, is already familiar with new stadiums in the Big Apple. The Georgia Tech star introduced himself to New York fans on Friday night, visiting Citi Field to watch the Mets square off against the Twins.
But that didn't stop Favors from appreciating the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium. While Jeter was taking batting practice, Favors intently watched while the shortstop launched long drives around the ballpark.
"It's a good experience," Favors said. "I've heard a lot of Yankee Stadium and its legacy. It feels good to be out here and get the experience."
But the two know their welcoming tour will be short-lived. By this time next week, both Favors and James will be showcasing their skills on the Orlando Summer League courts as they take the first steps toward resurrecting the New Jersey franchise.
"I'm looking forward to it," Favors said of helping the Nets rebuild. "I'm going to go in, work hard, have fun and win games."
-- Didier Morais
Despite sitting, Gardner 'a lot better'
NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner was out of the Yankees' starting lineup on Tuesday, as he nurses a right wrist contusion suffered when he was hit by a Clayton Kershaw fastball in the third inning of Sunday's 8-6 victory over the Dodgers.
"It feels a lot better today," Gardner said on Tuesday. "It's still a little swollen, a little bit stiff. Hopefully, I can swing a bat tomorrow."
X-rays taken on Monday came back negative, and Gardner spent Tuesday receiving treatment on that wrist. The speedy outfielder was expected to be available as both a pinch-runner and a defensive replacement for the Yankees' series opener with the Mariners, and he's cautiously optimistic about starting on Wednesday.
"They're talking it could be a couple days -- it could be day-to-day," manager Joe Girardi said. "He's progressing. We're just evaluating every day."
Chad Huffman got the nod in left field on Tuesday, starting for the third time this year and the first since June 18.
-- Tim Britton
Handyman Yanks' 'All-Star Among Us'
NEW YORK -- The official All-Star rosters won't be decided until Sunday, but the Yankees know one person they'll be sending to Anaheim on July 13.
Peter Brady of Brookfield, Conn., was chosen as the Yankees' "All-Star Among Us," which honors individuals serving their communities. Brady was chosen in a national fan vote over two other finalists for his work with Handy Dandy Handy Man Ministry, an initiative he started in 1998 on his own as a single volunteer. Brady served as a handyman for seniors in his parish, performing tasks such as raking leaves and fixing faucets.
A dozen years later, Handy Dandy Handy Man Ministry is an official nonprofit with more than 1,000 volunteers serving 400 seniors in seven greater Danbury, Conn., towns.
Brady will be joined by 29 other "All-Stars Among Us," one for each Major League team, who will be honored before the start of the All-Star Game at Angel Stadium. The "All-Stars Among Us" campaign debuted in 2009.
-- Tim Britton
Umpire Joe West was behind the plate in the Bronx on Tuesday night, taking part in his first Yankees game since making critical comments about their pace of play following New York's season-opening series with the Boston Red Sox. Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasn't personally offended by West's comments. "I didn't really get too caught up in it," Girardi said. "It might be interesting. Who knows how the fans will react?" ... Right-handers Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre both threw off a regulation mound in Tampa, Fla., on Monday and are scheduled to pitch again on Wednesday. ... Marcus Thames will start at designated hitter for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. ... John Isner, who won the longest tennis match in history last week at Wimbledon, threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. The 6-foot-9 Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-7, 70-68 in 11 hours and five minutes. The match shattered records for longest in terms of games and time.
-- Tim Britton
Tim Britton and Didier Morais are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.