Look at the 9-8 victory the Mets' Luis Castillo gift-wrapped for the New York Yankees Friday night, and you simply can't say enough about the hustle of Mark Teixeira.
You have to give it up for the slow-footed slugger, who ran hard from first base on what should have been a game-ending pop-up to second base, and ended up scoring the winning run. How many big leaguers would have been jogging and ended up stuck on third base? Unfortunately, my guess is a pretty high percentage.
Tex's teammates, and his manager, noticed.
The MVP belt went to the guy who drew an intentional walk, then ran like heck when Alex Rodriguez hit a routine pop-up.
"What stands out is Mark Teixeira's hustle. That wins the game for us," said A-Rod, whose pop went in and out of the glove of Luis Castillo, allowing Derek Jeter and Teixeira to score with two out in the ninth inning in Friday night's 9-8 win. "That's why he's my MVP right now. He's doing everything."
As soon as A-Rod made contact against Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, he slammed his bat in frustration. But Teixeira heard contact and kept going - and was as surprised as anyone when he saw third-base coach Rob Thomson frantically waving him home. "When he started waving me, I just put it into second gear; I don't have a third, fourth or fifth," he said. "So I just tried to run as hard as I could."
"I look and I see Tex running and running and running," Girardi said. "That's the one thing you preach. Don't ever assume an out. We've talked about the type of player Tex is and how hard he plays the game, and I've said he's a baseball player. He was a baseball player because he never gave up, and that's why we won."
Here is Teixeira's take on the play.
"Scoring from first base on a ball to the second baseman just doesn't happen very much, especially with me," Teixeira said. "It's hard for me to score on a hit from second base to the outfield. As soon as I slid in, I hugged [shortstop Derek Jeter] and I said 'What just happened?' because I couldn't believe it."
- By the way, this whole MVP belt thing the Yankees have been handing out to the player of the game is getting out of control. Not more toy belt. Teixeira is carrying around an authentic WWE belt sent to CC Sabathia by wrestler Jerry The King' Lawler.
- SELF-PROMOTION ALERT!: Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has a post today which, basically, asks this question: In the wake of the Fenway Fiasco, do Yankee fans miss the ranting of The Boss? Yours truly is quoted in the piece.
- GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS: Brian Bruney will pitch an inning in Trenton today as he nears a return to the Yankee bullpen. Fellow reliever Damaso Marte, on the other hand, is headed for a visit with Dr. James Andrews.
- Speaking of the Yankee bullpen, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees are seeking relief help and Huston Street is at the top of their list. I wonder where we have heard that suggestion before.
- Johnny Damon was out of the lineup Friday night, and is concerned about his eyes.
- Remember Danny Almonte? ESPN is airing a 'Where Are They Now' segment on him.
- We have added a Yankee Stadium Home Run Tracker. You can find it at the bottom of the left-hand sidebar, if you are interested in tracking the totals.