One by one, they’ve started to disappear.
Bernie Williams was the first to go, then Andy Pettitte vanished after last season. Now just three of the New York Yankees’ old guard remain in the oval clubhouse of the team’s billion-dollar palace. And with Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada struggling, and Mariano Rivera nearing age 42, the end is coming for the generation that restored the pinstripes to prominence.
“It’s sad, because you’d always like those things to last forever. They were part of something very unique,” former New York manager Joe Torre said. “I remember Jimmy Leyland said, ‘This stuff will never be done again.’ ”
Jeter, the successor to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra as a symbol of Yankees greatness, has been under the greatest scrutiny of his career. A month shy of his 37th birthday, he’s lost range at shortstop and his batting average declined from .334 in 2009 to .270 last year. Acrimonious negotiations led to a $51 million, three-year contract that seemed a bit like a 25 percent tip to the $205 million the Yankees already had paid him.
Posada lost his job behind the plate, relegated to designated hitter this season in the final year of his contract. He’s batting .165 entering Saturday, the lowest of the Yankees’ regulars, and the switch-hitter is a hard-to-imagine 0 for 24 against left-handed pitchers.
No-hit fever has raged throughout baseball in the last couple of weeks. Not only did Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano and Detroit’s Justin Verlander pitch no-hitters, but a half-dozen more bids were taken through the sixth inning and beyond, including two on back-to-back days last weekend when the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia and Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo had no-hitters into the eighth inning.
Six no-hitters were pitched in the major leagues last year, including the two by Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay. Since 1884, there never have been more than six single-pitcher no-hitters thrown in any season.
Since Florida right-hander Anibal Sanchez’s no-hitter on Sept. 6, 2006, 15 no-hitters have been thrown. Before Sanchez’s no-hitter, a record 6,364 games had been played since the previous no-hitter, Randy Johnson’s perfect game in 2004 for Arizona.
Texas’ outfield hurts
Texas put center fielder Julio Borbon on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with inflammation in his left hamstring, leaving the Rangers without any of their opening-day outfielders.
A.L. MVP Josh Hamilton has been out since breaking a bone in his upper right arm April 12 and Nelson Cruz came out of a game May 3 (strained right quadriceps).
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