Joe, what the heck are you doing?

Mariano Rivera is one guy the Yankees have not had to worry about this year -- until now.

Rivera, who is finishing the first season of a three-year, $45-million contract, returned to New York to have his right shoulder examined Thursday. Manager Joe Girardi played down the scheduled physical and MRI, saying it was part of Rivera's year-end physical and that they were simply doing it now because Rivera was unavailable to pitch after throwing in four games between Sept. 19 and 23. Still, it's not standard practice for an active player to leave the team to be checked out. General manager Brian Cashman said in an e-mail: "We just think it should be looked at. Since we have been eliminated, why wait?"

Rivera let Girardi know earlier this week that he had some discomfort. Girardi described the exchange as Rivera saying his whole body felt "cranky."

"It's just a physical," Girardi said. "I'm not concerned about him." He said he anticipates that Rivera will be available to pitch this weekend, in particular the season finale, in which Mike Mussina will try to earn his 20th win. (Newsday)

Hank wants an answer from Cash

Brian Cashman was asked by the Steinbrenners to respond by next week to their offer to return as Yankees general manager, according to people familiar with the situation.

Cashman's current three-year, $5.5 million contract doesn't expire until Oct. 31, but the Yankees' owners don't want the issue to linger, not with a roster overhaul in the offing. The Steinbrenners prefer Cashman to commit to them before they present him with a new contract for a significant raise.

Most baseball people believe that for a variety of reasons, including an excellent working relationship with Hank Steinbrenner's younger, quieter brother Hal, Cashman will choose to return to the job he's held for 11 years. Cashman is expected to give both Steinbrenners his answer as early as next Monday or Tuesday. Negotiations on his new deal would begin the moment Cashman provides the go-ahead and are not expected to take long. (Source)

What happened in the bleachers on the last night at the Stadium?

Hunter Walker of Digital City writes about the last night at Yankee Stadium, including a fight on the subway on the way in, and a curious scene in the bleachers when security apparently reached new heights of Steinbrennian Fascism. If the following account is any indication, new Yankee Stadium will be a total dictatorship, where even the slightest infraction will get a person deported.

Another notable incident occurred about midway through the game when a veteran Bleacher Creature named Larry was violently ejected from the stadium for telling 258-pound Yankee right-hander Sidney Ponson to "eat a salad." Ponson laughed it off. Rude cheers from the bleachers are a Bronx baseball tradition and the Creatures are a Yankee Stadium fixture. Fans grumbled about "freedom of speech" as Larry was carried away by cops and stadium security. Larry begged the cops to reconsider pointing out that he hadn't cursed at Ponson.

Be forewarned: At new Yankee Stadium, remarks involving lettuce, carrots, tomato, spinach and croutons will be totally off limits. Police in riot gear will comb the stands listening for references to sliced cucumber and endive. The chubby Steinbrenner clan does not wish to be reminded that such low-calorie food exists. And don't even ask about the guy who yelled at Joba about cottage cheese. His family hasn't seen him since. (Full Story/Source)

Only 18 fans arrested in Yankee finale

NEW YORK - New York City police say they arrested more than a dozen people for stealing pieces of Yankee Stadium during the 85-year-old ballpark's final game.

Police say 18 fans were charged with possessing stolen property.

Officers were out in force for the stadium's final game on Sunday to keep souvenir hunters from tearing away pieces of the place.

Yankee spokesman Howard Rubenstein told the New York Post that they intend to hire a private security team to protect the stadium from other would-be thieves. (Source)

Goodbye Yankee Stadium

"For all of us up here, it's a huge honor to put this uniform on every day and come out here and play," he said. "And every member of this organization, past and present, has been calling this place home for 85 years. There's a lot of tradition, a lot of history, and a lot of memories. Now the great thing about memories is you're able to pass it along from generation to generation. And although things are going to change next year, we're going to move across the street, there are a few things with the New York Yankees that never change -- it's pride, it's tradition, and most of all, we have the greatest fans in the world.

"We're relying on you to take the memories from this stadium and add them to the new memories that come to the new Yankee Stadium, and continue to pass them on from generation to generation. On behalf of this entire organization, we want to take this moment to salute you, the greatest fans in the world." (Jeter)

Cano becomes hero in the 9th

Robinson Cano hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning and the New York Yankees staved off postseason elimination Saturday, beating the Baltimore Orioles 1-0.

Playing what is likely to be the penultimate game at Yankee Stadium, New York got a perfect inning from Mariano Rivera (6-5) and a fine start by impressive rookie Alfredo Aceves.

But it was a painful victory. Derek Jeter left after getting hit on the hand by a pitch in the ninth, which started the winning rally. Jeter's status for Sunday night was uncertain, though it's hard to imagine him missing the Yankee Stadium farewell no matter how badly he's hurt.

The Yankees cut Boston's AL wild-card lead to 6 1/2 games with seven to play. The Red Sox lost 6-3 at Toronto. (Source)

A-Rod and C-Rod, officially done

A-Rod and C-Rod are done, officially. Two months after Cynthia Rodriguez filed for divorce from the Yankees third baseman, they reached an out-of-court settlement, Cynthia's lawyer told Newsday last night.

Attorney Maurice Jay Kutner, reached at his Miami home, read the following statement:

"Cynthia and Alex Rodriguez have amicably resolved their dissolution of marriage proceedings. They deliberately engaged in a private negotiation, which was their stated desire from the beginning. It was and remains a personal family matter for both of them. All of their decisions were based upon and guided by the best interests of their daughters."

Kutner declined to answer questions. Alex Rodriguez's attorney, Alan J. Kluger, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

When Cynthia filed for divorce in early July, she requested custody of their two daughters, Natasha and Ella, ownership of their oceanfront home in Miami and child support and alimony to continue with her current lifestyle.

Rodriguez is in the first year of a $275-million, 10-year contract. (Source)

Yankees vs. Orioles FINAL HOME STAND

BAL: Liz (6-5, 6.90 ERA)
NYY: Pavano (3-1, 5.26 ERA)

BAL: Burres (7-9, 6.32 ERA)
NYY: Aceves (1-0, 1.80 ERA)

BAL: Waters (3-3, 4.75 ERA)
NYY: Pettitte (13-14, 4.57 ERA)

Holy crap... I can see again

Phil Hughes didn't get the major-league win that fans expected him to have so many of this season.

But Hughes turned in a solid if inefficient outing in his first start for the Yankees since April 29, which wound up as a 5-1 win over the White Sox. This year has been marred by injuries, most notably a stress fracture in his ninth right rib, and ineffectiveness. Nothing Hughes does these final two weeks can change that, and he will have to compete for a job in the rotation next spring instead of being guaranteed one, but allowing one run in four innings was at least a positive step.

"A little bit of jitters," said Hughes, who has switched from contact lenses to glasses. "It was a good feeling [to be out there]." (Full Story)

Jeter takes record at The Stadium

To Derek Jeter, the night sky seems a little darker and the floodlights seem a little brighter at Yankee Stadium. As he described it, “It’s like playing on a stage.” During Tuesday night’s show, the curtain was barely up when Jeter took his standing ovation.

With one crisp swing on the first pitch of his first at-bat, Jeter dispatched one of the last remaining nuggets of competitive intrigue in a Yankees season that has turned dismal. He slapped a ground ball under Juan Uribe’s glove and into left field to break Lou Gehrig’s 71-year-old record for most hits at the Stadium. (Full Story/Source)

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