Nick Swisher ‘can’t wait to hit against’ Cliff Lee

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The New York Yankees are sick and tired of Cliff Lee.

They’re sick of listening to everyone talk about him. They’re tired of answering questions about how awesome he is. And they’ve certainly had enough of watching him in their nightmares as he bounds off the mound after yet another strikeout, cackling madly to himself as if to say “how can it be this easy?”

The Yankees’ frustration boiled over just a bit in the form of a Nick Swisher mini-rant on Wednesday, when the outfielder became incensed when he overheard a reporter asking a teammate about you-know-who.

“You guys are talking about Cliff Lee?” said Swisher, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN-New York.”[Expletive], who cares?”

More from Marchand:

As he walked off, Swisher said, “I can’t wait to hit against his [behind].”

Later, when asked about saying this out loud with reporters present, Swisher cut off a question when the words “Cliff Lee” were uttered.

“I’m not talking about Cliff Lee,” Swisher said. “I don’t give a [expletive].”

Oh Nick. Don’t you know that if you insult Lee you’ll only make him angry? (And yes, like Mongo, Lee will park his ox wherever he likes, thank you very much)

Of course, you can understand the Yankees getting tired of the constant Cliff Lee questions, especially when there is this annoying thing called Game 6 that they have to deal with first. Should they find themselves unable to score any runs against Colby Lewis on Friday, the issue will be moot – except for the “Cliff-Lee-in-pinstripes” queries.

As far as Swisher goes, I’m glad he popped off. Maybe he shouldn’t voice such opinions out loud, but the sport would be a lot less fun if everyone just regurgitated Nuke LaLoosh clichés all the time.

And maybe Swisher really can’t wait to face Lee. His career line against the ace left-hander? .320/.419/.640. Wow.

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Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.