Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York heard from a source Saturday that the Yankees dismissed pitching coach Dave Eiland this fall because his relationship with manager Joe Girardi turned sour near the middle of the 2010 season. That source may be correct, but Eiland is denying all claims about burned bridges.
Eiland took a month-long leave of absence from the Yanks in June for personal reasons and Marchand’s source said that the veteran Yankee coach felt that his opinions were being “deemphasized” by the club upon returning.
Eiland doesn’t remember it that way. He told the New York Daily News on Saturday that he did not leave the Yankees on a sour note and that his relationship with Girardi is still healthy.
“That’s absolutely ridiculous and simply not true,” Eiland told the Daily News in reaction to ESPN New York’s published story. “Joe and I have never had a problem nor do we now. He’s a solid baseball man and a great manager, and more importantly one of the best human beings I have ever met.”
When it was first announced that Eiland would not be returning for the 2011 season, Yankees GM Brian Cashman called it his own decision and a “private” matter. It’s hard to know what to believe, and the Yanks aren’t likely to reveal all of the actual happenings that led to the pitching coach’s departure. We may never get a straight answer.
Earlier this month, Yankees starter CC Sabathia jawed at the Red Sox after Eduardo Nunez laid down a bunt. Sabathia fielded it fine, but threw the ball away for an error. After the game, he called Nunez’s bunt “weak” and said the Red Sox should “swing the bat.” Sabathia, of course, is not that limber these days. Along with being 37 years old, the lefty has also battled knee and hamstring issues this season.
The Twins apparently didn’t hear what Sabathia had to say about bunting. After Brian Dozier singled off of Sabathia to lead off the top of the first inning on Tuesday, Joe Mauer laid down a bunt on the third base side and reached safely. Jorge Polanco then laid down a bunt of his own, also on the third base side, and was initially ruled out, but after replay review was ruled safe to load the bases with no outs.
Fortunately for Sabathia, he was able to limit the damage, getting Eduardo Escobar to ground into a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and inducing an inning-ending ground out from Byron Buxton. It’ll be interesting, though, to see if the Twins continue to bunt against Sabathia throughout the night.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.
Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.
Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.