Joel Sherman of the New York Post has an exclusive interview with Hal Steinbrenner this morning. The unequivocal upshot: there is no rift between Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ top brass:
“[Cashman] and I have a great working relationship. There is no problem, right now. I think we have had a bunch of drummed-up drama.”
The public sparring with Derek Jeter? Steinbrenner says that he — not Cashman — wrote the statement critical of Jeter that Cashman gave following Casey Close’s comments describing the team’s negotiating stance being “baffling.” Cashman’s dissension from ownership following the Rafael Soriano signing? No biggie:
“I keep reading about dissension and discord. We are a well-functioning company. The bosses have a decision to make. Sometimes people don’t agree with those decisions. So I told him, ‘You are always honest with the media, be honest now. Tell them what you have to tell them.’ I was already onto the next decision. I told him, ‘You and I are fine. Answer in any way you want.'”
Steinbrenner says that “there are no problems at all” between he and Cashman and that it “has been a very good relationship.” He says that, while it’s too early to discuss a contract extension, he would very much like Cashman back after his deal is up this fall.
One would assume that this should put all of the Brian Cashman criticism and speculation to rest. But given that the criticism and speculation was unreasonable to begin with, maybe it won’t.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.