Is Derek Jeter a liar or a thief?

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Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera were given a bunch of gifts before last night’s game. Cool stuff, too!  For example, check out what Rivera got: 

Rivera was given the bullpen bench from the old Yankee Stadium and the Citi Field pitching rubber from the night he earned save No. 500 against the New York Mets across town.

Nice! I hope to God that no one told the Mets.

Jeter scored pretty well too. Among other things, he was given that sign from the old Yankee Stadium clubhouse with the famous Joe DiMaggio quote: “I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee.”  Wait a minute, my B.S. detector is going off! Quick! To the time machine! Set the dial for last January!

Derek Jeter came clean Wednesday night. He pilfered the Joe DiMaggio sign, as I suspected . . . A clue on his intentions had come earlier that night, when he said he had his eye on a particular Stadium keepsake but wouldn’t say which. After the game and on-field celebration, I noticed the sign was missing and told him, “I know what you’re taking out of here,” and I asked if I could report it.

He shook his head and replied, “In due time.”

Four months later, he admitted he had taken the sign, and another item or two.

So Captain Jetes: were you lying to the New York Times, saying you stole the DiMaggio sign in an effort to make yourself look like a Yankee-history-lovin’ bad boy, or did you actually steal the sign, give it back to the Yankees, and then allow them to “award” you with it in last night’s ceremony?  It has to be one of those two, right?

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.