Notes: Torre Won't Think Standings

All Torre can do is send his best players out there
05/21/2007 9:32 PM ET
By Jennifer Royle /

Joe Torre needs a win.(AP)
NEW YORK - With the Yankees 10.5 games back in the loss column, all Joe Torre can do against the Red Sox is fill out the lineup card each and every night with his best men, manage his game his way and pay no attention to the standings. Losers of six of their last nine, the Yankees returned home to face their rival Red Sox in a three-game series at the stadium and hope to ride the momentum from Sunday night's 6-2 win over the Mets.

"The importance of the series is us," Torre said. "We need to put something together. It just so happens Boston is in town. That would make it better if we can do that. Hopefully the last couple of days were a good sign offensively for us.

"You can't look at the lead and say 'boy we need to climb a high mountain.' We need to take it one step at a time. There's no way you can think in terms of... when can we get even? You have to get your house in order and basically win enough games to get your record to where you're comfortable with it."

Although this is the largest deficit the Yankees have been in under the realm of Joe Torre, the Yankee manager has not and will not keep one eye on the Red Sox or the loss column. On the winning side, Boston manager Terry Francona feels the same way. He isn't peeking at the win column either or admiring being far atop the American League East.

"If it was September 29, I'd say it was awesome," Francona said. "We talk so often and I get asked about it so much. We get so consumed with who we're playing. We just played Atlanta, we got consumed with them. Now it's the Yankees."

Although the Yankee bats have heated up as of late, particularly those of Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter, if the Yankees were to get swept by the Red Sox, they would be left in a deep 13 ½-game hole, a hole many feel they wouldn't be able to scratch and claw themselves out of. While Torre and Brian Cashman both said they'll never give up on the season regardless of how far back they are, Francona doesn't think wining his first Divison Title in 2007 will be a slam dunk.

"I don't even have a thought on that," Francona said. "That hasn't even entered my mind. That has no bearing on our preparation for this series.

"I don't think we can make an impact as far as where we are in the standings," Torre said. But we can make ourselves feel better and that's based on trying to string some wins together. Anything we do now, Boston's still going to be in control.

"We can't look at it as we have to seize this opportunity because we have to play more baseball after they leave. I think its important we play like we're capable of playing."

Darrell Rasner, who fractured his right index finger after throwing just nine pitches Saturday against the Mets, underwent surgery that night where two pins were inserted and will stay for the next three to four weeks. Rasner, the fifth Yankee starter to make his Major League Debut this season, will most likely be out for the three months. It is unsure whether or not he will rehab in Tampa where fellow rookie teammates Jeff Karstens and Phil Hughes already are.

"I can't believe what happened," Rasner said. "I had a guilty feeling the bullpen had to finish the nine innings. They're so battered right now, for them to step up again. I can't say enough about them."

Rasner says he's still sore from the surgery, as expected, but the right-hander's worst pain is over the fact he felt like he was ready to contribute to the big league club.

"Things were going well," said Rasner who is not ruling out he will be back before the end of the season. "I just have to keep myself in shape and be ready," Rasner said. "I'll just have to stay on my arm exercises, I still can do that. I'll do as much as I can but I'm not going to be able to do much else."

"I don't know what he can do," Torre said. "He really can't do any working out at this point in time so I don't know what the plan is for him."

Thirty-seven year-old Mariano Rivera still recalls when he as 25-years-old and earned his first win in the Majors. Therefore, the veteran Yankee knows exactly how Tyler Clippard feels and enjoys seeing the 22-year-old enjoy the spotlight.

"I remember on the West Coast, I lost my first game and then we came back and won the only game on the road trip. Out of 12 games we lost 11 and the one game we won was mine. I was congratulated by Donnie (Mattingly), Bernie (Williams), (Paul) O'Neill, Wade Boggs and those guys. It was great."

Rookie Tyler Clippard is still glowing after he allowed just three hits and one run to the Mets at Shea Stadium on ESPN's Sunday Night baseball. After earning his first Major League win, which was also his debut, the 22-year-old, along with his family, celebrated with some McDonalds and went back to the hotel to have a glass of champagne.

"You don't see a young guy doing that," Rivera said. "He was good. We needed that. We need somebody to step up and do that."

"The kid gave us a big lift," Torre said. "He controlled a very good offensive ball club."

Clippard was swarmed by the media as he settled into his locker next to Kyle Farnsworth Monday afternoon, still relishing in his big moment.

"My family was right there so I didn't need to call anybody," Clippard said. "That was who I wanted to share it with."

Roger Clemens was rumored to be in New York and possibly at Yankee Stadium Monday night but that notion was quickly put to it to rest when Yankees Public Relations said the right-hander wasn't even in town. Andy Pettitte also joked, "He hasn't told me anything so I don't think he's here." Then again, Pettitte didn't even know Clemens was going to re-sign with New York... Jason Giambi returned to the Yankee lineup as the DH and batted seventh. "He got the new orthotics and said it feels good. Its still a matter of having him trust it," Torre said. Giambi homered in his first at-bat in the second inning to put the Yankees up 3-0... Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 16 consecutive games with a single in the second... Either Matt DeSalvo or Tyler Clippard will start on Sunday when the Yankees open up a three-game series against the Angels. "I think a lot of it depends on what happens over the next couple of days with DeSalvo in the bullpen," Torre said. "If he plays a role or get in a time or two it will probably be Clippard. I think DeSalvo can probably handle the pen easier."... Bobby Abreu went 2-for-3 with a double, two walks and one run scored Sunday against the Mets and believes he is out of 5-for-30 slump. "Abreu right now is about as close as he's been since he started his little slump," Torre said.

Jennifer Royle is an editorial producer for She can be reached at comments