Though under most circumstances I’d prefer to dwell on the Yankees’ 2-1 loss Friday to K.C. —- ending an 11 game road losing streak for the Royals — it’s pretty hard to resist a story that can be summed up by Hank Steinbrenner telling Johnny Damon not to worry his pretty little head over serious-baseball-stuff. From the New York Daily News’ Peter Botte.
“I love Johnny Damon as a player and a person, and he’s really doing the job right now. But let’s be honest here, he’s not Branch Rickey,” Steinbrenner told the Daily News in a telephone interview before Friday night’s game against the Royals, referring to the legendary baseball executive. “Johnny is a player, and as players, they all need to let the brain trust do the thinking and do the talking.
“The players just need to play and to worry about winning games.”
Damon made the point in the Daily News earlier this week that the Yankees have a better chance to win more often with Chamberlain remaining in his lights-out setup role, instead of being converted back into a starter during the season. Damon and the Yankees were annoyed by The News’ “It’s Bull” headline on Thursday’s back page, but the always-honest outfielder simply was vocalizing the concerns of several players and fans in the ongoing Joba debate.
“I think so much of the media and a lot of fans are really missing the point on Joba, I really do,” Steinbrenner said. “Everyone’s worried about the eighth inning, and I agree it’s important, but (shoot), we haven’t even been getting to the eighth inning most (games).
“I think even (Chien-Ming) Wang’s slump shows how fragile starting pitching can be. We’ll get Wang straightened out and Joba will help us get our starting pitching in order, and then we’ll concentrate on doing something about the bullpen.”