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Yankees 1B Berkman sore but ready to go in Game 6

Yankees 1B Berkman sore but ready to go in Game 6
By The Associated Press 4 hours, 29 minutes ago



New York first baseman Lance Berkman was still a little sore after that hard spill when he slipped in foul territory at Yankee Stadium in Game 5 of the AL championship series.

He was asked Thursday where he hurt the most.

“My rear,” he said with emphasis. “That’s it.”

Berkman said he has seen a replay, and it was just as he experienced it on the slick track.

“I fell down hard,” he said. “It didn’t feel good.”

But Berkman stayed in the game and will be in the starting lineup again for Game 6 against Texas on Friday night. He is starting at first base after the Yankees lost Mark Teixeira(notes) to a hamstring injury in Game 4.

“The fact that he took BP today and was out there made me feel pretty good,” manager Joe Girardi said after the team’s workout. “I’m sure he’s sore. You don’t fall that hard and not be sore. But I don’t expect it to affect his play tomorrow. He’ll be in there. Unless something happens overnight.”

MAKING COMPARISONS: The World Series champion Chicago White Sox of 2005 were built on strong starting pitching and defense, not too much different from the San Francisco Giants this season.

Those White Sox played their share of close and meaningful games, just as the Giants did for the entire month of September. San Francisco clinched the NL West on the season’s final day, beating rival San Diego.

Aaron Rowand has played on both clubs, winning a championship ring on Chicago’s South Side five years ago along with current Giants teammate Juan Uribe. Rowand and Uribe could have a chance to do the same with San Francisco. The Giants haven’t been to the World Series since falling six outs shy of a title against the Angels in 2002. And San Francisco hasn’t won since coming West in 1958—the New York Giants captured the franchise’s last World Series crown in 1954.

“It’s pretty obvious in 2005 we relied heavily on our pitching and our defense. And I’d say if you looked at this squad this year, you’d probably say the same thing,” said Rowand, one of the few playoff veterans in the Giants’ clubhouse. “When you get to the postseason and everything rides on every pitch, and the pressure mounts, you have something to fall back on (from close games). You have that experience to fall back on. That played a big part in 2005 for our squad there, and I feel like that’s played a big part in this season for this team.”

How about comparing the managing styles of Ozzie Guillen and Bruce Bochy?

“I’m not going to touch that one,” Rowand said with a chuckle.

WE MEET AGAIN?: Yankees ace CC Sabathia and Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson(notes) have already squared off twice in the AL championship series. They could share the mound again Friday night in Game 6.

Two days after starting Game 5, both are scheduled to throw bullpen sessions Friday. Instead, they could enter in relief if New York’s Phil Hughes or Texas’ Colby Lewis needs help.

“Our plan is, he’s available tomorrow,” New York manager Joe Girardi said about Sabathia. “Let’s see how he feels tomorrow, but our plan is that he will be available for us.”

The outing would be like old times for Wilson, who pitched out of the bullpen for several years before converting back to a starter this season.

“On a normal bullpen session, which I would throw tomorrow, I would normally throw 35-40 pitches and that’s at like 80 to 90 percent intensity, so at 100 percent intensity with adrenaline I would have no problem throwing between 20 and 70 pitches,” Wilson said.

Wilson also had a bit more insight on what went wrong for him in Game 5.

“I’ve had a blister on my (left index) finger all year, and it tore in the second inning yesterday,” he said. “Good times. Blister juice on the ball. I was trying to adjust and everything went wrong.”

Girardi also said he wouldn’t hesitate to use closer Mariano Rivera or setup man Kerry Wood for two innings. The Yankees trail the best-of-seven series 3-2.

“I think that you have to manage it like there’s no tomorrow,” Girardi said. “Game 6, if we need him six outs, we need him six outs. I think that’s what you have to do. If you need Woody six outs, you need Woody six outs. You worry about the next day the next day. For me, they are available as much as we need them.”

PLAYOFF VETERAN: Phillies closer Brad Lidge understands he’s one of the fortunate few to go to the postseason several times already.

Three of his teammates—Roy Halladay, Mike Sweeneyand Brian Schneider— waited a combined 40 seasons to finally get their chance.

Lidge won a World Series title two years ago with Philadelphia in one of the best seasons ever by a closer. He converted all 41 of his regular-season save chances and seven in as many tries during the postseason, including the World Series clincher against Tampa Bay.

“It makes you realize how fortunate and blessed you’ve been when you see other guys that have played as long as Sweeney and haven’t gotten to the postseason,” Lidge said. “Other guys, too—Brian Schneider and Roy Halladay. They’ve all been playing for 10 years or more and haven’t had a chance.”

The righty reliever was a World Series runner-up in 2005 with the Astros and again last year, when Philadelphia lost to the New York Yankees.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, whose club faced a 3-1 deficit in the NL championship series Thursday night, emphasized how special a season it has been regardless of how it turns out. Two-time reigning NL champion Philadelphia owned the majors’ best record at 97-65.

“That’s one of the first pieces,” Manuel said of the regular-season finish. “It’s like a pie. It’s like four pieces and we’ve got two of them. We’re still working on a third one. If you don’t reach a goal, I’m sure there’s going to be disappointment. … You’d be taking away something from the players not to notice exactly the impact of our season.”

PULL-UP PANTS: Expect to see New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher with his pants pulled up again in Game 6 of the ALCS.

“I felt like I finally just locked in there with the rest of the outfield,” Swisher said Thursday, a day after playing with his pants falling just below his knee like Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson, rather than all the way down to his ankle as usual.

Asked if it made a difference, Swisher responded with a chuckle.

“I guess so. I definitely have to try it out again,” he said.

Swisher, who had to find a pair of long blue socks to change his look, scored twice and drove in a run in the Yankees’ 7-2 victory in Game 5 that forced the series back to Texas with the Rangers up 3-2.

THRILLING WIN: Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff chatted once they arrived at AT&T Park on Thursday about just how great a game they took part in a night earlier. It was hard to comprehend how thrilling it was at the time.

The Giants beat the Phillies 6-5 on Juan Uribe’s game-ending sacrifice fly to go up 3-1 in the NL championship series. After watching the highlights of the back-and-forth affair on television, Rowand got a better idea.

“It’s definitely up there,” Rowand said of the most memorable games in his 10-year big league career. “You don’t really realize what kind of game that was during the game and even directly after the game. … You wake up in the morning and it kind of hits you what kind of game that was. But you can’t be in the midst of the game going, ‘Wow, this is a great game.’ Because then you’re not going to do all that well.”

Giants manager Bruce Bochy insists it will probably be winter before he grasps what his team accomplished in Game 4, when Bochy made three double-switches. While the skipper spent a long while in his office afterward with general manager Brian Sabean and both of their families, there was still preparation for Thursday night’s Game 5 on the mind.

“You put that game behind you,” Bochy said. “And hopefully in the winter you have time to maybe reflect back on a great ballgame like we had last night.”

STREAKY DEBUTS: Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus and outfielder Nelson Cruz have both hit safely in all 10 games so far in their postseason debuts.

They are the ninth and 10 players to open their postseason careers with double-digit hit streaks.

The only other set of teammates to accomplish that were Thurman Munson and Chris Chambliss for the New York Yankees from 1976-77. Munson had an 11-game hitting streak and Chambliss had a 10-game streak.

The record is held by Marquis Grissom, who hit in his first 15 postseason games for Atlanta from 1995-96.

RATING GAME: San Francisco’s 6-5 victory over Philadelphia in Game 4 drew the highest rating for the National League championship series since St. Louis’ Game 7 win at the New York Mets in 2006.

The Giants’ win Monday night drew 9.27 million viewers on Fox.

In the AL, the Yankees’ 7-2 win over Texas in Game 5 drew 6.1 million viewers for a 4:07 p.m. EDT start.

Yankees 1B Berkman sore but ready to go in Game 6 - MLB - Yahoo! Sports
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