NEW YORK (WFAN) — From Andy Pettitte’s return to the acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has a way of keeping big news out of the tabloids.
Until it actually happens, of course. And that’s just the way he wants it, especially with his competition ready to jump in and trump a potential deal.
Cashman made a huge splash Monday night when he traded a pair of minor leaguers for Ichiro, the aging hit machine who spent his entire MLB career — until yesterday — with Seattle.
“The only way to get deals done is to fly under the radar,” Cashman told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton on Tuesday.
LISTEN: Cashman with Boomer & Carton
With the teams set to face off, Ichiro switched clubhouses, donned his new Yankees road jersey and started against the Mariners, going 1 for 4 with a stolen base in the No. 8 slot against his former team.
Ichiro had to waive his no-trade clause for the deal, and Cashman said the outfielder is aware he’ll have to make some sacrifices with the Bombers — like starting in left field instead of right when Nick Swisher returns from a strained left hip flexor.
“He’s not obviously the player he has been, but I think he’s still capable,” said Cashman. “But he’s gonna have to make some adjustments and sacrifices. He was educated of all that and how we would want to use him prior to approving this, and he had to approve this knowing that. And yet he came. (That’s) no different than Alex Rodriguez moving to third base with Derek Jeter at short to be a part of this team.”
Speaking of returns, Joba Chamberlain is just around the corner. The reliever, coming off Tommy John surgery and a nasty ankle injury, has been lighting up the radar gun in his rehab outings. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since last June.
“Joba’s out of control,” said Cashman. “The stuff he’s featuring is remarkable. He’s as high as 100 (mph) but upwards consistently (at) 96, 97, 98. He looks really good.”
Cashman said the “worst-case” scenario for Chamberlain would be early August.
“He’s an amazing guy,” said Cashman. “He’s been hurt, he gets hurt a lot, but then his recovery time is like super-human — always beats the standard. So yeah, he’s due back here shortly. I mean, the worst-case scenario would be the first week of August, but he should be here ahead of that.”
One guy Yankees fans shouldn’t expect to see this season? That would be Mariano Rivera, even though one of his rehab doctors recently told the New York Post that the legendary closer could possibly return this season.
“I didn’t like that, personally,” Cashman told Boomer & Carton. “Physical therapists should just work on the player. I thought that was unprofessional. And that’s not accurate, he’s not coming back this year.”
Dr. Keith Pyne told the paper that Rivera’s timetable from a torn ACL may have actually been shortened by his delayed surgery. Cashman said that’s just not the case.
“I’ve never heard anything about him coming back this year — quite the opposite, that the time frame isn’t going to allow that,” he said. “It would have if he didn’t have the blood clot, it might have been an outside chance.”
Rivera vowed he would return after injuring his right knee while shagging fly balls at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium. But the 42-year-old recently told the New York Daily News: “I don’t even know if I want to play next year. I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring. One day at a time.”
“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to Mo,” said Cashman. “I think it’s possible that Mo’s made decisions and changes his mind depending on when the questions are asked. And that’s OK. He’s a great player, a great person and right now he’s working his tail off, that’s all that matters. (He) put himself in a position to decide one day whether he wants to keep it going or not.”
Your thoughts on Cashman, Ichiro, Joba or Mo? Be heard in the comments below!