Pretty straightforward pregame session before tonight's ganme against the lowly Astros. A partial update on Kevin Youkilis' back condition -- hopefully, we'll have the results of his MRI sometime during the game -- and not too many players hanging around the clubhouse on a dreary day with no outdoor batting practice or stretching.
New York Yankees
• Francisco Cervelli made his first appearance in the clubhouse since suffering a broken hand on a foul tip on Friday night. Cervelli, who underwent surgery for the insertion of a plate to mend his fractured second metacarpal, appeared with his hand heavily bandaged and his arm in a sling. But his spirits seemed high as he faced yet another period of injury rehab after getting off to a hot early season start.
"It’s a little disappointing for me, but it’s not the first time in my career," he said. "I’m real positive. I was playing good. I think I can play good when I come back."
Cervelli said he will take a lesson from the injury, which occurred when the first batter of the game, Rajai Davis, fouled a pitch off his exposed right hand. "I had my hand behind the glove and you know what, the funny thing is, that at-bat because I know Davis hits a lot of foul balls I was thinking, I got to hide my hand a little bit, and on that pitch, boom! Got it."
Cervelli, who said he has always caught with his bare hand behind his catcher's mitt, will now work on keeping his right hand behind his back while catching a pitch.
• There weren't too many Yankees around to weigh in on the groundbreaking announcement by the Washington Wizards' Jason Collins, who became the first active U.S. professional athlete to announce he is gay. But Joe Girardi and CC Sabathia tackled the issue briefly.
Said Girardi: "As far as myself personally, I believe as men and women we're called to love others [regardless of] their race, their religion, their thought process, whatever they do. We're not called to judge. I think part of judging people is probably what gets us in a lot of trouble in the world. As far as me personally, he's a player, he's a man. My job is to be his friend and love him. If I was his manager, it's to get the most out of him. If I was a player, I always felt it was as a player to be the best teammate that I could be. That's the bottom line."
Asked if he thought baseball would be ready to accept an openly gay player, Girardi said, "I think anytime anything happens for the first time, it's a little bit of a shock no matter what it is in our world. But I believe baseball will handle it well."
Sabathia said, "Good for [Collins]. He can be honest and not have to live a lie, I guess."
Sabathia said he would not have a problem dealing with a gay teammate in the clubhouse, nor did he think his teammates would. "You’d have to ask [everybody] else, but I don’t think so. But different guys have different opinions."
And asked if he thought baseball was "ready" for its own version of Collins, Sabathia said, "Sure. Why not?"
• Interestingly, Pettitte has made just one career start against Houston, for whom he pitched three seasons (2004-2006). He beat the Astros here in the Bronx on June 11, 2010, going 7-1/3 innings and allowing four hits in a 4-3 Yankees victory. He has faced two batters in tonight's starting lineup: Carlos Pena (.326 with 6 HRs in 43 career at-bats) and Ronny Cedeno (.182, with two singles in 11 ABs). The Yankees have never faced Astros starter Lucas Harrell. Three members of tonight's lineup, Brennan Boesch, Travis Hafner and Jayson Nix have had a handful of at-bats against him. Boesch is 4-for-4 off Harrell, Hafner is 1-for-1 and Nix is 2-for-3.