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July 9, 2003

by Larry Mahnken

Hmm...apparently, Karim Garcia is a wuss. From today's Game Notes:
Yankees OF Karim Garcia said the violent thunderstorm that swept through Jacobs Field before Tuesday night's game was scary. While New York was taking batting practice, a giant lightning bolt hit near the ballpark, sending players and fans scrambling. Garcia bolted to the dugout. "That's as fast as I've run all year,'' he joked.
Karim, you're more likely to draw a walk than get struck by lightning. Don't soil yourself.

The Yanks finally got Bernie back tonight, which improves them more than any trade they make this year ever will. As expected, Joe stuck him back in centerfield, making a decision out of loyalty rather than objective analysis. It's not a move that will hurt the Yankees terribly, but they could have improved their outfield defense marginally, and increased the likelihood of Bernie staying healthy by moving him to left. Perhaps they don't want to make that move during the season, and will wait until next spring, but don't count on it.

Bernie left the team in the midst of a terrible slide, probably caused in large part by the knee injury. He finally broke out of that slump, if you want to consider him still being in it, with an RBI single in the 7th inning. If he can get back in the groove quickly and go on a hot streak between Giambi and Matsui, happy days will indeed be here again.

That lead in the East was almost back up to four games again, if only the Blue Jays could have closed it out. But the Jays have a bullpen that ranks in between the Yankees' and Red Sox pens, and they blew a 7-3 lead in the 8th. The fact that they handed the ball to Juan Aceve-DOH! in the ninth tells you pretty much all you need to know about the Jays' pen. 8-7 Red Sox, and the lead is still a too-close-for-comfort three games. But then, it's not quite a close enough to get terribly worried margin, either. Toronto's done, though. They'll be back next year, but all that's left this season is to play spoiler, and since they don't play either the Yankees or Sox after 9/4, they don't get a very good opportunity to do that, either.