DETROIT — Dewayne Wise rarely gets to play for the Yankees these days. But in the aftermath of Johan Santana’s no-hitter for the Mets on Friday night, Wise’s face and glove kept showing up on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” replay Saturday morning.

Almost three years ago — July 23, 2009 — Wise helped preserve Mark Buehrle’s perfect game for the Chicago White Sox, robbing Tampa Bay’s Gabe Kapler of a home run with a leaping grab at the fence in left-center for the first out in the ninth inning. Wise had just entered the game as a defensive replacement in center field, exactly the role he fills for the Yankees.

“I know guys who don’t want the ball hit to them in that situation because they’re nervous,” Wise said. “I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to run a ball down in the gap or make a diving catch.”

He got his chance with the right-handed-hitting Kapler. Playing shallow to cut off a bloop hit, Wise took off for the fence. “I didn’t think it was out of the park,” he said. “I started running to where I thought the ball was going to come down.”

Wise said he almost lost the ball when he crashed into the wall. He fell, tumbled, and rolled over before holding up the ball in his bare hand.

“I couldn’t feel the ball in my glove,” he said. “I caught the ball and hit the wall at the same time. I looked up and the ball starting coming out. It was crazy. It would have been 10 times better if it had been the third out.

“I was so excited I had to calm myself down, because we still had two outs to go.”

Wise throws left-handed, which helped him reach up for the ball without his right gloved hand blocking his vision. A right-handed thrower probably could not have made that play. Wise shared the same good fortune as left fielder Sandy Amoros of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who famously took an extra-base hit from Yogi Berra in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series with a right-handed catch.

“Harold Baines said that to me right away after the game,” Wise said of the White Sox coach. “He told me that, for a lot of other guys, that’s a lot tougher play, because a right-hander has to reach across his body.”

Wise saw replays of Mike Baxter’s fence-crashing grab in the seventh inning that helped save Santana’s no-hitter. Baxter then left the game with a shoulder injury.

“He did everything he could to make that catch,” Wise said. “Hopefully he’ll be all right.”

As a 34-year-old backup with a lifetime .217 average, Wise knows his catch figures to stand as the signature moment of his career. “I don’t mind,” he said. “It’s good to be known for something.”

Hope for Chamberlain Return Yankees Manager Joe Girardi added a surprise name to the list of players rehabilitating injuries in Tampa, Fla. Joba Chamberlain, he said, tossed Saturday from halfway up the slope of a mound while wearing a small brace on the right ankle he dislocated during spring training.

That gave Girardi some hope that Chamberlain, also working his way back from elbow ligament transplant surgery, might actually pitch this season. Girardi likened Chamberlain to someone almost ready to report to spring training.

“There are some other hurdles he’s going to have to clear,” Girardi said. “I think his arm is going to be fine.

“It’s going to be, can he tolerate the pounding you go through as a pitcher?” Girardi added in reference to covering first base and pushing off the rubber on his delivery.

“When it comes to a pain threshold, there’s a lot of things I’ve seen this kid get through,” Girardi said. “He has that weird sense that he can do a lot of things that it takes people a little bit longer to do.”

Girardi also said he has always felt Chamberlain would be back this season. “I’ve always believed he’ll be back. Now, I’m no doctor, no rehab therapist. But knowing Joba, I believe he’s going to be back for us this year. That’s still my belief.”

David Robertson threw off a bullpen mound for the first time since being disabled with a strained left oblique. Brett Gardner (strained right below) took batting practice in the cages again.

A Tough Spot Joe Girardi said he did not envy Mets Manager Terry Collins’s predicament in the ninth inning Friday night, deciding whether to send Johan Santana back out to finish his no-hitter or protect his pitcher’s post-surgical left shoulder. Girardi was in such a situation twice, once as a player and once as a manager.

On Sept. 2, 1996, in Oakland, Girardi, then the Yankees catcher, watched Joe Torre pull David Cone after seven no-hit innings in Cone’s first start after missing more than three months with a right shoulder aneurysm. Cone had thrown 85 pitches. Mariano Rivera relieved and gave up a single to Jose Herrera with one out in the ninth. Cone pitched his perfect game three years later.

On April 10, 2010, with C.C. Sabathia no-hitting Tampa Bay in his second start of the season, a rising pitch count persuaded Girardi to pull Sabathia in the eighth inning after he faced Kelly Shoppach. Before Girardi could do that, Shoppach broke up the bid with a single.

“It’s one of the tougher spots you’re going to be in as a manager,” Girardi said. “I don’t envy what he had to go through last night.”

He added: “You don’t want to be the guy that ruins the guy’s chance for a no-hitter. But you also don’t want to be the guy who ruins a chance for your team in the postseason because you let a guy go too long and he ends up on the D.L. for one month or two months, or, worst case, has to have surgery. It’s terrible.”

So how would Girardi have handled Santana? “I would have done what Terry did,” he said.

Source : Yankee Recalls the Catch That Saved a No-Hitter – New York Times (blog)

Advertisements