That was my first concern when I heard that Johnson was re-joining the Yanks as our 2010 DH. We know he can hit consistently. And we know he’ll take a million walks. But will he get thrown out trying to run to first base? Let’s go to the videotape.
OK, so he’s not Brett Gardner fast. He’s not Johnny Damon fast, either. He’s not even Robinson Cano fast. But hey, he’s faster than Hideki Matsui. And he won’t need to have his knees drained every five minutes. It’s true that he’s been injury prone, as in the example below.
But he inspires devotion even when he’s flat on the ground. (Did you hear those people cheering for him?) Plus, the Yankees have access to Dr. Marc Phillipon now. If Johnson so much as breaks a nail we can ship him off to Colorado for a miracle cure.
So welcome back to Yankeeville, Nick. I’m not sure I understand Cashman’s reasoning for bringing you back, except that you’re younger and cheaper than Matsui, but whatever. I always liked you. Baseball is in your blood. You have Larry Bowa for an uncle.
And an official welcome to Curtis Granderson, who looked like a Yankee god at today’s press conference. The pinstripes suit him.
I love how he talked about the great center fielders who’ve preceded him in the Bronx. He was humble about being a Yankee but not obsequious about it. (He didn’t overdo the “I can’t believe what an honor it is to put on this uniform…” thing.) I know he’ll become a fan favorite even without his old #28.
Also making news, speaking of Dr. Marc Phillipon, was A-Rod, who said he went to see Dr. Marc and will not need additional surgery on his hip. Now I ask you: How is that possible? The procedure he had last spring was supposed to be a partial solution to his labrum tear. And yet now he’s been declared 100% healthy? It all makes me wonder what the 2009 She-Fan Award winner for Best Doctor really does in that Colorado laboratory of his.
Baseball has already crowned the Rookies of the Year, the Cy Youngs, the MVPs, the Gold Gloves, the Silver Sluggers, the SI Sportsman of the Year (congratulations, Jeet) and, of course, the World Champions (congratulations, Yankees).
In other words, lots of hardware has already been handed out.
With the Winter Meetings scheduled to begin next week and nothing much happening in the meantime, it’s my pleasure to present the 2009 She-Fan Awards, which recognize excellence in the field of contributing to the success of the New York Yankees. Yes, that’s a mouthful, so let me put it another way. The award goes to a person or persons who helped the Yankees win this year.
No, it doesn’t go to a player. Or the manager. Or the general manager. It’s intended to spotlight those who are more obscure and who don’t generally receive the attention they deserve. And in case you’re wondering, the award itself is solid gold, has been custom-designed by my superb craftsmen here in Santa Barbara and, in keeping with the fan theme, looks like this.
Now, without further ado, the awards….
***** Best Surgeon *****
And the nominees are:
– Dr. Marc Phillipon (A-Rod’s hip surgeon)
– Dr. David Altchek (Posada’s shoulder surgeon, as well as Mo’s shoulder surgeon)
– Dr. James Andrews (Chien-Ming Wang’s shoulder surgeon, as well as consultant to many Yankees, including Dave Robertson)
– Dr. Lewis Yocum (Xavier Nady’s elbow surgeon)
And the winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Surgeon is…Dr. Marc Phillipon.
It was a tight race right down to the wire. Dr. Altchek performed surgeries on not one but two valuable Yankees shoulders and certainly merited attention. That said, A-Rod’s hip surgery was more delicate and it allowed the Yankees third baseman and clean-up hitter to return to the team in May, sparing us another minute of Cody Ransom, providing protection for Tex in the lineup and treating us to that heart-stirring walk-off homer in the 15th inning against Boston. Congratulations, Dr. Phillipon. Enjoy your award.
Coming next: the 2009 She-Fan Award for….you’ll have to wait and see.
According to the Daily News, A-Rod is doing well following surgery less than a week ago. “He’s in a good frame of mind,” said Joe Girardi.
Yeah, but how good? That’s what I wanted to know. The Daily News article mentioned that the patient is no longer dependent on these…
and that he’s about to continue his post-surgery rehab here.
But come on, what else? I needed more details than that. So I hopped on a plane back to Colorado and went in search of A-Rod to gauge his recovery for myself.
I landed in Vail, a picturesque village whose mountains were still capped with snow.
After getting my bearings (the flight was very turbulent), I asked the townspeople if they could direct me to A-Rod.
“He’s renting the Miller estate,” said the guy wearing the white cap.
I asked for the address, which he was kind enough to write down on a piece of paper for me.
“You can’t miss it,” he said. “It’s on the market for $10 million. This A-Rod of yours must be loaded.”
“He’s comfortable,” I replied. My mother taught me never to say the word “rich.”
I took a cab to the Miller estate.
I rang the bell and waited several minutes until a man – not Cousin Yuri but a butler – answered the door.
“Um, hi,” I said. “Is A-Rod home? Tell him it’s She-Fan just checking on his progress.”
“Mr. Rodriguez is not here,” he said. “He is engaging in some rather intensive rehabilitation for his hip.”
“Could you tell me where I could find him?”
Reluctantly, he gave me an address and off I went – only to be shocked by what I discovered. A-Rod was not only walking without crutches; he was walking really fast.
I tried to keep up, so I could pepper him with questions, but he got away from me.
An hour later, I tracked him down and was even more shocked when I saw how rigorously he was rehabbing in the pool.
I tried to speak to him, but he was underwater. And as soon as he came up for air, he was gone again – this time to a place where I couldn’t reach him.
“A-ROD!” I called up to him. “DON’T YOU THINK YOU MIGHT BE PUSHING IT?”
He ignored me. When I turned away, only for an instant, he was gone yet again. Apparently, there was another exercise program on his agenda.
“YOU NEED SUPERVISION!” I yelled to him. “SOMEBODY SHOULD BE SPOTTING YOU!”
I hailed another cab and followed him to a local skating rink. This time he was not exercising alone.
Wow, I thought. This man is bionic.
After A-Rod and his partner finished their routine, they went back to the Miller estate to relax.
I felt like an intruder, but I asked him how he was feeling.
“Good,” he said. “Better than good. Please tell Yankee fans that my recovery is way ahead of schedule.”
I was about to leave when A-Rod got up from the table and said he wanted to prove just how ahead-of-schedule his recovery is. All I can say is, I hope Dr. Phillipon knows what he’s doing.
Watching Team USA play the Yankees at Steinbrenner Field was enjoyable but weird. It felt as if we had loaned Jeter and his Captain-ness out for an All Star game.
And what to make of Brett Gardner and his relentlessly hot bat? He has worked his way into my subconscious and is even starting to show up in my dreams.
Then there was the news that A-Rod bolted from the Dominican team after their exhibition game and flew to Vail, Colorado. The reason? No, not a quick ski trip. The problem, apparently, is this.
I know. The photo looks a lot like a porterhouse, all marbled and fatty, but it’s actually an X-ray of a hip with a cyst. See the cyst right there in the middle? That’s what A-Rod has. So he’s off to consult a doctor named Marc Phillipon.
Yes, you’d be smiling too if you were “one of the world’s leading orthopedic surgeons,” which is how Dr. Phillipon is described on his web site – or, should I say, the web site of the facility where he’s a partner. It’s called the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic. And, no, it’s not named for this man.
The clinic promotes a product line of nutrients and vitamins called “Liquissentials.”
One can only hope that whatever is in them is not banned by Major League Baseball.
Speaking of which, I was settling into my chair tonight to catch the MLB Network’s roundup of the day’s news. Harold Reynolds and the guys were about to discuss the latest in the Dodgers-Manny soap opera when suddenly my TV screen went blank.
And then I heard a man’s voice yell, “Fernando Vina? What the f**k!”
The man was not my husband, either.
Obviously, there was a malfunction in the studio, and somebody F-bombed on national television. Uh-oh. Will there be a fine? A suspension? A public reprimand followed by a tearful apology?
If so, I’ll probably miss it. I’ll be on a plane to Florida, en route to spring training in Tampa and my signing at Barnes & Noble. I don’t like to fly, as anyone who’s read my book already knows, so please send happy thoughts for a flight with no mechanical problems, no flock of geese anywhere near the engines, and no bad plane wine.