TAMPA, Fla. — Given five months to reflect, Brian McCann isn’t positive he would confront an opponent again the way he went after Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez last year.
The New York Yankees’ new All-Star catcher reported Friday ahead of spring training workouts and was asked about the Sept. 25 confrontation in Atlanta.
Angry Paul Maholm hit him with a pitch in June, Gomez shouted at the pitcher as he slowly rounded the bases following a home run. McCann stood in the third base line about 20 feet from the plate and blocked Gomez, and benches emptied.
“I’m not sure,” McCann said when asked whether he would do it again. “My instincts took over. I had a baby two days before. I got no sleep. Wasn’t in the mood.”
McCann, who left the Braves for an $85 million, five-year deal with New York, defended his response to the slow trot but praised Gomez.
“It was something I felt like I needed to do. I didn’t like it. But I think he’s an amazing player,” he said. “I think he’s a great person. I mean all of that stuff. He plays the game extremely hard. I’m a huge fan of Gomez, for sure.”
McCann also got into a spat on Sept. 11 with Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, the NL Rookie of the Year.
Fernandez grinned at the Braves’ Evan Gattis after allowing his homer, then stood at the plate in the bottom of the inning admiring his first major league homer and spat toward the Braves’ Chris Johnson while rounding third base.
McCann scolded Fernandez when the pitcher crossed the plate, leading to benches and bullpens clearing. Fernandez apologized after the game for his behavior.
”You scream, I’ll scream back. There’s no code,” McCann said. “He was the best pitcher I faced last year. He’s going to be great for a lot of years to come. I’ve got respect for him. I enjoy the way he pitches. His stuff is incredible.”
Sabathia down to 275 pounds
New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia has reported to spring training at a slimmed-down 275 pounds, 40 below his high.
The 33-year-old left-hander was 14-13 last year and set career highs for ERA at 4.78 and home runs allowed with 28. He gave up 122 runs, the most in the major leagues.
Sabathia said Friday he decided to lose the weight after a cousin, Demetrius Davis, died of a heart attack at age 45 in December 2012. Sabathia dropped most of the pounds last year plus an additional 5 during the offseason.
Sabathia says “I felt like ‘The Biggest Loser’ last year,” a reference to a reality television show. “I lost a lot of weight, but I just wasn’t physically ready to go out and play.”
Rodriguez locker kept open
Alex Rodriguez’s spring training locker has been kept open by the New York Yankees.
Suspended for the season for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract, Rodriguez had used the stall just to the side of the back entrance of the clubhouse at Steinbrenner Field. There was no nameplate on it Friday and no uniforms hanging inside. Carlos Beltran was assigned the adjacent locker.
Rodriguez is eligible to return next year, when he turns 40, and has three seasons remaining on his record $275 million, 10-year contract.
Masahiro Tanaka, the Japanese pitcher signed to a $155 million, seven-year deal, was given the locker used by Mariano Rivera, who retired after last season. Speaking through a translator, Tanaka said he was informed of that by a Yankees staff member.
“I’m not really sure if I should be here,” he said of the stall.
Reliever Shawn Kelley was given the locker of retired pitcher Andy Pettitte.
It didn’t take long for the Yankees to reassign Robinson Cano’s No. 24, giving it to Scott Sizemore. He is at spring training on a minor league contract.