10/17/2004 8:50 PM ET
Notes: Olerud sits out Game 4
Sore foot keeps first baseman on bench
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
|John Olerud (left) came out of Saturday's game after his sixth-inning at-bat, having hit the instep of his foot with the bat after dropping it. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
BOSTON -- John Olerud was not in the lineup for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Sunday because of a bruised left foot, which he suffered in Saturday night's Game 3 win.
Olerud left the game after his sixth-inning at-bat, having been hit on the instep of his foot with the bat after dropping it.
"When I was coming out of the box, I got hit by the bat," Olerud said. "I looked at video to try to see what happened, but it wasn't the best replay. I can't really tell, but it felt like I got hit pretty hard coming out of the box."
After the game, Olerud said he had hoped to play in Game 4, but his foot stiffened up on him overnight, so much so that he was using crutches to get around on Sunday.
"I might as well stay off of it while it's tender," Olerud said. "I don't want to put a lot of weight on it. It's pretty sore today, so I'll just get treatment on it and treat it pretty hard."
"He's not very mobile," said manager Joe Torre, who guessed that it would be 3-4 days before Olerud could play again. "The X-rays were negative, but he's sore."
Should Olerud's foot not get better in the next day or two, he would likely be sent for more tests, including an MRI exam or a CT scan. Torre said that Olerud would not be available off the bench on Sunday.
Tony Clark, who replaced Olerud in the bottom of the sixth, started at first base on Sunday and hit eighth for the Yankees.
"It will be no different than my role has been all year," Clark said. "Any time Jason [Giambi] needed a day, I was available. Any time Johnny needs a day, I'm available. Johnny needs a day or two, so I'm available for Skip and ready to go tonight."
Olerud had started all seven of the Yankees' postseason games, batting .200 (5-for-25) with one home run and two RBIs. His two-run homer off Pedro Martinez proved to be the game-winner in Game 2 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium.
Clark has appeared in just two games in the postseason, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. This is the first time that Clark has been involved in the postseason, so Game 4 marked his first career playoff start.
"It's not about me," Clark said. "It's nice to be able to contribute when you have an opportunity and I'll have an opportunity from the first pitch."
Olerud's potential availability for the World Series is unknown, but it seems as though he would be fully recovered by next Saturday, when the Fall Classic gets underway.
"I'm planning on being able to play. We just have to see how it goes," Olerud said. "I think they're waiting to see how it feels. They might want to do some other tests, depending on how things go. Hopefully it will loosen up."
Should Olerud not be able to play in the World Series, Clark would likely step in as the starting first baseman. Torre said that even if Olerud wasn't healthy enough to play, it is unlikely that Jason Giambi would be added to the roster.
"I don't think so," Torre said. "Talking to Jason, he still isn't real comfortable with the way he's feeling right now. He still isn't comfortable balance-wise.
"Let's get there first and then we'll decide."
Brown's bad day: Kevin Brown's two-inning outing in Game 3 was certainly not his best effort, but Torre didn't think that it was anything more than a bad night for the right-hander.
"Nothing happened physically that made us decide to take him out," Torre said. "It was basically that we didn't like what we saw. Did something physical contribute to that? I don't think any more than he normally deals with. He looked like he was trying to throw too hard, make perfect pitches."
Should the Yankees close out the Red Sox and advance to the World Series, it is unclear whether Brown will get another start, but Torre hinted that no changes to the rotation are likely.
"I don't anticipate [changes], but between now and the next round, it's a long time," Torre said. "A lot of it if we move on is what we discover, what we think we have."
No rest stop: Despite having a lead of up to 11 runs in Game 3, Torre opted to leave all of his regulars in the game until the ninth, and even then he lifted only Gary Sheffield for a pinch-runner.
"I didn't know what a blowout game was until the ninth inning," Torre said. "An eight-run lead in New York is like a four-run lead here. Sitting next to (Don) Zimmer for eight years, it conditions you to think you can never have too many runs."
It ain't over 'til it's over: Although the Yankees hold a 3-0 lead over the Red Sox, Torre likes the attitude he sees in his players, who aren't looking past Boston toward the World Series.
"Being down this road so often, we've been 3-0," Torre said. "I'm nervous as a cat, because of how the momentum can switch. You win one game, win two games, all of a sudden in a short series, something can happen."
In Torre's nine years as Yankees manager, his team has held a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series twice, eventually finishing the sweep in both the 1998 and 1999 World Series.
"I'm comfortable with the way our club is playing," Torre said. "The mood is good, and even after last night's game, they didn't feel that anything was over yet."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.