Jeter passes Rickey as Yankees' steals leader
Captain swipes 327th base against Mariners
SEATTLE -- Derek Jeter's stolen base in the third inning on Saturday was the 327th of his career, surpassing Rickey Henderson for the most in Yankees history.
Jeter swiped second base at Safeco Field against the battery of right-hander Felix Hernandez and catcher Miguel Olivo. He had tied Henderson on May 22 against the Mets at Yankee Stadium.
"It's hard to believe. Rickey was only here what? A year-and-a-half?" Jeter said then, with a laugh. "But if you play long enough and try to be consistent, I guess good things happen."
Henderson stole a Major League-record 1,406 bases during his 25-year, Hall of Fame career. He appeared in 596 games for the Yankees from 1985-89.
Jeter has four stolen bases this year and logged a career high in 2006 with 34. He and Henderson stand ahead of Willie Randolph (251), who owns the third-most steals in pinstripes.
Pickoff a valuable lesson for Yanks' Nunez
SEATTLE -- Eduardo Nunez slammed his hand into the dirt after being picked off of second base on Friday night, a show of frustration that prompted Yankees manager Joe Girardi to keep his distance for a day.
But when Nunez reported to Safeco Field on Saturday afternoon, he did so knowing there would be a chat with the manager on deck.
"You just can't get picked off in that situation," Girardi said. "You have a lot of speed, you get a good secondary, and you should be able to score on any base hit unless it's an infield hit. And you might even score on that."
It was a key play in the Yankees' 4-3 loss to the Mariners, coming immediately after Nunez had pinch-run for Jorge Posada and stole second base on his own in the eighth inning. Nunez said he recognized its significance.
"I feel bad. It was a big play in the inning, two out, man on second base," Nunez said. "The tying run is me. To get picked off, I feel so bad. It happens in the game. Tomorrow is a new day."
Nunez said that his arm stuck in the dirt when he dived for second base, reacting to the whirling move by Jamey Wright, which allowed the pickoff to happen.
"I believe that he's safe if his arm doesn't stick," Girardi said. "I think his lead was extended and it would have been a close play, but I believe he was going to be safe."
Adjusting to a reserve role has been a process for the 23-year-old Nunez, who beat out Ramiro Pena this spring to serve as an understudy at third base, second base and shortstop, also seeing time in the outfield.
Girardi believes that overaggressiveness and inexperience could be a contributing factor for Nunez, who has also shown some rust in the field, already committing six errors.
"When you're used to playing every day, it's different when you don't play every day," Girardi said. "It's an adjustment he needs to make and we believe he's very capable. I think what we're seeing is his May was better than his April in a lot of things. He's adjusting."
Hughes encouraged after throwing off mound
SEATTLE -- The 20 fastballs Phil Hughes buried into a catcher's glove on Friday at Safeco Field won't show up in any box scores, but they could be an important first step toward getting back in a big league game.
On the disabled list since April 15 with right shoulder inflammation, Hughes reported no problems after throwing off a mound for the first time since his mysterious drop in velocity.
There were no radar readings on the session, but Hughes played catch again on Saturday and said he expects to climb the mound again when the Yankees get to Oakland next week.
"It's a step in the right direction," Hughes said. "Hopefully I can keep having these days where I don't have any issues and keep going forward and start a rehab assignment."
The Yankees have been unable to offer an exact timetable for Hughes' projected big league return, with head athletic trainer Gene Monahan recommending a methodical pace to his recovery.
In the meantime, they have been fortunate that low-risk additions like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia have helped hold the fort while the 18-game winner has been out.
"It's tough being around the team, watching games every night and feeling like I'm not doing anything," Hughes said. "It's part of it, I guess. I have to do as much as I can do in one day and not really get caught up in what the day is."