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Pre-game Yankees notes

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff  August 31, 2011 05:54 PM

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Yankees manager Joe Girardi met with the media this afternoon and discussed a variety of topics, ranging from Francisco Cervelli's celebration Tuesday night that led to the benches being cleared; his ejection from the game; the reported callup of top catching prospect Jesus Montero; the Yankees' struggles against Josh Beckett; and the length of the ballgames.

On whether he saw anything excessive in Cervelli's celebration after hitting a home run off John Lackey last night: "Well, that's going to be brought up. The way I look at things today is the way athletes express themselves is different than when I came up; it is in all sports. It's changed. Is it going to go back to the way it was? My guess is no. Are there guys who celebrate more than others? Yes. Our thought is, bottom line: Get 'em out. If you don't like the way they celebrate, get 'em out. I don't really think in most instances players are trying to show up the other team. I really don't. Sometimes it can be taken the wrong way when you're on the other side.''

On the first time he had to explain to his young children why he was thrown out of a game: "First time I got thrown out of a game, my kids thought I could never go back. I said, `No, I'll be back later tomorrow.' ''

Girardi said Russell Martin's sore left thumb was better. "I'm going to give him another day,'' Girardi said. "My plans are to play him [tomorrow]. ... I could use him tonight in an emergency.''

Girardi stopped short of confirming reports the Yankees were calling up Jesus Montero, the club's top prospect from Triple A Scranton when the rosters are expanded tomorrow

"He's one guy's name we've talked about a lot, I will tell you that,'' Girardi said. "As of late, he's swung the bat very well.''

Montero, 21, is hitting .290 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs this year. He has five home runs in his last seven games and has had 40 RBIs since July 1.

Asked if he would play Montero at DH or behind the plate, Girardi replied, "I could do both. I could DH him and I wouldn't be afraid to play him behind the plate. I don't know if I would start him because ... the relationship it takes for pitchers and catchers takes time to build. But he's not a guy I'd be afraid to put in.''

On, sooner or later, putting up a good outing against Red Sox starter Josh Beckett: "He's pitched extremely well against us this year and against most everybody else as well. He's been a great pitcher for a long time. We need to put up a good outing against him and figure him out.''

On Derek Jeter's bruised right kneecap, which he injured Sunday in Baltimore when he fouled a ball off it: "He was fine. There was no report of any swelling."

On the transition A.J. Burnett has had to go through in dealing with a loss of velocity: "I think part of it is a transition for him. I think it's what every pitcher goes through when they get in their 30s at some point, they have to make a transition. Not every pitcher, but a lot of pitchers. They have to go from being a real hard thrower to still having good velocity to maybe having to pitch a little bit more.

"We've seen great pitchers go through it and you have to be able to make that adjustment. Some guys have been able to do it easier than others, but at some point you have to make them. Hitters have to do the same thing.''

On what can be done to shorten Red Sox-Yankees games after Tuesday's opener took 3 hours 59 minutes: "Well, we could make it a rule that everybody has to swing at the first pitch. If you swing and foul it off, you're still out. But I really don't believe they're going to change the rules for us. You think about it, the first six innings took about three hours and CC [Sabathia] threw about 128, which is usually a full game, and John Lackey threw about 100, which is normally a whole game. In these series, there's a whole lot more pitches thrown because of the type of hitters that are here and you can't change that.''

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