What We Learned About the Yankees This Weekend

Yankees take two of three, move back into first place

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Jun 27, 2011  |  Updated 8:34 AM EDT
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What We Learned About the Yankees This Weekend

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Every day is Old-Timer's Day with Rivera.

The Red Sox were bound to cool off at some point and that moment finally came this weekend.

They dropped two straight games to the Pirates to extend their losing streak to four games, offering the Yankees a chance to slide past them into the top spot in the AL East. They took advantage of that opening with two wins in three games against the Rockies, which means that they are back on top as the season draws close to the midway point.

It was an entertaining weekend in the Bronx with Old-Timer's Day on Sunday and, fittingly, a return to the Bronx for old friend Jason Giambi. Here's what you need to know about the weekend that returned the Yankees to first place.

1. There were plenty of Old-Timer's participants who are older than Mariano Rivera -- Homer Bush, Ramiro Mendoza, Aaron Small, Moose Skowron (We Kid!) -- which gave Rivera the opportunity to try for a big laugh. He asked Michael Kay to introduce him with the other returning old Yankees during the pregame festivities, but Kay refused to deviate from the script. 

Once the real game started, Rivera struck out the side to close things out in the ninth and end an extremely long day at Yankee Stadium. Then he blasted Kay for not doing the intro -- "that big head, he blew it" -- to cap a day that makes it even harder to imagine life without Mo.

2. When you need to stop a losing streak, call CC Sabathia. The Yankees had dropped two straight heading into Saturday, but Sabathia cruised through eight innings with nine strikeouts and put an end to that business.

That's six wins in eight starts following Yankee losses for Sabathia this season, a healthy reason why he's the only starter anybody trusts these days. 

3. Tino Martinez would have really liked the short porch in the new Stadium. He took David Cone deep during the Old-Timer's game and started thinking about a comeback after seeing Rivera and Jorge Posada in the dugout. 

4. The guy who followed Tino at first for the Yanks would be a big fan of it as well. Giambi crushed a homer to right off of A.J. Burnett on Friday night and got a fairly nice response from a crowd that didn't always greet him so well when he wore pinstripes. 

5. Retiring from the Yankees is like being a contestant on "The Price is Right." Longtime Yankee trainer Gene Monahan got a showcase showdown -- riding mower, trips, A NEW CAR -- in honor of his years on the job in a nice ceremony marred only by Kay's constant shilling for the sponsors that donated the gifts for Monahan.

6. Derek Jeter celebrated his 37th birthday down in Florida and thinking about starting to run on either Monday or Tuesday. There's still no official timetable for his return, but it doesn't look like it will be this week.

7. In Jeter's absence, Alex Rodriguez, of all people, has become the leader in the clubhouse. He gave a pep talk to Boone Logan after one of the lefty reliever's recent bad outings and Logan responded with three scoreless outings over the week.

8. Keith Olbermann was a little miffed about getting passed over in favor of Suzyn Waldman for the in-house announcing duties during Old-Timer's Day. The Post claimed the move was a rebuke for Olbermann tweeting a photo that looked like the Yankees were stealing signs, and it couldn't have been ability related if Waldman got the gig in his stead.

9. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild saw a "clear difference" in Phil Hughes' velocity during a side session on Sunday. He's got a third minor league rehab start this week and we'll know more about when he'll return to the team once that's in the books.

10. As a member of the National Guard, Michael Kacer lost his right arm in a 2008 rocket attack. It hasn't affected his ability to catch a foul ball, however.

Sign him up! 

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