Robbie Cano has been a remarkably durable player since taking over as the New York Yankees’ starting second baseman during the 2005 season. His one serious injury occurred in his sophomore season when he developed a tear in his hamstring in June of that season and was forced onto the DL. The Yankees had Miguel Cairo to replace Cano as starter and also called up today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant from their Columbus Clippers triple A team to back up Cano.
Green got his first start in pinstripes against the Mets in early July and after walking in his first official plate appearance as a Yankee to open the third inning of that contest, he came up again later in the same inning and hit a two run home run in his first official at bat for his new team. He would end up finishing the regular season with New York, hitting .240 in 46 games, which included 19 appearances at second base, 17 at third and ten more spelling Derek Jeter at shortstop. Joe Torre did not put him on the Yankees postseason roster and though he wanted to remain a Yankee, he would not accept a return assignment to Columbus and Yankee GM Brian Cashman let him walk. He resurfaced in Boston three seasons later, where he became the Red Sox’ staring shortstop that year. But he hit just .236 in that role and was again released. Green is still trying to get steady work in the big leagues. He now plays in the Marlins’ organization.
If you ask Joe Girardi, Jorge Posada or Jason Varitek who was the best catching instructor they ever had, each highly respected veteran receiver would answer, “Gary Tuck.” Gary was a classmate of mine in high school back in Amsterdam, NY, in the early seventies. He was the quarterback of our school’s varsity football team and the catcher on our baseball team and the thing I remember most about him in both roles was his almost flawless technique. At the time, there were better athletes available to play both positions but Tuck was smarter and worked harder than everybody else. He was a keen student of both games even way back then and he is now considered one of Major League Baseball’s most gifted catching mentors. He won four World Series rings as a Yankee coach and currently serves as the Red Sox bullpen coach, where he has won a fifth ring. I’m hoping that some day, he gets a shot at managing in the big leagues. His hometown is very proud of him and all that he has accomplished.