NEW YORK (AP) — Rafael Soriano is already learning a lot about playing for the Yankees.
The former Rays closer, who was signed in the offseason by New York to be the eighth-inning setup guy for Mariano Rivera, put together scoreless outings in his first two appearances before blowing a four-run lead in a loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
Soriano will not get a chance to pitch Wednesday night. The Yankees and Twins game was postponed by rain. No makeup date was yet announced.
Soriano was nowhere to be found in the clubhouse after the game Tuesday, drawing the ire of the often-harsh New York media. He finally appeared during pregame warmups Wednesday, offering a mea culpa and promising that he’ll be available — good or bad — whenever he pitches this season.
“I got mad because I think that’s a game CC (Sabathia) is supposed to win,” Soriano said while standing in front of his locker, surround by roughly 20 reporters. “It didn’t happen and that’s why I got mad. I don’t feel comfortable to talk.”
The feeling is understandable, even if it doesn’t fly in the Yankees clubhouse.
Veterans like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and even manager Joe Girardi, a former Yankees catcher, established a culture in which players generally make themselves available after games.
There is no league-wide rule, it’s just the Yankees’ way.
The Yankees have an extensive media program that all players must participate in during spring training.
When Soriano was absent, it left catcher Russell Martin — also a newcomer this season — to try to explain the meltdown that resulted in a 5-4 loss in 10 innings.
“He understands he has a responsibility to the media,” said Girardi, who pulled Soriano aside when he arrived at the ballpark Wednesday and chatted with him about the situation.
“There are times after games you just don’t feel like talking,” Girardi said after about the fifth question regarding the subject. “It happens. Sometimes players just need to blow off steam. He was upset that CC didn’t get the win, and that we didn’t get the win.”
Soriano, who signed a $35 million, three-year contract in the offseason, said he was so disappointed with his performance Tuesday night that he didn’t even answer his phone when his mother called after the game. He also admitted to cringing a little bit when he finally played the voicemail message that she left from the Dominican Republic.
“She asked me what happened,” Soriano said. “She asked, ‘Is it too cold for you?”‘
Soriano made it clear that, no, it isn’t too cold for him pitching in the Bronx. He also made it clear that he doesn’t mind pitching the eighth inning, even in a four-run game, and that he’s perfectly content to pitch in any situation that Girardi sees fit.
“I felt great. That didn’t have anything to do with it,” Soriano said. “(Girardi) wants me to throw the first two innings, I’ll do it.”
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