A Yankees victory without Mariano Rivera pitching the ninth is like a Rolling Stones concert without “Satisfaction.”
The future Hall of Famer, in his final Target Field game, didn’t leave the Yankees bullpen until after the final out was recorded by David Robertson, the only time in the series that he didn’t throw a pitch.
Which was fine with the Twins.
“As Terry [Ryan] said, ‘We admire him. But OK, that’s enough,’ ” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Rivera pitched in Minnesota 28 times during the regular season, and six more during the playoffs, and his numbers — like most things about his 19-year career — are staggering. In those 34 games at the Metrodome and Target Field, the Panamanian righthander pitched 41⅔ innings, and allowed four earned runs — an ERA of 0.86.
He piled up 23 saves, blew only three (and none since 2008), and contributed greatly to the Yankees’ domination of the Twins, particularly in the postseason, where in six games in Minneapolis, he never surrendered a run.
“The ball still comes out of his hand,” Gardenhire said. “But it’s time for him to enjoy his family and all the things he likes to do away from the field.”
Walters designated for assignment
P.J. Walters pitched well enough Wednesday to keep his spot in the rotation, Gardenhire believes. But he was the sixth man on a five-man staff.
As anticipated since his three-game slump in late June, Walters was designated for assignment after Thursday’s game, giving the Twins 10 days to trade him, release him or put him on waivers. The latter option appears to be their preference, though any of the other 29 teams could claim the righthander; if he cleared waivers and chose not to become a free agent, the Twins could assign him to Class AAA Rochester once more.
“No matter which way we went, it was going to [sting]. Somebody was going to have to go,” Gardenhire said of the transaction, triggered by their intention to reinstate Mike Pelfrey from the disabled list on Saturday. “P.J.’s been throwing pretty good ballgames for us. Yesterday was a good start [until] he kind of ran out of gas. But he really helped us out when we were really scuffling along.”
Walters won his first two starts for the Twins in May but had not won since. He is 2-5 with a 5.95 ERA on the season.
Twins add 16-year-old from Netherlands
Four years after signing Max Kepler, the Twins have added another prominent European player to their system.
Ruar Verkerk, a teenage third baseman from the Netherlands, signed a contract with the Twins on Thursday, ending a competition among a handful of major league teams.
Verkerk is a 6-3, 180-pound lefthanded-hitting infielder who attracted the attention of scouts with his smooth swing while playing for the 18-and-under Dutch National Team. Only 16, Verkerk would be a high-school junior in the United States.
Like Kepler, the German outfielder now at Class A Cedar Rapids who also signed when he was 16, Verkerk will relocate to Fort Myers to begin his professional career in the Gulf Coast League.