Vargas-Weaver: From LBSU Whitney Mercilus Merchandise to to ALDS matchup

ANAHEIM — The Angels’ Jered Weaver ran into Jason Vargas of the Royals on Wednesday afternoon in the basement of Angel Stadium.

“I didn’t know if I was supposed to give him a hug and say hi or not,” said Weaver, who will start for the Angels against Vargas in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday.

It was more than just a chance meeting of two opposing pitchers. Weaver and Vargas are close friends, and not just because they were teammates with the Angels last season: They were teammates on a 2004 Long Beach State squad that also featured Troy Tulowitzki and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals.

Now they Whitney Mercilus Football Uniforms will face off on the big stage.

“We go back a while,” Vargas said. “To be able to toe the same slab in the playoffs, I know is pretty cool for a lot of other people than just us. I’m looking forward to it.”

He should be. Weaver brings out the best in Whitney Mercilus Jersey for Sale him. The two have faced each other as starters three times in their careers, and each time, Vargas has been outstanding.

The last time they faced off was on Aug. 12, 2012, in Anaheim. Vargas, then with the Mariners, allowed one run in eight innings in a 4-1 victory.

They also had a tremendous pitching duel on Aug. 11, 2011. Vargas did not allow a run in six innings, and Weaver was scoreless over nine in a game won by the Angels, 1-0, in 10 innings. On May 18, 2011, Vargas pitched seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 win over Weaver and the Angels.

Whatever happens, they will have plenty of time to talk about it this winter, as the two have planned a vacation together.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Weaver said. “We formed a really cool and special bond at Long Beach. It didn’t take us long to become friends. He’s a mellow guy off the field. I feel like I’m a mellow guy off the field. But once we get on the field, we’re competitors, and we want to win. I think that’s shown throughout our careers; that when we do get on the mound, it’s all about winning.

“He’s one of those special guys that comes into your life, and I don’t really talk to too many people that you come in contact with away from playing baseball. You kind of lose relationships and things of that nature, but that’s one relationship that I’ve held on to through the years. It’s nice to be able to call him and talk to him.”

Both are from Southern California. Vargas pitched at Apple Valley High in San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles. He started Whitney Mercilus Merchandise at LSU, transferred to junior college after one season and then ended up at Long Beach State for his junior year.

Weaver is from Simi Valley, north of Los Angeles. He went to Long Beach State for three years and was the 2004 National College Player of the Year after posting a 15-1 record to go with a 1.63 ERA and 213 strikeouts in 144 innings. He was the 12th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft that June, by the Angels.

Vargas, who also starred at the plate at LBSU (.354 batting average in 2004), didn’t go until the second round, to the Marlins. The Royals are his fifth franchise, but he did get to play with Weaver for one season, in 2013, with the Angels.

“Well, he Whitney Mercilus Texans Jersey really didn’t change much til now,” Vargas said. “The competitiveness has always been there. It’s always been the Whitney Mercilus Jersey same raw emotion on the mound, and off the mound, it’s a different person. He’s a really easygoing, easy guy to be a friend with. So he’s a tough competitor out there on the mound, and we better be ready.”

Angels: Overwhelming advantage in playoff experience
The Angels may not have been in the playoffs since 2009, but their players have a combined 253 games in the postseason. The Royals have just 110 combined games of postseason experience. That includes 17 players who made their postseason debut on Tuesday night in the Wild Card playoff win over the Athletics.

Two members of the Royals have combined for 75 of those 110 games. Raul Ibanez, who did not play on Tuesday night, has appeared in 44 games (with the Mariners, Phillies and Yankees), and second baseman Omar Infante has played in 31 games (Tigers and Braves).

The Angels’ postseason experience comes from their former Cardinals and Rangers. First baseman Albert Pujols played in 74 playoff games, third baseman David Freese played in 48 and reliever Fernando Salas appeared in 16 games during their time with the Cardinals. Outfielder Josh Hamilton played in 34 postseason games with the Rangers, and C.J. Wilson pitched in 10.

Royals: Yost shrugs off criticism
The Royals rallied twice to beat the Athletics in the Wild Card Game, but that didn’t keep manager Ned Yost from being criticized for his managing — most specifically, when he brought in rookie Yordano Ventura to replace James Shields in the sixth inning.

“Look, I’ve been criticized my whole career, right?” Yost said. “There is so much as a coaching staff and a manager that we know that they don’t know. I’m not talking about the player, I’m talking about situations, I’m talking about internal things that go on our team that help us make decisions that factor into our decisions that nobody knows. What they do is, they take something that they can Whitney Mercilus Jersey Cheap jump on and then jump on it and bark about it, and that’s fine. That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it’s kind of supposed to be.

“If the manager puts in a player and he gives up a three-run homer, it’s the manager’s fault. I put him in. It’s something that we all deal with every day, and it doesn’t really bother us too much.”

Worth noting
• Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, who will be in the lineup on Thursday, is 6-for-27 with three career home runs off Vargas. He is one of two left-handed hitters with three home runs off Vargas. The other is Hideki Matsui.

• Ibanez has four home runs off Weaver. The only players with more are Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson (five).

• The two teams split six games during the regular season, with each team winning two of three at home.


Get out the vote: All-Star balloting under way J.J.Watt Jersey

Balloting is under way for the 84th All-Star Game on July 16 at Citi Field, with Wednesday’s launch of the 2013 All-Star Game Ballot, sponsored by, and the first chance to punch names at ballparks.

So begins the largest All-Star balloting program in sports, one that last year produced a record-shattering 40.2 million ballots cast. Fans can vote for starting position players online or by mobile device until 11:59 p.m. ET on July 4 and help influence the makeup of an event that has been won the past three years by the National League, which capitalized each time on the consequent World Series home-field advantage.

“All-Star balloting is more popular than ever and we hope for another record-setting year in 2013 as the Mets host our 84th Midsummer Classic,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Major J.J.Watt Jersey League Baseball is thrilled that fans throughout the world will continue to choose their favorite players for the greatest sporting event of the summer. We look forward to adding a new chapter to the remarkable National League tradition of New York City at Citi Field this summer.”

MLB, Firestone and the Mets marked the start of the balloting with a news conference at City Hall in Manhattan. Attending were Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president of business; Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and team president Saul Katz; New York mayor Michael Bloomberg; six-time NL All-Star third baseman David Wright of the Mets; and former Mets players and current club ambassadors Edgardo Alfonzo, John Franco and Mookie Wilson.

More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 25 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks. The first distribution of ballots was to be at games hosted by the Mets, Phillies and Reds on Wednesday night.

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was at Citi Field on Tuesday night for a series opener against the Mets, and the weeks ahead will decide whether he returns there for a fifth All-Star Game, having strung together four consecutive appearances while with San Diego. His NL competition includes the likes of Cincinnati’s Joey Votto, the 2012 starter, Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo and Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt.

“It’s always fun to see the fans voting and be a part of it now as a player, having grown up with it voting when I was a kid,” Gonzalez said. “You always vote for your hometown players. I voted for Padres then. It’s such a worldwide sport, we have the ballots online and in the stadiums, and the fans get into it and get excited. The fans should want to see their hometown players win out so they can see them in the All-Star Game.”

An early first-base contender in the American League is Baltimore’s Chris Davis, who had a historic start to the season. He is hoping for his first All-Star berth, and his competition includes names like Boston’s Mike Napoli, 2012 starter Prince Fielder of the Tigers and six-time All-Star Paul Konerko of the White Sox.

“It’s obviously a huge honor to be elected by the fans,” Davis said. “The reason we play the game is for the fans, and to know that they want you to be a part of something that means so much to the players, it’s a great honor. I think it gives the fans a good chance to get more involved and have some say in an event that is really made for them.”

In addition to the usual 25 ballots allotted per person exclusively at during the voting period, this time you also can earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access those additional online ballots, you must be logged into your account when you submit any online ballot.

During the voting period, the online ballot will be available in English and Spanish, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually impaired fans. Japanese, Korean and Chinese versions of the online ballot will be available in May. Banco BHD will sponsor online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via, the official Spanish-language Web site of MLB.J.J.Watt Houston Texans Jersey.

The AL and NL All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7, on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell, televised nationally on TBS. The AL All-Star team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, including a designated hitter, while the NL All-Star team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads (totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL) will be determined through a combination of Player Ballot choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers — AL skipper Jim Leyland of the Tigers and NL manager Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series champion Giants.

Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans will begin the always-frenetic process of selecting the final player for each league’s 34-man roster via the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote, sponsored by Leyland and Bochy, in concert with MLB, will each provide five names from which to choose in his respective league. J.J.Watt Black Jersey.

Voting will then be conducted over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after balloting concludes on Thursday, July 11. The Final Vote is in its 12th season with more than 350 million overall votes cast, and once again fans can make their Final Vote selections on, club sites and mobile devices.

The final step in this run of fan balloting will be the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, you can vote exclusively online at and the 30 club sites via the 2013 All-Star Game MVP Vote, and your collective voice will represent 20 percent of the vote that determines this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

Every Major League club will have begun its in-stadium balloting no later than May 7. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on June 28, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at, the 30 club sites and their mobile devices through Independence Day.

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is the exclusive sponsor of the 2013 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the All-Star Game and other All-Star Week events.

For the fifth consecutive year, this year’s ballot will feature the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Derby, which will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the U.S. beginning at 8 p.m. ET on July 15.Houston Texans J.J.Watt Jersey.

The 10 AL candidates are Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, 2011 winner Robinson Cano of the Yankees, Adam Dunn of the White Sox, 2009 and ’12 winner Fielder, 2008 winner Josh Hamilton of the Angels, Adam Jones of the Orioles, Evan Longoria of the Rays and Mike Trout of the Angels.

The 10 NL candidates are Votto, Wright, Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals, Ryan Braun of the Brewers, Bryce Harper of the Nationals, Jason Heyward of the Braves, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, Buster Posey of the Giants J.J.Watt Jersey and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins.

Kemp was at Citi Field on Tuesday and recalled how an injury ruined his All-Star Game hopes last year. He was humble when asked what it would mean to be in the lineup this time.

“I’m just happy to be on the list,” Kemp said. “I remember there was a time in my career when to be on the ballot, I had to be a write-in. As long as I’m on there, it’s good. You have a chance to make the All-Star team.

“I know fans enjoy picking their favorite All-Stars. You leave it up to the fans to get you into the All-Star Game and I think they do a great job most of the time picking who deserves to be there.”

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The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game., MLB Network and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit

No shutout, but Nats finish sweep of Marlins Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale

The Marlins Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale finally scored a run against the Nationals, but it wasn’t enough as Washington won the game, 6-1, on Thursday at Nationals Park.

The Nats start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2008. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann pitched six innings, allowing one run on eight hits. The run came in the second inning when Justin Ruggiano hit a home run over the right-field wall. The homer snapped a scoreless streak of 19 innings for the Marlins.

Zimmermann was thinking about not giving up a run before the game. Why? Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez didn’t allow runs in their first starts of the season.

“[Ruggiano] swings first pitch all the time. I figured if I could throw a fastball down and away and get him to roll over it, I could get a weak fly ball,” Zimmermann said. “I kind of left it over the middle a little bit, and he made me pay.”

Zimmermann believed he gave up too many two-strike hits, but he managed to get out of jams. For example, the Marlins’ best chance to score more runs occurred in the sixth inning. They had runners on first and second with no outs, but Adeiny Hechavarria hit into a double play and pinch-hitter Austin Kearns grounded out to first baseman Adam LaRoche to end the threat.

“I felt good. It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time,” Zimmermann said. “It’s one of those days where I had to battle and make the pitches when I needed a ground ball.”

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc lasted five innings for Miami, allowing three runs — two earned — on five hits. Washington scored the first two runs in the first inning, when Ryan Zimmerman doubled over the head of Ruggiano in center field, scoring Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper. At first it looked like Harper was seriously hurt after Rob Brantly’s arm hit the right side of Harper’s face. But Harper managed to get up and retrieve his batting helmet.

“I actually didn’t think it was that bad. But the way he reacted, I thought he got shot or something,” Werth said. “I wanted to make sure the little guy was all right.”

The Nationals added to their lead an inning after Ruggiano’s homer. Denard Span led off and reached base on a bunt single and made it to second on an error by LeBlanc.

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“It was kind of spur of the moment when I decided to bunt,” Span said. “I saw something and I just trusted my instincts.”

Span then scored on a single by Harper, who is now 6-for-12 for the regular season. Harper was humble when talking about his fast start.

“It’s a long season. You try to go out there and square things up as much as you can, have good at-bats, just try to work hard and good things will happen,” Harper said. “We have three W’s in the win column. Hopefully we’ll keep going.”

The Nationals scored three more runs in the seventh inning. With two runners on, Werth swung at Mike Dunn’s 1-1 pitch and hit the ball into the left-field bullpen to give the Nationals a five-run lead.

“That’s what happens with young teams, you almost have to play perfect out there,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “If we give them extra outs or extra opportunities, they’re going to take advantage of it. They were able to do that today.”

For Werth, it was his first home run of the season, and it appears the left wrist that he broke last May is getting stronger.Ed Reed Jersey.

“Today, it feels like the first real day of the season,” Werth Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale said. “I started feeling a little bit better today — batting practice. As the game went on, I felt like I had my rhythm. It showed up toward the end.”

The Nationals’ bullpen proved to be unhittable as Henry Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen blanked Miami the final three innings.

The Nationals now go to Cincinnati to face the Reds for a three-game series. This will be a big test because the Reds are not rebuilding like the Marlins. The Nats will face a team that won the National League Central last season.

“We have a long way to go. We are definitely starting on the right foot,” Werth said.Ed Reed Texans Jersey.

Arencibia homers twice as Blue Jays get first win.Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale

When Alex Anthopoulos put together the Blue Jays this offseason, he envisioned a ballclub that would hit plenty of home runs and cause lots of problems on the basepaths.

Both the speed and power were on full display on Thursday night as the Blue Jays finally showed just how impressive they can be when firing on all cylinders.

Toronto broke out of a mini two-game slump in a big way by unloading for five home runs and stealing a couple of more runs with their feet in a 10-8 victory over the Indians in front of 19,515 fans at Rogers Centre.

“I think everyone has an idea of what this offense is capable of,” Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia said. “Two games don’t make your season and no one is worried about it here. Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale.Everybody knows what we have in this clubhouse. You can’t get too high, you come back tomorrow and same attitude, ready to win.”

Arencibia led the way with a pair of homers while Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus also went deep for Toronto. Four of the five home runs came off right-hander Brett Myers, who matched his career high for most homers allowed in one game.

With all off the balls flying out at Rogers Centre, it was almost easy to ignore the speed, which played just as vital of a role. Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio combined to provide a spark that has been missing in recent years on the Blue Jays roster.

Bonifacio turned a routine single into a double when he caught Michael Bourn off guard in center field. He would later come around to score on an error by first baseman Mark Reynolds.Cheap Ed Reed Jersey.

Reyes then stole a much-needed insurance run in the eighth when he scored all the way from second base on an attempted double play. Cleveland got one out at second and was looking for another out at first, but Reyes kept running and when Bautista was ruled safe it enabled another run to score.

“That’s just an overall sample of what we can bring to the table when individuals do what they’re capable of doing,” Bautista said. “We had some guys hit some home runs, some guys ran the bases great, some great defensive plays as well, and we got the clutch hits when we needed them.”

Bonifacio, who went 2-for-4, was a star with the bat, but his biggest contribution could be found at second base. He made a pair of diving plays up the middle during the eighth inning which preserved what at the time was a slim one-run lead.

The first play occurred with runners on first and second. Cleveland’s Michael Brantley hit a sharp grounder up the middle that appeared destined for the outfield. Bonifacio made a diving stab and was unable to get the force at second, but kept Jason Kipnis from scoring on the play.

During the following at-bat, Bonifacio once again took center stage. He ranged deep up the middle and made a strong throw to first to take a pair of RBIs away from Carlos Santana.Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale.

“Santana hit the ball up the middle, I think everybody in the ballpark thought it’s up the middle and we’re going to take the lead,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We saw tonight flashes of what they can do, with their speed and their defense.”Ed Reed Jersey.

The overall production on offense helped left-hander Mark Buehrle avoid the loss in his Blue Jays’ debut, but it wasn’t pretty. The Indians scored one in the first and two more in the fourth on back-to-back homers by Santana and Reynolds.

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Buehrle’s toughest inning came in the sixth. Buehrle began the frame with a walk and a hit batsman before surrendering doubles to Santana and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. Toronto’s veteran starter was charged with six runs on seven hits while striking out four in 5 1/3 innings of work.

“I think the biggest thing I’m frustrated about is going out there after we just scored three runs to take a 6-3 lead, go out there and walk the leadoff guy, hit a guy, put yourself in a jam,” Buehrle said. “That’s unacceptable. I need to do a better job, but I just got behind in counts and guys got base hits and the next thing you know it’s a tie game.

“But I thank some of the guys on offense for picking me up and there will be a day when I pick them up when we don’t score many runs and hopefully I can hold the opponent down and we can win that game.”

With the victory, the Blue Jays avoided being swept in the season-opening series, which hadn’t happened since 2004. It also helped the club finish on a positive note in advance of former manager John Farrell’s return to Rogers Centre on Friday night with the Red Sox.

Tigers welcome Yanks Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Saleto Detroit for home opener

Though intended to be a celebration of sorts, the American League champions’ flag-raising ceremony prior to Friday’s home opener at Comerica Park will likely serve as a reminder of what could have been for the Tigers.

The ceremony kicks off Detroit’s home-opening weekend against the Yankees, but the focus for the Tigers — who were swept in last year’s World Series — is already on making sure there’s a different kind of banner being raised at this time next year.

Nonetheless, after dropping two of three in Minnesota to start the season, the Tigers are eager to play in front of the home crowd for the first time this season — or ever, in the case of newcomer Torii Hunter Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale.

“It’s going to be crazy, electrifying, and it’s going to be a lot fun,” said Hunter, who signed with the Tigers after spending last year with the Angels. “These guys are just going off winning the ALCS, getting to the World Series, and the support system’s going to be crazy, bigger than I’ve probably ever been a part of. Because I’ve never been on a team that’s been to the World Series and won the ALCS. This will really be my first time experiencing this.”

The Tigers, after getting pummeled in Thursday’s series finale against the Twins, will look to rebound when they send Doug Fister to the mound in Friday’s series opener to square off against Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova.

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Nova, coming off a disastrous second-half last season, had his share of struggles in Spring Training.

After starting last season 10-3 with a 3.92 ERA before the All-Star break, Nova went 2-5 with a 7.05 ERA in 11 starts the rest of the way. He turned in a 4.19 ERA in five Grapefruit League starts this spring, but that doesn’t include his final spring outing in which he was tagged for seven runs (six earned) on eight hits, including two homers, against the Blue Jays’ Class A Dunedin lineup.Ed Reed Texans Jersey.

“He had a pretty good spring. I thought he had better command of his fastball, which is important,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I thought his curveball was really good in Spring Training. For him, it’s consistency. If he’s consistent, and he’s consistently down on the outer thirds, he’s going to be pretty good.”

Nova finds himself in the rotation in part because of the injury to Phil Hughes. Both Nova and David Phelps broke camp as starters with Phelps on the disabled list alongside shortstop Derek Jeter, center fielder Curtis Granderson, first baseman Mark Teixeira and third baseman Alex Rodriguez, among others.

So while the defending AL champion Tigers take the field Friday not only with most of last year’s lineup intact, but the additions of Hunter and a healthy Victor Martinez, the Yankees will be continuing to search for chemistry with their makeshift lineup.Ed Reed Jersey.

“You never want to lose games,” said outfielder Vernon Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale Wells, acquired on March 26 to help compensate for the injuries. “Obviously they’re going to come, but we haven’t played good enough baseball to win. That’s the bottom line. We haven’t clicked in all three phases of the game. It’s just a matter of time before we do. It’d be nice for it to happen sooner than later.”

Pettitte-Rivera duo a treat to be savored as clock ticks.Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale

On a cold and windy night in the Bronx, Yankees Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale fans were treated to another page in their club’s long and storied history.

For the first time since July 8, 2010, in Seattle, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera both pitched for the Yankees in a regular-season game. Just like Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, Pettitte started, Rivera finished, and the Yankees won, this time defeating the Red Sox, 4-2.

How many times this will occur again is up to the strange twists of injury and fate. Rivera has announced he will retire at the end of the season. Pettitte, who quit once already, isn’t really sure what he’ll be doing next year. Of this, though, one matter is certain: The ’13 season will be it. So enjoy every last minute of it.

“It’s special,” said Pettitte, after throwing eight innings of one-run, eight-hit ball before Rivera came on and characteristically nailed down the ninth. “It’ll be special for me watching him this year and know that after this he won’t be closing any games for us. I’ll savor it as much as I can. But we have a lot of work to do, a task at hand that we have to focus on, also.”

The two have been working like this together almost exclusively since 1997, when Rivera became the Yankees’ closer, save for Pettitte’s three years playing for the Astros from 2004-’07. Since then, Rivera has saved 69 of Pettitte’s 246 wins. Rivera’s save on Thursday night stretched his all-time lead to 609 and was his first since April 30. He has had one in at least 18 seasons, tying another Major League record. Ed Reed Texans Jersey.

To put it all into perspective, the last time Rivera saved one for Pettitte during the regular season, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and esteemed public address announcer Bob Sheppard were still alive. Less than a week later, both men had passed away.

On July 19, 2010, Pettitte injured a groin, missed most of the remainder of the ’10 season and then voluntarily sat out ’11. Pettitte re-signed during Spring Training of ’12 and by the time he returned on May 13, Rivera had already blown out his right ACL shagging a fly ball during batting practice before a game in Kansas City. Rivera missed the remainder of the season. A little more than a month later, Pettitte had his left ankle broken by a batted ball. He went on the disabled list for nearly three months.

This is the rough road these two baseball warriors have traveled leading to the events of Thursday night. This one was vintage.

“For this one, I waited almost a year to pitch again,” Rivera said. “Andy was tremendous. That’s the Andy that we know. It was wonderful.”

It felt like old times, Yankees Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for manager Joe Girardi agreed.

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“It did a little bit,” said Girardi, a teammate of both players from ’96-’99. “As a fan, I appreciate what these two have done together — the amount of saves that Mo has for Andy’s wins, the amount of wins that Andy had, his postseason wins. I know I’ve caught both of them. I’ve managed both of them. But as a fan, it’s really kind of neat to see.”

Pettitte has 19 wins and Rivera has 42 saves in the postseason, both all-time records. Together in New York, they’ve won the World Series five times along with seven American League pennants. In the ’10 AL Division Series against the Twins, Rivera locked down Pettitte’s win in Game 2 at Target Field. That’s a lot of history together.

“It’s cool, there’s no doubt,” Pettitte said. “When we’re done, we’ll step back and realize how long we’ve been together and the great things we’ve been able to do together. And how blessed we were.”

With Jorge Posada having retired after the ’11 season and Derek Jeter on the disabled list, still recovering from a broken ankle, Rivera and Pettitte are the two remaining active members of the famous Core Four. Adding Bernie Williams, they all came up through the Yankees’ system and have been a part of the most prolonged period of Yankees success since the Bombers of Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle won 15 pennants and 10 World Series titles from 1947-64.Cheap Ed Reed Jersey.

As Jeter is so fond of goading Berra, that occurred before ’69 when teams in each league simply won the pennant and then played each other in the World Series. During the much more difficult three-tiered playoff era in which Pettitte and Rivera have played, the Yankees have been to playoffs an unprecedented 17 times in the past 18 years.

That’s plenty of winning. And that’s what the two teammates did again together on Thursday night.

“I expect to go out there and do good,” Pettitte said. “And I love that Mo was out last year and he came back and he’s healthy. When I was pitching last year, he wasn’t out there. It’s great to see him running in from that bullpen and closing games again. But it’s not about old times. It’s about the new guys we have on this team right here and pulling this thing together to win another championship.”

Catch them while you can, because the clock is certainly ticking.

Just dandy: Pettitte turns in vintage outing.Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale

The time-tested formula still works perfectly. Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale.Andy Pettitte answered the call with a vintage performance and trusted Mariano Rivera to finish the job, leading the Yankees to their first victory of the young season.

Pettitte hurled eight strong innings and Rivera secured the first save of what he promises will be his final Major League campaign as the Yankees defeated the Red Sox, 4-2, on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

“There’s a lot of emotions, but at the same time, you have to control that,” Rivera said. “You have to be able to do that, because you still have to finish the game. It was wonderful.”

Making his first appearance since last year’s season-ending right knee injury, Rivera permitted a run in the ninth inning but froze Boston rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. with a beautiful cutter on the outside corner to end the game.

The contest marked Rivera’s all-time record 609th career save and the 69th save that he has notched in a Pettitte victory, further extending a big league record for the veteran duo. Their last such game came on July 8, 2010, in Seattle.

“These two have been doing it a long time together,” manager Joe Girardi said. “As a fan, I appreciate what these two have done together. I know I’ve caught both of them, I’ve managed both of them, but as a fan, it’s really kind of neat to see.”

Lyle Overbay contributed a two-run single while Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli homered to support Pettitte, who proved worthy in what Girardi had called a very important game for the Yankees after two rough season-opening losses.

“It was a good win for us,” Pettitte said. “You don’t want to get swept your opening series here at home. I was proud of the guys, the way they battled. We got some runs, we got some timely hits and we needed it.”

Telling pitching coach Larry Rothschild that he felt a little bit strong pitching on an extra day of rest, Pettitte seemed to have some trouble with his command in the first inning. He permitted two singles and then uncorked a wild pitch, failing to cover home plate as the ball bounced to the backstop.

Cervelli tracked the ball down and said that he “fell asleep a little bit” for a split second. With Shane Victorino attempting to score from second, the Yankees caught a break as Cervelli rushed back to home plate and blocked Victorino with a headfirst dive.

“I saw the ball get through his legs, but I just thought it was a couple of feet behind him, so I’m not thinking I’ve got to cover,” Pettitte said. “Then I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re going to score a run here maybe.’ Thank goodness he’s young and he’s quick back there.”

An appreciative Pettitte handled the Red Sox from there in an economical outing, inducing three double-play grounders and improving to 18-3 in 27 career starts as a Yankee with the club attempting to avoid a regular season sweep.Ed Reed Jersey.

“There’s nobody I’d rather play defense behind, and I’ve gotten to play behind some good ones, including Mariano and CC [Sabathia] and all those guys,” Houston Texans Ed Reed Jersey for Sale.Gardner said. “Andy Pettitte; he’s a lot of fun to watch pitch, especially being in center field and getting to see how he works guys in and out and how his ball is moving.

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“Every pitch to him is a battle that he’s trying to win. If he’s throwing a breaking ball first pitch and he throws a ball, he’s mad at himself. That’s just how he is. He’s a competitor and he did great tonight.”

Facing Boston starter Ryan Dempster, Overbay dunked a two-run single into left field in the second inning, giving the Yankees their first lead of the season — and, in turn, their first lead since Game 5 of the 2012 American League Division Series against the Orioles.

Cheap Ed Reed Jersey.Gardner golfed a low pitch from Dempster into the first row of the right-field seats leading off the third inning for his first homer of the season. Dempster lasted five innings and had words of admiration across the way for Pettitte, who outpitched him on this evening.

“To come back out of retirement and pitch as well as he did last year, he’s such a hard worker,” Dempster said. “He’s a guy you should look up to as a peer, because he does things the right way. He just knows how to pitch.”

Cervelli connected for the fourth Yankees run in the seventh, launching a solo blast to left-center off Boston reliever Clayton Mortensen.

That provided extra cushion for Rivera, who entered to the familiar strains of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and closed out the Red Sox around Will Middlebrooks’ run-scoring groundout, giving Bradley a taste of what big league hitters have seen for nearly two decades.

“I guess I really haven’t imagined facing it,” Bradley said. “You know, it does move.”

Except for the velocity of the pitch, it could have been a highlight clipped out of — well, pick your favorite year from 1996-2010. While Pettitte said that it was great to see Rivera run out of the bullpen gate again, he also insisted there was more to be seen than just the nostalgia.

“It’s not about the old times,” Pettitte said. “It’s about us and these new guys and this team we’ve got right here, and trying to pull this thing together and win another championship.”

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Santos Andre Johnson Jersey ready to put last season in rearview mirror

Sergio Santos is looking forward to a much-needed fresh start in a Blue Jays uniform.

Santos Andre Johnson Jersey was acquired from the White Sox prior to the 2012 season and was expected to serve as the Blue Jays’ closer, but a right shoulder injury derailed any hope of making a positive impact.

The 29-year-old was shut down after just six games and eventually underwent surgery, which cost him the rest of the year. His impact was non-existent, but that’s something he hopes to change this season.

“It feels like it’s a whole new experience for me, a whole new Opening Day,” Santos said. “I’m really looking forward to closing the chapter on last year and really looking to moving onto this year.

“I’m excited, I’m healthy, I feel like I’m right where I want to be as the season’s starting as far as how I feel with how my stuff is coming out. It feels good.”

Andre Johnson Jersey  Santos’ first experience with the Blue Jays was far from being a positive one, but his actual home debut went even worse. Houston Texans Andre Johnson Jersey.The hard-throwing right-hander came in to close out a game versus Boston in the Blue Jays’ home opener, but he proceeded to allow three earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning.

That gave Santos his first loss and second blown save of the year. He left the field to a chorus of boos, and in some ways it was a foreshadowing of what would become a nightmare season.

That experience is now ancient history and it’s Santos’ hope that he will never have to look back on how and why things went so awry.

“You don’t get too many second chances, and hopefully I can have a chance to get out there in big situation and kind of come through,” Santos said.

“I just know that if I pitch the way I know I can pitch, I hope that the Jays fans will be rooting for me and cheering me on.”

Andre Johnson Jersey for Sale.The Blue Jays opened the 2013 season by paying tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Tom Cheek.

The former voice of the Blue Jays passed away almost eight years ago, but in December he was named the recipient of this year’s Ford C. Frick Award.

The award is presented to broadcasters for “major contributions to baseball” and also means Cheek will be induced into the broadcasters wing of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in July.

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Cheek was honored with an audio tribute prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Indians as the Blue Jays showcased some of the highlights from his broadcasting career, including the infamous “Touch ’em all Joe” from Joe Carter’s home run in the 1993 World Series.

The Blue Jays also presented new hardware to some of their recent offseason additions during the pregame ceremony. Mark Buehrle was honored with a 2012 National League Gold Glove Award while R.A. Dickey received his 2012 NL Cy Young Award.

Danielle Wade from the Wizard of Oz musical sang the national anthems. During the anthem, a large group of varsity athletes from the University of Toronto unveiled a 300-by-150 foot Canadian flag, which took up the entire outfield.

The Blue Jays and Indians also paid tribute to those slain during the Newtown, Conn., school shootings with a moment of silence.

The honorary first-pitch duties were assigned to Rush lead vocalist Geddy Lee, who received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Rogers Centre after firing a strike to right-hander Brandon Morrow.


After offseason of change, Gibbons excited for opener.Andre Johnson Jersey

John Andre Johnson Jersey Gibbons’ second tenure with the Blue Jays officially began Tuesday night, and it bears little resemblance to his first go-around with the club.

Toronto kicked off its 37th season in the Major Leagues against the Indians in front of a sold-out crowd at Rogers Centre. That’s not unusual, because the Blue Jays typically sell out on Opening Day, but the hype and expectations are unlike anything seen before in the city.

Following an eventful offseason that saw general manager Alex Anthopoulos completely overhaul the club’s roster, there is renewed hope the Blue Jays can find their way back into the postseason for the first time since 1993.

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“It has been a long time coming. It seems like it took forever to get here,” Gibbons said of the upcoming 162-game grind. “We’re excited, we’re ready, we’d love to get off to a good start. I think that would do wonders with the hype, the buildup and all of that.

“There are no guarantees with that. I don’t think that will factor into our season, but it sure would be nice. Everybody’s anxious. Our last game was on Saturday, so there has been a little bit of a layoff and they’re champing at the bit, but we’re ready to go.”

Gibbons Andre Johnson Jersey  previously spent parts of five seasons from 2004-08 as the Blue Jays’ manager. There was hope back then that the club would be able to take the next step following the addition of players such as A.J. Burnett, B.J. Ryan and Troy Glaus, but it was never on the level currently seen in Toronto.

The Blue Jays are being picked by many critics to win the American League East and at the very least are expected to be a strong contender for a Wild Card spot. That wasn’t necessarily the case during Gibbons’ first tenure, but it’s the type of pressure that follows the offseason additions of Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Melky Cabrera.

There were times when the atmosphere around the Blue Jays was positive, but it’s still a vastly different vibe than the one heading into this season.Andre Johnson Jersey for Sale.

“No doubt, there’s no comparison,” Gibbons said in a packed media scrum prior to Tuesday’s game against the Indians. “Just the number [of reporters] in here today tell you that. But we have a good team out there. We feel good about it and now the talk’s over. We’ve been talking for how many months now? Now we have to go out and do something.”

Andre Johnson Football Jersey.Anthopoulos’ activity during the winter months caught everybody off-guard, but perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the hiring of Gibbons.

The 50-year-old was managing a Double-A team in his hometown of San Antonio when he received an unexpected call from Toronto’s GM during the offseason. Gibbons quickly agreed to a deal and will now attempt to improve his previous 305-305 track record with the club.

“It’s extra special, because I never would have thought I’d be back to be honest with you,” Gibbons said of Opening Day. “I don’t think anybody did.

“That carries a little bit of extra meaning there, but I’ve done it before. I managed enough games. If this was my first Major League game, it would probably be a little bit different, but I’ve been through it.”