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07-11-01 04:24 AM #1
Nellie Feels Right at Home - NY Post
And yes, as Keegan says, the verdict is still out as to whether or not he has been replaced on the Yankees. We won't know that until the Series.
By TOM KEEGAN
July 11, 2001 --
SEATTLE - So-hard-to-hit reliever Jeff Nelson is doing what he does worst. He is biting his tongue. It hurts, but he’s doing it. Still, he wasn’t able to camouflage completely his desire for payback against a team that didn’t want him back as badly as his contributions merited.
Nelson blasted Joe Torre for not selecting him to the 2000 American League All-Star roster. When it came time for Torre to go to bat with management to keep Nelson in his bullpen last offseason, Torre took a pass.
Now Nelson is back to where he was before coming to the Yankees. He’s back in the Mariners bullpen, the best relief corps in baseball.
What about a possible Mariners-Yankees matchup come October, Jeff?
“You can’t look that far ahead,” he said. “If you do, you might lose what’s in front of you.”
See, Nelson not only pitches wicked sliders and colorful quotes, when he exerts extra effort he even can pitch a platitude.
Eventually, he allowed a window to his true feelings.
“If we play each other in the playoffs, maybe the shoe will be on the other foot this time and New York will go home,” Nelson said.
He said he’s not looking at where he could have been. After all, the Mariners have the best record in baseball.
“I’m happy where I’m at now,” he said.
And that’s not all he’s happy about.
“The Yankees have been scrambling for three months to try to find themselves somebody to fill my hole,” he said. “It seems like Mo [Rivera] and Mike [Stanton] are pitching every day.”
The Yankees recently dealt for two right-handed power pitchers to try to replace Nelson. First, they acquired Jay Witasik from the Padres. Next, they acquired Mark Wohlers from the Reds.
Have they filled Nelson’s spot?
“I don’t know,” Nelson said. “We’ll see.”
He’s right. The jury is out and Nelson is dealing his usual dose of high strikeout/low hit totals for the Mariners.
For the Yankees, Nelson was an outspoken man on a team that applies pressures from all levels, especially at the player level, to be just the opposite.
He never spoke louder than when Torre left him off last year’s All-Star roster.
“I have regrets about saying what I said when I said what I said about not getting picked for the All-Star Game last year,” Nelson said. “I played five years for Joe Torre and now everybody thinks we had a bad relationship. We didn’t have a bad relationship. We had a good relationship, except for that one thing.”
Torre again bypassed Nelson this year, but added him to the roster as a replacement for Rivera.
07-11-01 08:24 AM #2
'I should've been picked for the All Star team. If your manager has doesn't have confidence in you who will?'
'I'm a free agent after this year and I've been a bulldog. I always take the ball, but now I'm going to take care of myself and if I'm tired, I'm not going to pitch'
'I only have to put up with this for a 5 more weeks'
'They'll see how important I was in the bullpen. Mendoza's always hurt, and Mike isn't that consistent'
'It makes no sense that there should be more Mariners since we have the best record in baseball'
Etc. etc. etc....and all future etcs.
Yes, his words speak for themselves. Bye bye. Bye bye."He knew, as he went after that ball, that he had a decision to make," said Tony Clark, who watched the play unfold from first base. "Either you let the ball drop and try to minimize the damage, or you make the catch and pay the consequences. He knew that, no doubt about it, and he chose B."
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