It must be true that anyone can manage the New York Yankees. Catcher Jorge Posada did the honors yesterday as part of Joe Torre's season-ending tradition. Posada went to the mound in the seventh to remove reliever Ross Ohlendorf and received a loud ovation from Yankees fans. Reliever Ron Villone served as pitching coach after Mariano Rivera declined the offer. The starting lineup contained mostly regulars, but Posada substituted freely as his lead expanded.
Though a season ended, the Orioles maintained a trend. Once again, they frittered away an opportunity for a big inning. They loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth while trailing 6-1. Melvin Mora reached on an infield single, Miguel Tejada was hit by a pitch and Kevin Millar singled. Reliever Chase Wright was on the ropes. Then he was on the bench, sipping water with only one run allowed. Jay Payton grounded into a double play and Scott Moore struck out.
Zambrano struggles again
The Orioles gave Victor Zambrano a chance to win a spot on next year's pitching staff, or at least to compete for one in spring training. But it's hard to imagine him going to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., unless he's on vacation. Zambrano threw one inning yesterday, allowing one hit and three runs, walking four, throwing a wild pitch and hitting a batter. In five games with the Orioles, Zambrano went 0-1 with a 9.49 ERA, 11 walks and 11 strikeouts. He allowed 12 hits in 12 1/3 innings.
The Orioles still have a lot of work to do. They'll convene in Sarasota, Fla., next Monday for the organizational meetings, where they'll discuss the roster and coaching staff, among other topics. They need to find replacements for first base coach Sam Mejias and bench coach Tom Trebelhorn and decide whether to retain pitching coach Leo Mazzone and hitting coach Terry Crowley. And the bullpen once again has become a top priority.