HOW IT FEELS...Getting Pulled

For some people a pitching change is a laughing matter
October 08, 2006

Yankees shortstopDerek Jeter (left), who was to play in his 11th postseason this week, recallsex-teammate Andy Pettitte's getting yanked by Joe Torre in Game 2 of the 2000ALDS after second baseman Luis Sojo tripped over his shoelaces and an A'srunner got on. "We go to the mound," says Jeter, "and as Mr. Torreis coming out, Pettitte is saying, 'This is not happening. Not now. Not to me.'I couldn't stop laughing. I laughed the rest of the inning." ... Last yearin Cleveland, A's manager Ken Macha went out to talk to ace Barry Zito (below)."I asked Zito, 'Do you got this guy?'" recalls Macha, referring to thenIndian Ronnie Belliard. "He said, 'I got this guy.' I didn't get my butt onthe dugout seat before Belliard hit a homer." An unfavorable matchup isn'tthe only reason that Macha has used the hook. When he managed the Triple APawtucket Red Sox in 1997, Carl Pavano (now a Yankee) was on a pitch countafter some arm trouble. "His first start he was allowed 75 pitches so eventhough he was getting killed, I left him in," says Macha. "Next outinghe was up to 90 pitches, pitching great and I take him out. Later he comes andsays, 'I don't understand. I'm getting my ass kicked, and you leave me in thegame. I'm pitching good, and you take me out.' Carl was not the sharpest knifein the box." ... "It always sucks," says Dodgers starter Derek Lowe(above left)."The worst is when your catcher comes to talk to you to stallwhile the bullpen gets ready. The catcher knows why he's out there. You knowwhy he's out there. The bullpen is going rapid-fire, and neither of you issaying anything." ... Cardinals righty Jeff Suppan remembers his pitchingcoach in Kansas City, Al Nipper, coming to the mound and saying, "If youdon't start pitching like you're capable, I'm going to slap you in the head andembarrass you in front of all these people." Suppan says Nipper was joking,but he shouldn't expect similar lightheartedness if he sees St. Louis managerTony La Russa (above right) striding toward him this postseason. La Russa sayshe never changes his mind after deciding to remove a pitcher, nor does heengage in banter on the mound: "I'm basically a humorless man."