Notes: Proctor turns page on woes
Postgame bonfire relieves tension built by recent struggles
NEW YORK -- The small bonfire that Scott Proctor started near the Yankees' dugout late Saturday at least guaranteed to help take the right-hander's mind off his current struggles for a while, occupying him with a new task.
The reliever torched various items of his equipment following an ineffective appearance in the club's 7-0 loss to the A's, including his glove, which means he'll have to start oiling up something new to catch with whenever he makes his next jog from the bullpen.
"I hope I don't get a comebacker today," Proctor said on Sunday.
Proctor suffered his fifth loss and his second in as many games on Saturday, allowing three hits and three runs in one-third of an inning.
Proctor said that he set fire only to his own personal belongings and nothing that was owned by the team, and he acknowledged that it's even something he's tried once before -- in Triple-A, though he wasn't sure if it helped him escape that rough patch.
"It was all just a joke, really," Proctor said. "It's something I've done in the past. If it works, it works. ... Another day when I make the papers for the wrong thing."
Yankees manager Joe Torre said he believed Proctor was still feeling aftereffects of his losing effort on Tuesday at Baltimore, when Proctor allowed a hit and three walks in the ninth inning, including a bases-loaded walk to catcher Ramon Hernandez to end the game.
"I think he's still scorched by the other day in Baltimore," Torre said. "If guys didn't care, they wouldn't be reacting like this."
Torre said that he normally gives players a little slack to express themselves and release their anger, only cautioning them not to become injured as a result of their outbursts.
"Ask Paul O'Neill," Torre said. "Enough said?"
O'Neill, a staple of the Yankees' World Series championship teams of the late 1990s, was known for his grit and frequent tantrums.
Proctor said he didn't feel any differently on Sunday morning, though his locker might have been a little roomier.
Any so-called cleansing effect of the impromptu barbecue would need to be revisited somewhere down the road, though the fire department may need to be alerted if it actually works for Proctor. The way things have been going lately for the Yankees, Proctor said, others might try the same tactic.
"If I go out there and start throwing shutout innings, I'll feel a lot better," Proctor said. "Until then, you've got to prove yourself on the field. I wish it was that easy -- just start burning stuff and it'd turn things around. I think we'd have a lot of bonfires."
Get in motion: Torre said he did not have an issue with the comments made by catcher Jorge Posada following Saturday's loss, in which he accused unnamed members of the Yankees club of going "through the motions" in their one-hit loss to the A's.
"It seems like, at times, we just go through the motions," Posada said, recapping the effort. "Today is one of those cases."
Asked to expand on his thoughts, Posada said, "That's the way it is. I think everybody knows what I'm talking about."
Torre said that the comments struck him as "a lot of frustration on Jorgie's part." While acknowledging that the Yankees have higher expectations than the end result of Saturday's effort, Torre also noted that he's probably thought that some of the great Yankees teams of years past have had a day here and there where they may have appeared to "go through the motions," singling out the 1996 team as one roster for which he probably considered that line of thinking.
"You can win pennants and stuff and sit here and say on days, 'It doesn't even look like we're here,'" Torre said. "It's not something because we're under .500 that all of a sudden is a revelation. You play 162 games, and they say not too many clubs look good when they're losing."
Torre said it would not be necessary to address the comments with Posada.
"I never control or try to tell players what to say," Torre said. "I'd like to believe I know him. He's got great heart and [is] a great teammate. As I say, he gets emotionally charged."
Ramirez makes it: Looking to add help to their struggling bullpen, the Yankees purchased the contract of 26-year-old right-hander Edwar Ramirez on Sunday, optioning infielder Chris Basak to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Ramirez was signed by the Yankees last July off the roster of Edinberg of the Independent League, heading to Class A Tampa and beginning a rise through the system that delivered him to New York this weekend.
Twice released by the Angels organization, Ramirez said that he sat out the entire 2004 season and contemplated quitting baseball before developing a changeup that he credits for his recent success.
"I'm very, very different when I play with the Yankees," Ramirez said. "With the Yankees, I feel very comfortable. Sometimes when I played with the Angels, I'd be very, very nervous."
The lanky hurler had a 0.67 ERA in 15 appearances for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, striking out 47 and allowing nine walks and 13 hits in 26 2/3 innings. His last effort came on Friday, when he threw three scoreless innings and struck out six. Ramirez was expected to throw a 15-pitch bullpen session on Sunday.
Bombers bits: Torre opted to try second baseman Robinson Cano as the No. 3 batter for Sunday's game, again bumping Bobby Abreu. "To me, that three-hole hasn't been something that anyone's really taken it by the throat," Torre said. ... Basak was with the Yankees for nearly a month but had just one at-bat, flying out to left field on June 24 at San Francisco. It was memorable because Basak stood at second base, thinking he had a double, unaware that Barry Bonds had tracked down the line drive. ... Closer Mariano Rivera needs one save to tie John Franco for third place on the all-time list with 424.
Coming up: Roger Clemens (1-3, 5.32 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season on Monday, when the Yankees open a three-game home series against the Twins. Right-hander Boof Bonser (5-4, 4.65 ERA) is slated to pitch for Minnesota, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET on the YES Network.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.