Yanks have distant ties to Takahashi

Yanks have distant ties to Takahashi

NEW YORK -- Several hours before the first pitch was to be thrown in this year's Subway Series, Mets starter Hisanori Takahashi remained very much a mystery within the walls of the Yankees' clubhouse.

In fact, while two players in the starting lineup -- Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez -- actually batted against Takahashi in a 2004 exhibition at the Tokyo Dome, it seemed so long ago that the details had almost completely been wiped clean.

"Is that who we're facing? I know nothing," Jeter said. "I can't even remember who I faced two days ago."

Takahashi, 35, is a left-hander from Tokyo who will be getting his introduction to this version of the Yankees' lineup. Takahashi faced Jeter and A-Rod in that March 28, 2004, game, holding the two stars hitless in four at-bats.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that there were not a whole lot of options for his hitters to get acquainted, short of heading for the video room.

"That's about all guys can do," Girardi said. "Obviously players are more comfortable when they see a pitcher. If you're right-handed, you're going to see fastballs and changeups. You have to know that. You look to get the ball up. Guys have faced a lot of guys they've never seen before."

Outfielder Brett Gardner said that he'd dabble on the video machine, but he knew exactly what he'd be looking for in his first at-bat.

"Fastball down the middle," Gardner said. "It's the same thing as if you have faced the guy before. For me, I don't really get too involved with that stuff. I don't think it's as important for me as it is for the other guys, who people tend to be more careful with. I look for a pitch to hit no matter who's pitching and try to be ready for it."

Jeter said that his preference would just be to know what is in Takahashi's arsenal, and otherwise keep his approach simple. The Yankees' captain said that the hitch Takahashi keeps in his delivery wouldn't necessarily throw his timing off.

"Some guys may have a hitch that's easy to time," Jeter said. "I haven't seen him. Some guys may have a little pause, but it's the same pause every time. That doesn't really affect you. But him, I don't know anything about."

-- Bryan Hoch