Notes: Mo puts 'Sandman' debate to rest

Notes: Rivera puts 'Sandman' debate to rest

OAKLAND -- Metallica's "Enter Sandman" was a hot topic of conversation in New York on Tuesday, as fans argued over Mets closer Billy Wagner's use of the tune as his entrance music.

Wagner, who has used the song to walk in from the bullpen during his days in both Houston and Philadelphia, was accompanied by it as he entered Monday's game at Shea Stadium. Wagner started using the song in 1999, though he hasn't used it exclusively.

The Yankees started playing the tune for Rivera in 1999, though he had never heard it before. It has become a staple of home games in the Bronx, with the fans rising to their feet upon hearing the first few notes.

"I love it when the song comes on and those doors open up. It identifies when I'm going to pitch," Rivera said. "It's something the fans like, they identify me with the song, and some of them call me 'Sandman' now."

After being informed that Wagner's use of the song had started a controversy in New York, Rivera was all smiles.

"I think it's funny," Rivera said. "To the people that are fighting over this, I appreciate the loyalty."

Rivera, who met Metallica singer James Hetfield last season at Yankee Stadium, admitted that he doesn't listen to Metallica, opting instead for Christian music on his iPod. That said, Rivera has become a fan of the song after hearing it at the stadium for the past seven years.

As for Wagner's use of "Enter Sandman," Rivera believes that the song is big enough for both of them to use.

"He's a great guy and he has all my respect," Rivera said. "I don't mind it at all. If the guy feels comfortable using the song, let him be."

Still streaking: With his start on Tuesday, Hideki Matsui extended his consecutive games streak to 1,739 dating back to his time in Japan.

Matsui has appeared in all 489 games since joining the Yankees, tacking that total on to the 1,250 he played with the Yomiuri Giants. Manager Joe Torre said he has no plans to put an end to Matsui's streak anytime soon, since he knows what it means to the left fielder.

"It's important for him," Torre said. "My first loyalty is to the team, and as long as it's not a detriment to the team, I don't see there being any problem with it. I don't see any reason to stop the streak, because he's going to help the ballclub. "

Torre will use Matsui as his DH from time to time, giving his legs a rest from playing the outfield.

"Going in, if you have that in mind, at least you'll do it once in a while," Torre said. "My first priority is [Gary Sheffield], because he's a little older and he's dealing with some physical problems."

No news: The Yankees are still waiting for Dr. Robert Watkins, a back specialist, to offer his opinion on Carl Pavano's bruised backside.

Pavano's MRI results were sent to the Southern California doctor on Monday, but as of game time Tuesday, the Yankees had not heard from him.

Torre said that Pavano was feeling "a lot better" on Tuesday, even asking to throw on flat ground on Wednesday. The pitcher has been shut down since Thursday, and Torre believes it may be a week before he's back on a mound.

"It may move him back somewhat," Torre said, "but I don't think it's anything that's going to be significant."

Coming up: The Yankees close out their three-game series in Oakland on Wednesday, as Chien-Ming Wang takes on Dan Haren.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.