Notes: Thompson keeps bags ready

Notes: Thompson keeps bags ready

NEW YORK -- For Kevin Thompson, life on the shuttle involves keeping an open mind, a close watch on the state of the Yankees and a suitcase at the ready.

The 26-year-old outfielder was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre again after Saturday's game, offered a plane ticket from the club's series in Charlotte, N.C., and summoned to New York for the third time this season.

For Thompson, who was batting .282 with two home runs and 20 RBIs at Triple-A, the drill has become familiar. Only the settings have changed; already this year, Thompson has boarded commercial flights to join the Yankees in Minnesota, Boston and now New York.

"You see what's happening and you know any time, your day is going to come," Thompson said. "What you have to do is seriously just keep your mind at what's at hand, because you have no control over any of it."

As long as the Yankees keep offering the opportunity to come up and contribute, Thompson will take the chance, no matter how indefinite the length of his stays.

"I take it as it is," Thompson said. "It's better to bounce back and forth than not bounce at all. I'm happy."

Under his current job description, Thompson becomes another spare outfielder for the Yankees, shedding his starting role at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to serve as a backup for center fielder Melky Cabrera.

With the Yankees about to embark on a West Coast trip that will see them play six games in National League parks, Thompson could see increased action under the Senior Circuit rules, which lend themselves to increased bench movement, particularly in finding batters for the No. 9 spot in the order.

"I don't anticipate his getting a start anywhere, unless there's an injury, and we certainly don't want that to happen," manager Joe Torre said. "He gives you a pinch-hitter off the bench, and he gives you a situation where there's a lot of double-switching going on."

Thompson said that it can present a challenge to maintain focus at the Minor League level, given the constant chance of a pending promotion, but that the key is to instead concentrate on self-improvement for the day when the shuttle comes around once again.

"What you do is really work on things that you need to work on," Thompson said. "For example, I need to work on my hitting and work on my defense. I had to go down there and do that, because that's what you're going to have to do well when you get up here. You can't think about counting the days."

Igawa on the way: Left-hander Kei Igawa is tentatively penciled in as the Yankees' starter for Friday at San Francisco, though the team is not expected to make a move until Igawa skips his turn in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation on Tuesday.

Torre said that the Yankees' reports on Igawa have been "very good," with the left-hander's changeup becoming an effective pitch after tweaks to his mechanics were made.

The Yankees continue to carry 13 pitchers, with left-hander Sean Henn considered a likely bet to be bumped when Igawa rejoins the club.

Until then, Henn could remain available as a long reliever, though Torre said that the Yankees would like to bring Igawa back before Friday so that he can throw in front of pitching coach Ron Guidry.

"We have to make sure that we're not going to need that extra pitcher for the week, because we are going to Colorado," Torre said.

Red carpet treatment: Carmen Angelini, the Yankees' 10th-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, visited the clubhouse on Sunday, putting on pinstripes in his own Yankee Stadium locker and taking batting practice with the club.

Angelini, a shortstop from Barbe High School in Louisiana, has already signed a letter of intent to attend Rice University, but he was treated like a VIP by the Yankees.

Accompanied by his parents, Angelini's first visit to New York included introductions to Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte and Guidry, and the latter two lent some Louisiana charm to the infielder's Big Apple experience.

"It's pretty amazing," Angelini said. "I'm still just trying to take it all in. This is something I've never done before. It's a big part of my decision-making process. They've given me first-class treatment so far, and it's been fun."

Angelini, who hails from Lake Charles, La., finished his senior year with a .433 batting average and 52 RBIs. His primary role was as a leadoff hitter, and he swiped 38 bases in 42 attempts, striking out just six times in 150 at-bats.

Angelini is regarded by industry insiders as a "tough sign." Despite his letter of intent, he said that being chosen by the Yankees has made his upcoming decision difficult.

"Either way, I'm playing baseball," he said. "If I go to college, I'm playing baseball. If I sign with the Yankees, I'm playing baseball. So, both ways, I'm doing what I like to do."

Rocky Mountain high: The Yankees' last trip to Colorado's Coors Field was one for the record books, though it never made its way onto Derek Jeter's travelogue of favorite destinations.

"It wasn't fun -- I didn't enjoy it," Jeter said. "It's like playing in a video game."

New York and Colorado combined for 70 runs scored over a three-game series on June 18-20, 2002, setting a high that hasn't been equaled. The Yankees won two of three in the series, logging victories by scores of 10-5 and 20-10 before losing 11-4 in the finale.

Torre said that the Yankees wouldn't significantly alter their game plan for the three-game set in Colorado, but he cautioned that the thin air doesn't just help the ball clear the fence; it also forces outfielders to play deeper, increasing the frequency that singles plop safely over the infield.

"You need to be able to pitch and try to pitch to contact, and get the ball down [to] make them hit ground balls," Torre said.

Bombers bits: Torre said that he was not yet sure if Johnny Damon (abdominal strain) would be available to play the outfield on the upcoming trip. Damon served as the Yankees' designated hitter again on Sunday. ... The Yankees haven't yet decided if Jorge Posada will play first base at Colorado on Tuesday, when Wil Nieves catches. The final decision will rest with Posada, depending on his comfort level.

Yankees reach 4 million: The Yankees announced on Sunday that they have reached 4 million in ticket sales for the third consecutive season.

Through their first 33 home games, the Yankees lead the Major Leagues in total home attendance (1,691,519) and average home attendance (51,258), outdrawing the American League average by almost 22,000 fans per game.

Coming up: The Yankees enjoy an off-day Monday before heading west to thin air on Tuesday, opening a three-game Interleague series with the Rockies.

Right-hander Mike Mussina (3-3, 5.17 ERA) will try his hand against Colorado left-hander Jeff Francis (6-5, 3.61 ERA), with first pitch scheduled for 9:05 p.m. ET.

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