Yanks Must Wait ‘Til Next Year

first_imgNEW YORK — The quartet leaned against the dugout railing with uniformly glum expressions during the ninth inning, Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances crossing their arms, Brett Gardner dangling his over a railing and Chris Young resting his chin on a hand.The New York Yankees expected better this year than elimination in the AL wild-card game. Many others anticipated worse.“When the season started, no one thought we would be here,” Manager Joe Girardi said after Houston eliminated New York 3-0 on Oct. 6.In the first year after Derek Jeter’s retirement, the Yankees ended their two-year absence from the postseason but did not reach the Division Series. They had a seven-game AL East lead in late July but played .500 ball after and finished six games behind Toronto.Adding closer Andrew Miller, shortstop Didi Gregorius, pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and reliever Justin Wilson helped, but not enough. In the end, the Yankees could not overcome titanic late-season slumps by Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez and Brian McCann.“The way this team played here down the stretch isn’t reflective of what this team looked like for most of the season. That’s the frustrating part,” General Manager Brian Cashman said.New York scored 764 runs, second in the major leagues behind Toronto, and the Yankees’ 212 homers were up from 147 last year. But they lacked timely hitting for stretches and a slump-busting ace.David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann and Johnny Cueto will be available on the free-agent market, but do the Yankees want a long-term contract with another high-priced pitcher who will be in his mid-to-late 30s in the deal’s latter years?They also could use a right-handed bat with power, preferably at second base. The Yankees were especially vulnerable to left-handers when the switch-hitting Mark Teixeira broke a shin in mid-August and Rodriguez slumped.At 30 years, 31 days, the Yankees began the season with the fifth-oldest roster, according to STATS. Rodriguez returned from a season-long drug suspension to hit 33 homers and Teixeira, 35 years old, rebounded from wrist surgery to hit 31 homers and drive in 79 runs before his injury.“Our stated goal is to definitely try to get younger,” Cashman said.With age comes injuries. Will Rodriguez, who turns 41 next summer, stay healthy for a second straight season?“Depth is very important, no doubt. Guys are going to get banged up,” Teixeira said. “Rest helps. Rest is a part of recovery. It’s a part of performance.”All of the Yankees’ primary starting pitchers were hurt at some point: Tanaka (wrist, forearm), CC Sabathia (knee), Michael Pineda (forearm), Ivan Nova (recovery from Tommy John surgery) and Nathan Eovaldi (wrist). Sabathia, 35 and three years removed from his last top season, left the team to check into an alcohol rehabilitation center on Monday.As starters got hurt, the bullpen got taxed. And New York’s offense pretty much collapsed late in the season. From Sept. 1 on, Rodriguez hit .224. Ellsbury .207, Gardner .198 and McCann .174. The club batting average dropped from .274 in June and July to .236 for the remainder of the season, according to STATS.Changes likely will come from free agents and trades. While Luis Severino (21), first baseman Greg Bird (22) and second baseman Rob Refsnyder (24) showed promise during the second half, Cashman cautioned on expecting additional top pitching help from the minors.“I don’t have anybody coming that is of Severino caliber,” he said.Additional stars could be used, too. Average attendance in the post-Jeter era slid from 42,520 last year to 39,922, and the average viewership on the YES Network fell from 288,000 to 259,000.With major changes, the Yankees’ next game that counts may resemble their last. Their opener is April 4 at home — against the Astros.Players left the clubhouse with a modicum of optimism. “I like what we’re going to have next year,” Teixeira said.(RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Number of no-show airport security screeners soars in shutdown

first_imgThe number of airport security screeners failing to show up for work around the country is soaring as the partial government shutdown goes into its fourth week.No-shows among screeners jumped Sunday and again Monday, when the Transportation Security Administration reported a national absence rate of 7.6 per cent compared with 3.2 per cent on a comparable day a year ago. Monday marked the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck for the first time since the shutdown began.At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest, some passengers waited more than an hour to get through checkpoints. The airport reported the long lines on its website Monday morning, showing the hour-plus waits at all three checkpoints in the domestic terminal.”It’s chaos out here,” passenger Vincent Smith said as he stood in a line that snaked through the Atlanta airport’s atrium and baggage claim areas.”This line, I’ve been here about 15 minutes and it has moved 2 feet.”TSA is working with the Atlanta airport and airlines “to maximize all available operational resources at the airport,” TSA spokesman Jim Gregory said.The agency is working with airports and airlines nationwide to consolidate operations and get the most out of resources, Gregory added. He declined to provide absentee figures for Atlanta or other airports, saying that would compromise security by exposing possible vulnerabilities.”Screeners will not do anything to compromise or change their security procedures,” he said.But Smith said he could relate to government workers who don’t show up so they can find other ways to make ends meet.advertisement”If I was a government worker, yes, I would probably call in and try to do something else because creditors don’t care if you’re furloughed or not,” Smith said. “They just want to get paid and with a family of six, you have to do what you have to.”Atlanta’s wait times stretched well beyond what the TSA says most passengers have encountered since the shutdown began.Delta Air Lines, the dominant carrier in Atlanta, and other airlines said they were advising passengers to get to the airport at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international trips.A Delta spokeswoman said airline employees were pitching in by helping manage TSA lines.TSA said that it screened 1.97 million people on Sunday and that 99.1 per cent waited less than 30 minutes, and 93.1 per cent less than 15 minutes. Precheck lines for people who pay a fee for expedited screening averaged less than five minutes, TSA said.A combination of a busy Monday travel day combined with some security lines being closed led to the long lines, airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil said.He said he didn’t know how many security lines were down.A statement from TSA attributed the long waits in Atlanta to “anticipated high volume.”Meanwhile, TSA said it would move officers around the country to deal with local shortages. A few airports are making changes to deal with the shortage of screeners.At Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, a security checkpoint and ticket counter that were shuttered Sunday afternoon in Terminal B will remain closed through Tuesday, a spokesman said.The terminal handles United Express flights. Passengers must go through checkpoints in other terminals, then walk or take a train to planes parked at Terminal B. A spokesman for United Airlines said flights were not affected.Miami International Airport closed one of its concourses for part of Saturday and Sunday, shifting about a dozen afternoon and evening flights each day to other concourses so that TSA workers could adequately staff the other checkpoints.Airport spokesman Greg Chin said TSA was staffing the Concourse G checkpoint on Monday, but airport officials were monitoring the situation and would make more adjustments if necessary.An official with the union representing TSA workers said TSA canceled employees’ vacation requests about a week ago.”Since nobody is getting paid, (TSA officials) don’t want them to take annual leave,” said Cairo D’Almeida, president of a government workers’ union local in Seattle. He said he was asking local food banks if they can help the workers.Gregory, the TSA spokesman said that was not a TSA decision. Under guidelines from the federal Office of Personnel Management, paid time off is cancelled for employees, including the airport screeners, who are exempt from certain federal labour laws.In Atlanta, Monday’s long wait times come with less than three weeks remaining before the city hosts one of the world’s biggest sporting events. Super Bowl 53 on February 3 is expected to bring hordes of travellers to Atlanta for the game and days of concerts and related events.advertisement”We’re confident that we will be as efficient and as welcoming as people expect the city of Atlanta to be here at Hartsfield-Jackson for the Super Bowl,” Gobeil said.Also Read | Bird flies business class on Singapore Airlines flight. Crazy video cracks up internetAlso Watch | All flights from Srinagar airport suspendedlast_img read more