The Yankees scored 13 runs last night, but Javier kept coming back to the first three outside the players’ gate after the game.
He settled into his batting stance at a make-believe plate and mimicked a big right-handed swing. Following the flight of an imaginary ball, he broke into a homerun trot that took him through the gathered crowd and ended with high-fives and a forearm smash.
“You gotta love Shelley Duncan,” Javier said. “He plays the way we all would play if they pulled us out of the bleachers to fill in.
“He’s just like a regular neighborhood guy,” Javier continued. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I looked up one day at the counter in the Crown Diner and he was polishing off a stack of pancakes.”
But Duncan best serves the Bronx by polishing off fastballs and sliders and curveballs.
“I pull for him to hit one out every time,” Javier explained. “We can always use the runs, but I also like the jolt he brings to the Stadium.”
Javier smiled and took one more big swing.
“Yeah,” he said. “That kid fits in perfectly around here.”