NEW YORK -- The Yankees hit one out of the park Monday for Carlos Silva, a veteran producer and engineer for the club's radio broadcasts who is battling esophageal and stomach cancer.
About 150 fans turned out for a Hot Stove Q&A at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, raising in excess of $20,000 for Silva, a fixture in the Yankee Stadium press box who assists announcers John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on a daily basis during the season.
"A tremendous family man, a tremendous employee," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's with us all the time; he's on our charters and we see him all the time in the lobby of the hotels. He's part of the family. He's going through a difficult time and we're going to help him."
Silva was unable to attend the event, but he tweeted from Florida, "Thanks to all in New York for helping me and my family. Good luck and God bless you all."
Sterling and Waldman served as the hosts for the event, which was also attended by general manager Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi, first baseman Mark Teixeira and closer Mariano Rivera. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News also served on the panel.
"I went through this. I know what chemotherapy is like," Waldman said. "Having cancer is terrifying. It's more terrifying when you don't have the money to pay for the treatments, and this helps. You want to help somebody like that. George Steinbrenner talked about the Yankee family, it's real, and this is it."
In one of the highlights of the evening, Rivera donned a Yankees jersey and assumed the role of an auctioneer, helping spur bidding into the thousands of dollars. A silent auction was also held, and the Yankees also conducted an online auction at http://yankees.com/auction.
Silva has worked on Yankees games since 2006 and plans to rejoin the traveling party in time for WCBS' first broadcasts from Spring Training in Tampa, Fla.
"He loves the game and you can see his enthusiasm for the game," Girardi said. "He probably takes losses as hard as anyone when it comes to Yankee baseball. I've never seen Carlos not have a smile on his face, and that's the kind of guy he is."
Yankees weighing options in center field
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are waiting until they arrive in camp to decide if Brett Gardner or Curtis Granderson will be their best option in center field.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team needs to talk about the idea of using Granderson in left field this spring, where he could play alongside Gardner and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki.
"We have two center fielders, as we've had for three years, manning two-thirds of our outfield," Cashman said. "It's something we'll talk about. It's certainly something that's possible, but it's not something we've moved on."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he isn't ready to make any final calls about his outfield. Granderson played errorless defense in center field last season, but the Yankees also regard Gardner -- when healthy -- as one of the game's top defensive outfielders.
"There's things that we'll discuss as we move forward," Girardi said. "We haven't made any changes. You can always look at things, and we're always looking at how we can get better. As of right now, we haven't made any changes."
Girardi said that one concern would be the adjustments Granderson might need to make in a move to left field, a position he's only played in 22 big league games and none after 2007 with the Tigers.
"When you start talking about moving one guy, you're really moving two guys," Girardi said. "Gardy has become pretty good at playing left field, so those are the things that you have to look at."
Rivera plans to hit Yanks camp earlier than usual
NEW YORK -- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is preparing for a rare on-time arrival at Spring Training this year.
Rivera, 43, has historically been granted as much leeway as needed in nudging his first appearance past the rest of the Yankees' pitchers and catchers, but he said Monday that he is looking forward to the official report date of Feb. 12.
"This time, I'm going to show up at the right time," Rivera said. "It's going to be great. I can't wait to go there."
Rivera said that his rehab from a torn right anterior cruciate ligament is proceeding well, and his throwing program included some tosses Monday.
"I've thrown a little bit, I'm running," Rivera said. "I'm doing what I can do in this kind of weather. Once I get there [to Florida], the weather will be better and the time will be right to start pushing the legs. I have six more weeks to get ready, so I have full confidence that everything will be fine."
While spotting Rivera in the first days of Spring Training will seem out of the ordinary, the all-time saves leader said he doesn't plan to alter his light spring workload, which typically amounts to a handful of Grapefruit League appearances and absolutely no road trips.
"I'll be doing the same thing. I don't need to [pitch more]," Rivera said. "If I need extra, I will do extra, and if I don't -- I will make sure that I do what I need to do; be in shape and be ready to go."