When outfielder Austin Jackson tracks down a deep fly or Detroit Tigers teammate Phil Coke throws a scoreless inning of relief, New York general manager Brian Cashman doesn't fret about the fact that both players could still be Yankees.
"I don't block it out at all," Cashman said Tuesday in the visitors' dugout at Comerica Park before Game 3 of the AL championship series. "We gave up good players, but you have to do that to get good players."
On Dec. 9, 2009, Detroit dealt center fielder Curtis Granderson to New York in a three-team deal that also included Arizona. Jackson and Coke were sent from the Yankees to the Tigers, who also got Game 4 starter Max Scherzer from the Diamondbacks.
Granderson surpassed 40 homers and 100 RBIs in each of the past two seasons with the Yankees, finishing fourth in 2011 AL MVP voting. But he entered Game 3 hitless in seven at-bats with five strikeouts during this year's ALCS.
Jackson has been a key player for the Tigers in the field and at the plate. Coke gave up only one hit in three innings of relief to help them win the first two games at Yankee Stadium.
In the first trade of the 2009 winter meetings, Arizona acquired pitcher Edwin Jackson from Detroit and right-hander Ian Kennedy from the Yankees while the Tigers also got pitcher Daniel Schlereth from Arizona.
Granderson was — and is — a popular player in Detroit, but he was moved in a trade in which money — of course — was a factor. Granderson's salary was $10 million this year, while the Tigers received four players who cost less than $6 million combined.
"There's a lot of people in that trade, so it's hard to keep up with everybody," Scherzer said. "Really, once I got traded over to Detroit, it has been a great home for me. I'm so happy to be in this city and play for this team and this organization. And to be a part of something special here is great, and hopefully we can keep going."
Since the trade, there's been plenty of history between the teams. Detroit eliminated the Yankees in the first round of last year's playoffs, winning a decisive Game 5 in New York.
EXTRA ARM: Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook was pumped up after throwing 49 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday, saying he'd be ready whenever the team needed him.
"Without a doubt. I feel strong in saying that, especially the way today went," Westbrook said. "I have a lot of confidence after the way I threw today."
The 13-game winner has been sidelined with a strained right oblique since Sept. 8. He's thrown off the mound four times and said he was eager to contribute. Westbrook could be available in the World Series if St. Louis gets past the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.
"That would be great," Westbrook said. "That's why I'm doing all this, to have that opportunity if need be, and just let them know I'm ready."
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