NEW YORK — Sonia Sotomayor traded benches for a day, joining the Yankees' Bleacher Creatures.
The Supreme Court justice attended the Yankees' 12-3 win over the Orioles on Wednesday and sat in Section 203 of the rightfield stands for the first-inning "Roll Call" of New York's starting lineup.
"Having sat in the old stadium bleachers, anonymously, there is quite a chord that gets touched when you come back on a day like today and people are screaming out 'Justice' or 'Sonia,' and it brings a little bit of a tear to your eye," she said during the seventh inning. "My life has changed so much, and you have a new Yankee Stadium, but the spirit of the Yankees is still in the house, and it was very moving for me and important to me that the comfort that they gave me most of my life in watching them most of the time win continues."
Usually seen on the Supreme Court bench in robes next to Stephen Breyer, she wore a black top and blue jeans and sat next to "Bald Vinny" Milano in a section where tickets cost $20 and $23. The Yankees said she moved to better seats after Roll Call.
"The first thing I said to her was, 'I'm probably going to be the loudest guy you meet today, but I'm absolutely speechless,' " Milano related. "I don't think she knew before she got here what she was in for."
In other Yankees news, RH reliever Joba Chamberlain had his first big-league outing in 14 months. He was shaky, giving up a leadoff homer to Orioles SS J.J. Hardy in the seventh inning and allowing two runs in 12/3.
That mattered less to Chamberlain than finally getting back on the mound after recovering from elbow and ankle injuries.
"Your heart gets racing again, just to know that door's opening, your name is called and you're going to pitch," he said. "It was something that I will remember for the rest of my life."
NO BAD BLOOD: Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said RHP Ryan Dempster had a right to block a trade to the Braves and does not deserve criticism for it. "We were on great terms throughout the entire process," Epstein said. The Cubs wound up trading their ace to the Rangers for two minor-leaguers, but would have preferred the Braves deal.
In other Cubs news, RHP Casey Coleman was optioned to Triple-A Iowa, and RHPs Chris Volstad and Alberto Cabrera were recalled from Iowa.
ANGELS: LH reliever Scott Downs went on the disabled list with a strained shoulder. LHP Hisanori Takahashi was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake.
DODGERS: OF Bobby Abreu was designated for assignment with the arrival of OF Shane Victorino, acquired Tuesday from the Phillies.
INDIANS: DH Travis Hafner went on the paternity list. Utilityman Vinny Rottino was recalled from Triple-A Columbus.
PIRATES: RHP Daniel McCutchen was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room for RH reliever Chad Qualls, acquired Tuesday from the Yankees.
REDS: C Devin Mesoraco was suspended for three games for making contact with umpire Chad Fairchild during an argument in Tuesday night's game. Mesoraco said he would appeal.
RED SOX: RHP Josh Beckett, who left Tuesday's game after three innings because of back spasms, should be able to avoid the disabled list, manager Bobby Valentine said.
ROCKIES: The team restructured front office responsibilities with assistant general manager Bill Geivett being given more day-to-day duties with the major-league club while GM Dan O'Dowd focuses on player development. Geivett will still report to O'Dowd.