February 28, 2009

Joba snaps streak, Yanks drop second in a row

Joba Chamberlain was the first Yankees starting pitcher to give up runs in spring training so far, giving up two runs in the first in a 7-3 loss to the Twins.

The Yanks tied it up at two in the bottom of the first, but the Twins pulled away with a three-run third inning.

Jorge Posada was scheduled to DH again for the Yankees, but woke up with pain this morning, according to Peter Abraham.

Posada felt some pain while stretching on Thursday and has been playing since. He didn’t think it was a big deal, But when he woke up with it again today, he said something to the trainer and was checked out by the doctor.

He won’t throw until Tuesday at the earliest. They’re describing it as the first setback he has had in his rehab but nothing to be too concerned about. But obviously there are concerns. To me, this illustrates that while the Yankees are a stronger team than they were last season, Posada and Mariano Rivera remain major concerns.

Shelley Duncan replaced Posada, and was the only Yankee to have two hits in the game.

The Yankees face the Reds tomorrow at 1:05 p.m.  Alfredo Aceves will get the starting nod. 

February 27, 2009

Yanks' minor leaguers blow lead, fall 5-4

Yankee prospects Eric Hacker, Andrew Brackman, George Kontos and Jorge De La Rosa combined to give up five runs, allowing the Twins to comeback in a game that they were down 3-0.

Brett Gardner added a walk and another steal to his perfect day at the plate before being replaced by highly-touted prospect, Austin Jackson.  He went one for two and scored a run for the day.

Jorge Posada DH'ed again and continued his hot hitting, slapping two base hits.

This was the Yankees' first loss of spring training and they are now 2-1 overall.

Gardner shining in leadoff spot

Brett Gardner has two hits in the first three innings of the game today against the Twins.  He has a double and a single with a run scored and a stolen base so far.

Gardner is now 3/7 this spring (.429)

The Yankees hold a 3-0 leading behind Ian Kennedy's strong two-inning start, striking out three Twins allowing just a hit and a walk.

The only thing I have against Gardner is his striking resemblance to Red Sox second basemen, Dustin Pedroia...They are both very scrappy players too, but are good at what they do.

Photo from thetandd.com

February 26, 2009

Strong hitting and pitching continues

The Yanks beat the Rays today 5-1.  Jorge Posada's solo homer and RBI double and a Shelley Duncan's three-run bomb supplied all the offense for the Yankees.  

J.B. Cox was the only negative for the Yanks as he gave up three hits and the lone run in the seventh inning.

The Phil's (Hughes and Coke) both put up zeroes in two-inning performances.

The victory today plus yesterday's 6-1 victory are good signs for the Yanks, but it is still just spring training.

Ian Kennedy will start for the Yankees tomorrow against the Twins at 1:05 p.m.

Posada starts off 3rd inning with a bang

Posada's solo-shot to lead off the third inning put the Yankees on the board first.  He batted from the left side of the plate against RHP Chad Orvella.  Orvella retired the next three Yanks in a row, ending with a strikeout of Johnny Damon.

More updates on the way, stay posted!

Yankees on YES, 1:15 p.m.

Who's ready to see the Yankees back in action?  I am.  And this is the first chance I'll get to see my beloved Yankees since last year.  

For future reference, the YES network will only air home spring training games.  Upcoming ones are, today (Rays), Saturday (Twins) and Tuesday (USA).

Here are the lineups for todays game (courtesy of Fletch).  Yankees scheudled pitching setup is at the bottom.

Tampa Bay Rays
Adam Kennedy 2B
Carl Crawford CF
Willy Aybar DH
Morgan Ensberg 3B
Ben Zobrist SS
Gabe Kapler CF
Chris Richard 1B
Shawn Riggans C
Justin Ruggiano RF

Wade Davis RHP

New York Yankees
Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Xavier Nady RF
Jorge Posada DH
Jose Molina C
Melky Cabrera CF

Phil Hughes RHP (followed by Phil Coke, Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Jonathan Albaladejo and Mark Melancon)

Unfortunately, I'm missing the beginning of the game for a meeting, but I will be back for most of the rest of the game.

Can't wait!

A-Rod's homer bigger than it seems

I had an epiphany when I woke up this morning.

Although Alex Rodriguez's two-run homer against the Blue Jays yesterday was just in a spring training game, I think the homer proves to us his focus and confidence is with the team.

Reggie Jackson, current Yankees special advisor, talked with Bryan Hoch about the home run after the game yesterday.
"We all know he can play baseball," Jackson said.  "If this does one thing, maybe what we saw today is that he's got an ability to concentrate.
Jackson is absolutely right here.  Who would have thunk, after all the PED controversey and spotlight on A-Rod, that he could jump right out of the gates and smash a homer in the first game he's played in months. 

If A-Rod can keep focused on winning and avoid getting involved negatively with the media, then Yankee fans can and should expect a big season from him.

Coming from a guy who hates A-Rod's guts, that's saying a lot.

Photo from CBS

February 25, 2009

Go figure. A-Rod homers in 1st exhibition game

A-Rod had a blast in this year's spring training opener, literally.  He hit a two-run homer in the fourth, scoring Robinson Cano, who singled to lead off the inning.  A-Rod walked in two of his other at bats.

Other game notes: Brett Gardner led off the game with a homer, but also was charged with a throwing error. . .Brett Tomko had a strong Yankee debut, pitching two scoreless innings, only surrendering one hit. . .Kevin Cash stole a base. . .He's never attempted to steal in his six-year MLB career. . .My man Austin Jackson hit a double, I'm telling you. . .Watch Phil Hughes on YES tomorrow (1:15 p.m. ET), as he gets the starting nod against the Rays.

February 24, 2009

Two more injury updates: Jeter, Posada

Yesterday's post about Derek Jeter's hamstring turned out in the Yankees favor, as Jeter ran the bases today according to Peter Abraham.

A big issue going into Yankee camp was Posada's throwing shoulder, as he is recovering from shoulder surgery. Abraham saw him throw and said the Yankees are happy with his progress. He is expected to DH Thursday against the Rays.

February 23, 2009

Spring training rotation revealed

Peter Abraham reports that Brett Tomko will start the 2009 spring training off, pitching against Toronto on Wednesday.  Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain are slated for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

If you are lucky enough to have YES network, you will get to see Hughes on Thursday and Chamberlain on Saturday, both games at 1:15.

I can't wait to see us back in action, especially since this is the first time I have full access to YES network...I LOVE QUINNIPIAC!!!

Sabathia back in action, Jeter's hamstring acts up

The day after leaving camp with the flu, C.C. Sabathia returned in a big way, impressing many fans as he pitched batting practice.  Derek Jeter caught the injury bug from C.C., with a sore hamstring.
"It's no big deal," Jeter said.  "I did everything but run.  I'm sure tomorrow you'll see me running.  It's really not an issue.  If I had a game today, I would have played." - MLB.com
From personal experience, I can tell you that hamstring injuries develop slowly and can turn into major distractions.  Drinking water and stretching help treat hamstring issues.

Photo from Newsday

Surprising poll results: Joba's role still in question

In a poll that I thought would provide a very clear answer, I received a near three-way tie.  Voters chose between Joba Chamberlain pitching in the starting rotation, the bullpen or both.

Rotation:   6
Bullpen:    6
Both:        4

I voted that Joba should return to the rotation.  Being in a rotation provides a team with 180+ innings of work, compared to the 60 innings you might get from being in the bullpen.  Joba has dominated in both roles so far in his career, so why not go with the more valuable option?  

Too many times last year a Yankee pitcher would not make it past the fifth inning.  Having your number four/five starter guarantee you six-plus innings per outing is huge.  For more on my take on this topic click here.


February 21, 2009

Sabathia suffers with the flu

C.C. Sabathia has come down with the flu, and was excused to leave camp today, according to Hoch.

He was expected to pitch batting practice today for the second time this spring, but after vomiting this morning he was permitted to leave.

I'm just glad this is happening now, not later. We need him healthy all year.

Photo from baby-bombers.com

February 19, 2009

Facebook - Baseball Tycoon!!

For anyone that has a Facebook account, log in, and click on this link:


Trust me. This is a constantly updating game that will keep you occupied and jazzed up for a long time. You can personalize your team with a lot of different settings.

Once you start playing this great game, you will realize why I am putting this link in my blog, and you will probably start to do the same thing as me.

"The Yankee Years" - Excerpt 1

I just got Joe Torre's book this past weekend, unfortunately I haven't had a lot of time to get very far in it. This will be one of many excerpts chosen by me that I will display for your viewing pleasure. You will also get my take on it, of course.

My first quote is about the 1996 season. Torre is talking about what George Steinbrenner's mentality was like on an everyday basis.

"I was so excited to be managing a club that had a chance to win that whatever he dealt out to me, I was in a great frame of mind with it," Torre said. "We'd be winning games and he'd be semi-embarrassed because we'd win on a squeeze bunt or a base hit. He wanted to mutilate people." - Page 14

This book shares a lot of inside information like this that really fascinates me. I love hearing about the specifics of what really went on in the clubhouse.

Just before this quote, the book enlightened me of how good the Yankees bullpen was in '96. "They were 70-3 when they led after six innings." 70-3..........? That's absurd. Mariano Rivera six, John Wetteland three - every time.

February 17, 2009

A-Rod tells all...again

A-Rod's at it again.  His second attempt of 2009 to try and get people to like him was just as unsuccessful as the first.

This time, he came prepared, with an opening statement.  He told us that he took Ripped Fuel (from GNC) when he played for the Mariners.  Then he admitted to taking "Boli," which most likely is primobolan.  Peter Gammons asked A-Rod directly if he had taken it, and he said he did not know.

When asked if he could give us any assuraces that he is telling us everything right now, he responded with, "I may have to answer them (questions) for the rest of my career."

This is another implication that he has not told us everything.  

Roy Oswalt and Jamie Moyer have both said on record recently that he is not a credible person and nobody should vote him to the hall of fame.  A-Rod responded to questions about both of their comments with, "I'm sorry he feels that way." 

From that, I can tell that he believes he is a hall of famer.  He made sure to note that in his mind, his best two seasons ('96, '07) came outside the '01-'03 span.  Well A-Rod, now I know you are trying to bail yourself out.  Anyone who glances over his career numbers can point out that 2002 was either his best or second best year.

In one of the later questions, he said that he is just here to say that he is sorry.  He also wishes that he had gone to college.

Let me get this straight, he's saying he would not have taken PEDs if he had gone to college.  As a college student, I can tell A-Rod that you don't learn those types of things in college.  This is a moral issue; some people are cheaters and some people aren't.

February 16, 2009

Wang looking good in Tampa

Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch reports that Chien-Ming Wang is feeling good and was hitting the mitt from the bullpen mound.

Good sign for him. Last year's season ended when he injured his foot rounding the bases in a blowout win against the Astros on June 15, 2008.

The key this year, as always, is staying healthy. But you can never avoid freak accidents like Wang's last year. Remember when Hideki Matsui was riding that consecutive games streak and then he nearly snapped his wrist off diving for a fly ball?

You can't prevent against that.

Photo from NYPost.com

February 15, 2009

A-Rod hall of fame chances undecided

In my last poll, I asked if A-Rod is still a hall of famer after he admitted to PED use from 2001-2003. Here are the results:

Yes (still a hall of famer): 45%
No (not a hall of famer): 55%

If this poll was based on the actual hall of fame voters, then A-Rod would be well short of the 75% needed.

I strongly believe he is unworthy of the hall.  He is a liar.

February 13, 2009


All pitchers and catchers are expected to report to Tampa today, although some players like Derek Jeter have been there for multiple days now.

Don't worry people, bad luck is just a coincidence. If Chien-Ming Wang tears his ACL today, then I might start believing in it.

The Yanks' first spring training game is Feb. 25, against the Blue Jays. However, I'm sure there will be an intrasquad scrimmage or two before then.

Photo from tampabay.com

February 12, 2009

Steroid era crisis?

I just got word that commissioner Bud Selig is contemplating a suspension for A-Rod, due to his admission of PED use when they were illegal in baseball.

One thing holding back Selig from suspending him right now is that the test he tested positive in was an anonymous survey. Also, A-Rod never admitted to the specific PED he used, which makes it harder to suspend him.

This is a huge deal folks. I've been thinking a lot about what the aftermath of the steroid era should be.  I am focusing on hall of fame eligibility as well as any sort of records.

As a baseball purist, I want to make every player that has either admitted or tested positive in any PED test ineligible for the Hall of Fame. I'm sorry A-Rod, but the hall's voting guidelines are very clear:
Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
The use of PEDs defies integrity, sportsmanship, as well as character. That is enough for me to deem any one of these players ineligible for the Hall of Fame.

Now as far as dealing with the records, I want to make any one of these players ineligible for the record books. Yes, this means Roger Maris' 61 homers are still in the lead, as well as Hank Aaron's 755 dingers.

I'm sorry, but you have to come down hard on these players. I'm sure in most cases, these players are thinking, "If I use these PEDs, I can get good enough to earn myself a hefty contract." I'm sorry for the Andy Pettitte's of the world, but you still were dumb enough to use them.  Illegal or not, it is still immoral to use them and goes against everything the Hall of Fame stands for. And I certainly don't want inflated statistics reinventing the record books.

Big name players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and now Miguel Tejada can kiss their careers good bye.

Photo from SI.com

February 11, 2009

Bye Bye Bobby

Bobby Abreu has reached an agreement with our AL West rival, the Angels, on a one-year, $5 million deal. The deal is not official until Abreu passes his physical and he finishes working out the incentives of the deal with the Angels.

Abreu will be taking an $11 million pay cut from his last years' salary with the Yankees at $16 million.

The Yanks acquired Abreu at the 2006 trade deadline for C.J. Henry, Matt Smith, Jesus Sanchez, and Carlos Monasterios. Over his two and a half seasons with the Yankees, he batted .295, hit 43 homers, drove in 243 runs, and stole 57 bases.

We will be rooting against him now that he is playing for the hated Angels.

Bye bye Bobby!

Photo from NYTimes.com

Jeter's future?

Recently, rumors of Jeter's future possibly ending his career as a center fielder have come up.

The Jeter situation is a tough one. Re-signing him after his current contract expires in 2010, moving him away from the #2 spot in the order, changing his position to center field or switching positions with A-Rod are all questions that eventually will have to be answered. But who wants to be the guy that moves Jeter down in the order though?

My predictions for Jeter's future are as follows:
  • He will not play any other position other than shortstop or DH
  • He will sign only one more deal after his contract expires after the 2010 season
  • He will retire before he reaches 3,000 hits if he feels he is dragging out his career
  • He will retire when he feels he cannot contribute positively to the Yankees
...Pitchers and catchers report to Tampa this Friday...I'm so pumped for my first season of blogging!

Photo from Newsday.com

February 10, 2009

A-Rod admits all - I don't buy it

If you have not watched the near-36-minute interview of A-Rod by Peter Gammons, I highly recommend you watch it so you can see for yourself if he is being honest or not.

Before watching the interview, I was glad that A-Rod admitted taking steroids. Like I said in my previous post about A-Rod, I wish we could figure out the time span of his use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Still without seeing the interview, I heard that A-Rod admitted to taking steroids just from 2001-2003. My reaction: OK, at least his Yankee years are clean. But still, his season high in home runs came in 2002 when he hit 57 and he won his first MVP in 2003.

Finally after watching the entire interview, I have changed my opinion on A-Rod completely. I believe I have caught him a few times lying about important specific information.

Throughout the interview, he reiterated that during his time in Texas, there was a different "culture" than there is today (referring to the higher prevalence of PEDs). He also used the cliche, "the truth will always set you free" numerous times (hoping to gain some credibility from his fans). You might be right A-Rod, but in order for the truth to set you free, you have to actually tell the truth.

I was still feeling bad for him about the whole situation and happy he admitted to his steroid use until i heard this Q&A. When Gammons asked about how he got the PEDs in the first place, A-Rod responded with this:
"You have nutritionists, doctors, and trainers," A-Rod said. "I'm not sure exactly which substance I used, but whatever it is, I feel terribly about it." Later he said, "to be honest I don't know exactly what substance I was guilty of using."
WHAT! You just lost all of your credibility right there A-Rod. If you are going to admit to all of the PEDs you have ever taken in a formal interview, how in the world do you not know exactly what you took? Notice in the last part of the quote, he says "substance I was guilty of using." What other substances are there A-Rod? When you are admitting that you took PEDs, you have to mention everything that you have taken. If you don't, you are lying because you have not told us everything there is to know.

Now, this is not the only dirt I believe I have on him. He mentioned toward the end of the interview that he has not read Joe Torre's book yet. Gammons followed up by asking "Did you hear people call you A-Fraud?" If you listen closely to his response, the very first word that slips out of A-Rod's mouth is, "never." - 29th minute

If you listen to his entire answer, he wraps up by saying, "did I hear jokes about A-Rod? Yea, we joked about a lot of things - 25 guys had 25 different nicknames."

A contradiction to say the least. I don't know if I'm making something out of nothing here, but this affects his credibility a great deal for me. I'm talking about his very first instinct, to say the word "never."

After reading an article about Joe Torre's book signing, I came across this:

Torre said coach Larry Bowa used to invoke A-Fraud when hitting grounders after the ex-Mariner had a bad night in the field.

"He says, 'Come on, let's see who we see today? Is it going to be A-Rod or A-Fraud? Let's go,' " Torre recalled. "I mean, it was in front of him. You never did any of that stuff behind his back."
I'm sorry A-Rod, but Joe Torre represents the pinnacle of honesty. What Torre has said here is no different from the norm.

On a second look through on A-Rod's interview with Gammons, I noticed when asked if "the time period was 2001,'02 and '03," A-Rod replied with, "that's pretty accurate, yes." ...What kind of an answer is that?! Are other reporters missing this? According to A-Rod, the time period for his steroid use (2001-2003) is pretty accurate. It's a yes or no question!

My tip for A-Rod: don't lie about other things when you are in the middle of admitting for the first time that you did in fact use PEDs.

Is there anyone out there who still believes A-Rod?

Photo from A-Rod's interview on ESPN

February 8, 2009

A-Rod tainted

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, you've heard that A-Rod tested positive for two anabolic steroids in 2003; his MVP season with the Rangers.

You can look at this from two angles. The whole career perspective: does this immediately eliminate his chances at the Hall of Fame? (see my poll) And the more current angle: will this be a distraction for A-Rod all of the '09 season?

What these tests do not tell you is how long the player used the steroids. This can make all the difference in the world. If A-Rod was like Andy Pettitte and only took steroids for a couple of weeks, I would let him off the hook just like I have with Pettitte.

Photos from SI.com

Fans vote: Jeter undeserving

My latest poll clearly shows that Jeter does not deserve to bat second for the Yankees in '09, but it is almost certain that he will in fact be etched into the #2 slot by Girardi.

Yes, deserving:  25%
No, undeserving: 75%

The people who voted no, may not have thought about one thing.  Who else do the Yankees have to bat second?  I voted yes, and maintain that position despite the poll results.  Jeter is the prototypical #2 hitter.  He gets a lot of hits, has great bat control, moves runners over with bunts, and still is a solid stolen base threat.  My Yankees opening day lineup looks like this:

Johnny Damon, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Jorge Posada, C
Hideki Matsui, DH
Robinson Cano, 2B
Xavier Nady, RF
Brett Gardner, CF

Who else fits the role of a #2 hitter better than Jeter?

Photo from Britannica.com

February 6, 2009

Defending Gardner

From ESPN's Rob Neyer's Blog, people are trying to make the argument to move Derek Jeter to center field, bring in Orlando Cabrera for shortstop, which would lead to Brett Gardner being sent back down to the minors.

Come on, was I imagining things when Gardner got a walk-off hit against Jonathan Papelbon last year? I don't think so. He is an extremely valuable stolen base threat, especially if he came off the bench and acted as a defensive specialist. I strongly believe that Gardner needs to stay in the majors and become a better hitter in the majors. The pitching is just not the same in Triple-A as it is in the majors.

I see Gardner splitting time with Melky Cabrera pretty evenly during the season.

Photo from The New York Times

February 3, 2009

Joe Torre's book

Joe Torre's book "The Yankee Years" is now on sale. It's hard to get around as a college freshman like myself, but I am looking to read this book one way or another as soon as I can.

I found this review online if you are interested:

The following content was provided by the publisher.
Twelve straight playoff appearances. Six American League pennants. Four World Series titles. This is the definitive story of a dynasty: the Yankee years When Joe Torre took over as manager of the New York Yankees in 1996, the most storied franchise in sports had not won a World Series title in eighteen years. The famously tough and mercurial owner, George Steinbrenner, had fired seventeen managers during that span. Torre's appointment was greeted with Bronx cheers from the notoriously brutal New York media, who cited his record as the player and manager who had been in the most Major League games without appearing in a World Series Twelve tumultuous and triumphant years later, Torre left the team as the most beloved and successful manager in the game...continue reading here

February 2, 2009

Bruney on board

The Yanks avoided arbitration with Brian Bruney, who agreed to a $1.25 million contract over the weekend. 

Bruney's foot injury in the beginning of last year knocked him out until August and September.  He proved he can still be a dependable arm out of the pen; going 3-0 with a 1.83 era and 33 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings.

The Yanks pitching staff gets better and better every week.  You gotta love it.

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