March 31, 2009

Cano on a mission

Kevin Kernan of the New York Post reported today that a new and improved Robinson Cano is in camp this spring, and that he has high hopes for this upcoming season.

Of course, I'd love to agree with Kernan here, but I'm not sold just yet.  The article mentions that hitting coach Kevin Long visited Cano in the offseason in the Dominican Republic.  This is definitely a really good thing, but the article says that his swing has changed dramatically.  This scares me a little.
Cano's stance was squared off, his stride shortened, and he stopped going from an open to a closed stance while the pitcher was in his delivery.
This sounds a little bit too dramtic of a change.  I know his stance changed a little bit at the very end of last season, and that worked out well for him.  So now why is he totally revamping his swing after that?

The article also says that Cano has a better understanding of the strike zone, and is taking more pitches.  Well, based on the fact that he's walked twice in 52 plate appearances this spring, I'm not buying it.

The only thing that this article makes me happy about is that Cano is showing that he cares a lot about improving on his bad season.  It says that he has been working out six days a week, and for six and a half hours each day.  When you watch Cano play, he seems like he does things so effortlessly that some people even question his effort.
"I saw a different guy who came into spring training and was ready to go," Girardi said. "A guy who was physically in top-notch shape, and I think Robbie learned a lot last year. Robbie has made the adjustments, and it has paid off so far."
I'm rooting for you Robbie!  But please, please, please, draw some walks for me!

March 30, 2009

Is Gardner starting a good thing?

As promised, Joe Girardi anounced yesterday that Brett Gardner, not Melky Cabrera, will start in center field for the Yankees this season.
"Both of them played great," Girardi said. "Melky had a tough year last year, but he came into camp and was ready to go and played very well. Gardy finished up strong and had a great camp. We're just going to go with Gardy."
Girardi had no choice here.  It seems that Gardner has all the confidence in the world, and Cabrera is still mulling last season's failure.  Now I wonder if Gardner starting everyday is actually beneficial for the Yankees.

The Yankees have never really had a regular speedster in the lineup on a consistent basis.  And now, the Yankees don't have much speed up and down the lineup until you get to Gardner at the end of the order.  I feel Cabrera's bat is more valuable to the Yankees in the everyday lineup than Gardner's speed is.

There's no doubting Gardner's speed.  But he can't use his speed unless he gets on base.  Gardner's OBP this spring is .448, but when I compared that to his career OBP of .283, I got a little worried.  Cabrera's numbers last season were horrid, but his two seasons before that were terrific for a nine hitter.

Gardner on the bench as a late-game pinch runner and defensive replacement helps the Yankees more than him batting ninth.  I hate to praise the Red Sox, but did you see what they did against the Yanks with Dave Roberts in the 2004 ALCS?

March 29, 2009

3rd Featured Yankee Card of the Week!

I'm going with Derek Jeter again this week because he's been such a hot topic in the news, and it's also a nice throwback card.  I got this 1996 Score Rookie at one of my first Yankee games I've ever been to in one of those Yankee packs that were sold at the old stadium.

If you search the card on eBay, it maxes out at $34.99, but mine does not seem to be in the best quality.  As far as selling my cards in general, I haven't really thought about doing it yet.  I think that eventually cards may get valuable again, but aren't right now because they are so popular.  

Having a collection like mine is fun to keep track of and look through every once in a while.  I have around 10,000 cards including hundreds of Yankee cards ranging from 1960 to the present.

Poll results: Hughes will start more than relieve

Fans voted Phil Hughes to start more games than relieve in 2009 by a wide margin this past week.

Starts:  58%
Relief appearances:  23%
He won't pitch at all for the Yankees in 2009:  17%

I voted last Sunday that Hughes would make more relief appearances than starts.  But because of all of the roster moves that have been made over this past week, I am jumping on the Hughes as a starter bandwagon.

The Yankees have so much depth in their bullpen, and I believe that the heavy competition will keep everyone on their toes.  Hughes will be much more valuable to the Yankees as a starter in the long run.  Just last year, he was almost traded for Johan Santana.  I'm not giving up on this guy yet.

March 28, 2009

Yankees beat Braves 6-4

The Yankees pitched all three long relief candidates and used Edwar Ramirez to close the door against the Braves today for a 6-4 victory.

Brett Tomko beat out Alfredo Aceves and Dan Giese for the best performance of the day, as Tomko started and threw three shutout innings. Aceves gave up one run over three, and Giese gave up three (one earned) over 2 1/3 innings.

Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano each hit solo shots in the fifth, and Xavier Nady went 3-for-4 for the day. Full box score here.

Today might have secured the long relief role to Tomko today, as his numbers this spring are far better than Aceves' and Giese's. I'd love to see Tomko continue to put up these numbers for at least the first couple of months of the season. The Yankees have plenty of backup in the minors.

Bernie's legacy tainted

Bernie Williams admitted to the New York Post that he would not have been able to play his entire career as a Yankee.
"I don't think I would have lasted with [the Yankees], because they've gotta win."
I guess I agree with Bernie here, but why would he ever say that?  It's completely unnecessary.  I think that Bernie's legacy as a Yankee has been diminishing each year since he stopped playing in 2006.  Notice I said "stopped playing," rather than "retired."  He still hasn't retired!  In fact, he's looking for a place to play:
"I think, at this point, I don't want to be the guy that tries to come back and goes to the independent leagues or the minor leagues for a couple [of] weeks," Williams said. "I would certainly welcome the opportunity to play in the big leagues at some point, even thought the window is very short right now."
He does not know how to hang up the cleats, and in my mind, that is something that all Yankee greats of the past have known how to do.  I am not in any way degrading Bernie's playing career, but I am definitely mad at the way he's gone out.

Let's face it, Bernie will never make the Hall of Fame (especially if he never retires).  The one thing that Bernie is shooting for is to get his No. 51 retired by the Yankees.  I think that if he had retired with pride after the 2006 season, the decision would be a no-brainer.  But now, it's only a maybe for me.

March 27, 2009

'The Bronx is Burning' is back

If you didn't catch the ESPN mini-series "The Bronx is Burning" in the summer of  2007, those of you who have MSG will get a second chance.
Yankees legend Reggie Jackson plus many more share their memories of playing in New York in MSG’s The Bronx is Burning!!! Tune in to MSG's special presentation of The Bronx is Burning Sundays at 9pm starting April 5, followed by an exclusive look back at the Summer of ‘77.

Watch a clip right now:
I am one of those who did see it in 2007 and I thought it was a good representation of the 1977 Yankees season.  Although I wasn't around back then, my dad said the show featured an accurate portrayal of George Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson.

Jeter should bat first

The possibility of Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon switching to first and second in the order actually makes sense to me.  In earlier posts, people have tried to make the argument for Jeter batting first, but Joe Girardi's argument was able to infiltrate my "Jeter must bat second" barrier.
"We could flip it, yes," Girardi said. "Johnny is a pull guy. Johnny's the type of guy that's good at getting guys over. We're going to play with a little bit here unless there's something that changes our mind."
Even Damon is for it, and makes a good argument too:
"I'm OK with it," Damon said. "We all know Derek's on-base percentage. Hopefully I can continue to feel comfortable in that position. The good thing about it is Derek and I both want to win. I just think this possibly could be better for the team."
He's right.  Jeter's career OBP is .387, while Damon's is .354.  However, Jeter's AVG./OBP/SLG have all decreased in each of the past three seasons.  And, Damon's OBP was actually better than Jeter's last season (.375-.363).

It's a tough call.  But for right now, I like the idea of switching things up.  My only real memory of Jeter batting leadoff was his home run in game four of the 2000 World Series.  My dad was actually at the game, but couldn't barter an extra ticket for me.  I'm still mad at him to this day.

A switch like this could act as a spark to the Yankees' lineup.  With all of the early struggles the Yankees have had in the past, this could be the move that changes everything.  Plus, it certainly wouldn't hurt to have Jeter be the first Yankee to bat at the new Yankee Stadium.

March 26, 2009

Bronx Baseball Daily

Hello fans,

I was recently offered to have my writing hosted by another Yankees blog! It is Bronx Baseball Daily, another up-and-coming blog that is averaging nearly ten times the amount of visitors per day I am getting.

Not to worry, the creator has allowed me to publish on both blogs. So ultimately, I am just putting my work out on another site, which is what I have been doing with Yardbarker, BallHype, BleacherReport and Sports Blog Net. It seems I have chosen the wrong time to start a blog, as Yankees blogs have become very popular over the past year.

The best way to improve traffic on a site is to post as much as possible. This can best be accomplished when a site has multiple writers, which is exactly what Bronx Baseball Daily is doing. They already have six writers and maybe more coming eventually. If you look at one of the most popular Yankees blogs on the Web, River Avenue Blues, you will see they also have multiple writers.

So, if you really are one of those die-hard Yankee fans, or if you are just looking for more news and opinions on Yankees baseball, I strongly urge you to check out BBD!

Yanks' home run barrage baffles Phils

Home runs from Hideki Matsui, Cody Ransom, Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera totaled six runs for the Yankees, and helped take down the Phillies 10-2 today.

Matsui's two-run homer in the first was matched by back-to-back dingers from Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the bottom of the first off of Joba Chamberlain.

Chamberlain's final line: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K, earning him the win.  The rest of the bullpen followed with 4 2/3 perfect innings.  Full box score here.

As mentioned in the CC Sabathia article on ESPN.com, Derek Jeter batted first and Johnny Damon batted second.  Joe Girardi said he will continue to use that lineup to see if it makes sense to use during the season.

Jeter went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double, and a steal.  The change seems to be working so far, but I wouldn't officially change it for the Opening Day lineup just yet.

CC to start opening day and home opener

Joe Girardi announced today that CC Sabathia will start both the opening day game against the Baltimore Orioles on April 6, and the new Yankee Stadium home opener against the Cleveland Indians on April 16.

I offered a poll earlier on who should get the opening day start earlier in spring training, and fans voted that Sabathia would in fact get the opening day start. Chien-Ming Wang finished in a close second. Although, I agree with Girardi to give Sabathia both of these starts.

Firstly, Sabathia is actually in line to pitch on both days if you look at the schedule, because the Yankees will not need a fifth starter the first week of the season. The Yankees are and should hand Sabathia the ball every fifth day. His durability and talent must be taken advantage of.

Secondly, the Yankees just gave this guy $161 million. I guarantee you the Steinbrenners want him to start every big game all season, and these two openers are nothing short of big. He's been a big game pitcher throughout his career, and he will live up to the hype.

Lastly, these next seven years will be known as the CC Era in Yankee history. He is one of those gems that you happen to stumble on once every ten to twenty years. Our last gem? Derek Jeter.

Sabathia is already a front-runner for the AL Cy Young Award. How can you not start him on these two monumental games?

March 25, 2009

New Yankee Stadium to feature Iron Chef and more

II was reading on Yankees.com about the new Yankee Stadium, and all I could think about was the homeyness of the old Yankee Stadium.
In addition to chain restaurants such as Johnny Rockets hamburgers and Brother Jimmy's BBQ, the Times wrote that Yankees fans can buy premium sandwiches from Lobel's butcher, there will be a Moe's Southwest Grill, an Asian Noodle Bowl, a Latin Corner featuring Cuban sandwiches, a sushi station run by Soy Kitchen of the Bronx, a small produce market, children's items, a Hard Rock Café and an NYY Steak restaurant.

Also, the high-end club and suite seating sections will feature exclusive food options, such as the open cooking stations of the Legends Suite Club, where special guest chefs such as Masaharu Morimoto of the TV show "Iron Chef," April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig and cooks from Le Cirque and Elaine's will appear from time to time to serve up their special fare.
This is just flat out rediculous.

I remember in the old Yankee Stadium they had this steak & cheese place called "Carl's Steaks."  They also have a place right across the street from my older sister's appartment in New York City.  It is definitely one of the top five foods I've ever had, and I highly recommend it.  If anyone have any updates if Carl's Steaks will continue to serve at the new Yankee Stadium, please let me know.

March 24, 2009

Yanks' eighth inning rally crushes Red Sox

I left for a meeting after the sixth inning with the game tied at one.  When I got back, there were two outs in the top of the ninth and the Yankees were up 7-1.

You might ask what happened to the pitching duel?  Well, Tim Wakefield was not allowed to pitch the whole game, and came out with two outs in the sixth.  Manny Delcarmen and Devern Hansack combined to give up six runs (five earned) in the eighth inning.  Edwar Ramirez earned the win for the Yanks, pitching the final inning and a third, as the Yanks shoved a 7-1 victory down the throats of Red Sox fans.

I know, I know.  It's just spring training.

Austin Jackson's two-out grand slam off of Hansack blew the game out of proportion, and ended the Red Sox's hope of a spring training sweep of the Yanks.  Full box score here.

I was glad to be able to watch this game, because tonight's lineup may have been a first glance at what the lineup will look like in April.

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

Looks good to me.  I bet an alternate lineup that includes Swisher might move Damon to center, insert Swish in left, and bench Gardner - where he could be a late inning pinch runner.

Also, Girardi was interviewed in the top of the fifth inning (I think) by Michael Kay and Paul O'Neil.  The answer that stood out to me was that he said that the decisions of center field and long relief pitcher are close to being finalized.  He said that he wanted to play the last week or so of games like the Yanks would during the season.

To me, the nagging question is what will the Yankees do with Melky Cabrera if Gardner gets the starting job in center.  I don't think they would carry a fifth, technically sixth, outfielder if you count Swisher and Matsui.

In-game update

In Derek Jeter's second at bat, he blooped a down-and-away knuckler from Tim Wakefield to short right-field, but Teixeira followed him grounding into a 5-4-3 DP.

As I watch the game tonight on YES, I am loving Paul O'Neil's insight.  He was talking about the difficulty of throwing Tim Wakefield's knuckle ball.  He said that when everybody's out throwing and messing with a knuckle ball, one might throw three or four good ones out of ten.  And if one did that in the game, one would get "hammered."

He said this as Wakefield and A.J. Burnett were putting on pitching clinics.  Wakefield has only allowed three hits through five innings, while striking out five in the process.  Burnett matched Wake's five scoreless, but was tagged in the sixth for one run on a blooper to right off David Ortiz's bat.

Burnett just walked the bases loaded with two outs in the sixth forcing Girardi to call Jonathan Albaladejo from the pen.  He was up to 81 pitches on the night, but was only expected to throw 75.  Albaladejo escaped the two-out jam by forcing Chris Carter to ground out to Jeter.

Expect a full game recap later on tonight.

Jeter, Yankees await Red Sox rematch tonight

Bryan Hoch has reported that Derek Jeter is back in Tampa from the World Baseball Classic and will make his '09 spring training debut tonight against the Red Sox, which will air on YES Network at 7:15 p.m.

The USA was eliminated by Japan in the semi-finals two nights ago, and Jeter was not a positive factor at all. His throwing error in the bottom of the eighth led to three unearned runs for Japan. It was particularly untimely because the USA had just scored twice in the top of the eighth and brought the score to 6-4. Jeter also went 1-for-5 in the game and was 8-for-29 in the whole tournament. His slugging percentage was a mere .345.

There was a lot of talk throughout the tournament that Jeter was a liability for team USA, despite him actually being the captain. My dad and I noticed him grounding out especially frequently during the classic, and neither of us are excited about that.

Jeter really has to step it up in these last couple of weeks for spring training for him to get ready for the season. I will not be a happy camper if his high number of ground outs continue to be a lingering issue this season.
"It's good to get back and now get into a routine of playing every day," Jeter
said. "We had a lot of off-days in this tournament -- we had two or three days
in between games at some times. There's a reason you play every single day, so
I've got this last week to 10 days to get into a routine."
Jeter better find that routine, as I adamantly believe the W.B.C. should not be an excuse for a slow start. The Yanks desperately need a hot start this season, and Jeter must be on his A-game for this to happen.


World Baseball Classic Finals
Japan ended up winning it all last night against Korea in a thrilling 5-3 win in 10 innings. Ichiro Suzuki went 4-for-4 on the night and hit a two-run single in the top of the tenth to lead Japan to it's second consecutive W.B.C. Championship.

For a game that seemed meaningless to most U.S.A. natives, I thought it was a very exciting and well-played championship game. Although, I am looking forward to the next two spring trainings hopefully being filled with all of the Yankees.

With Igawa cut, what will the Yanks' pen be in '09?

Kei Igawa was cut yesterday by the Yankees after he gave up his first one in all spring two days ago.  If you count the three shut-out innings he pitched against team Canada, he's only allowed one run over 15 1/3 frames this spring.

Now that Igawa is gone, the Yankees have narrowed down the competition for the long-relief role to Alfredo Aceves, Dan Giese and Brett Tomko.

Judging by the numbers, Tomko has the job in the bag.  However, my gut feeling is that the Yankees will still go with Aceves, despite his ERA being 4.97 in 12 2/3 innings this spring.

Now, the Yankees have eleven relief pitchers competing for I would guess seven spots, and only Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte and Brian Bruney are the guarantees.  The rest of the bullpen is a crapshoot.  Pick four of the pitchers below, but one must be one of the bolded names at the bottom.

Phil Coke
Jonathan Albaladejo
Edwar Ramirez
David Robertson
Jose Veras
Alfredo Aceves
Brett Tomko
Dan Giese

I'm going with Coke, Veras, Ramirez and Aceves.  Coke was flat out filthy with the Yanks last season in 12 games (0.61 ERA).  Veras has always been fairly decent when he's healthy.  And Ramirez has that tantalizing changeup that has put up huge strikeout numbers for him.

March 23, 2009

Wang, Yanks fall against Phillies

After the Rays halted the Yankees' bid for a ten-game winning streak yesterday, the Phillies handed Chien-Ming Wang his second loss of the spring.

Wang dealt five innings of three-run ball, but Brian Bruney and Dan Giese followed by giving up two and three runs, respectively.

The Yankees' only extra-base hit of the game came off Mark Teixeira's bat in the fifth inning.  The following batter, Xavier Nady, singled in Tex for the Yanks' second run of the game.  The final score ended up being 8-3.  Full box score here.

This poor outcome for the Yankees might have been because the Phillies needed to retaliate from last Monday's 12-0 loss to the Yanks.

The Yanks play the Red Sox tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Major rotation news revealed today

According to Bryan Hoch, Chien-Ming Wang is slated to start the first exhibition game at the new Yankee Stadium.  

The article also reveals that Wang looks like he will be the No. 2 starter for the Yankees this season, and also says that Girardi has "strongly hinted" that CC Sabathia will get the Opening Day start against the Baltimore Orioles.

All of this news sounds great to me.  I previously posted that I have much more faith in Wang as the Yankees No. 2 starter oppose to A.J. Burnett. 

Also, our previous question about who should get the opening day start was basically answered.  Sabathia is the obvious choice, as he is the $161 million man. 

Fans vote: Slightly favor Yanks moving an extra outfielder

Sorry I did not live up to my last Sunday's post about how fans can expect a new poll and a new featured Yankee card of the week.  To say the least, my day was very hectic.

Anyways, the fans have voted, and the results are in.  When asked if the Yankees would move any of their outfielders before opening day, the fans gave a slight edge to moving an outfielder.

Yes, make a move:               55%
No, don't make a move:     45%

I voted yes because the way I see it now, Brett Gardner's in center and Melky Cabrera has no place on the Yankees.  Melky undoubtedly has major league talent, but I think he would benefit the Yankees far more by getting them someone with a lot of potential in a trade.

I don't know if everyone is referring to Melky or Gardner in this vote, because they may also be referring to the Xavier Nady-Nick Swisher conflict.

2nd Featured Yankee Card of the Week!

For this week's card I've chosen this Phil Hughes 2006 TriStar Prospects Plus ProTential card.  It is valued at $1.50-4.00 (depending on the condition).  I would say it's in "near mint" condtion, meaning it would be valued at close to $4.00.  There is a whole grading scale industry for cards that I won't get into.

Anyways, I got this card at a Trenton Thunder game in a pack of other "Prospects Plus" cards.  This ProTential card is an insert though, meaning that this was not the prototypical card in each pack.  At the game, I also saw Austin Jackson, which is why I learned to love him.

***Note: this is the second week in a row I've chosen a landscape shaped card (oppose to portrait).  Most baseball cards are portrait, but I find that the landscape ones tend to be very cool.

March 22, 2009

Yanks look for ten straight today vs Rays

Coming off of a 4-3 victory yesterday over the Tigers, Alfredo Aceves and the Yankees will look to make it 10 spring training wins in a row.  (Whoopty doo...)

The Yanks won yesterday behind strong pitching performances from Joba Chamberlain, Jonathan Albaladejo and Mariano Rivera.  Joba K'd five over 3 1/3 innings and allowed just one run.  Albaladejo scattered three hits in 1 2/3 innings, and Mo allowed his first hit of the spring; but he also struck out two.

Juan Miranda's two-run blast in the seventh proved to be the difference in the game.  It was tied at two at the time of the homer, but the Tigers came short in their comeback bid in the eighth by scoring just one run.

Another well-played game by the Yanks it seems.  Spring training wins don't mean anything in terms of talent, but I actually think a winning streak of 10 might mean that the team is filled with winners.  Maybe.

March 21, 2009

Yanks cut six, including Hughes

This morning, Cashman released the next six players to be cut from big league camp.  Phil Hughes, along with Steven Jackson, Anthony Clagget, Humberto Sanchez, Jason Johnson and Sergio Mitre, got the boot.

You might ask, "why the heck did Hughes get cut?"  Here's what Brian Cashman had to say on the matter:
"I told him that he had a great camp and to keep working," Cashman said. "We told him about all the things that we saw and what he needs to continue to work on. He's in a great frame of mind. He knows he did great here, but he also knows that it's not in his best interest to now be held back."
Obviously, this decision has nothing to do with his performance so far this spring.  As I said last night, he has a 2.19 ERA and has the most innings recorded out of any Yankee pitcher in spring so far.  Since he did get cut, this means that the Yankees see him as a starter.  This is contrary to what I've been thinking all spring.  Although now that the move has been made, I think it makes sense.

Barring an injury, there is no room for Hughes to pitch every fifth day for the New York Yankees.  However, Andy Pettitte is only signed to a one-year deal.  I can see Hughes filling that hole next season.

March 20, 2009

Hughes helps Yanks make it eight straight

The Yankees' 4-2 victory over the Twins marked their eighth consecutive win, and it was their second time beating the Twins this week.

Phil Hughes had an impressive outing giving up just one run over four and a third innings.  He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out none.

Mark Teixeira delivered the Yankees' first run of the game in the sixth inning on a solo shot off of Joe Nathan.  It was Tex's first homer of the spring.

After the Yankees went ahead 3-2 in the eighth inning, Austin Jackson supplied some insurance with a solo dinger of his own.  Kei Igawa barely closed the game out in the ninth as he gave up two hits and walked a batter.  But Igawa and the Yankees held on for the win.

Who would have thunk that Teixeira's first home run as a Yankee would be off Joe Nathan?  Let's see him do that in the regular season.  It's also nice to see Phil Hughes turn in another solid performance.  He's currently sporting a 2.19 ERA alongside a Yankee leading 12.1 innings pitched.

Jeter unappreciated

Derek Jeter's range at shortstop has been scrutinized a lot in the media recently as Yankees writers are already worrisome of the Yankees' defense in 2009.  Frankly, it's pissing me off.

Let me start off by saying that Jeter won three gold gloves in a row from 2004-2006.  Even if you say Jeter's range is diminishing as each year goes by, you are forgetting a lot of his talents that are far more important than his range to his left.

For those concerned with his fielding skills, you may have forgotten that he still has a quality arm and is a master at backhanded plays.  While he may not have the greatest range to his left, he certainly makes up for it with his jump-throw play in the third base hole down pat.

Another point I want to get into about Jeter is his offensive skill set as a number two hitter.  I believe a true number two hitter is  a rare and valuable quantity these days.  I would rank Jeter second in all of baseball, only behind Dustin Pedroia, for number two hitters.  Oh by the way, any coincidence that Pedroia was MVP last season? 

If you compare Pedroia's '08 campaign to Jeter's second-in-MVP finish in '06, they are strikingly similar:

Pedroia: .326/.376/.493, 118 R, 213 H, 17 HR, 83 RBI 20 SB
Jeter: .343/.417/.483, 118 R, 214 H, 14 HR, 97 RBI, 34 SB

Oddly enough, they also both won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards for their respective positions.  (I still say Jeter deserved the MVP in '06 far more than Joe Mauer.)

The prototypical number two hitter needs to possess all offensive skills: hit for power, steal bases and have good bat control in order to move runners over via bunt or a hit to the right side.  If you are not convinced, here is more wisdom from Dave Cameron.

Anyways, Jeter's positive impact on the Yankees' four championships is undeniable.  He scored at least 104 runs and batted over .314 in all four championship seasons.  In the four World Series', Jeter's combined batting average is .342.  He also captured the World Series MVP in 2000.

March 19, 2009

Yanks win seventh straight behind Burnett

The Yankees' 7-4 win over the Blue Jays tonight marked their seventh in a row in just six days.

A.J. Burnett earned the W, but his line didn't look too pretty: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 K, 3 BB.  Full box score here.

As you may have read, I wrote an entire post praising CC Sabathia and exposing his value to the team.  I do not feel nearly as excited about Burnett as I am CC.  Burnett's statistics are not nearly as impressive as CC's.  

Burnett is the exact opposite of CC when you compare their durability.  Burnett is a question mark every season to give the team he's on 30 starts.  He's only reached 30 starts in 2005 (32) and 2008 (34).

I think I'd rather have Chien-Ming Wang be the Yankees' number two starter over Burnett.  Wang had two consecutive 19-win seasons, and then missed the second half last season because he hurt himself running the bases in an interleague game.

"The Yankee Years" - Excerpt 2

I just finished reading the section of the book about the 1998 world series, and I found a couple of interesting comments.  Here is George Steinbrenner's take on the 1998 Yankees team:
"This," he said, "is as good as any team I've ever had, and as good as any team I've ever seen.  There's never been anyone better." - Page 66
The debate continues to this day of the best baseball team of all time.  I know the 1927, 1939 and 1998 Yankee teams are all in the mix.  Baseball-Almanac has the 1927 Yankees as the best team of all time using an explicit formula.  Do you agree?

Tom Verducci followed Steinbrenner's quote with a very clear summary of the 1998 team:
"It was never as good as it was in 1998, not with the near-perfect composition of the roster, the peak-age talent and the singular mindset of 25 grinders rolled into 125 victories.  A desperation to win.  That is what made them so historic." - Page 66
My immediate reaction to this description was recognizing just how far the Yanks have veered off track of compiling a team of winners.  The book talks a lot about the unselfishness of all 25 players on the team.  Even when a player would have a great game, it wouldn't mean anything if they lost.  Winning was all that mattered.  

I guarantee you that nobody can say with a straight face that Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira or CC Sabathia only have winning on their minds.  These are players that would fight between a $160 million contract and a $161 million contract.  

These players went to the team with the highest bid.  If the Nationals had bid an extra million per year on any of these guys, the player(s) would have signed with the Nats.  Winning was the furthest thing from their minds.

Photo from Newsday

March 18, 2009

Yanks' late scoring leads to victory over 'Stros

The Yankees were down one after one inning, but came back and won thanks to a two-run rally in the seventh.  They tacked on two more runs in the ninth for a 4-1 victory.

Chien-Ming Wang gave up the early run, but was brilliant after that in his five-inning performance.  The Yanks used four pitchers for an inning each to preserve the victory.  Full box score here.

Austin Jackson came in as a pinch runner for Jose Molina in the seventh, stole a base, and scored.  He singled in his next at bat in the ninth and scored again.  

Good signs coming from my man Jackson.  I really think he'll see the majors a little bit this season, and could be starting as early as 2010.

Girardi reveals Matsui plan

Joe Girardi says that Hideki Matsui will not play the outfield until June this season, according to the Associated Press.
"The earliest we would need him in the outfield would be interleague, and that's a ways off," Girardi said Wednesday. "That's why we envision him as our everyday DH. We need him. He's a great RBI guy. He's very important to our lineup."
I can't totally agree with Girardi's first point.  This means that we cannot give other players "half-days off."  For example, we will probably need to give guys like Jorge Posada and Johnny Damon days off in the field, but we won't be able to DH them because of Matsui.  

Matsui's legs are a major concern for me and I think it should be for the Yankees too.  He is normally a good offensive weapon, but he is becoming a liability on defense.  

His contract expires after this season, and I don't see the need to re-sign him.  The Yankees have too many outfielders as it is, and there will be a huge market for outfielders for next season.

What do you think?  Re-sign him or not?

The significance of CC

The Yankees signed CC Sabathia to a seven-year, $161 million deal this offseason, which marks the highest contract ever for a pitcher.  

I believe that Sabathia should have won the NL Cy Young Award last season, as I also believe that he was the best pitcher in all of baseball.

I think his most valuable trait is his durability.  He's thrown 494 innings over the past two seasons, which leads all major league pitchers by 22 2/3 innings.  He also leads the majors in games started in the past two seasons with 69.  

If you do the math, he has averaged a little over seven innings pitched per start.

This means, that he will only need one to two relief pitchers on average.  He saves the bullpen better than any other pitcher in the majors, except for maybe Roy Halladay. 

Now, if you think about the Yankees' troubles throughout this decade, the bullpen is one of the main issues that has prevented the Yanks from winning their 27th World Series.

Now, think about all of the starting pitchers the Yankees have signed this decade.  Most have gone down to injury.  Here's a short list of names that come to mind:

Kevin Brown
Jaret Wright
Jeff Weaver
Carl Pavano

Sabathia will not be added to this list because of his freak ability to stay healthy.  

His brief DL history has always seems to occur in the early part of the season.  In the past, he has made up for his slow starts with strong finishes to seasons.  His career ERA in September is 2.77.

I believe Sabathia can be important enough to the Yankees, that at least these first seven years of the new Yankee Stadium will be known as the "CC Era".

March 17, 2009

Mo makes debut, Yanks slug past Pirates

The Yankees rallied for six runs in the third inning and went on to win 9-2 over the Pirates tonight.

CC Sabathia gave up just one run over four innings - a big improvement from his last start.  Mariano Rivera followed CC with his first inning of the spring.  He struck out two in the perfect inning.  It's about time for Big Mo, but on the other hand, he normally doesn't need much time to get ready for the regular season.  He has plenty of games left, and I'm sure the Yanks will take it slow.

Hideki Matsui led the hitting barrage for the Yanks with a two-run double in the first and a two-run homer in the third inning.  This of course was just a response to my earlier post about him needing to impress me (hehe).  Full box score here.

You may notice in the box that our old friend Jose Tabata (part of trade for Xavier Nady) did some damage against us (two hits, a steal and a run).  Tabata's still young, but just think about the outfield overflow the Yankees would have if they still had him.

Who's pitching before Mo?

Our last true setup man that the Yankees have had is Tom Gordon for the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Since then, the Yanks have had no steady setup man that they can hand the ball off to after the seventh inning. I read an article that said that Brian Bruney was vying for the job. Here's what he said:
"I look at it like it's mine," Bruney said. "I've got to prepare for the eighth inning. Until somebody tells me what I'm throwing, my goal is the eighth inning. That's what I'm mentally preparing for."
Now, Bruney is definitely a contender for the job, but let's not forget about Damaso Marte. Marte has been in the news recently because of a chest injury he sustained while working out before a World Baseball Classic game. Assuming he is healthy for opening day, I feel the Yankees have to consider him for the job. Although his 5.40 ERA with the Yankees last season isn't very comforting, there is no denying that he has electric stuff. He struck out 24 batters in 18.33 innings, and if you saw him pitch for the Dominican Republic recently, you know what I mean.

I believe you will see both pitchers in the eighth inning this season, and Joe Girardi will choose who goes based on the opposition's hitters - as we know, Marte is a lefty and Bruney is a righty.

Have at it.

March 16, 2009

Yankees have their way with defending champs

The Yankees annihilated the Phillies 12-0 today. The Yankees banged out 20 hits (16 singles) and only gave up six hits.

Joba Chamberlain, Brian Bruney, Kei Igawa, Jonathan Albaladejo and David Robertson pitched in the shutout. Chamberlain and Igawa alone combined for six innings.

Cody Ransom, Xavier Nady and Shelley Duncan added two hits apiece, but the only standout performer on offense was Nick Swisher; he went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. - Full box score

I know, I know, it's just spring training. Just seeing the score on the ESPN BottomLine jumped out at me so much. An obvious explanation for the one-sided game was that the Phillies hardly used any of their major leaguers, probably because they still have a lot of their core players from last season in the World Baseball Classic.

The only thing I'm taking from this game is that maybe Swisher is starting to shake off some of his offseason rust. He was batting just .130 going into the game.

Outfield overflow?


The Yankees have eight guys who can play the outfield, but only four to five spots available.  The only guarantees to make it are Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui - who will be used mainly as a DH this year.  This leaves Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson and I think Shelley Duncan fighting for essentially one spot in the outfield.

Melky Cabrera:
The "Melk Man" leads all four candidates in experience by a wide margin.  However, his numbers have been declining each year.  He struggled mightily last season (.249/.301/.341).  Melky isn't having a great spring, but he still has a strong case for the center field job.  He spent most of the 2007 season batting ninth and had 73 RBIs - a solid season in my eyes.

Brett Gardner:
Gardner's great Grapefruit League performance so far should not be overlooked by Joe Girardi, considering he is batting .379 along with three homers and three steals.  However, spring training numbers can be deceiving.  If you don't believe me, check out this post from Bronx Baseball Daily.  When you compare Gardner to Melky, you have to point out that Gardner has superior speed and defense, as well as the potential to become a strong leadoff hitter in the big show.  The problem is that Gardner has not proven himself at the Major League level yet - except for his ability to steal bases.  Gardner failed to slug .300 last year, which is beyond abysmal and tough to ignore.

Austin Jackson:
He has no Major League experience, but has a lot of potential for an outfielder.  He possesses the coveted combination of speed and power and is one of our top hitting prospects.  With Gardner and Melky vying for the last spot in the outfield, it is highly unlikely he will open the season in the majors.  However, if he is tearing it up in triple-A, the Yankees might be forced to call him up.

Shelley Duncan:
Shelley always seems to dominate in spring training, but struggles to translate his success to the majors.  Although, he is a nice guy to have in the dugout because of his enthusiastic attitude.  He's definitely a good guy to have in the organization, but he might not get a chance to help the Yankees this season with all of the other outfielders.

My Conclusion:
The Yanks need to figure out who is going to get that fourth or fifth spot in the outfield, and I believe it will be determined by the rest of the games this spring.  It's most likely going to be a two-man battle between Melky and Gardner, but a longshot opportunity for Jackson.  If the season were to start tomorrow, I'd have Gardner starting center field.  But Gardner has to keep his numbers up for the rest of the spring if he's going to hold his starting job in my opinion.  If he doesn't, Melky's experience should earn him the nod.

As for Jackson and Duncan, both should start the season in Scranton.  Jackson has a good chance of coming up at least once this season, while Duncan needs to continue to hit well in triple-A.

I would definitely support trading Melky or Duncan along with another minor leaguer for a good prospect.  I would not want to let go of Gardner or Jackson though; they have too much potential and they are both so young.

March 15, 2009

Pettitte shines in defeat of Twins

Andy Pettitte threw three scoreless frames in the Yankees' 5-1 victory over the Twins.  Jorge Posada caught his first game of the spring, batted leadoff and went 2-for-2 with a double.  He told Bryan Hoch:
"I'm just hoping the next time somebody steals, so I'll be able to throw down there and see how it feels," Posada said. "That's the thing -- to see how quick I'm going to be, how the ball is going to get there. I'm just hoping that everything stays good after that."
This is a good sign for Posada early in his recovery from shoulder surgery.  Posada is a huge factor to the Yankees' success this season.  If his shoulder acts up again, the Yankees could be without catcher and a reliable bat for a long period of time.  I want Posada to take his time and to speak up if the shoulder starts to hurt.  Too many times we have had injuries because the players aren't being honest.

Angel Berroa added a two-run double in the sixth inning to make the score 5-1.  Berroa looks like the leading, really the only, candidate for the utility infield role for the start of the season.  He's batting .438 so far this spring.

Poll Results: Ransom to replace Rodriguez

It is pretty clear that Cody Ransom will be the temporary replacement for Alex Rodriguez at third base to start the season, according to voters.  Ransom's only realistic competition is Angel Berroa or if the Yankees acquired someone via trade.

Ransom:  13
Berroa:  2
Other:  3

I am guessing that Ransom will assume the ninth spot in the order, because their's really nobody else except maybe Brett Gardner in a "secret leadoff" role.  In that case, Ransom could bat eighth and Gardner could bat ninth.

Featured Yankee Card of the Week!

Every Sunday from now on there will be a newly updated Yankee card at the top of the left sidebar, as well as a new poll (right sidebar).  I started collecting baseball cards when my dad first bought me a box of 1997 Topps factory set.  It became one of my major hobbies in middle school, but I have slowed down more and more as the years go by.

I will kick this feature off with a card from my first box: my favorite player, Derek Jeter.  You can click on the card to get a larger look at it.  For this card, the trophy in the bottom left signifies that he was considered a "Topps All-Star Rookie."

March 14, 2009

Sports Blog Net

I just recently joined a Web site called Sports Blog Net - a place for sports bloggers like me to get their name out and to compile all of the quality sports blogs in one place.  

If you already have a sports blog and are looking to increase your audience, then you should highly consider joining Sports Blog Net.  If you don't have a sports blog, but are interested in writing about sports, then  you can start your own blog in minutes at this site.

Yanks split up to defeat Astros and Pirates

The Yankees divided into two groups to defeat the Astros and the Pirates today.  Even though the talent was split up evenly, the Yanks beat the Astros 3-1 and the Pirates 13-10.

A.J. Burnett actually no-hit the Astros through four innings, but was relieved by Dan Geise.  Johnny Damon supplied the power for the Yanks homering in the first inning.  - Box score

Phil Hughes gave up two runs over three innings against the Pirates, but Ian Kennedy held them to one unearned run over three innings.  Austin Jackson tied the game up at three in the sixth inning with a two-run homer, and Jesus Montero's grand slam in the seventh led a seven-run rally.  Mark Melancon's performance was less than spectacular, as he gave up five runs and only recorded two outs in the ninth inning.  - Box score

Single-game tickets on sale March 24

It's about time.  I think the reason for the delay is because the Yankees were trying to sell more season ticket packages.  Those prices must have been through the roof.  If you've tried to get tickets through Web sites like StubHub.com, than you already know that ticket prices have soared.

I was trying to get tickets for a game in April so I could go with my college buddies, but they were asking for $48 each on weekend games.  I don't know how they can charge so high with the economy the way it is.

March 13, 2009

Red Sox 8, Yankees 4

In my previous post, I was under the impression that the game would be airing on MLB Network as well as NESN.  Below are live updates for tonights Yankees-Red Sox game. 

10:10 p.m.: Red Sox tacked on one run in the bottom of the eighth off Michael Dunn.  8-4 final.

9:41 p.m.: Pitching has taken over in this one.  We're through seven and a half innings and nobody's scored since Wakefield left in the third.

9:14 p.m.: Kei Igawa continues his Yankee leading nine consecutive scoreless innings this spring - that is if you include his game against Canada.  

8:59 p.m.: Tomko is looking brilliant. 3.1 IP, 2 H, 5 Ks

8:34 p.m.: Jonathan Papelbon shuts down the Yanks in order in the top of the fourth, but Tomko struck out Big Papi to end the fourth.  I'm happy.

8:09 p.m.: Ransom triples off the very top of the right-field wall.  Miranda HBP.  Xavier Nady doubles down the left field line.  Jose Molina Singles to center.  Three runs in and Wakefield is gone. 

7:55 p.m.: After three tricky balls were hit to Miranda and a few singles later, Wang's night was capped off early by a two-run homer from David Ortiz.  Brett Tomko has replaced him with two outs in the second.

7:38 p.m.: Mike Lowell hits a leadoff homer in the bottom of the second.

7:30 p.m.: Angel Berroa drives in John Rodriguez on an RBI single to put the Yankees on top.

7:25 p.m.: Chien-Ming Wang induces three ground balls in a perfect first inning, including a nice backhanded play by Cody Ransom at third base. 

7:15 p.m.:
Brett Gardner leads off with a walk and steals second. After a Juan Miranda walk, Xavier Nady grounds into an inning-ending double play.

Rivalry game preview

It's Chien-Ming Wang vs Tim Wakefield tonight at 7:05 p.m.  This will not be nearly as heated as it will be during the season.  The Yankees lineup:
 
Gardner CF
Ransom 3B
Miranda 1B
Nady RF
J. Rodriguez DH
Molina C
Duncan LF
Berroa 2B
Pena SS

Derek Jeter is still with team USA, Damaso Marte and Robinson Cano are both hurting and nearly all other everyday players are getting the day off.  Although, I love to see Shelley Duncan in the lineup.  He will provide some enthusiasm and fire people up.  

I'm just excited that I get to watch my beloved Yankees.

Stay posted tonight for in-game updates!

Yanks and Sox on TV!

Looking through my TV Guide, I found out that the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight will be aired on NESN (Red Sox TV).  However, when I looked at Peter Abraham's blog, it said:
UPDATE, 2:22 p.m.: MLB Network contacted me. The game will be blacked out in the New York area. YES has the ability to request that and they did. I’m going to contact YES to ask them why they did this.
Interesting.  I'm in New Hampshire right now enjoying my week off for spring break, so NESN and MLB Network is all I have access to.

By the way, I am absolutely LOVING the new MLB Network!  A network solely dedicated to baseball.  I can always fall back on this channel if nothing else is on.  Right now it is airing last year's world series game 5.  So cool.

March 12, 2009

Where do Hughes and Kennedy belong?

Last season, when Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy both started out in the rotation, they combined for an 0-8 record and a 7.45 ERA.  This season, it's not likely that either will open up in the rotation.

Hughes has more potential than Kennedy because of his pitching mechanics alone.  Whenever I watch Hughes pitch, I get excited because his pitches look amazing, especially his curveball.  I love his mechanics because he makes it seem so effortless to throw 95 mph.  Hughes has not been the same after he injured his quad during his bid for a no-hitter in 2007.  However, he told Bryan Hoch:
"I cleaned up some things mechanically and got my arm strength up," Hughes said. "I feel like I was in good shape last spring, but I've put on some good weight and worked on my changeup. My curveball is back to where I'd like it to be from 2006 and early '07, so I feel confident."
If this is the case, I am excited to see what he can do for us this season.  But the question remains, where does he belong?

I think Hughes has done enough in the minors.  He needs to be in the bullpen for the Yankees this season and I think the long-relief role is perfect for him.  Let's face it, Joba Chamberlain is not going to make 33 starts for us this year.  I definitely see Hughes making a few starts in place of Joba this season.

As for Kennedy, I strongly believe he needs another year to develop in Scranton.  Out of all the long-reliever/spot-starter pitchers we have, Kennedy ranks at the bottom of my list:

1. Hughes
2. Alfredo Aceves
3. Brett Tomko
4. Phil Coke
5. Dan Giese
6. Kennedy

This is a good sign coming from Kennedy though:
"I feel like I grew as a pitcher, just as far as maturity and making in-game adjustments rather than postgame or post-inning," Kennedy said. "This offseason, knowing that every other day someone signed, it still didn't change my mentality.

"I knew if I wanted to make any part of the rotation or have a spot, I'd have to work really hard and come to Spring Training ready. All I can do is work hard and show them that I want this, that I want to have the chance again."
Still, there's no way he should start the season in the majors.  I see him being a frequent call up this season if and when our bullpen arms get tired.  However:

Why do I love CC Sabathia for the Yankees?  Save his first four wretched starts of 2008, CC pitched seven-plus innings in 24 out of 31 starts, including 10 complete games.  Just think how much he is going to save our young arms this season.

Photos from Newsday and New York Post

March 11, 2009

USA falls to Venezuela 5-3


Derek Jeter was thrown out at second base at the backend of an attempted double steal in the bottom of the ninth inning against Venezuela tonight.  Francisco Rodriguez struck out Kevin Youkilis on the next pitch to end the game, 5-3.

USA will play Puerto Rico on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Venezuela will play the Netherlands at 1 p.m. in Miami.

The teams have really gotten into this tournament.  The effort and desire to win is clearly visible, although probably more in the non-USA teams.  Poor Jeter has to hit third, right between two Red Sox players.  Before Youkilis struck out swinging, he looked at two fastballs right in his wheelhouse.

Photo from WorldBaseballClassic.com

CC bombed, Yanks lose to Tigers 7-4

CC Sabathia gave up five runs in the second inning as the Yankees were defeated 7-4 today by the Tigers. Our old friend, Gary Sheffield, hit two homers against us. 

"I can't worry about it," Sabathia said. "Last year, I had a spring where I pitched great and then started the first half terrible. So hopefully, if I have a so-so spring, then I'll start the first half on fire."
Wouldn't we all love for him to get off to a hot start.

Alfredo Aceves gave up two solo homers in the third inning, but that was the last scoring for either team in the game.

The Yanks managed four runs (two earned) off Justin Verlander in the first two innings. Mark Teixeira and Johnny Damon added two hits apiece, and Cody Ransom had a steal and a fielding error.

Brian Bruney, Jose Veras and Mark Melancon were nearly perfect, surrendering just one hit.


Yankees get a day off tomorrow. Chien-Ming Wang will make the start on Friday against the Red Sox.

March 10, 2009

Yanks win, Cano and Marte to return to Yankees

Shelley Duncan's three-run homer and Juan Miranda's solo shot led the Yankees to a 7-1 victory over the Reds tonight.  Joba Chamberlain made the start, and gave up one run over three innings.

Phil Coke, Kei Igawa, Christian Garcia and Anthony Claggett combined for six shutout frames.  Cody Ransom, Brett Gardner and Ramiro Pena each had two-hit games.

Robinson Cano and Damaso Marte along with the rest of the Domincan Republic were eliminated from the W.B.C. tonight by the Netherlands.  It was an incredible game.  

Both teams were scoreless through ten innings, but the Dominican scored a run in the top of the eleventh on a fielding blunder by the right fielder.  Sure enough, the right fielder came up in the bottom of the eleventh and tied it back up with an RBI single.  The Netherlands went on to win the game that inning after a throwing error and a fielding error.

Ransom building his case to replace A-Rod

Cody Ransom went 2-for-3 today against the Reds, and is now 8-for-23 this spring.

"With the team not wanting add payroll, not wanting to hurt the farm system and stuff like that, and we're going to get Alex back, we're going to go with what we have in camp," Cashman said.
Ransom is clearly the favorite, and according to Johnny Damon, he is "probably the best athlete on this team."  Look at this YouTube video that Fletch found of Ransom:



Woah. Maybe Damon's right, for once...

Cano changes batting stance

Yesterday afternoon I was watching the Dominican play Panama and I saw Robinson Cano play.  When he got up to bat, I immediately noticed that his stance had changed.  

I don't have a picture for you yet, but I can tell you that it is less open than it was before.  What I mean by that, is his front foot is pointed more towards the pitcher than it was before.

I don't know if it's working for him though, because when I saw his at bat, he routinely grounded out to second base.  Cano went 1-for-3 with a walk in the game.

Cano could really be a determining factor for the Yankees this season.  If he comes out with another sub-.280 season, it might be his last with the Yanks.  How huge would it be to see him come back strong with another .342 season?

March 9, 2009

No more "A-Fraud" on personalized jerseys


Major League Baseball has banned the name "A-Fraud" from any personalized jerseys. 
MLB.com spokesman Matt Gould told CNBC that the league does not allow fans to personalize products with anything that is deemed inappropriate, derogatory or profane.MLB.com spokesman Matt Gould told CNBC that the league does not allow fans to personalize products with anything that is deemed inappropriate, derogatory or profane.
It seems the MLB is sticking up for A-Rod here.  Although, they are probably more concerned with baseball's image as a whole, rather than just A-Rod.  Apparently, fans cannot get jerseys with "steroid" on the back of them since 2005.

I definitely would call this creative of the fans who want this, but I wasn't planning on getting one of these jerseys.  I don't really understand who was trying to get them.  I do not jeer players for any team that I root for.  Do I like A-Rod? No.  Would I spend over $100 to prove I don't like him? Certainly not.

Photo and block quote from CNBC

Opening day lineup projection

Okay. Life without Alex Rodriguez begins today as he had a successful surgery and is starting his rehab immediately.  The search begins to find a replacement for at least the first month of the season.

I have made this my new poll question, and it seems the options are Cody Ransom, Angel Berroa or somebody via trade.

Here's my projection for what the lineup is going to look like without A-Rod:

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

Remember, the above is what I think Joe Girardi will choose - not what I want.  To be honest, that doesn't look nearly as good as what it would have been with A-Rod sitting in the cleanup spot.  If Gardner continues his hot hitting, I don't see why they can't move him to leadoff, making it: 

Gardner
Jeter
Damon
Teixeira

I don't have a problem with Damon in the three-whole.  He did lead the Yankees last year in batting (.303).  My bias towards Gardner may be coming into play here.  Heck, I was at Yankee Stadium to see his debut last year.

Poll results: CC favored for opening day start

Despite the rumors of Joba Chamberlain starting opening day for the Yankees, fans favored CC Sabathia to get the start.  Chien-Ming Wang was a close second and Joba only got one vote.

CC Sabathia:  45%
A.J. Burnett:  4%
Chien-Ming Wang:  36%
Andy Pettitte:  9%
Joba Chamberlain:  4%

Sabathia's the big money man.  I want to see him earn it on opening day.  I remember a similar situation when we traded for Randy Johnson.  We ended up giving him the start, and he shut down the Red Sox.  I expect Joe Girardi to make the decision before April.  The Yankees open against the Orioles on April 6.

Gardner's homer not enough against Blue Jays

Brett Gardner hit his third home run of the spring and went 2-for-3 in the 6-2 loss to the Blue Jays.  

After Andy Pettitte made his first appearance of the spring, Ian Kennedy got rocked for five runs, allowing four extra-base hits.

Mark Teixeira is quietly on a 7-for-14 hitting spree, but ironically has zero RBIs.

March 8, 2009

USA trounces Venezuela 15-6

Team USA's victory over Venezuela tonight advanced them into the second round of the tournament.  They will play the winner of the Canada/Venezuela game to win Pool C outright. 

Melvin Mora's RBI single in the third marked the first run of the game and held the lead after both teams exchanged two runs in the fourth.

The only Yankee on team USA, Derek Jeter, replaced Jimmy Rollins in the bottom of the 5th and USA promptly went on to rally for eight runs in the top of the sixth.  Jeter walked during that rally and scored a run, but flied out and popped out to complete his line for the game. 

USA pounded out five more runs in the final three innings totalling 15 runs and 16 hits.

Berroa, Burnett star in rout of Detriot

Angel Berroa hit a three-run homer and an RBI double in a 12-3 victory over the Tigers today.  A.J. Burnett pitched two scoreless innings, and Phil Hughes followed with three more.

The Yankees were up 11-0 after five and a half innings.  Will Rhymes hit a two-run homer off Brian Bruney to break the shutout.

The Yankees' only two victories in their last ten games have come against the Tigers.

I'm going to watch the W.B.C. tonight at 8 p.m., as USA plays Venezuela.

Really funny video

It's spring training people. I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little bored waiting for the season to start.  I found this video today. Prepare for amusement.



This video is from this hilarious Web site: failblog.org 

It's bound to make you laugh every time you visit it. In addition, it updates everyday, so it's limitless laughter. Enjoy!

A-Rod surgery scheduled for Monday

According to Bryan Hoch, Alex Rodriguez will have arthroscopic hip surgery on Monday, putting him off the field for six to nine weeks.

Dr. Marc Philippon, who originally diagnosed A-Rod, will perform the surgery in Vail Colorado.
"The goal here is to allow Alex to rehab rapidly in a safe manner," Dr. Philippon said. "The approach we're using is much safer than letting Alex play the way he is now."
This is definitely a big blow for the Yankees.  However, the media spotlight may be a little less bright on the Yankees in the first couple of months, which could take off some of the pressure.  Everyone has been wondering how will A-Rod respond to all of the PED talk this offseason, but now they will have to wait.

March 7, 2009

Wang, Yankees fall to Braves in a pitching duel

Chien-Ming Wang started his second game of the spring and gave up his first and only run in a 3-1 loss against the Braves.

Alex Rodriguez's temporary backup at third, Justin Leone, drove in Mark Teixeira with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning for the Yanks' lone run.

On a side note, the Yankees are 1-7-1 in their last nine contests.  Not to worry, it's only spring training.

Yanks play tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. against Detriot.  A.J. Burnett will toe the rubber for the first time as a Yankee.

March 6, 2009

CC makes debut under the lights

In the first night game of the spring, CC Sabbathia made his first appearance in a game for the Yankees tonight.  He gave up one unearned run in two innings pitched and had two strikeouts.

9:45 p.m.
The Yanks scored four runs off Justin Verlander (three earned), and are leading 5-3 in the top of the seventh.


Photo from MLB.com

March 5, 2009

A-Rod's surgery now in question

The Yankees and A-Rod's agent (Scott Boras) confirmed that A-Rod has a torn labrum in his hip in an interview on ESPN.  A-Rod's surgery will be put on hold until more tests are run on his hip.

I guess the only reason they are delaying the surgery is because maybe he could play through it.  I don't want any more nagging injuries though.  Now it seems that the 10 week recovery/rehab idea isn't too bad.  I'd rather the surgery now, than in September when his hip might start to act up again.

Joba distracted? Yanks lose boring game to Canada

The Yankees faced team Canada today, and it appeared to be a good matchup going in with Joba Chamberlain on the hill.  Peter Abraham reported otherwise:
UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: In other good news, Joba Chamberlain was taken out of the game before he got an out. Four walks, a hit and a wild pitch. It’s now 5-0 Canada.
Something tells me Joba may have been thinking about more important things (A-Rod).  This has to be his worst appearance in his professional career.  It reminds me of the ALDS against the Indians a couple years ago - don't get me started on that.

The Yankees gave up six runs in the first inning, and that was it for scoring for the rest of the game.  After Jonathan Albaladejo gave up the sixth run in the first inning, the Yankees' bullpen shut Canada down.  Unfortunately for the Yankees, they were held to four scattered hits (two doubles).

A-Rod to undergo hip surgery, out 10 weeks

Alex Rodriguez's brother, Joe Dunand, told ESPNdeportes this morning that A-Rod will have surgery in order to remove a cyst from his right hip, according to ESPN.com

The surgery is schedule for Monday, in Colorado.
"It's a big blow for the whole family. Alex is destroyed," Joe Rodriguez told ESPNdeportes.com. "We were all very excited to see him play with the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
This is major news for the Yankees, and for baseball, as A-Rod has experienced quite an offseason prior to this news.

Does anyone think this cyst injury has anything to do with the PEDs he had (has) been taking?  I'm not an expert, but here's what I found from WebMD:
What are the causes of a cyst?
Cysts can arise through a variety of processes in the body, including:
  • "Wear and tear" or simple obstructions to the flow of fluid
  • Infections
  • Tumors
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions
  • Genetic (inherited) conditions
  • Defects in developing organs in the embryo
Whether it has something to do with his history with PEDs or not, A-Rod is out for 10 weeks and will miss the first month of the season, and probably more.  It seems that his brother Joe was more concerned with the W.B.C. than the Yankees, but as you know, I do not care for the W.B.C. in the slightest.  We need A-Rod healthy for the rest of the season after he gets back.

Tough break for the Yanks.

The Manny offseason saga comes to a close


Finally, yesterday, Manny Ramirez re-signed with the Dodgers to a two-year $45 million deal.  I know he is not Yankee related, but he is a topic of discussion for any kind of fan.

You either love him or you hate him.  Personally, I love the guy.  Would I like to see him in pinstripes?  - Not in a million years.  With the press the Yankees get and the Manny sideshow off the field, there would be madness every week at the next thing Manny says in an interview. 


However, here's a hypothetical for you that could make you drool.  Imagine this:

3. Teixeira
4. A-Rod
5. Manny

If the Yankees had the money, it's hard not to go after a middle of the order like that.  No team has ever had a 3-4-5 better than what the Yankees would have had if they had signed Manny.  Plus, with the Yankees much-improved rotation this year, you would have to immediately favor the Yankees as World Series champions. 

Dropping all the outside distractions changes a lot, huh?  Take Terrell Owens for example.  He just got cut from the Cowboys - and it wasn't because of lack of talent.

March 4, 2009

A-Rod injury update



Alex Rodriguez is flying to Colorado today to meet with hip specialist, Dr. Marc Phillipon, for precautionary purposes.  Pending examinations done today, he could still play for the Dominican Republic in the W.B.C., according to Brian Cashman.

This video features an ESPN medical analyst going in depth on the cyst injury that Rodriguez may or may not have.

Joe Girardi informed us today that Rodriguez went through some pain in the hip during last season.
"Alex expressed a little stiffness. There was really no pain," Girardi said on Wednesday, a day after the 33-year-old slugger played for the Dominican Republic in a tuneup for the World Baseball Classic. "We just thought it was best because he had some minor issues last year with it. We'll have a better idea after today with what the course of plan is."
From everything that I have heard so far, I'm beginning to worry less and less about this injury.  I will keep you posted as this story develops.

Yankees' bats quieted by Braves pitching

An RBI-triple from Johnny Damon and a Xavier Nady's run scored after his triple were the only two runs the Yankees squeaked out off the Braves pitching today.

As for pitching, Ian Kennedy gave up two doubles and two runs in the first inning, but after that he shut down the Braves in the second and third innings.  Dan Giese followed with three innings of his own, only allowing Martin Prado to score in the fifth after he doubled.  Andrew Brackman and Mark Melancon (Me-lann-son) each added scoreless innings.

The Braves won 3-2.

March 3, 2009

A-Rod injures hip, WBC in question

Jack Curry of the New York Times reports:
Alex Rodriguez has an injured hip and may not play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, according to a person in baseball who has spoken to Rodriguez.
Despite the cyst, Rodriguez went 1 for 3 in the Dominican Republic's 10-1 victory over the Florida Marlins on Tuesday. The Dominicans open the W.B.C. by playing the Netherlands on Saturday in San Juan, P.R.
If this continues to be a nag of an injury, than the Yankees should force A-Rod out of the W.B.C.  This was one of my concerns going into the WBC.  It is too much competitive baseball too fast.  It's like an All-Star game, but the players have to play hard in it.  It makes no sense.  This is why players like Manny Ramirez make up excuses to miss the All-Star game and the WBC.

Gardner continues tear, Yanks fall short to USA

Brett Gardner posted a three-for-three day, including a double, a stolen base and a run scored.  Technically the game does not count toward his spring training stats, but if you do include the numbers, he is 8/13 with three doubles and three stolen bases.

Phil Hughes started and was knocked out of the game on Derek Jeter's second single of the game with two outs in the top of the third inning.  Jeter played the whole game going 2/4 with two RBIs, a walk and a strikeout.  This was the first time the captain has ever played against the Yankees in his illustrious career.

Hughes was hit with the loss, but Eric Hacker could not record an out in the sixth inning, and surrendered four runs (three earned).  Phil Coke, Michael Dunn, David Robertson and Jose Veras did not let up any runs in 6 1/3 combined innings.

It was a fairly impressive performance for the Yankees, playing against some of the best players in the U.S.  They managed one run each off Roy Oswalt and Matt Lindstrom, and even tagged Matt Thornton for three runs.

Going back to the centerfield dilemma, the Yankees have to take note of Gardner's performance so far.  However, there is still a whole month left of spring training games and anything can happen in that span.

Jeter was interviewed today and was "informed" that he was the captain of the USA team.  It is clear that everything will be handled lightly because he has known most of the guys from the past.  He said he felt honored and "enjoyed" playing for the USA in the last World Baseball Classic. 

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