Here is the lineup:
Mussina RHP (4-6, 4.61)
Pregame chatter: Kevin Thompson has been optioned back to Scranton. … Doug Mientkiewicz was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Duncan on the 40-man roster. … Perhaps playing in the field will help Damon. Kevin Long is convinced he’s close to breaking out of it.
UPDATE, 4:46 p.m.: Keep in mind that Damon is likely playing CF because Melky suffered a bit of an ab strain yesterday. He was iced down after the game.
UPDATE, 5:15 p.m.: Torre, now appearing on WFAN, just said his intention was to sit Damon for a few days but Cabrera came in today and said his ab strain was sore. So Damon is playing center and Melky will get a day off today. “His time off will have to wait a couple of days,” Torre said.
Just a guess, but Damon has a way of surviving. I bet he starts hitting all of a sudden.
UPDATE, 5:22 p.m.: Brian Cashman went to New Britain to see Joba Chamberlain pitch tonight. It’s not that much of a stretch because Cash lives in Connecticut. But interesting that they’re keeping such a close eye on a AA pitcher.
UPDATE, 6:16 p.m.: I see the comments that people want Damon put on the disabled list. One little problem: He is not injured. Damon told us yesterday that he feels as good physically as he has all season. Watch him on the bases, he is going to first to third easily and taking extra bases every time he’s out there. Damon and his agent (a Mr. Scott Boras of Newport Beach, Calif.) are not going to let the Yankees just throw him on the DL. It’s not that simple. Not being able to hit isn’t an injury.
UPDATE, 7:24 p.m.: Rough, rough night for Joba Chamberlain in New Britain. 4.2 innings, 9 hits, 7 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 7 strikeouts and 3 home runs.
In a way, this is a good thing. You don’t really learn much about a pitcher until he struggles. Chamberlain has had nothing but success as a professional but that’s not how it works in the majors.
His next start will be very interesting to follow.
UPDATE, 8:38 p.m.: Shelley Duncan has struck out twice on eight pitches and left four men on base. Tough debut for him so far. I spoke to a scout who covers the International League for an NL team and he told me that Duncan will “run into a few homers” as a major leaguer but also will strike out a lot. The scout told me Duncan is vulnerable to high fastballs and breaking pitches.
It would be a fun story if Duncan was the next Shane Spencer. But everybody should have realistic expectations based on what we have seen so far.
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: I fully understand he hasn’t pitched for a while. But Edwar Ramiez had been throwing bullpens. There is no excuse for four walks and a grand slam.
Minor-league stats are not always the best tool when it comes to projecting how a player will fare in the majors, particularly a relief pitcher. Too many people, fans and media alike, see good numbers and assume a guy can pitch. There was a reason the Yankees waited so long to bring up Ramirez.
It’s too bad. Ramirez seems like a nice kid and obviously he got screwed by the lack of work. But there does come up a time when you have to suck it up and throw a strike.
Do you really think all these guys came up from the minors and pitched under optimal conditions every time? Look up the game logs, they didn’t. Clemens, Pedro, Glavine, etc. They all had things happen, starts skipped, etc.
UPDATE, 10:36: Hey, Good for Shelly Duncan. At least some good comes out of this game.