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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Today in Yankees camp

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Feb 24, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

st08_league.gifMost of the pitchers who threw batting practice today threw two sets of 20 pitches, resting for seven minutes in between.

Chien-Ming Wang lost command of a fastball while facing Derek Jeter and the ball went high over the catcher’s head. Standing next to the cage, Johnny Damon pretended he was about to charge the mound.

“My bad,” Wang said later, tapping his chest. “That would have been a big deal.”

Yes, a very big deal.

Jeter laughed it off. “It wasn’t close,” he said. “Wang and I are still friends.”

Joe Girardi said he has been impressed with LaTroy Hawkins, who has gotten away from using primarily a four-seam fastball and a curveball and is now more of a sinkerball pitcher. “The thing that I’ve seen in all his bullpens is everything is down. He’s a different guy than we saw a couple of years ago,” Girardi said.

The manager also has praise for Billy Traber and Jon Albeladejo. I asked him what young pitchers have caught his eye beyond the Big Three and he mentioned Dan McCutchen, Mark Melancon and Steven White.

I usually try and stay in the clubhouse when it’s open to the media. But I bailed out to watch Melancon pitch BP. He’s aggressive with his fastball and has a big curveball, the kind you usually don’t see from power pitchers. He’s a big, broad-shouldered guy and seems to have that attack mentality. He looked like a linebacker coming off the mound.

You hear from a lot of Yankees officials that Melancon could be the next Joba. But he has thrown only six pro innings and had Tommy John surgery 15 months ago. The Yankees will probably start him with Class A Tampa and see what he can do from there.



177 Responses to “Today in Yankees camp”

  1. Brandon (Proud supporter of "Alex being Alex") February 24th, 2008 at 4:39 pm


  2. murphydog February 24th, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    All inside info … all the time. You da’ man!

  3. Brandon (Proud supporter of "Alex being Alex") February 24th, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Pete we need to hear about the position players too, and damn I thought Christian Garcia would be in camp I wonder what happened :(

  4. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Pete, I really really love these snippets.

    It’s like being there.

  5. kd February 24th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I think i just heard every red sox fan scream, “the next joba?” Love to hear that.

  6. ummfada February 24th, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    But if A-Rod pitched it that high…

  7. Ranting Guy February 24th, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Actually, KD, that was just Kevin Youkilis

  8. bodhisattva February 24th, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Don’t judge Melancon on 6 pro innings, nardis contreras doesn’t. Some kids are just advanced, and can pitch anywhere. He should be throwing w/greater pop now that he’s healed. He has everything else to seamlessly slip into the setup role in July.

  9. CB February 24th, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    This notion that Melancon is going to be the “next Joba” is very misleading and should probably stop. Its going to set up expectations for Melancon that he cannot meet.

    He’s very promising and was terrific in college. He could turn out to be yet another great pickup from the 2006 draft. (It’s still hard to believe the yankees got Joba, Kennedy, Betances, Melancon, McCutchen, and Dave Robertson in a single draft! That’s more good pitching prospects in one draft than many teams have in their entire system).

    But he does not have Joba’s arm. Very few people on the planet do. Melancon was throwing in the low to mid 90′s in college. Could his velocity improve after TJ? It could but he’ll never have Joba’s arm speed. And on the flip side his velocity may never come back fully.

    On top of that he threw 8 innings at short season Staten Island and a handful in Hawaii in winter ball. That’s it. That’s the extent of his professional experience.

    The idea that he is going to recover from TJ while at the same time rocket through the minors like Joba is not likely. And even if he did, he just does not have Joba’s stuff.

    Again, this is not a knock on Melancon. I like him a lot and clearly the organization loves him.

    But Joba cannot be the standard for comparison. Anything they get from Melancon this year would be a huge, extra bonus.

  10. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    CB: You’ve got an excellent take.

    Still, I can’t believe we got all those guys in the same draft! That’s insane!

  11. Doreen February 24th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    CB -

    I figure all players are individuals and take it with a grain of kosher salt when a person is said to be the next (fill in the blank). But with Melancon, I take it to mean that he may move through the system as Joba did, not that they pitch alike. I hear Melancon has a wicked curve ball!

  12. Pablo Zevallos February 24th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Chris Garcia isn’t ready yet–he should be back midseasonish

  13. Brandon (Proud supporter of "Alex being Alex") February 24th, 2008 at 5:09 pm


  14. Ranting Guy February 24th, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Agreed on the Joba comparisons for Melancon, CB. He may be have a lot of talent, but he’s probably different from Joba in more ways that he’s similar. I think the biggest similarity some people may see is just that he’s expected to be a late-season savior for the bullpen.

    A few minutes ago I was thinking of asking how many pitches he has in his repetoire, and how they rate. I didn’t, but now I will.

    If Joba’s fatball & slider are both an 80 on that scouting scale that tops out at 80 (not sure what the scale is called) and his curve/slider are somewhere in the above average range, does anyone know what Melancon scores on his pitches? And, how about Joba’s curve and his change?

    SJ or someone who knows what thye’re talking about – if you’re not off doing something more important than blogging (and what could possibly be more important?) what do you know off the top of your head?

  15. Brandon (Proud supporter of "Alex being Alex") February 24th, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Melancon tops out at 95 on the fastball

    his curveball according to Ian Kennedy is hard 83 mph last time he saw it

    and a developing change up

  16. Ross ( February 24th, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Throwing the “next Joba” label is setting him up to fail. However, I truly believe he can be a second half impact reliever!

  17. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Let’s not worry about him being the next Joba; let’s worry about him being the next Melancon :-D

    that video was sweet, though.

  18. Bill from NJ February 24th, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Anyone interested in joining free fantasy baseball? Need a couple more people…

  19. mickey's monkey February 24th, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    I don’t know about the 80-point scale ratings on Melancon, but PinstripesPlus (an excellent resource for info on Yanks’ minor leaguers) says that Melancon’s fastball is the best in the system of any of the relief prospects. It’s a two seamer that he throws (or, at least, USED to throw) 92-94 that reportedly has terrific sink. There are guys in the system who throw harder, but, because of the movement he gets on it, Melancon’s fastball is #1. His curveball is rated at #3 in the system, but best among relievers. Scouts have raved about and batters have had their knees buckled regularly by his bender, which I’ve heard compares very well to K-Rod’s.
    Melancon also has a 95-96mph four-seamer which is, apparently, too straight to qualify as a great heater. He also has a change-up. Bottom line: Melancon has two ++major league pitches, and two other “show me” pitches to keep batters honest. That is absolutely dynamite stuff for a reliever. He’s also said to have a total bulldog mentality on the mound. If he can come back 100% (or better) from his TJ surgery (and all reports so far have him on-track) he’s going to be AT LEAST a very good reliever, and maybe even a great one. And, yes, despite his scant pro experience, MANY folks see him as having a good chance to be up with the Yankees by late-2008. If there had been no injury concerns, there was no way the Yanks would have been able to sign him.

  20. desti(NY) 2008 February 24th, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Mark Melancon’s head is on straight. He sets high expectations on himself rather than expose himself to outside pressure.
    He’ll work his way up the East Coast in a programmed way.

  21. Bill Porter February 24th, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Melancon’s not the next Joba. He does throw a 4 seam but relies on a heavy 2 seam and curve. His change is on the way. He won’t throw the same kind of gas as Joba but he does have a chance to be very successful and ultimately dominant in high leverage situations. It should be a lot of fun watching him grow into his role.

    I’m with Rebecca: “let’s worry about him being the next Melancon.”

  22. RayBlay February 24th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    This has been bothering me for quite some time:
    Players tend to pronounce Wang like “aint no thang but a chicken wang”
    The media (and I believe Torre as well) pronounced it Wang like rhymes with “song” (kinda) and ping “pong”
    Which one is correct??

  23. Mike NYY- The Big Three- Saved February 24th, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Media and Torre are correct

  24. OldYanksFan February 24th, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Wang is Wong, it rhymes with Song.

  25. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Def Wong.

  26. RayBlay February 24th, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Then why do all the players pronounce it differently?

  27. CB February 24th, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    To expect any pitching prospect coming off of TJ surgery to be ready to help out the major league team in July or August is asking a lot.

    When that prospect only has 8 inning of short ball experience and 9 or so in Winter Ball the proposition becomes even more unlikely.

    I don’t know how much of these comparisons of Melancon and Joba are coming from the yankees or from the press. Dan Graziano wrote a long profile on Melancon in the Newark Star Ledger entitled – The Next Joba? There have been several references and stories like this over the winter.

    The savvy fans who follow the team will take this with a grain of salt. But remember how many fans were literally calling Phil Hughes a bust last year after he came back from the leg injury and wasn’t up to his usual velocity? Much of the impetus to trade him for Santana this off season was because many fans and reporters thought of him as something of a bust. Michael Kay – great example.

    The success of Joba and Phil and to a lesser extent Kennedy is exciting but it is also setting unrealistic expectations for yankee prospects in the minds of many fans and in the press.

    Joba, Phil and Kennedy are extreme outliers. What they did in moving so fast is completely unexpected and to a certain extent, good luck.

    That’s not how prospects work out for the most part – even the really good ones.

    Luke Hochevar was selected No. 1 the year Joba and Kennedy were taken. Much of the reason why he went so high was because the Royals thought he would move fast and be up with the big club within a year. Didn’t happen. Now many people have written off Hochevar as a bust.

    This year everyone loves David Price the pitcher taken #1 in the 2007 draft. People have said he was perhaps the best college pitcher to come out over the past 5 years. Better than Justin Verlander at a comparable age. Many, many people assume that he’ll be up with the Rays by July. We’ll see.

    I’m not going to count on Melancon to do anything at all this year. People think that TJ surgery is a routing procedure now – its not. Sean Henn got a $1 million + (1.4 million I think?) signing bonus and was clocked at 99 mph before he was drafted. People forget how promising the yankees thought he was. They loved him. Then he had TJ and now … well now he’s Sean Henn and out of options.

    We compare players all the time. That’s part of the fun of sports. But Joba is such an extreme outlier for both his pure stuff and his rapid development that he’s not a good comparison for anyone, let alone a guy coming off TJ.

    Joba made it look so easy last year people are forgetting how out of the ordinary he is.

    Chances are that even the Joba of 2008 will not be as good as the Joba of 2007. He’s not going to have an era of .38 with a WHIP of .75 again. In that sense he’s a bad comparison for himself!!

  28. Bill from NJ February 24th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Fantasy Baseball?? Anyone?

  29. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    CB: I guess you could say we’re the most spoiled fans in the world :-P

  30. Mike NYY- The Big Three- Saved February 24th, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Would anybody be interested in writing on my blog with me? I had somebody else helping but he dissapeared over the off-season. Somebody willing to write about the minors would be most helpful but anybody would help

  31. BBFan February 24th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    When people like Nardi say that Melancon is this year’s Joba, they are not necessarily saying Melancon is as good as Job is. They are saying that he will progress through the minors as quickly as Joba did. I thnk that will happen and he will be part of Yankee bullpen by September. Last year both Joba and Kennedy did and Kennedy is not as good as Joba. Melcancon will be this year’s Joba in that respect.

  32. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Anyone watching the Oscars tonight? I’m not planning on it, but you never know.

  33. mel February 24th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Get ready for it….wait…wait…Boston signs…Clown Hair!

  34. SJ44 February 24th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    The “next Joba” label to Melancon is not for his stuff. Its in answer to the question of, “who is the next guy to make a fast jump to the majors and succeed”.

    That’s where the comparisons of Melancon in relation to Joba are coming from.

    He’s 100% recovered from TJ Surgery. Mainly, because he had it earlier than Sanchez and Brackman.

    He has full clearance to go full bore this spring.

    The plan is for him to follow the good weather up the coast. Starting in Tampa, then to Trenton and Scranton.

    Obviously, how he pitches determines his timetable. However, if he pitches well, he will be with the Yankees on or around the All Star Break, IMO.

    Plans can change but, that’s the timetable for him at this time.

    Remember, Joba started out as a starter, which is why he had about 80 or so innings in the minors last year.

    Melancon is strictly a relief pitcher. If he gets in 25-30 effective innings in the minors, he will be primed for a callup.

    Yes, he is that good.

  35. Nate February 24th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Not to upset anyone, but regarding that comment on the 2006 and Yankee prospects in general, why do we all assume that all of these prospects are sure things? Everyone talks about Melancon and Robertson and Betances like they are already contributing in the majors. While all of them are regarded as solid players, none are thought of as can’t-miss prospects, and even those occasionally miss (see Taylor, Brien). If every decent prospect turned out to be a productive major leaguer, teams wouldn’t be paying guys like Torii Hunter (an above average player, but no game-changer) $18 mill. a year. While I do think Melancon will turn out to be a good player, its ridiculous to just name every prospect you know and claim they are a testament to the success of our farm system. I realize that the Yankee minor leagues are rated very highly as a result of the recent movement towards emphasis on prospects and the draft, but the success of the farm system can only be measured once these players reach the majors, not when they are in low A.

  36. Boston Dave February 24th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    It’s starting to sound like it’s possible the Yanks will have too many quality bullpen arms and not enough spots.

    Wasn’t it just 2 months ago that everyone was worried? :)

    Love all the young guns.

  37. mel February 24th, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    It’s Wang like Wong (go figure), but that doesn’t stop Jeter from calling him Wanger like hanger.

    I love it when he calls Cano “Canoe”.

  38. Boston Dave February 24th, 2008 at 6:15 pm


    That isn’t news to anyone. There is definitely reason for excitement though. The Yanks don’t need every guy to pan out.

    And Torii Hunter was overpaid. So was Gary Mathews Jr. and many others. That doesn’t have anything to do with Mark Melancon and whether or not he’ll be a solid pitcher.

  39. CB February 24th, 2008 at 6:17 pm


    I think its great to be spoiled by having players like Joba and Phil. It’s a real luxury.

    But I think expectations are important. What happened with Phil last year was a great example. I don’t know how many fans, blogs, reporters were saying well he’s a disappointment. That played into the trade talk. If he hadn’t gotten hurt I don’t think Hank would have been as aggressive in putting him on the table for Santana during the winter meetings. Just my opinion but when an expectation gap develops for a prospect its hard for him to shake it. Michael Kay droning on and on about how Phil Hughes wasn’t really that impressive during last summer was one to remember. Same for all of the columnists and bloggers.

    I think that is going to happen this year with Joba.

    Watch he’ll have an ERA of maybe around 3.5 and there will be people who say he’s been very disappointing because his ERA went up 9 fold from last year. Then we’ll start hearing how he’s “better” as a reliever than as a starter and should be sent back to the pen, etc.

  40. Mike NYY- The Big Three- Saved February 24th, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Amen CB,when Joba moves to the rotation, every single time the bullpen gives up a run we`ll have people ranting about how Joba shouldn’t be starting

  41. Boston Dave February 24th, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    SJ44 or CB,

    What is the status of JB Cox and his elbow?

  42. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    SJ: Thanks for that info!

    Nate: For every Melancon, there are ten prospects that don’t pan out. Most of us should be aware of this–and thus how lucky we are that right now our farm system is stacked.

    CB: Makes me thankful I missed the first part of last season; when Phil came back from the DL I had no expectations because I hadn’t seen him before!

  43. Mike NYY- The Big Three- Saved February 24th, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    I know you didn’t ask me Dave but I think Cox is fully recovered, correct me if I`m wrong

  44. east side yankee February 24th, 2008 at 6:24 pm


    Whats the problem with calling him the next Joba? They probably just think he is capable of going through the minors very quickly. If it doesn’t pan out no big loss…

    Remember folks No One knew anything about Joba prior to the 2006 draft. He was throwing in the mid-90s in 2005 at Nebraska and then in 2006 he had a triceps injury that caused him to fall to the Yanks at #41. NO ONE…NO ONE was very impressed with the pick.

    They sent Joba to Hawaii and he was phenomenal…but everyone said we have to see him at the next level and then he rocketed to the major leagues and saved the Yanks bullpen. No one would have predicted that.

    Now Joba’s fastball is pegged at 97-99. He never did that in college. If he did he would not have fallen to number 41 in the draft…you can be sure of that. I don’t know how you can say Melancon doesn’t have Joba’s arm. Joba didn’t even have his arm until last year.

    If the Yanks think highly of Melancon I don’t think anything is the matter with that. They have done a pretty good job of drafting pitchers so I say leave it to them.

    Last Year if I told you that the Yanks would have 3 rookies starting in the pitching rotation you would have said that was crazy…Well guess what…

    Let people have their fun for Gods sake…

  45. Boston Dave February 24th, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I think Nate is confusing the people in here for Peter Gammons with Red Sox prospects.

  46. Boston Dave February 24th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    east side Yankee -

    I think the Yanks had about 8 rookies starting last year (in some cases unfortunately)

  47. DMan February 24th, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Nice, I’ve got faith in Billy Traber.

  48. east side yankee February 24th, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Boton Dave:

    The only differnce is that this year the Yanks are deliberatly starting the rookies instead of being forced to start them like last year.

  49. SJ44 February 24th, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Joba was throwing 100 MPH when he was a freshman at Nebraska and was weighing close to 300 pounds.

    I saw him pitch against the University of Miami in a tournament game in his freshman year and he was downright scary.

    A big, fat Midwestern kid who was hitting 98-100 on every fastball and had that sick slider. Country hardball at its finest.

    Joba’s issues were two fold. One, a knee problem, relating to him being overweight. Two, a sore elbow.

    That’s why he dropped in the draft.


    Cox, I believe, is still on “double secret Yankee probation”. Its why he wasn’t invited to the major league camp.

    I understand his rehab is on schedule. He is just going to have to pitch himself back into the good graces of the organization.

    One thing about the Yankees. They may get mad at you. But, if you can play, all is forgiven pretty quick!

    Rebecca is right. Not every prospect is going to pan out.

    But, there is power in numbers. If you only have a couple of position players and 3-5 pitchers who are legitimate ML prospects, like it was with the Yankees from 2000-2005, then the chances are you won’t see a lot of results from your farm system.

    If you have 12-15 high quality arms and another 8-10 position player prospects (all at different stages of development), which this organization currently has, the odds of hitting gold with some players rises dramatically.

    That’s where the Yankees are at right now. Which is why the enthusiasm for these kids is at an all time high.

  50. Mike NYY- The Big Three- Saved February 24th, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Okay. I followed the minors with Pending Pinstripes and RAB and I have to ask, Wgo is Billy Traber??????

  51. Jax February 24th, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    east side Yankee, Joba also dropped in the draft due to his weight issues. Which is why he also had a knee injury in college. Him being over weight in college also caused him to lose some ticks of his fastball.

  52. Mike NYY- The Big Three- Saved February 24th, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    SJ, I`m not sure about that about Joba. I think I read on RAB that Joba was throwing 92-93 and Nardi Contreras helped him get it up to where it is now. I`ll see if I can find a link

  53. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    SJ: What’d Cox do? pull a Pavano?

  54. east side yankee February 24th, 2008 at 6:38 pm


    go check your research…Joba never piched as a frosh at Nebraska. He was working as a janitor and then went to junior college.

    The Nebraska coach thoght he had potential but he was fat and only throwing a fastball at 92-94 tops.

    Please provide link of where Joba hit 100 at the NCAAs in his sophomore year.

  55. CB February 24th, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Boston Dave,

    Melancon is around 15 months out of surgery. Cox had surgery 4-5 months after Melancon. Usually TJ surgery recovery is 12-18 months. I’m not sure where he is in terms of his recovery but I don’t think he’s fully there yet.

    Neither Cox or Sanchez got a non-roster invitation to spring training so I assume their both still a couple of months away. I’ve heard May for Sanchez.

  56. Mike NYY- The Big Three- Saved February 24th, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    What’d Cox do? pull a Pavano?

    Broke his hand

  57. Mike NYY- The Big Three- Saved February 24th, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    I take that back Cox had TJ surgery

  58. rodg12 February 24th, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Mike NYY: He did it in a fight, though, I believe. That’s where SJ’s “double-secret Yankees probation” comment comes in.

  59. pat February 24th, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Humberto Sanchez is at camp. There’s an interview with him on Says he’ll be throwing off a mound next month.

  60. SJ44 February 24th, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    He was in his first year at Nebraska when I saw him pitch against Miami in the NCAA Regionals. If he was a soph because he transferred in, my apologies.

    My point is, he was in his first year at Nebraska when he pitched in the regionals against Miami.

    I was at the game. I sat where I always sit, behind the scouts and looking at the radar guns. He was over 95 the entire game, often hitting 99 and 100 with his fastball.

    I don’t need a “link”. I saw it with my own two eyes.

    I guess you can ask the scouts who were at that game. From that point forward, Joba was on the radar (pardon the pun) of the scouts.

    His weight and weight related injuries, caused him to drop in the draft.

  61. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Mike NYY: His pitching hand?

  62. SJ44 February 24th, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Cox broke his pitching hand in a bar fight. That’s what got him in trouble with the Yankees.

    The elbow surgery was unrelated to the fight.

  63. gayle February 24th, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    QUick question and change of subject from the pitchers. Am i being totally stupid in thinking that Ensberg might really be not so much a threat to Duncan in camp but to Betimit?? Have not heard much about WIlson this spring and being as Ensberg can play 3rd as well it seems to me that he and Betimit are fighting for the same gig. I know that Wilson plays some short as well so that makes him perhaps a better infield utility guy but the things I have been reading about Morgan Ensberg i like.

  64. CB February 24th, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Billy Traber is a journeyman lefty reliever who pitched in the NL last year. He’s not old – 27. But not that good (WHIP 1.6). They picked him up off the scrap heap and signed him to a minor league deal. It was a good low risk move. A jim brower type.

    Joba was BA’s seventh ranked prospect at the start of his final year in college. He was considered an absolute stud before he had his triceps tendinitis and got shut down. The yankees never thought they’d be able to draft him.

    JB Cox was rumored to have been in a bar fight. I think that’s SJ44 reference to “double secret Yankee probation” – that’s a great line as its very apt!!!

  65. fleas February 24th, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Back to our earlier theological debate…

    If the bible is real, how come there is no mention of the dinosaurs? Surely they must have found some fossils.

  66. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    SJ: Ah, thanks.

    Yeah, that couldn’t have sat too highly with the organization.

  67. Ranting Guy February 24th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Melancon doesn’t have to have Joba’s arm to have an impact. He’s not the same as Joba, but neither are Hughes and Kennedy.

    If he has two types of fastballs are in the 92-96 range (although hearing the faster one is kinda straight) and he has a plus curve and he’s working on his change up, that could be pretty good stuff. Seems to work for Papelbon in Boston.

    I’m NOT imagining Melancon as the next Papelbon, or that he has the same repetoire either. The comparison ends at mixing 3-4 pitches effectively rather than having Jobas’ slider/heater to blow people away and/or fool them out of their jock straps. Papelbon does his thing effectively and it sounds like Mealancon’s thing (w/o seeing him pitch) is different still. Hopefully Melancon’s as effective as SJ says.

    Yes (to paraphrase Rebecca) he’ll not be the next Joba but the first Melancon. As long as he’s an improvement over most of the relief troops not named Rivera since the last WS title, it’ll be a good thing.

  68. Andrea February 24th, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Fleas: because a council of church Fathers got together at some point (I believe during the Middle Ages) and decided what would be best in the Bible and what would be best left out. If people had found dinosaur bones and fossils and written about it, the church fathers edited it out.

    I’m not being cynical. I forget the name of the actual group of dudes, but they existed when people started veering away from Religion and they wanted people to get back into it.

  69. east side yankee February 24th, 2008 at 6:56 pm


    I still argue that no one knew how good Joba could be. Everybody brings up the weight but thats just an excuse used by teams and scouts to explain why they didn’t take a chance on the kid.

    He already lost the weight by the time he pitched for Nebraska. He struggled with a triceps injury in his junior year and he did not pitch as well. Teams shyed away from him the same way they shyed away from Ian Kennedy when he had a bad final year at USC.

    We don’t know how good Melancon could be…people are just having fun trying to look for the next Joba. The same way basketball would christen everyone with a cool dunk as the next Jordan (anyone remember Harold Minor?)

    its what makes spring training fun…the Mets act as if Johann is going to pitch every game for the team..

  70. CB February 24th, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    The game in the College World Series Joba threw against Miami that SJ44 is referring to opened up everyone’s eyes. That was the game that really put him on the map with scouts and shot up his predicted draft slot. He was an absolute beast on a big stage.

    There was never any question about Joba’s talent in college. If he hadn’t gotten that tendinitis his junior year he would have been a top 5-10 pick. People would have forgotten the weight and knee very quickly.

    People tend to look for reasons not to draft a prospect. That’s what happened with Joba. The Sox drafted a pitcher a pick or two before the yankees took Joba at slot 41 in the supplemental draft.

  71. Dee February 24th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    I love the youth movement!

    RayBlay, CMW’s last name in Mandarin is pronounced “Wong”, even though the English name given to him is Wang. I guess some players like Jeter just decide to roll with it and give him the nickname Wanger. People in Asia adopt English version of their names in an effort to match the native pronunciation as closely as possible, but sometimes the spelling adopted is not 100% accurate. For example, Ichiro Suzuki’s name in Japanese is pronounced as “Ichilo”.

  72. mel February 24th, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    No one wants to talk about clown hair signing with Boston? :(

  73. Doreen February 24th, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    mel -


  74. NJ in Tampa February 24th, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Did Jeter hit on the side field? He wasn’t on the main field at all today.

  75. jj February 24th, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Is Bucholtz better than Hughes, Joba? What’s your take SJ?

  76. CB February 24th, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    “Melancon doesn’t have to have Joba’s arm to have an impact.”

    This is the point well stated. I’m conservative with prospects as a whole and especially with guys coming off of TJ.

    But I hope I’m wrong and Melancon does well in his movement through the system this year.

    If he does make it to the majors however all he needs to do it to be better than LaTroy Hawkins. Or better than Brian Bruney or whoever else they go north with in the pen.

    He doesn’t need to be anywhere near as good as Joba was last year to be an important piece – whether that’s this year or next.

  77. mel February 24th, 2008 at 7:08 pm


    Yes. Minor league deal. No financial details yet. Insurance for Schilling.

  78. pat February 24th, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I always thought the Wanger nickname came from the movie Sixteen Candles. The asian exchange student’s name was Long Duck Dong and they called him Donger. Figured Jeter was just a Molly Ringwald fan growing up. :smile:

  79. Fran February 24th, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Mel – if you mean Colon he signed a minor league deal today with the Red Sox.

  80. pat February 24th, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Colon couldn’t get a major league deal? Did he get a spring training invite at least?

  81. Fran February 24th, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Tom Gordon will be closing for the Phillies for the next 6 weeks. Brad Lidge needs surgery on his knee.

  82. pat February 24th, 2008 at 7:14 pm


    Who’d ya see on the main field?

  83. mel February 24th, 2008 at 7:15 pm


    Colon flunked a physical with the Mets (timetable unknown) and there are concerns about his lack of velocity.

    The Red Sox must’ve had a look at him before he signed the minor league deal with them. Probably low risk, low reward for them.

  84. east side yankee February 24th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Brad Lidge must have done somthing very bad in his past. He has the worst luck. Didn’t he get injured on the first pitch he threw during spring training?

  85. pat February 24th, 2008 at 7:25 pm


    The Mets must be very tough graders. They flunked a catcher too this off season.

  86. Doreen February 24th, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    East Side -

    Lidge said he caught a spike and I do believe it was his first pitch. The knee he injured was the same knee he’d just had surgery on in the off-season. Talk about bad luck!

    I can’t believe how quickly Colon’s stock has fallen.

  87. rodg12 February 24th, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Pat –
    Either that or the Sox are very easy physical graders. They did give an $8 million deal to a pitcher who is going to be out for at least half a season with what could only have been a pre-existing shoulder injury after all. I prefer to think of it this way. :)

  88. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 7:31 pm


    Colon only got a minor league deal? Wow.

  89. kd February 24th, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Colon hsn’t been the same pticher for the last couple of seasons. he’s a big guy and has a lot of weight re;ated injuries. He’ll get killed in the AL East, so let’s hope he’s in their starting rotation

  90. jennifer-Phil Hughes saved!! February 24th, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    No longer under the radar, Ian Kennedy ready for starting job
    February 24th 2008

    Check out this article!!

  91. Bronxbyte February 24th, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    It should never be underestimated what Nardi Contreras does as the organizations’s pitching coordinator. He has and will continue to be a major factor in the development of the young arms.
    If a pitcher has a mechanical flaw, Nardi will find it.

  92. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    jenn–I just read that. Good article.

  93. Bronx Born February 24th, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    I was so excited to be going to Legends Field (aka G.S.). I have been a Yankee fan for a long long time. Did I say long time? Its even longer than that and I have never been to any spring training. It was a beautiful day as we drove up to the field, maybe a little overcast with some sprinkles and in the mid 70′s. The sun can fully out yet still there was some light rain. Vinnie the roster/program seller was pitching rosters for a buck a piece. We quickly bought one. Vinnie’s NY accent cut through the air. Its been a while since I been home (da Bronx) and wow it felt so good hear that Bronx guttural “twang”. I turned to Shelley as we entered and said I know it sounds silly but I am so excited. The players were on two fields the main Legends field and a field on the side. I felt that ballgame surge as we came out into the seats. Damn I love baseball! We loaded up on dogs and cokes and crackerjacks and sat pretty close to the field. The concession stand guy had added everything up in his head a true talent. He said George would come down and thank me for my purchase (there were 4 of us). The bill was pretty high but I did not begrudge a penny. It was baseball time and I was in a ballpark. We saw a lot of players. I thought Betimit looked to be in great shape. Giambi looked good too. Girardi was out in the field closely watching the pitchers. I think he is in better shape than most of the players and seems to run everywhere. Ramirez looked pretty good I thought. What I really enjoyed was how close you get to the field and the players. That was great. Go Yanks. And thanks to Pete for giving me the scoop on going.

  94. pat February 24th, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    C-Rod/Natasha pic today from Legends on Yahoo. She looks like she’s progressed from baby bump to baby bubble and is well on her way to get it out now.

  95. Joe from Long Island February 24th, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Bronx Born – great story

  96. MikeEff - Shelley at First February 24th, 2008 at 8:18 pm


    you know it could well be that ian kennedy will be the “jewel” of the big three. to me the exciting part will be watching them all grow. i’m more excited about this season than i have been in years

    tip for sam:
    try getting him some fresh carrot juice. he’ll love it…i think he’ll drink it even when he’s sick
    ( and it’s good for him!!)

  97. whoa February 24th, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Melancon will move through the system very, very quickly.

  98. whozat February 24th, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    “you know it could well be that ian kennedy will be the “jewel” of the big three.”

    fairly unlikely. Hughes has the same great control numbers and far superior stuff, and he knows how to pitch.

  99. jennifer-Phil Hughes saved!! February 24th, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    I just got a news flash. Alex Rodriguez’s eyes turned into saucers. The Red Sox’s have reportedly reached a deal with Bartolo Colon. Alex is salivating as we speak. :P

  100. RollingWave February 24th, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Is there anyone Joe ISN”T impressed with so far? ;)

  101. #9 February 24th, 2008 at 8:33 pm


    Did you have any Oscar picks?

  102. Andrea February 24th, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    A-Rod’s daughter is too cute.

  103. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    I tried clicking the link and got ‘image not available’ :(

  104. jennifer-Phil Hughes saved!! February 24th, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    She looks so much like him.

  105. jennifer-Phil Hughes saved!! February 24th, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Phil posted a picture of the view from his locker!


    Phil is so cute.

  106. Ben February 24th, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Over on the Phil Hughes blog he said you guys have been working on something that he’ll reveal tonight or tomorrow.

    Have I been missing something?

    What’s going on?

  107. Vader February 24th, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    The fact that the Sawx may have signed Colon, must mean Schilling may be out for the year.

    I’m supprised that Boras couldn’t get Theo to take Loshe off his hands.

  108. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    …THAT is adorable.

  109. Sean Serritella - YankeesDaily February 24th, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    I agree with Rebecca, it’s like being there.

  110. jennifer-Phil Hughes saved!! February 24th, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    So any guesses as to what Phil has planned with Pete?

    Also small update, Sam is now eating, but only when hand fed. I told him not to get used to it. :lol:

  111. jj February 24th, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    where’s the colon story?

  112. jennifer-Phil Hughes saved!! February 24th, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    I heard it on 660, haven’t looked on the net for a story.

  113. MikeEff - Shelley at First February 24th, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    i’m glad he’s OK jennifer

    these Oscars are dull, huh?

  114. jennifer-Phil Hughes saved!! February 24th, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    I’m not watching them. I couldn’t care less.

    Hopefully him eating means he has turned a corner, I’ll feel much better if he starts to eat on his own and the blood tests point out what the problem is.

  115. R a t a c h e w y February 24th, 2008 at 9:05 pm


  116. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    jenn–Glad to hear the good news!

    And yes, I want to know what the two have got planned as well!

  117. #9 February 24th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    All right!

    Visual Effects award!

  118. murphydog February 24th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Oscars dull? After watching Gary Busey attack Jennifer Garner, it’s been all downhill.

    Believe me, what I saw with my own eyes was far more horrifying than the story portrays.

  119. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    I want Juno to win. And Johnny Depp. Other than that I’m ambivalent.

  120. Keith February 24th, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Bartolo Colon news …..

    Are there any fat farms in Bahhstin ???

  121. MikeEff - Shelley at First February 24th, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    that’s funny murph…

    yeah rebecca, i DID love sweeney todd. it would be nice for johnny depp, but his chances look pretty slim

  122. #9 February 24th, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Is Clemens nominated in the Best Actor category this year?

  123. Bronx Born February 24th, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    thanks joe. where on long island are you?

  124. murphydog February 24th, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    “Is Clemens nominated in the Best Actor category this year?”

    Yeah, he’s up against George Mitchell, Brian McNamee and Harry Waxman. Best Supporting Actor includes the rest of the committee, all the lawyers and Mike Lupica.

  125. jennifer-Phil Hughes saved!! February 24th, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Santana drilled Beltran in the left triceps, watch Beltran will sit out the next 2 weeks.

  126. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Mike Eff: Well, I’m sure Johnny will win eventually…

  127. MikeEff - Shelley at First February 24th, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    you’re right rebecca, i just hope we don’t have to wait till he wins one of those life time achievement awards!

  128. NJ in Tampa February 24th, 2008 at 10:07 pm


    A-Rod, Giambi, Duncan, Betemit, Posada (hit there but didn’t catch molina did)and some minor league guys like Tabata and Gonzalez. A-Rod was really friendly with the crowd. I was in the first row and he came over trying to back hand a ball and leaned over the realing. I put my hand up to brace him from and he said thank you. He also tossed several balls to some kids sitting behind me. He was also very polite to the grounds crew guys. There was a sun shower and the field was getting a little messy in the beginning. The grounds crew would occasionally go rake infront of every position. The guy who was raking infront of third base was unsure of when to go, a-rod looked at him and said “its ok now, sir.”

    When his group was batting he spent some time back behind the cage up against the fence with his daughter who was on the other side of the screen with his wife.

    Also, Mickey Rivers came over and was very nice signing some autographs.

  129. Joe from Long Island February 24th, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Bronx Born – out in Suffolk, on the north shore. But I grew up in Brooklyn, in Bay Ridge. My dad was an old Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and I think he was privately appalled that I rooted for the Yankees; though by that time (mid-60s) the Dodgers had long since gone.

    Time to get to bed, long day at work tomorrow. Good night.

  130. chris February 24th, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    the Most Annoying Character in cinematic history =
    that chick in Juno

  131. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    I love Juno. If she was a real character, we would probably have been best friends.

  132. jennifer-Phil Hughes saved!! February 24th, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Is Bay Ridge, near fort hamilton? My father grew up on Short Pkwy.

  133. jennifer-Phil Hughes saved!! February 24th, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    oops shore.

  134. chris February 24th, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    sorry Rebecca

  135. Andrea February 24th, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    That French girl who won best actress–I love her.

    I’m behind with the running oscar commentary, but that’s ok.

  136. pat February 24th, 2008 at 10:34 pm


    Thanks for the recap.

    My brother was there this week and said Mickey Rivers looked like he was having more fun than anyone.

  137. MikeEff - Shelley at First February 24th, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    julie christie should have won, but they never give it to anyone over 40 anymore…

  138. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    chris–No reason to apologize, different strokes and all :)

  139. Andrea February 24th, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Jennifer: so glad to hear your bird is doing better.

  140. ray February 24th, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    There is almost no risk in the Sox signing Colon to a minor league deal. They give up nothing and if Colon doesn’t work out at all then what have they lost? I’m betting Colon will do at least as well as Pavano this year and for a lot less money! ( sorry….I couldn’t help myself)

  141. ThatWasMe February 24th, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    No risk unless he figures into the rotation.

  142. Andrea February 24th, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    As much as we all mock Pavano, both games he pitched last year were wins. So at least he did that much.

  143. ray February 24th, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    That is a fair observation. As a Sox fan I will readily admit that there are some question marks about our pitching staff. Wakefield is getting older, who knows how Dice-K will be this year, and as all my good Yankee friens like to call him (lol) “laptops” indeed pitched a no hitter but had a tired arm at the end of the year to mention a few concerns. At the same time if I was a Yankee fan I would also have some concerns about the pitching staff. Moose is getting older and was inconsistent last year. There are some great young pitchers but who knows for sure how that will turn out, and pitchers like Hawkins and Farnsworth aren’t striking fear in opposing team’s rosters.

  144. Sean Serritella - YankeesDaily February 24th, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    That’s what I meant to ask but I forgot. Does anyone know if there will be a box score for the intrasquad game on Wednesday? I highly doubt it but you never know.

  145. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Ray: I think it[‘s a fair shot to say each team’s got their own rotation concerns =)

  146. ray February 24th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Hey Rebecca,
    I think you are right on. I think as Yankee fans and Red Sox fans we love to posture and have fun with that, but the truth is both the Yankees and the Sox have what I think are very strong teams each with their particular concerns. I really look forward to the season.

  147. Andrea February 24th, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    That was VERY cool what they just did on the Oscars with the folks in Iraq.

  148. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 24th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    ray: With any luck, I’ll be in your neck of the woods for the game on 4/12! I won’t know till the end of March, though, which is kind of annoying.

  149. UtilityMan February 24th, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    NJ in Tampa

    Are you still on line???
    Are you going to Fridays’ game???
    IF so where are you sitting???

  150. NJ in Tampa February 24th, 2008 at 11:48 pm


    I’m going to fridays game but I’m not sure exactly where I’m sitting yet. I’m getting the tickets from a family friend so I don’t have them in hand yet. Are you going?

  151. UtilityMan February 24th, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Yes I will be there

  152. UtilityMan February 24th, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Yes I will be there….Section 102 near Yankee Bullpen

  153. mel February 25th, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Congratulations to Rattachewy for winning an Oscar for Best Animated Film. (Sorry tape delay here)

  154. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 25th, 2008 at 12:18 am

    …Is it me or does this blog have a collective bedtime?

  155. Buddy Biancalana February 25th, 2008 at 12:20 am


    They didn’t show it live, they did here in SF. Must be the coconut cable right?

  156. Brandon (Proud supporter of "Alex being Alex") February 25th, 2008 at 12:23 am

    What would ZBo do ? :D

  157. Buddy Biancalana February 25th, 2008 at 12:23 am

    I haven’t stayed up past 12 in 2 years & its only 9:20pm here.

  158. Buddy Biancalana February 25th, 2008 at 12:28 am

    I forgot to mention I have a 17 month old at home.

  159. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 25th, 2008 at 12:32 am

    I think the last time I went to sleep before 12 was when I came home from London.

  160. Andrea February 25th, 2008 at 12:33 am

    I haven’t gone to sleep before 5 am at all this week. I seem to have come down with the plague, and at midnight, my cough goes into overdrive. It’s the most annoying thing ever. And now my cough has given me a terrible headache.


  161. mel February 25th, 2008 at 12:36 am


    LOL. No, we have to wait for the tape to come with the food & supplies that they drop from the airplane.

  162. Buddy Biancalana February 25th, 2008 at 12:36 am


    Wait until you have kids, that is if you decide to have them.

    FYI, if you have Directv, they are showing the Tudors as a freeview.

  163. Buddy Biancalana February 25th, 2008 at 12:37 am


    are you actually a character on LOST?

  164. Clare February 25th, 2008 at 12:38 am

    NJ in Tampa,

    Thanks for the report from Tampa. How did the guys look in BP? Were they hitting off the pitchers or coaches?

  165. gayle February 25th, 2008 at 12:43 am

    Is anyone watching Jimmy Kimmel?? The skit he is doing spoofing the Sarah SIlverman skit from a few weeks ago is genius I am sure it will be on You TUbe soon

  166. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 February 25th, 2008 at 12:45 am

    Buddy: Nah, got Time Warner up here.

    Anyway, the Tudors is supposed to be horribly inaccurate, so, I’d probably get really upset and shut it off anyway. Though John Rhys-Meyers is delicious eye candy.

  167. Clare February 25th, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Just too precious . . .

  168. Bryan C February 25th, 2008 at 1:36 am

    The reason that CMW is “Wang” and not “Wong” is because when he was on Taiwan’s national team, the travel agency applied the passport for him and screwed up the spelling of his name on the passport application, way before he was signed and came into Yankee’s farm system.

  169. Nick in SF February 25th, 2008 at 2:08 am

    I didn’t have time to read this whole thread. I’m guessing the concensus is that Melancon will be the next Joba and is basically a can’t-miss prospect, right? Great!

    I would wager that the above post about Wang’s passport application is a complete fabrication. I did my own research!!

  170. Andrea February 25th, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Nick in SF: those pictures are awesome. Did you take them?

  171. Nick in SF February 25th, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Thanks, and yes, I took them myself. I took a trip to Taiwan in October.

  172. Bryan C February 25th, 2008 at 3:10 am

    Well, not that often I’ve been called a liar in my face.

  173. Shion February 25th, 2008 at 3:17 am

    To Bryan C:
    No, the travel agency didn’t screw up the spelling to Wang’s name. “Wang” is the way it is spelled for the thousands and thousands of other Taiwanese with the same surname

  174. Bryan C February 25th, 2008 at 3:23 am

    CMW’s name, in Taiwan’s correct pronunciation, should’ve been Chien-Min Wong……

    The travel agency screwed it up, even CMW admitted it in his interview with Taiwanese media/reporters….

  175. Nick in SF February 25th, 2008 at 3:41 am

    Haha, sorry if I caused offense, Bryan C. But that travel agent story is goofy, and even if it’s being reported correctly on that site you linked to, you missed the point. “Wang” is the CORRECT way to spell his name using the most common romanization system. The issue is in pronunciation.

    Anyway, I definitely didn’t call you a liar to your face; this is the internet!

    (just kidding, I don’t think you’re a liar at all)

  176. Skinnyhead February 25th, 2008 at 4:15 am

    There shouldn’t be a “next Joba” so soon after the one we got is just getting started.

  177. SaratogaYankeeFan March 2nd, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Agree with Skinnyhead. Love Joba, but in my many years have seen too many “great” ones have short careers. Give me 5+ years of Joba, then let the comparisons begin. Come on guys. No comparisons on a player with less than 1 year pro experience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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