Steve writes: Do you have any insight into what the Yankees are going to do when Kennedy and Hughes come off the DL? The five starters they have going right now are doing all right for themselves. Assuming no one gets hurt, what happens to the rotation when it is time for them to come back?
Answer: Hughes won’t be back until late July or August, so that’s a concern for another day. IPK could be back in a week or two. I would guess that he’ll get a start or two in the minors before the Yankees deem him ready for the majors. We’ll see how Darrell Rasner looks then.
Jon writes: What do you think about the Yankees eventually retiring Bernie Williams’ No. 51?
Answer: My policy on retired numbers for any team in any sport would be this: Any Hall of Famer who spent 80 percent of his career with a team would be eligible to have his number retired. Exceptions could be made for special circumstances (such as Thurman Munson). I think too many teams, including the Yankees, have retired too many numbers.
Mike writes: I’m guessing that I’m not the only one a little worried about Robinson Cano. Should I be? I realize that he, in his short history, is a slow starter. He looks like he’s lacking confidence at the plate. Have pitchers been exploiting a hole in his swing? Are they simply exploiting his tendency to swing at pitches outside the zone? Are they exploiting things at all or is he just routinely getting himself out?
Answer: Cano is very talented, but thinks that talent is enough to allow him to swing at bad pitches. So while he makes contact pretty easily, he often doesn’t do much with the ball. He lacks discipline as a hitter. I think the Yankees need to be a little tougher with him, maybe even sit him for a few days. The problem is they lack alternatives.
Matt writes: How come the Yankees never play day games on the road? Every other team gets afternoon games when they have to leave town.
Answer: I think the intent is to screw the beat writers from getting home a day early, Matt. Seriously, it’s all about the money. Most teams draw more at night and when the Yankees are in town, they want to fill up the coffers.
Anthony writes: Where is Carl Pavano when you need him? Seriously, what is his status? This guy has robbed us and the Yankees millions of dollars. Itâ€™s been one full year since he has hit the DL for the umpteenth time. Can you let me know?
Answer: Pavano is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery down in Tampa. His agent claims he could be ready in August. Yeah, and I’ll be ready for the Olympic marathon in August. I don’t think you’ll ever see him in pinstripes again.
Roland writes: Leave my manager alone, he owes you guys in the media nothing at all. We the fans get all our info off the YES network before and after games. We don’t need any of you reporters starting trouble and distorting the truth.
Answer: We had a rough start, but the beat writers and the manager have gotten along pretty well lately. I’d be careful about believing everything you see on YES. They’re the same network that runs those Giuseppe Franco commercials. And don’t forget that Girardi made his living in the media for a few years. He’s fine with answering questions.
Barry writes: You wrote how unlikely it is that the Yanks will pick up Jason Giambi’s option for next year at $22 million. But is it allowable under MLB rules if, say, they fail to sign Teixiera in the off-season, to decline Giambi’s option but then resign him at perhaps $12 million per season or the like?
Answer: Sure, they can decline the option than negotiate a new deal. I’m not sure that will happen, either. But it’s certainly possible.
Chris writes: Don’t you think we would have a much more dynamic bench with Brett Gardner, Alberto Gonzalez and Jason Lane (plus Jose Molina)? I know Betemit would be a monetary loss as a DFA, and they want to give Shelley a chance. But I think Betemit is a liability defensively, had no real speed for pinch running, and strikes out way too much in a way that outweighs the occasional homer. As for Shelley, I say play him every day or send him down, because he has no rhythm and looks awful.
Answer: I think we all spend too much time on the bench. For a team like the Yankees, who comes off the pine has very little impact on the season unless a player is out for a long time with an injury. Even then, few teams have starter-quality player in reserve. I think the Yankees could use somebody who can run and somebody who can play some defense at first, however.
Loren writes: What is the status of Humberto Sanchez? He had his Tommy John in 2006, didnâ€™t he?
Answer: The TJ surgery was last April 17, so he is coming up on 14 months. He’s throwing BP and will soon work his way to a minor-league team.
Sheila writes: Pete, do you ever see the players out on the town when you’re on the road?
Answer: Sometimes, but not very often. Most of the cities we’re in are pretty big, so the odds of running into somebody are fairly slim. This is a funny story: In Chicago a few weeks back I went to lunch with a friend before the game. As we were leaving, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada were coming in. We said hello and chatted for a few seconds before they sat down. The maÃ®tre d’ was all impressed, gave me his card and said to come back any time. My friend laughed. “What, were we not welcome back before?” she said.
Thanks for the questions. Feel free to e-mail me with any that you have.