Pitching today: Joba Chamberlain.
Notes: The game is on WLW, 700 AM radio in Cincinnati. … The Yankees are looking for at least six innings out of Joba, who has had problems running up his pitch count all spring. He’s also due to start maintaining his velocity. … This will be the penultimate game at Ed Smith Stadium for the Reds, who will move to Goodyear, Arizona, next spring. The Reds have been in Sarasota since 1998. The final game at Sarasota will be on Thursday against the Pirates.
Back with more later.
UPDATE, 9:25 a.m.: Per Brian Cashman, Jonathan Albaladejo is on the team.
UPDATE, 9:35 a.m.: Lots of news this morning:
Alfredo Aceves and Dan Giese were optioned to Scranton. Kevin Cash and Brett Tomko were reassigned to the minor-league camp. They’ll be at Scranton.
No decision yet on the utility reliever. Cashman said he wants to see what players become available out of other organizations first.
A-ROD UPDATE: Joe Girardi and Cashman have spoken to or texted with A-Rod in recent days. He started throwing yesterday. Word is that the rehab has gone well. Follow-up MRIs, Cashman said, have been positive.
UPDATE, 9:40 a.m.: The rotation at Scranton, Cashman said, would be Hughes, Kennedy, Igawa, Aceves and Jason Johnson. They plan to use Brett Tomko out of the bullpen.
Tomko was crushed, saying the news came as a shock. But he doesn’t have an out in his deal until June. “I don’t have any options,” he said. “I’m trying to be rational about it and look at the big picture. But it’s tough because I had a great spring.”
UPDATE, 11:12 a.m.: To advance the A-Rod story a bit more, Cashman said that Alex would be back in Tampa by no later than April 13, although it could well be earlier. The Yankees are still targeting a mid-May return to the major-league lineup by Rodriguez. He will play in minor-league games first, likely in warm weather. That probably means with Single-A Tampa.
UPDATE, 12:03 p.m.: It would seem justice moves slowly in Nebraska. This from the AP:
New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain¹s arraignment on a drunken-driving charge has been rescheduled a fourth time. His lawyer requested the postponement. The Nebraska hearing had been
scheduled for Tuesday and was reset for Wednesday. Chamberlain was to pitch in Florida on Tuesday. He also was granted delays earlier this month and in December and January. Chamberlain, who played for Nebraska in college, is charged with first-offense drunken driving and having an open alcohol container. He was pulled over Oct. 18 by police on the outskirts of Lincoln.
UPDATE, 1:03 p.m.: We’re about to get underway here in Sarasota.
UPDATE, 1:09 p.m.: Here’s a iink to a story I did for LoHud.com on A-Rod this morning.
Meanwhile, Gardner singled to center. But when Swisher hit a rocket up the middle, the pitcher snared it and doubled Gardner off.
UPDATE, 1:12 p.m.: Yes, the Yankees have the DH and the Reds do not. Makes sense I guess.
UPDATE, 1:21 p.m.: Just received an e-mail from Sports Illustrated. Their baseball issue is this week and they predict that the Mets will beat the Angels in the World Series. That would be quite a thing given their rotation.
Meanwhile, Joba’s first inning was like so:
Double (sinking liner that Melky let get behind him)
20 pitches / 11 strikes
They also pick the Yankees to win the AL East. CC Sabathia is on the cover.
UPDATE, 1:37 p.m.: Good second inning for Joba:
E-9 (Melky dropped a ball)
13 pitches / 10 strikes. No score in the game.
UPDATE, 1:48 p.m.: On behalf of all the beat writers who need to pack, I would like to thank Angel Berroa for getting picked off first after getting a single and Brett Gardner for being thrown out stealing after getting his second single of the game. That makes the game so much faster.
UPDATE, 1:53 p.m.: Joba’s third inning:
12 pitches / 8 strikes
Meanwhile, via Lauren Moran back in Tampa, we have this report on Mariano Rivera:
He got five outs (in one inning). He threw 21 pitches and allowed one hit, a home run of all things. Two groundouts, two strikeouts, one fly ball.
UPDATE, 2:02 p.m.: A new source has emerged with Mariano Rivera news. Chad Jennings, the Scranton beat writer, was watching Mo and reports that his second pitch was belted for a homer by the immortal Rich Thompson of Lehigh Valley. After he needed 10 pitches to record three outs, they left him out there to face two more hitters. Chad had him for 18 pitches, 14 strikes.
UPDATE, 2:08 p.m.: 2-0 Yankees on a two-run double by Melky, who has had quite an interesting game.
Meanwhile, since so many people have asked, here is Joba’s velocity:
The game is not on TV and there is no gun at the park. I see two scouts with guns in the stands and if I get a chance, I’ll ask one of them.
No offense to anybody, but sweating velocity on March 31 is a little silly. Power pitchers usually take time to build up their velocity and the Yankees have said Joba’s velocity isn’t much different than it was at this stage last season. He hit 96 against the Phillies last week.
Beyond that, he is not going to throw 99 as a starter and nor should be try. The idea is to go seven inning, not win a carnival game.
Yankees lead 3-0. Ransom had an RBI single to drive in Melky.
UPDATE, 2:31 p.m.: 1-2-3 inning for Joba. I have him for 67 pitches, 44 strikes, through five innings. His line: 5 3 0 0 1 5. Why oh why did they make him a starter? What a mistake.
UPDATE, 2:43 p.m.: Yankees 4-0 after a sac fly by Melky. But Ransom grounded into a DP to end the inning.
UPDATE, 2:54 p.m.: Joba fanned Dickerson to start the sixth. Then came the trouble. Walk, walk, RBI single. He seems to be wearing down a little. I have him at 83 pitches.
UPDATE, 2:57 p.m.: Joba is out after another RBI single. 4-2 Yankees.
He pitched well. But they wanted him to get through six and he went 5.1. He threw 86 pitches, which is too many for 5.1 innings.
Bruney in now to try and clean up the mess.
UPDATE, 3:00 p.m.: Keep in mind, Joba will be back in Tampa on Sunday to pitch in a minor-league intrasquad game. That will be his final tune-up.
UPDATE, 3:04 p.m.: Joba’s line: 5.1 5 2 2 3 6.
UPDATE, 3:38 p.m.: Yankees lead 6-3 middle of the eighth.
We just spoke to Joba and Jorge Posada. Joba was pleased with his outing with the exception of not being able to go deeper in the game. Posada, who once believed Joba belonged in the bullpen, said that the pitcher “proved me wrong.”
“He’s our fifth starter and I’m happy with that,” Posada said. “It’s for the betterment of the team.”
Spoke to a scout who was in the stands today and he had Joba consistently around 94-96.
Also, Joba is on his way to Nebraska tonight and will appear before the judge tomorrow. He expects that the case will be settled then.