Archive for March, 2009
Yankees win again, top Blue Jays • 03.30.09
Not a whole lot of news out of this game. Andy Pettitte was thrilled with his outing and said his shoulder hasn’t given him any trouble. Mark Teixeira (.408 this spring) drove in two runs and the bullpen held Toronto down.
Joe Girardi corrected something he said earlier. Mariano Rivera will pitch in a minor-league game tomorrow but not in the game in Tampa on Wednesday. They don’t see any reason to use him on consecutive days until the season starts.
The Yankees have won six straight and 15 of 17. Counting the Team USA and Team Canada games, they are 20-12-1 this spring. What does that mean? Not a damn thing. I’m just filing bandwith.
Time to write some newspaper stories.
The Bats blog over at the New York Times web site is a must read. They had three top-flight Yankee bloggers — Cliff Corcoran (Bronx Banter), Benjamin Kabak (River Ave. Blues) and Steve Lombardi (Was Watching) — answer some questions.
Those guys have been big supporters of the LoHud Yankees Blog and I think all three of them have contributed to our pinch hitter series over the last two years. It’s a cool thing that some MSM blogs are showcasing the talent out there.
Mets bloggers will get their chance tomorrow on Bats including Matt Cerrone, who I got to know when I covered the Mets. He does a tremendous job with MetsBlog.
Spring Game 33: Yankees at Blue Jays • 03.30.09
Pitching today: Andy Pettitte followed by Damaso Marte, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez.
Pitching today: David Purcey followed by B.J. Ryan, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor.
Notes: The Yankees return to bucolic Dunedin for a 1:05 p.m. start. There’s no television or radio back to New York. … The Yankees have won five straight and 14 of their last 16. … Pettitte pitched in a minor-league game in his last start and wanted to face Toronto instead of going back to the complex. “I need to see big-league hitters,” he said.
Back with more later.
UPDATE, 10:32 a.m.: The Yankees several minor leaguers to the roster today. They are:
RHP Kevin Whelan
Catcher Mitch Abeita
Catcher Kyle Anson
Infielder Eric Duncan
Infielder Luis Nunez
Infielder Justin Snyder
Outfielder James Cooper
Outfielder Jack Rye
UPDATE, 10:55 a.m.: During our pre-game chat with Joe Girardi, he said no decisions on the other roster spots have been made yet. Those could carry into the Cubs series.
To be honest, the last man on the bench and the last man in the bullpen is not really a big deal. Both of those positions will be flux all year anyway.
UPDATE, 11:15 a.m.: Mariano Rivera will throw an inning in the minor leagues tomorrow and then come back against the Phillies on Wednesday. That would be his first back to back. Then he’ll pitch one of the Cubs game. That would give him nine innings for the spring, which is what he wanted.
So why doesn’t Mariano go to Sarasota to face the Reds? Because Mariano Rivera doesn’t do spring training road games, that’s why. When you’re the Greatest Closer Of All-Time you can pick your spots.
Back with more at game time.
UPDATE, 1:12 p.m: We’re underway and just like that, it’s 1-0 Yankees. Jeter doubles, Damon walked and Tex singled.
UPDATE, 1:33 p.m.: Middle of the second. 1-0 Yankees.
UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.: The Yankees flashed some serious leather in the second inning. Scott Rolen tried to go first to third on a single to center. Brett Gardner charged and made a high throw to third. Cody Ransom climbed the ladder, caught the ball and as he came down, he put a back-handed tag on the bag that caught Rolen.
Then Travis Snider grounded hard to the right side, a ball that Tex stopped on a dive. He got up and tagged the bag. Just like The Big G used to.
Still 1-0 Yankees.
UPDATE, 1:58 p.m.: Still 1-0 Yankees, now in the middle of the fourth. Ransom walked with two outs in the top of the inning then got picked off.
Pettitte so far: 3 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, three strikeouts.
UPDATE, 2:24 p.m.: Jeter and Damon drew two-out walks in the fifth. But Tex lined a ball off the pitcher’s foot and was thrown out. For Jeter, it was an 11-pitch at-bat.
1-0, bottom of the fifth.
UPDATE, 2:31 p.m.: Pettitte has retired 10 straight. 5 3 0 0 0 6. Terrific start for him so far.
UPDATE, 2:41 p.m.: Barrett singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Scutaro. 1-1. Is it me or does Scutaro kill the Yankees? Seems like he does.
UPDATE, 2:58 p.m.: Yankees lead 2-1.
Gardner fielder’ choice
Pena struck out
Tex doubles off the 1B’s glove
Matsui flew out to end the inning.
Pettitte back out for the seventh.
UPDATE, 3:03 p.m.: Pettitte is finished after 6.2 innings, having reached his pitch limit. His line: 6.2 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts, 1 wild pitch.
He’ll relieve A.J. Burnett on Saturday at the Stadium as a final tune-up.
Damaso Marte in to pitch.
UPDATE, 3:10 p.m.: Counting two minor-league games, Pettitte has thrown 22 innings this spring and allowed three earned runs while striking out 20. He has allowed 18 hits. Looks like he is ready to go.
UPDATE, 3:25 p.m.: Yankees lead 3-1 going into the ninth inning. Headed down to the clubhouse.
Today in The Journal News • 03.30.09
The Yankees named Brett Gardner their center fielder yesterday. Meanwhile A.J. Burnett got shelled.
The Mets opened their new park with a college game yesterday. Ernie Palladino was there to see it.
Some fans are finding it tough to get into the new stadiums. Mike Dougherty has that story.
How’s your bracket? I had Oklahoma going all the way, so that’s that. Picking half the Final Four this season wasn’t much of an accomplishment.
I like UConn over Michigan State; UNC huge over Villanova and then Carolina over the Huskies. UConn has played incredibly well in the last for games. But when Carolina is healthy, no team is better.
Meanwhile, desperate Kentucky could reach out to John Calipari. He’ll have them in the Final Four or back on probation in four years. Maybe both. They should give the job to an alum like Travis Ford. Or go with a smart young coach like Sean Miller.
Predicting the roster: Version 3 • 03.29.09
Version 1 was on March 5.
Version 2 was on March 23.
Now we’ll try again:
OPENING DAY ROSTER
Changes from the last time: Based on what Joe Girardi said on Saturday, it looks like Jonathan Albaladejo will be in the bullpen instead of a long reliever. … And while it would not surprise us if Angel Berroa is on the bench, our choice now is Ramiro Pena. He’s younger, a better pinch runner and even less expensive. Girardi’s comments indicate they really like him.
Strengths: Having Jeter lead off with Damon second makes perfect sense given Jeter’s GIDP rate. … Having Swisher on the bench will give Girardi plenty of lineup options. … Clearly GGBG will be a Hall of Famer.
Weaknesses: Not having a long reliever could be a big mistake. Joba Chamberlain will have limits and the bullpen needs somebody who can go three innings (or more) when needed. Is Albaladejo going to be that much more valuable?
Possible moves: The Yankees would need a 40-man spot to add Pena or Berroa. You could DFA somebody like Dan Giese or Humberto Sanchez. But a trade is possible, too. Juan Miranda is of little use to the Yankees. Trading Melky once seemed to make sense. But what if Gardner can’t handle the position?
Breaking news: Gardner in CF • 03.29.09
Joe Girardi just announced that Brett Gardner will be the center fielder.
More to come.
UPDATE, 5:08 p.m.: The plan is for Melky to be on the team, Girardi said. But saying that is the plan is like saying he could be traded. … Melky said he was disappointed but that he would do whatever he could to help the team.
Said Girardi: “Both of them played great. Melky had a tough year last year but he came into camp, was ready to go and played very well. Gardy finished up strong (last season) and had a great camp and we’re just going to go with Gardy.”
UPDATE, 6:03 p.m.: Brett had already left the ballpark by the time we received the news. He has hit .418 with a .468 on-base percentage this spring counting the game against Team USA. Gardner has three doubles, two triples, three home runs, six RBI and five stolen bases. Cabrera hit .328 with a .400 on-base percentage. He had five extra-base hits and nine RBI.
They were pretty even in that regard. Girardi said they liked what Gardner’s speed to do, both offensively and defensively. Cabrera sort of is what he is, a fourth OF type. Gardner may or may not be more than that. But they need to find out.
“What happens April 6 doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what’s going to be June 1. As players, you have to perform. But right now we think Gardy has a little bit of an edge,” Girardi said. “It’s not going to be day by day. Gardy is our center fielder.”
The other aspect of today that was interesting is how dominant Phil Coke looks. He fanned four in two innings. Coke has whiffed 15 and walked one in 14 innings while allowing eight hits. He looks like an important — and versatile — part of the bullpen.
Thanks to everybody for reading today.
Spring Game 32: Pirates at Yankees • 03.29.09
Pitching today: A.J. Burnett, who is scheduled for at least 90 pitches. Rivera, Coke, Marte and Veras are on the list to follow.
Adam LaRoche 1B
Andy LaRoche 3B
Pitching today: Zach Duke. Chris Bootcheck, Sean Burnett, Jason Davis, Craig Hansen and Lincoln Holdzkom are also on the trip.
Notes: There is rain in the forecast, so the 1:15 scheduled start could be in doubt. … The Yankees are not getting on the field until around 11:15 a.m. and will have only a brief workout before the game. … Back with more later on.
UPDATE, 10:14 a.m.: Yep, it’s raining. No word on the game yet.
UPDATE, 11:17 p.m.: They’re taking the tarp off the field. Looks like there will be baseball here at Big Stein Field.
UPDATE, 11:21 p.m.: The Yankees added six minor-league players to the roster today. In case you’re headed to the game, here are their numbers:
75 Francisco Cervelli C
85 Carmen Angelini INF
84 Justin Snyder INF
79 Seth Fortenberry OF
76 Eric Fryer OF
71 Melky Mesa OF
Talked to Jorge Posada about Chien-Ming Wang’s pitching yesterday. He said it was so windy at the complex that Wang was literally blown off the mound a few times. The two home runs he allowed would have been medium-depth fly balls on another day, Posada said.
Derek Jeter laughed at the idea of his bruised pinkie knuckle meriting a back page on one of the tabloids. “I didn’t even know I was hurt,” he said.
Jonathan Albaladejo talked to reporters this morning. He said that in 2007 he asked for (and was given) his release from the Pirates because he was going nowhere on their Double-A team. After sitting around for a few weeks at his home in Puerto Rico, Albaladejo was about to sign with a team in the Mexican League when the Nationals called.
He signed with Washington on May 3 and made his major league debut on Sept. 4. After Albaladejo appeared in 14 games, the Nats traded him to the Yankees for RHP Tyler Clippard on Dec. 5, 2007.
He made the Yankees out of spring training last season and it looks like he will again. Meanwhile the Pirates are desperate for decent relief pitchers. Turns out they had somebody all along.
UPDATE, 11:30 a.m.: This game will be on WCBS back in New York. There are no more games on YES until the Chicago series.
UPDATE, 12:32 p.m.: Jack Wilson was scratched. Brian Bixler will play SS for the Pirates instead.
The sun is out in Tampa and there will be a game.
UPDATE, 1:07 p.m.: They just finished a nice pre-game ceremony to dedicate the 9-11 memorial outside the stadium. The best part was asking the police officers, fire fighters and military personnel in the crowd to stand and be recognized. That was a good touch.
UPDATE, 1:27 p.m.: Burnett caught a break. He allowed a double with one out then walked McLourth on four pitches. But Doumit lined to Cano and the Yankees caught Sanchez off second to end the inning.
UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: Yankees lead 1-0. Jeter infield single, goes to third on a Damon single and scored on a chop to third by Swisher.
Meanwhile the “Hip Hip Jorge” cheer is played out.
UPDATE, 1:41 p.m.: A.J. Burnett can’t find the strike zone and when he does, it gets hit hard. LaRoche lined to second. Hinske then crushed a 3-1 pitch over the fence in right. Now Moss has lined a 2-1 pitch into center.
UPDATE, 1:59 p.m.: Wow, Ramiro Pena just made a terrific play. Nyjer Morgan bunted and Pena raced in from third, bare-handed the ball and made a strong throw across his body to get the runner by a step.
Great play. The Yankees have an interesting decision to make with that utility spot. Angel Berroa is a “name” but Pena has played his way into consideration.
To me, you keep Pena. He’s twice as good on defense and he can pinch run. Isn’t that what you want from a utility infielder? Berroa has a better bat but how often is that player going to hit?
UPDATE, 2:34 p.m.: Burnett, who looks awful, gave up another run in the fourth thanks to a double, two walks and an error. He got a DP to escape further damage.
Meanwhile. Robinson Cano just hit a bomb that struck the rook of the concession stand on the right field concourse.
Nady walked and Ramiro Pena (there’s that name again) reached on a bunt single. Yanks are in business, 1st and 2nd, nobody out. Score is 2-2.
UPDATE, 2:37 p.m.: GGBG bunt single, too. Holy smoke, young guys bunting and the Yankees running. What is going on here? Bases loaded and nobody out for the captain.
UPDATE, 2:40 p.m.: Sac fly. 3-2 Yankees.
UPDATE, 2:42 p.m.: Damon pulls a ball into right and Pena scored. 4-2 Yankees. Gardner on third with one out. Bet Swisher finds a way to get him in.
UPDATE, 2:44 p.m.: Ground rule double to right, a rocket. Yeah, that got him in. Now it’s 5-2 Yankees.
Matsui single scores Damon. 6-2. Look at what those two bunt singles produced.
UPDATE, 2:57 p.m.: The Yankees scored seven in that inning and lead 8-2.
UPDATE, 3:07 p.m.: Burnett is getting rocked again as the Pirates have scored four runs. Ryan Doumit just belted a three-run homer.
A.J. has allowed six runs on nine hits and we’re in the fifth inning. Ugly. One of those “hey, it’s just spring training” days.
As I write that, Adam LaRoche just hit a ball that may have bounced onto Dale Mabry Highway. Yankees lead 8-7 and Burnett is out.
UPDATE, 3:14 p.m.: The final line on Burnett: 4.1 innings, 10 hits, 7 runs, 6 earned runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout. 83 pitches / 53 strikes.
Marte is in now.
UPDATE, 3:24 p.m.: Marte allowed another run and it’s 8-8.
But The Little G just led off of the bottom of the fifth inning with a single. He’s 2 for 3. Counting the Team USA game, Gardner is 23 of 55 (.418) this spring.
UPDATE, 3:34 p.m.: Now pitching, Mariano Rivera. There have been 14 runs scored in the last two innings. Hopefully he can bring some sense back to this game.
UPDATE, 3:24 p.m.: G.O.A.T.
There was a bloop single by Morgan then Mo struck out the side. 16 pitches / 10 strikes.
His line this spring: 6 2 0 0 0 9.
UPDATE, 4:14 p.m.: We just spoke to Burnett, He said his mechanics were messed up. “I was out of whack all day,” he said. “My arm feels fine.”
The Yankees also got RHP Ivan Nova back. He was taken by the Padres in the Rule 5 draft. Nova was assigned to Double-A Trenton.
UPDATE, 4:27 p.m.: Yankees have runners on first and second with one out in the eighth inning. The score is still 8-8.
Can’t wait for Carolina-Oklahoma.
UPDATE, 4:29 p.m.: Carmen Angelini just blooped one over second base. Run scores and the Yankees lead 9-8. Nice moment for him.
Today in The Journal News • 03.29.09
As spring training winds down, the Yankees are setting up their bullpen and it looks like they may pass on having a long man.
Derek Jeter bruised his left pinkie. He is expected to pull through. This notebook also has updates on Chien-Ming Wang, Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher, Brian Bruney, some player moves and a new 9-11 memorial.
Pitching matchups set for Cubs series • 03.28.09
The Yankees finish spring training at the new Stadium with a two-game series against the Cubs. Here is what you need to know:
Friday April 3 (7:05 p.m.): Ted Lilly vs. Chien-Ming Wang. Gates open at 4:05 p.m.
Saturday April 4 (1:05 p.m.): Rich Harden vs. A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte. Gates open at 10:05 a.m.
The games will be on YES and WCBS.
Yankees remember Sept. 11 • 03.28.09
The memorial incorporates actual steel from the World Trade Center that was donated by retired New York City firefighters. It was forged into two towers. The base of the memorial is in the shape of a pentagon to represent the attack on Washington. The grass surrounding the area represents the people who lost their lives when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.
Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal will represent the team. Joe Holland, a retired New York City fire fighter will throw out the first pitch. His son was killed in the North Tower.
An armed forced color guard will be present along with representatives of local law enforcement agencies. Taps will be played as well.
(Photo courtesy of the New York Yankees)
As was mentioned on the game post yesterday, the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar performed Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch.
An alert reader, Dustin, e-mailed to explain that George Steinbrenner’s granddaughter, Haley Swindal, is an ensemble member of the cast. This story explains that Haley is seeking a career in musical theater.
The cast did a terrific job and it added a nice touch to the game.
Eight men out • 03.28.09
The Yankees reassigned the following players to minor-league camp after the game:
OF Todd Linden
1B-OF Shelley Duncan
OF John Rodriguez
INF Doug Bernier
INF Justin Leone
C P.J. Pilittere
C Chris Stewart
RHP Dave Robertson
That leaves the Yankees with 31 players in camp. That includes A-Rod, who will be placed on the 15-day DL. So five players remain to be cut.
In other news, Joe Girardi threw a change-up after the game, saying it was “possible” they could start the season without a long reliever. That means Jon Albaladejo could make the squad instead of Alfredo Aceves, Dan Giese or Brett Tomko.
That is what happened last season and don’t bet against it this time around.
UPDATE, 5:01 p.m.: Counting the game against Team USA, here is what Dave Robertson did this spring:
8 games, 8 innings, 2 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts.
“He threw the ball OK,” Girardi said. “It’s important he go down and get some work. Robbie’s performed at this level pretty well at times and he performed for us at spring training pretty well at times. He’s a man who has, I think, a good future. He needs to continue a little to mature a little but as pitcher. I told him there’s a chance we’ll see him this year.”
Edwar Ramirez: 7 games, 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts.
All things are not equal in this matter as Ramirez has far more experience in the majors than Robertson. But I think the Yankees overlook Robertson sometimes. We’ll see what happens during the season.