The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for March, 2010

Today in The Journal News03.29.10

Just when it seemed Joba Chamberlain had answered every question about his move to the bullpen, the old debate fired up against on Sunday and became the center of attention in Yankees camp.

The story also has some notes on Andy Pettitte’s rain-filled spring training, Johnny Damon’s return to George M. Steinbrenner Field and an actor in pinstripes.

Speaking of Damon, there are some more pictures of his return to Tampa in this online gallery.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 441 Comments →

Old friends03.28.10

I was going to go with some Simon and Garfunkel lyrics at the top of this post, but that seemed to be a bit much. Instead, we’ll go with just a few more Associated Press photos and a one picture from reader Mike Howells of Johnny Damon’s return to Yankees camp.

First, some late night links, then the pictures.

• Brett Gardner was profiled by College of Charleston Magazine. The story includes a cool picture of Gardner standing on the deck of the USS Yorktown.

• If the Pirates carry seven relievers on Opening Day, Jeff Karstens is one of the pitchers with a chance to crack the roster.

• Shelley Duncan has been sent to Indians minor league camp. An elbow injury kept him from getting many early at-bats with Cleveland.

• Mike Dunn has also been sent to minor league camp. The Braves optioned him to Triple-A with a 1.42 ERA but also more than a walk per inning in big league camp.

• Speaking of the Braves, Melky Cabrera leads the team in at-bats and is hitting .264/.339/.340 this spring.

Tigers Yankees Spring Baseball

Tigers Yankees Baseball


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Notes from Sunday03.28.10

Chad Gaudin has reportedly signed with the Oakland A’s. The Yankees second road trip of the year goes through Oakland, so they could see Gaudin pretty quickly. And now… the best example yet of how little spring training wins matter:

Tigers Yankees Baseball

That’s Eduardo Nunez in the AP picture on the right. He’s sprinting back to first base after turning around to run past Robinson Cano, who had just doubled. Cano’s base hit was called an out by third-base umpire Marty Foster, and that sent Nunez on his dash for first.

In the end, the umpires realized their mistake. As something of a compromise, they credited Cano with a single and put Nunez at second.

“Marty said with the rain he just didn’t see it,” Joe Girardi said. “I just (said), ‘Whatever, let’s just keep moving.’ It’s a judgment call I believe. I said, ‘You can call them both out as far as I’m concerned.’ Just keep going.”

The Yankees didn’t care about scoring the run or getting the hit, they just wanted the game to move forward so Andy Pettitte could get back on the mound.

Tigers Yankees Baseball

• Here’s an AP shot of Johnny Damon’s first at-bat this afternoon.

• The Yankees plan on Sergio Mitre pitching more than three innings when he starts a split-squad game on Tuesday. They want to keep him stretched out a little more than the other relievers. If someone gets hurt and the Yankees need an early spot starter, Girardi said it would likely be either Mitre or Alfredo Aceves.

• CC Sabathia will pitch the road split-squad game on Tuesday. “That’s where CC asked to go,” Girardi said. “I said, great, that works out good.”

• Finding a silver lining, Girardi said all the missed games might actually keep Andy Pettitte stronger for the regular season. “Sometimes these things are a blessing in disguise,” he said.

• Damaso Marte, Mariano Rivera and Boone Logan each pitched a scoreless inning before Pettitte got in the game this afternoon. The Yankees were leading 8-0 at the time, having scored six runs in the first inning.

• Pitchers for tomorrow night in Sarasota: Javier Vazquez, Joba Chamberlain, Chan Ho Park, Dave Robertson and Royce Ring.

• Position players not making the trip: Mike Rivera, Jorge Posada, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher. All of the Yankees infielders will be there.

• Ken Rosenthal previously reported that the Phillies looked into signing Chad Gaudin but decided against it.

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You never know what you’re going to get03.28.10

On a day when he wasn’t pitching and seemed to have answered every possible question about his assignment to the bullpen, Joba Chamberlain found himself surrounded by reporters on Sunday.

“You come to the ballpark, you never know what you’re going to get,” he said.

All of the attention centered on a radio interview with pro scouting director Billy Eppler, who said he did not think it was likely Chamberlain would be competing for a rotation spot next season.

“I can’t look ahead to three years from now or next year,” Chamberlain said. “I have to be thinking about the situation I’m in now and try to embrace it and go with it. If I get caught up in looking at, in five years I want to do this, then I’m not doing my job now.”

Brian Cashman said Eppler’s comments were a matter of opinion, not an official stance of the Yankees. The Yankees, he said, have not had a formal discussion about Chamberlain’s ultimate role beyond the start of this season.

“Billy’s good,” Cashman said. “He’s been an asset, and he’s going to continue to be an asset. But this is also a growth spurt. He’s going to be something special in this game. I’m glad that you guys have access to him. Give an opinion, and although at times I might disagree with his opinion, he makes us better. I want him out there talking to you guys as much as he can. I don’t want him to shy away from his opinion. I support that opinion, although maybe I disagree with a variance of what he said. I want him to speak.”

Here’s Chamberlain.

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And here’s Cashman.

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My own opinion: This incident speaks more to the nature of the Chamberlain situation than to any sort of divide in the organization. It’s great to hear a guy like Eppler give his opinion — and Dave Eiland too — but I tend to believe Cashman when he says nothing has been decided. The Yankees might very well be leaning toward keeping Chamberlain in the pen, but I don’t think anyone will have a set-in-stone answer until the end of the season at the earliest.


As an aside, I first came across the Eppler interview when someone emailed to say Eppler was touting my paintball experience on WFAN. If you listen past the Chamberlain bit, you’ll hear him admit to shooting me in the back of the head on Friday. At least he’s an honest scoundrel.

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Pettitte: “I’ll be ready”03.28.10

Tigers Yankees Baseball

Another Andy Pettitte start. Another rainy day in Tampa. You can see small splotches of rain in the Associated Press photo of Pettitte’s lone inning.

“In July we’re not going to be really worried about it,” Joe Girardi said. “But it’s a little frustrating right now.”

Pettitte pitched one scoreless inning in the game, then threw five simulated innings inside. He got up to 100 pitches while pretending to face the Red Sox lineup. The Yankees were expecting to play two innings, then have a lengthy rain delay. That’s why Damaso Marte and Mariano Rivera pitched the first two frames. When the rain didn’t come, Boone Logan went out for the third inning. Then the Yankees couldn’t wait any longer. It’s the third time Pettitte has been rained out this spring.

“I’ll be ready and there’s no excuses,” Pettitte said. “I’ll be ready.”

Here’s the full Pettitte audio. He said what he really needs at this point is just to feel the pressure of a runner on base in a situation when he absolutely has to make a pitch. “Real quick I’m going to have to make a pitch in Fenway Park,” he said.

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Spring Training Game 24: Yankees vs. Tigers03.28.10

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner LF

LHP Andy Pettitte

Austin Jackson CF
Johnny Damon DH
Magglio Ordonez RF
Ryan Raburn 2B
Carlos Guillen LF
Brent Dlugach 3B
Jeff Larish 1B
Alex Avila C
Ramon Santiago SS

RHP Max Scherzer

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m./YES Network

WEATHER: So far so good. It’s cloudy and there’s a chance of rain, but the tarp is off the field and there’s at least a solid chance of playing the full nine innings.

UMPIRES: HP Andy Fletcher, 1B Mark Wegner, 3B Marty Foster

ON THE LINE: With that Yankees lineup and that Yankees starter, I don’t think any major roster decisions are going to be made based on this game. One of the lefty relievers could get in the game, and Marcus Thames might get another at-bat, but there’s no overwhelming issue that stands out.

UPDATE, 12:49 p.m.: If you haven’t heard it yet, here’s the Billy Eppler interview that started making news late this morning. The Joba Chamberlain stuff begins around the 5 minute mark.

UPDATE, 1:07 p.m.: Richard Gere was just sent to the plate to exchange the lineup cards. Apparently that’s why he was in full uniform.

UPDATE, 1:09 p.m.: Damaso Marte is starting for the Yankees. I assume that’s because of the rain that might be coming. Or, as one of the other writers just said, “Joba must be really (upset) now.”

UPDATE, 1:11 p.m.: The Tigers have also changed their starter. It will be lefty Jon Kibler.

UPDATE, 1:13 p.m.: Big cheer for Johnny Damon’s first at-bat. He stepped out of the box to tip his hat a few times… then he singled up the middle.

UPDATE, 1:25 p.m.: Mariano Rivera now getting loose in the bullpen. Looks like he’s the next guy in the game.

UPDATE, 1:31 p.m.: Single, walk, walk to load the bases. Rodriguez then singled to left to score two and give the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the first. Still no outs and Robinson Cano at the plate.

UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: Cano with a two-run double. For those of you scoring at home, that’s a hit with a runner in scoring position. It’s 4-0 Yankees.

UPDATE, 1:38 p.m.: Jon Kibler, thanks for coming. He got Jorge Posada, but he’s out of the game after four runs and only one out. Robbie Weinhardt is on with runners at first and second and Nick Swisher at the plate.

UPDATE, 1:42 p.m.: Nice bit of base running by Cano. He broke for home on a bases-loaded, fly ball from Brett Gardner. He kept his eye on the throw, and when he saw it was off line, Cano kept going and was safe at the plate. It’s 5-0 Yankees with Jeter back at the plate.

UPDATE, 1:44 p.m.: Three trips to the mound in the first inning for the Tigers. Jeter has walked, bases are loaded (again) and now Weinhardt is having a conversation that probably went something like this, “Please just throw strikes. Lots and lots of strikes.”

UPDATE, 1:47 p.m.: A walk RBI for Nick Johnson. I think Jim Leyland’s head just exploded.

UPDATE, 1:49 p.m.: Mark Teixeira flied out to center. The first inning is over with a 6-0 Yankees lead. It rained for a little while but it seems to have stopped. Mariano Rivera is in to pitch the second.

UPDATE, 2:39 p.m.: Has TV explained that last play? Best we can tell in the press box, the umpire made a mistake and ruled that the ball was caught. The crew then decided to admit the mistake and put runners at first and second. Oh spring training. Such fun.

UPDATE, 2:46 p.m.: We’re in a rain delay. Looked like Leyland simply pulled his players off the field. I didn’t see the umpires make a decision until the players were already in the dugout.

UPDATE, 3:19 p.m.: Nothing to report here. It’s still raining and the tarp is still on the field. I’ll be surprised if they finish the game, mostly because I can’t imagine the Yankees sending Pettitte or the Tigers sending Scherzer back to the mound.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 287 Comments →

Slow Sunday at Steinbrenner Field03.28.10

It’s hard to believe how little was going on in the Yankees clubhouse this morning. Phil Hughes was talking to a group of clubbies — which is always the case — and A.J. Burnett was walking in and out between stages of his workout, but otherwise the place was completely quiet. A few players trickled in as the morning progessed, but most guys seemed to be showing up as late as possible for the morning stretch.

Right now, the Yankees are taking batting practice with a few guys doing long toss in right field. It’s a Sunday morning, there’s not much going on and the Yankees are just hoping the weather cooperates.

Of course, this is an Andy Pettitte start, and so far Pettitte has had very little luck avoiding rain. He’s pitched in a game only once, but Dave Eiland said this morning that Pettitte is pretty much the last guy he’s worried about.

• We could see more Phil Coke this afternoon. He’s on the list of pitchers scheduled to work out of the bullpen for the Tigers. Austin Jackson and Johnny Damon are also making the trip.

• Available Yankees pitchers: Andy Pettitte, Alfredo Aceves, Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte, Royce Ring, Boone Logan and Craig Heyer (up from minor league camp).

• Scheduled to play off the bench: C P.J. Pilittere, 1B David Winfree, 2B Ramiro Pena, SS Eduardo Nunez, 3B Reegie Corona, LF Marcus Thames, CF Randy Winn, RF Jon Weber (The positions could be wrong, but that’s an educated guess. The names were listed without positions this time.)

• C Jeff Farnham and OF Dan Brewer are also in camp for the day as additional depth.

• Joba Chamberlain, Chan Ho Park and Dave Robertson are scheduled to pitch in relief tomorrow. Javier Vazquez is the starter.

• Tigers lineup:

Austin Jackson CF
Johnny Damon LF
Magglio Ordonez RF
Ryan Raburn 2B
Carlos Guillen LF
Brent Dlugach 3B
Jeff Larish 1B
Alex Avila C
Ramon Santiago SS

RHP Max Scherzer

UPDATE, 11:34 a.m.: Richard Gere is here in a full Yankees uniform. He got Edwar Ramirez’s old number. As far as I know, he’s not pulling a Billy Crystal and playing in the game.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 459 Comments →

Today’s lineup vs. Detroit03.28.10

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner LF

LHP Andy Pettitte

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 53 Comments →

Today in The Journal News03.28.10

Trying to make the Yankees roster as a right-handed bat off the bench, Marcus Thames hit his first spring home run yesterday — and gathered his first RBI — off lefty Nate Robertson. The Yankees could go looking for alternatives, but Thames has one more week to prove he’s best option for the last spot on the roster.

Already this spring, A.J. Burnett and Jorge Posada have proven they can work together, and yesterday’s win might have been their finest hour. The notebook also has items on Joba Chamberlain pitching in relief, the Yankees losing record and the competition for who starts in center field.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 226 Comments →

Thames: “It’s starting to feel comfortable”03.27.10

Two hits in two games is not enough to put Marcus Thames on the Yankees bench, but those two hits combined with his track record show why the Yankees are interested. He singled off Jamie Moyer yesterday, then he drew a walk and hit a home run off Nate Robertson today. For a guy who’s being looked at for a platoon bench role, it was a good couple of days.

“It’s starting to feel comfortable,” Thames said. “It is what it is. I haven’t faced that many (lefties this spring), but I’m not using any excuses. Facing righties, I want to do well against them too, but I haven’t. I’ve hit some balls hard here and there, but getting to see some a couple of days in a row is making me feel a lot better up there.”

A few days ago, Brian Cashman suggested he might go looking for another right-handed bat, but Thames seems to the type of player he would want: Cheap, good splits, proven power and used to a role off the bench. Of course the Yankees would like better defense, more speed and a guy who’s not 33 years old, but this is a bench role. It’s not going to be filled by a perfect, all-around player.

If Thames can show something this final week, he certainly seems to have the inside track for the 25th spot on the roster. As for how often he would be used, Joe Girardi said he’s not sure.

“If it was the second day of the season and he was with us, I wouldn’t have a lineup for you right now,” Girardi said.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 383 Comments →

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