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Berkman expected in Tampa tonight

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Just talked to a Yankees official who said Lance Berkman “should be” in Tampa in time for tonight’s game against the Rays. Joe Girardi indicated last night that Austin Kearns will be here as well.

Still waiting on word of who’s being taken off the roster to make room. I believe the Yankees will have to open a 40-man spot as well. Trading Mark Melancon opened a spot for Berkman, but they need a spot for Kearns.

Unless Marcus Thames is DFAd, I’d have to guess Wilkin De La Rosa, Greg Golson and Reegie Corona are the top candidates.

As for the guys the Yankees traded for Berkman…

Mark Melancon
I’ve always been a Melancon believer, and I still am. It’s hard not to be after seeing him pitch so well in 2008 and 2009. Some guys get to the big leagues and it’s clear their stuff won’t play at this level. With Melancon, it wasn’t his stuff that was the problem. He looked just like a different pitcher, not nearly as aggressive as he was in Triple-A. Could be that he just needs to get used to facing big league hitters. They hit only .217 against him last year, but he walked 10 guys in 16.1 innings. That’s not the Melancon I saw in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Jimmy Paredes
In spring training, when most of the Triple-A roster is still in big league camp, the Yankees will bring some of the lowest-level guys to play for the Triple-A team. Those spring games have been my only first-hand experience with Paredes. I only remember that he had a big arm. He’s an interesting guy to have in the system — he’s shown he can hit and run a little bit, and that arm will play — but he was certainly not someone the Yankees were counting on.