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

Pregame notes: Busy day in Tampa

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jul 31, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

A lot going on today, and obviously I have a lot to write, so for now we’ll try to hit on a little bit of everything

Yankees Rays BaseballLance Berkman
Could not possibly have been more engaging during his first Yankees interview. His favorite player growing up was Don Mattingly, and his father’s favorite player was Mickey Mantle. That’s why Berkman’s dad taught him to switch hit. He called Andy Pettitte one of his closest friends, and said the Astros used to kid with Pettitte all the time that it was obvious he wanted to get back to New York.

“I told (general manager) Ed Wade,” Berkman said, “when he was in the process of trading away Brad Lidge, Chris Burke, Chad Qualls and Dan Wheeler (in 2007), guys we had won with that were really good friends of mine, I told him, ‘Trade me – and I want to go to the Yankees.’ That’s what I told him then, and as events happened this year and the Astros looked like they were going to go in another direction, we reviewed a list of teams I would accept a trade to and obviously this one was at the very top.”

• It does not sound likely, but Joe Girardi said he could play Berkman in the outfield if necessary.
• Berkman isn’t necessarily locked into the No. 2 spot in the order. “We’ll just have to look at that as time goes on,” Girardi said.
• Berkman’s split against left-handed pitchers are not good. “He’s guy that we don’t necessarily need to play every day,” Girardi said.

Austin Kearns
Seems very quiet, but like he said last night in Toronto, Kearns also seems excited to play whatever role is presented to him. “It’s the best chance you have to win, obviously, coming here,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. I’m happy to be a part of it.”

• Kearns is seen primarily as a left fielder.
• “He’s going to play against a lot of left-handers,” Girardi said. “And he’ll probably play against some right handers, as well.”
• Brian Cashman said he started this process specifically looking for a right-handed hitter who can play the outfield. The Yankees love what Thames has done, but want to keep him out of the field.

Kerry Wood
“Kerry still has terrific stuff,” Cashman said. “We analyzed his abilities with what we currently possessed and we felt we would be upgrading if we were able to acquire him. Where he’s actually going to fit in, Joe Girardi does a tremendous job of figuring out who slots in where best. Joe will get a feel for all his personnel as we move forward here for the stretch drive and eventually we’ll slot these guys out with the way they perform.”

• Wood is trying to get here from Toronto, but Girardi said the flights might not work out to get him here in time for tomorrow’s game.
• As Cashman said in the quote above, the Yankees see Wood as another option for the late innings, not necessarily an immediate eighth-inning guy.
• “Joba had nothing to do with this,” Cashman said. “I just wanted Joe to have as many options as he could possibly have.”
• Girardi played with Wood in Chicago. “I don’t know if it makes me feel younger, or if it’s just me being old now,” Girardi said. “It is (weird) because there is a relationship there. I know his family. My wife knows his wife. There is a relationship there. It’s kind of neat.”

Various notes
• Having Berkman and Kearns, Girardi said, makes it more likely some guys will get full days off instead of DH days. That seems especially true for Jorge Posada. “He’s battling his knee problem a little bit,” Girardi said. “Maybe this will help him where he doesn’t feel it. There might be days where I decide to DH Jorge.”

• Cashman on the utility infield market: “We looked into it, but we obviously pushed for what we thought we could push for. What we felt was something that wouldn’t fit our criteria, we either weren’t excited enough about or we were weren’t able to meet the prices that were presented to us.”

• Kearns has known CC Sabathia since they were in high school: “Me and him were at a showcase when we were 18,” Kearns said. “I got to see him hit in the home run derby. I used to always tell guys in Cincinnati, when we’d play Cleveland in interleague, don’t just throw cookies up there because the big fella can swing the bat.”

• Chan Ho Park said he was sad to be leaving, and there were a lot of hugs in the clubhouse. Whatever the outside perception, the Yankees seemed to always like the guy. “If this is done for my career, I think it was the best decision I had in the offseason to play for the Yankees,” Park said. “I’m happy to have a good experience with the Yankees before I finished with them.”

• These moves don’t necessarily make it more likely that Girardi will use his bench during games. “I think you have to be careful there,” he said. “We’re not going to pinch hit a lot, probably not going to pinch run a lot. The guys that are in there probably going to play most of the game.”

Associated Press photo of Berkman





63 Responses to “Pregame notes: Busy day in Tampa”

  1. Disco July 31st, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Goodbye Park

  2. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    –I understand what the Yankees were trying to do with their three moves, and no one can dispute that they’re more talented than they were 24 hours ago. But I don’t know. To quote from every single “Star Wars” film, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” They’ve now put themselves in a position where three well-established big leaguers – Lance Berkman, Curtis Granderson and Jorge Posada – are going to be playing less than they have in the past. And they’re going to be handing the ball, in high-leverage situations, to Kerry Wood, who hasn’t been very good since 2008.

    I still see them as World Series champions. But I think there’ll be some turbulence from now to then.

    Turbulence? I don’t think so…………and Wood won’t be put in high leverage situations yet. Come on, Ken

  3. Chad Jennings July 31st, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Sorry for having a lot of new posts in a row for a while there. I know that makes conversation more difficult, but there was a lot happening, and when I’m writing everything on my phone, I can get the information out there a lot faster by just creating a new post.

    Also, I’m still listening back to interviews and trying to get newspaper stories written. That’s why the pregame notes a little late. I’m going to set the game post to go live at 7 p.m., five minutes before game time and 10 minutes later than usual. That’s so this post can stay at the top longer than 20 minutes.

  4. Fondo Motz July 31st, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    No problem Chad. keep the news flowing

  5. Tyler July 31st, 2010 at 6:29 pm


    I think we all appreciate all the information and don’t really mind having to switch threads.


  6. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Is there any player of a certain generation whose favorite player was NOT Don Mattingly? He looks thrilled to be here – good for him.

  7. CB July 31st, 2010 at 6:31 pm


    No reason at all to apologize for the number of posts. The trade deadline is always a crazy time. You did a great job today keeping us filled in with everything going on.

    Great to hear Berkman being so positive about the Yankees. It’s remarkable to hear how many current major league players looked up to Mattingly growing up.

  8. Asd July 31st, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Repost: Great job being a masterful player all year Swish. Here a knockdown to sixth in the batting order for some new Guy who has trouble with lefties. I know of course Swish doesn’t mind, as he’s humble like whoa, but it annoys me.

  9. Eroc July 31st, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    If I’m NJ… I’m not happy right now.

    I took less money/years to come here because I wanted to be a Yankee (SF/SEA were offering him multi-years) and they replace me just because I got hurt?

  10. CR9 July 31st, 2010 at 6:33 pm


    No need to apologize. You did a fantastic job today under the pressure of the trade deadline. Keep up the good work.

  11. Chad Jennings July 31st, 2010 at 6:34 pm


  12. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Chad, thanks – great stuff.

    So yeah, Cash likes having another power arm; we’ll just have to see where Wood fits in. It’s a very good risk – actually, it’s a low risk and high reward move, a move the Yanks should make a habit making. I do find it funny that Joe caught Wood; he’s really in an unusual situation as a manager as he’s young enough to be contemporaries with most of his players.

    I really love the idea of actually giving Jorge and co. full days off instead of 1/2. I think it was necessary to have a full-time DH instead of a revolving door of players.

  13. joeman July 31st, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Kerry Wood

  14. Chip July 31st, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Couldn’t Davidoff have just started that article with “i know that the following is nonsense, but being contrarian sells papers.”

  15. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Eroc, I hope you’re kidding.

  16. pat July 31st, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    ” It?s remarkable to hear how many current major league players looked up to Mattingly growing up.”

    The cool Hitman poster sealed the deal. :wink:

  17. joeman July 31st, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    that would have been the last RP I thought they would go after

  18. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Chip, he’s usually pretty good……….this is not a turbulent clubhouse, lol, and Joe will do a good job of spreading the playing time around.

  19. Joe from Long Island July 31st, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Chad – Thanks for the updates. We know life can be hectic for you, keep up the good – no, GREAT – work.

  20. Tyler July 31st, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Chad Jennings July 31st, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    :). We have to give Nebraska a nice going away present in Lincoln this year and win the North!

  21. Jerkface July 31st, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Hitting 6th for the yankees isn’t a demotion, that is where great hitters usually bat. Thats a Cano/Posada spot. Basically telling Swisher, “You’re protecting Cano, that means we trust you.”

  22. luis July 31st, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    anybody knows what kind of prospects are we giving up on this trades, besides berkman offcourse

  23. Bronx Jeers July 31st, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Another Mattingly fan at 1B.

    Jeter was a Winfield fan. I think Arod said he was Dale Murphy fan.

  24. SJ44 July 31st, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    No need to apologize Chad, great job today!

    If Joe Girardi is ever thinking about going to the Cubs, he should remember a day like today.

    Not a lot of teams in baseball with the best record decide to be this aggressive during the trade deadline.

    He won’t get that with the Cubs.

    You can use the Cubs as leverage to get some extra bucks.

    However, don’t be greedy.

    As Joe Torre is finding out with financially challenged situtation, not everybody runs their team like the Steinbrenner Family and gives you the resources and a chance to win every year.

  25. Mike92 July 31st, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Any word on Kearns’ jersey number?

  26. Joe from Long Island July 31st, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Kim reports that Matt Garza will give an engraved bottle of whiskey to his teammates to commerate his no-hitter.

    Now, that’s a man with style! :)

  27. joeman July 31st, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    was a Andy Carey fan growing up

  28. MTU July 31st, 2010 at 6:42 pm


    Jose Cuervo Gold, no doubt. ;)

  29. Joe from Long Island July 31st, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    SJ – I think Joe Torre found that out.

  30. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Donnie Baseball (greatest nickname in my fandom) was admired and respected throughout the game when he played and I always took great pride in that. I used to love Mike and the Mad Dog duking it out on air over who was better, Will Clark or Donnie. I adored the man, but I also loved Winnie………..and he also seems like a great guy.

  31. Ed July 31st, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    “Any word on Kearns’ jersey number?”


  32. CB July 31st, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    The Hitman poster was just great!

    The nature of hitting changed drastically in the later 1960′s and on through the 1970′s. Hitters became more narrow and specialized. Certain guys hit for power. Others for average. The complete hitter became more and more uncommon. Once guys like Mantle and Frank Robinson slowed down and/ or retired the “great” hitters who followed them weren’t ones who had the same balance they did.

    That started to change some with George Brett. But it was truly Don Mattingly who was the first player in a generation to be a bona fide high batting average hitter who also had real plus power. He was the fore runner of the great hitters that marked the 1990′s like Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey and Alex Rodriguez. It had been a significant period of time before the game had a player like Mattingly at the plate. I think that’s why he left such a mark on so many kids when he was playing. And that’s not even counting his defense.

  33. The First Place Rays July 31st, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Chad, wat??? You’re not blogging the Chelsea wedding????

    Get with it. man.

  34. ron July 31st, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Great job tyler,sj44,cb contributing to this blog.

    Great stuff,much appreciated.

    Chad,fantastic job.

  35. Mike92 July 31st, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks, Ed.

  36. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    I just remember two things:

    1) that everyone mentioned Donnie had sloping shoulders like Musial; I had no idea what that meant in terms of his ability to hit the ball, lol

    2) SI did a cover story with Ted Williams, Wade Boggs and Mattingly talking hitting – it was a GREAT story.

  37. jlew192 July 31st, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Is Wood gonna be ready for tonight or tomorrow or is that a typo?

  38. Apple byte July 31st, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    No uniform number assigned yet to Kerry Wood but obviously he won’t get his familiar No. 34.

  39. Ed July 31st, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Is this the poster that everyone is talking about?

  40. Laura - I Bleed Blue July 31st, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    “Kim reports that Matt Garza will give an engraved bottle of whiskey to his teammates to commerate his no-hitter.”

    He stole that idea from CC. CC gave everyone from last year’s championship team an engraved bottle.

  41. CB July 31st, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Mattingly stance at the plate was very reminiscent of Musial’s. Very similar in the positioning of their upper bodies during their set up.

  42. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    I just felt it was SO unfair that Donnie, a true HOF player in his prime, was stricken with chronic back problem………… It seems weird, but I remember an at bat against the Royals where it seems it all went downhill from there. I don’t know why I remember that or why I even think that at back was a big deal, but I do. Then again, I was a pre-teen then and who knows why pre-teens think certain things? I was beyond ecstatic when he proved against Seattle in 1995 that he could come up big in the post-season.

  43. vinny-b July 31st, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    “Loria is a prime example of why I hate Selig. Bud allowed Loria to run the Expos into the ground following the strike, and then actively helped him become the owner of the Marlins when John Henry left to buy the sox (at a far below market value”

    while refusing to let Mark Cuban, buy a team.

    Selig is a car salesman. Literally and figuratively.

  44. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I also remember when he saved his mustache – I didn’t like that; I loved his mustache, lol

  45. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    I should read the SI article on Stan the Man – I haven’t yet, but I’d like to learn more about him.

  46. CB July 31st, 2010 at 6:51 pm


    That’s the one. Just awesome. It perfectly captured Mattingly’s prowess at the plate and the feeling of his impact on NY.

  47. Joe from Long Island July 31st, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Laura – It’s something you can enjoy, not just stick into a drawer. Love it!

  48. SAS July 31st, 2010 at 6:52 pm


    I liked Carey too, but Mantle, Berra, McDonald more.

  49. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Didn’t Donnie sort of lean back in his stance? It’s hard for me to describe, but I’m visualizing it now………..

  50. Captain Clutch July 31st, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    WOW that has to hurt….

    conorfoley: Confirmed: Reegie Corona suffered a broken right humerus bone last night. Bone runs from shoulder to elbow. Out for season

  51. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Ouch, poor Reegie Corona; wishing him a speedy recovery.

    I don’t recall ever seeing that poster, but then it was a long time ago :)

  52. Laura - I Bleed Blue July 31st, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Girardi isn’t lying about Wood having trouble getting to Tampa. I could only find flights on American that went to Tampa, none were non stop and evolved several hour layovers in other states. It might be better for him to just fly to NYC and meet the team there. Or better yet, get a lift with TOR; we play them at the stadium on Monday. :)

  53. MTU July 31st, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Enjoy the game folks.

    Good lucky Javy. :)

  54. Joe from Long Island July 31st, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Oh my goodness, a broken humerus – how did that happen? I really hope he’s ok.

  55. rconn23 July 31st, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    It’s a great piece in SI on Musial, Betsy. It’s by Joe Posnanski, who is the best baseball writer right now IMO.

  56. pat July 31st, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Captain Clutch

    Thanks for the info on Corona. I looked earlier and couldn’t find anything.

    That must have been some collision with Bruntlett.

  57. rconn23 July 31st, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Ortiz just K’d twice with runners in scoring position for the Red Sox. This time with the bases loaded and Boston down 4-2.

  58. Giuseppe Franco July 31st, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    True story.

    When I was in college (Purdue University), a bunch of buddies/classmates decided to round up a crew to go see the Cubs at Wrigley Field back in May of 1998.

    I was supposed to go to the game that day but I backed out at the last minute because the weather was rotten and it simply appeared like it was going to be a miserable day to be at the ballpark.

    Turns out, Kerry Wood pitched that day and struck out 20 Astros. Those guys never had a chance. The lone hit he gave up was a swinging bunt.

    Wood had some of the nastiest stuff I had ever seen. Fastball touched 100 MPH and threw two ridiculous offspeed pitches (sweeping slider and curve ball).

    Little did I know that I would miss one of the most dominating performances in MLB history.

    And I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

    Wood used to be one helluva talent. It’s a shame the injury bug bit him so many times.

  59. Betsy July 31st, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Rconn, ok – thanks. I’m going to read that tonight – and Stan the Man is a great nickname – love it. I used to love watching old WS on MLB network because it was like a history lesson for me.

    By the way, don’t expect positive reviews from Kay on Berkman. I heard him say that the deal doesn’t hurt the Yankees – oh really? That’s good to know

  60. CB July 31st, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Stan Musial is one of the handful of most under rated all time greats in the game. He wasn’t just a hall of famer – even in that class he was amongst the elites of the elites. Doesn’t get his due.

  61. Guru Man July 31st, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Why does everyone think Kearns offers us anything? Unless they see something that can change a 30 year old overnight I don’t get this at all; he is taking over a roster spot and offer NO advantage. I know he is a righty but he has always been better against righties. That being said he isn’t good anyway. How is it possible that Cashman sees any value in this guy? Now for the stats because it is obvious nobody has looked at these…

    Even if we throw out the last two years combined OPS of a bad .640, this year his OPS is an average .773. For a non stolen base threat LF’r that is very average. However, his OPS is .720 against lefties this year. Last year it was .552 and the year before it was .497. this is the guy we got to be a platoon guy against lefties??? HELLO, it is barely worth pinch hitting Kearns for Granderson in this spot and Thames is a FAR better choice with his .832 against lefties (which is actually lower than his past 3 years).

    I am not even sure if Kearns is better than Curtis against lefties or if he is a better defender, but the Yanks needed to get a platoon guy, especially now that Berkman (who is most likely a platoon guy himself) is on the roster.

    I really like the Berkman deal as he is a huge upgrade over Miranda, but getting Kearns doesn’t make any sense. Girardi’s comments about Kearns playing against lefties shows he has no clue the guy is better against righties.

    How is it possible nobody mentions this?

    BTW, Chan Ho Park (who didn’t pitch well and I was not a fan of the signing) was good against righties with an OPS against of .699 and Girardi should have used him in that role (right specialist). he has value to any team, including ours, but he needs to be used correctly and he clearly wasn’t.

    Wood? Hard to have much opinion on him as you don’t know what you are getting, but maybe we can get lucky…surprisingly, he is a little better against lefties.

  62. Yogi Mantle July 31st, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    # Joe from Long Island July 31st, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Kim reports that Matt Garza will give an engraved bottle of whiskey to his teammates to commerate his no-hitter.

    Now, that’s a man with style! :)

    It all depends on the Scotch being given though. You can engrave a bottle of rotgut and it will still be rotgut. ;)

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    Are you interested in Derek Jeter? Mark Texeiru? Mariano Rivera?or other player?If you do,come to join us(www dot zyjerseys dot com)!You will be interested in it!

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