This is worth mentioning one more time at the end of the day.
Yankees reliever Dave Robertson spent his off day back home in Alabama checking on the devastation left by the tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa last month. Not sure who he was able to see or what exactly he was able to do, but I know he was hoping to talk to some people and find out how and where he could be of the most help.
I’ve written before that I grew up in an area that had a lot of tornados, and the difference between being hit and being spared is absolute luck. There’s no way today was fun for Robertson, but when I saw him at Yankee Stadium earlier this week, I told him to try to enjoy the experience. Seeing his hometown had to be horrific, but Robertson and his wife, Erin, are genuinely good people, and they’re doing a really good thing to help some people who need it. I hope they were able to feel good about that part of their day, and maybe smile a few times because of it.
“It’s way worse than I thought it was,” Robertson told the Tuscaloosa News. “You can hear about it and see it on TV, but it’s not the same as being here. It’s total devastation.”
If you’d like to donate, visit the website for The David and Erin Robertson Fund. I wrote my check this morning before I left for the airport.
By the way, whoever came up with the name “High Socks for Hope” should know that I’m pretty sure I put an extra 50 bucks into my donation because of that name alone.
• This is a few days old, but I think the premise still stands: David Schoenfield at ESPN.com made the case that Jorge Posada is among the 10-12 greatest catchers of all-time, but ultimately decided that he’s just short of being a Hall of Famer.
• Donnie Collins reported tonight that the Yankees have released left-handed reliever Andy Sisco. He must have requested his release. He was pitching pretty well in Triple-A, but with Randy Flores onboard, Sisco’s role was pretty much non-existent. The team put him on the DL when Amauri Sanit was optioned down.
• Nice story from Donnie about Triple-A outfielder Dan Brewer. I’ve written a little bit about Brewer in the past. He’s just a guy who does a lot of things right.
• After Buster Posey’s injury, the Giants called up former Yankees catcher Chris Stewart. He never got much big league time with the Yankees, but Stewart’s a very good defensive catcher with enough big league experience to help San Francisco off the bench. Those Scranton Yankees teams I covered were very good, and it’s impossible to overstate just how important Stewart was. You won’t notice it in the stats, but I’m telling you, he was key in that clubhouse.
• Because I was flying for several hours today, I wrote most of today’s posts last night. When I finally got to Seattle, I saw that one of those posts was really similar to a post from the guys from River Ave. Blues. Just wanted to throw a link their way. Sorry guys, didn’t mean to make it look like I was ripping you off!
• Finally, a quick personal note: Last night, a former Scranton Times-Tribune co-worker of mine passed away, a sudden and shocking death really makes me wish I could be back in Pennsylvania tonight to share in all the stories that are surely being told around the newsroom. Mark Coons was a constant reminder that sports are fun, and that even the smallest details are exciting. He loved stats, and he loved history, and he loved being a part of that sports department. And we loved having him with us. God bless you, Mark. And thank you.
Associated Press photos
Scranton’s version of Jorge Posada • 04.26.11
It was Maxwell’s fifth home run of the season, and all of those homers have come in his past nine games. Five of his past six hits have been home runs, including each of his past four hits. The last time Maxwell had a hit that wasn’t a home run was April 17 when he singled in the fifth inning, having already homered in the second.
Maxwell split last season between Triple-A and the big leagues, and in 66 Triple-A games he hit six homers. Seventeen games into this season, he’s one away from that total.
A few other upper-level minor league notes while we’re waiting for tonight’s game.
• Keep an eye on David Phelps. In his past two starts Phelps has gone 13.1 innings with three earned runs, nine hits and 12 strikeouts. He allowed one run through seven innings last night.
• The Triple-A Yankees are activating catcher P.J. Pilittere after sending Dan Brewer down to Double-A. Brewer was hitting, but he wasn’t getting many at-bats. Pilittere gives the Yankees an extra catcher, and they might need it for a few days. Jesus Montero was hit by a foul ball … below the below … and might need a few days off. He skipped last night’s game.
• Reliever Ryan Pope opened the season on the Triple-A disabled list, but he made an appearance for High-A Tampa over the weekend, a sign that he could be on his way to finally joining Scranton’s bullpen. Of course, the Yankees are going to have to find a spot for him, and right now that Triple-A bullpen is pitching pretty well. They already have to open one spot for Mark Prior when he comes back from his mild groin injury.
Triple-A and Double-A playoffs begin tonight • 09.08.10
The postseason in minor league baseball is kind of a strange thing. The best teams lose their best players to call-ups, and the rosters that earned spots in the postseason take on a completely different look for the most important games of the year.
To be honest, I liked that about covering Triple-A. Things change, often suddenly, and that’s part of the experience. Everyone understands and accepts what’s going on. I don’t like the phrase “it is what it is,” but it is what it is.
The Yankees top three affiliates all advanced to the postseason this year. High-A Tampa got started with a win last night. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton get started tonight.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre opens the International League playoffs against Columbus. The first two pitchers they’ll face should be familiar: David Huff was hit in the head by an Alex Rodriguez line drive earlier this season, and Zach McAllister was traded by the Yankees to complete the Austin Kearns deal.
Even after September call-ups, the Triple-A Yankees still have some familiar names on the roster. Kevin Russo and Chad Huffman are both there after spending some time in the big leagues this season, George Kontos is there in his first year back from Tommy John surgery and Justin Christian is with Scranton after making his big league debut with the Yankees a few years ago. Of course, the roster also includes top position prospect Jesus Montero and third baseman Brandon Laird, who had a real breakout year down in Double-A.
Tonight: Columbus LHP David Huff (8-2., 4.36) vs. Yankees RHP D.J. Mitchell (2-0, 3.57)
Thursday: Columbus RHP Zach McAllister (9-12, 5.29) vs. Yankees RHP David Phelps (4-2, 3.07)
Friday: Columbus RHP Yohan Pino (10-9, 5.75) vs. Yankees LHP Kei Igawa (3-4, 4.32)
Saturday: Columbus RHP Paolo Espino (3-3, 5.62) vs. Yankees RHP Hector Noesi (1-1, 4.82)
Sunday: Columbus RHP Corey Kluber (1-1, 3.27) vs. Yankees RHP Lance Pendleton (2-1, 4.24)
Down in Trenton, the Double-A Thunder are opening against New Hampshire and facing top Blue Jays pitching prospect Kyle Drabek in Game 1. Of course, all eyes will be on Game 2, when Andy Pettitte makes a rehab start for Trenton.
Trenton has lost some key players to injuries and call-ups this season — most recently, Corban Joseph went on the DL — but the roster still has Austin Romine, Dan Brewer, recently promoted Pat Venditte and an impressive rotation that includes three of the top arms in the organization in Betances, Banuelos and Brackman.
Tonight: Trenton RHP Dellin Betances (0-0, 3.37) vs. New Hampshire RHP Kyle Drabek (14-9, 2.94)
Thursday: Trenton LHP Andy Pettitte (rehab) vs New Hampshire LHP Zach Stewart (8-3, 3.63)
Friday: Trenton LHP Manny Banuelos (0-1, 3.52) vs. New Hampshire RHP Randy Boone (5-10, 3.98)
Saturday: Trenton RHP Andrew Brackman (5-7, 3.01) vs. New Hampshire RHP B.J. LaMura (5-6, 3.73
Sunday: Trenton RHP Cory Arbiso (5-5, 4.38) vs. New Hampshire TBA
Those are headshots of Montero and Romine