Here’s the latest from the Associated Press about the second game of Major League Baseball’s exhibition tour of Taiwan. Curtis Granderson had the big home run in the first game. Robinson Cano had the big hit in the second game.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Robinson Cano doubled in a run in the seventh inning to help an MLB All-Star team beat Taiwan’s national team 5-3 Thursday in the second game of a five-game series.
The New York Yankees’ second baseman also singled and scored in the sixth inning in the game in Taichung.
“They got a great team,” Cano said. “They played a pretty good game.”
The Taiwanese went ahead 3-2 in the fifth, scoring twice on three hits and a walk. The MLB squad tied it in the sixth and added two more runs in the seventh.
Relievers Rich Thompson of the Los Angeles Angels, Ramon Ramirez of the San Francisco Giants and Bill Bray of the Cincinnati Reds kept the Taiwanese scoreless from the sixth inning on.
In the series opener Tuesday, the MLB team won 7-0 in a game halted in the sixth inning because of rain. The teams play in Taichung on Friday before closing the series with two weekend games in Kaohsiung.
• Chien-Ming Wang is heading back to the Nationals. The Washington Post reports that Wang got a one-year deal worth $4 million to return to the Nats’ rotation.
• Don’t count on the Yankees keeping scouting director Damon Oppenheimer just yet. The Orioles still haven’t picked a GM, and the Baltimore Sun reports that Oppenheimer is among those who could still interview for the job. We learned earlier that Yankees pro scouting director Billy Eppler was apparently the runner-up for the Angels GM job.
• Yankees prospects Mason Williams and Dante Bichette Jr. were named the Topps Player of the Year in the New York-Penn League and Gulf Coast League.
• Former Yankees outfielder Juan Rivera was one of the first significant free agents to sign with a new team, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Dodgers.
• Outfielder Jordan Parraz, who had a terrific season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this year, has signed a minor league deal with the Braves. It includes separate language if he makes the big league club.
• After his one-year stint in the Yankees front office, it took Kevin Towers just one year to land an extension as the GM in Arizona.
Associated Press photo
Yankees at the break: Third base • 07.13.11
When Alex Rodriguez stopped driving the ball late last month, it was obvious something was wrong. The Yankees talked about a sore knee, and it seemed he needed to play through it until he got back to normal. Turns out, getting back to normal required surgery that will force Rodriguez to miss a month or more.
When Rodriguez finished the month of April hitting .290/.407/.609, it seemed he might have regained his MVP form. He’d talked a lot about finally going through his regular offseason routine – he was no longer forced to rehab – and it seemed to be paying off. May wasn’t nearly as productive, June was another big month, and then came the surgery. It was an up-and-down first half even before Rodriguez injured his knee while running the bases in Chicago.
Rodriguez probably won’t be back until mid-August or so. The Yankees are hoping that he’ll return at 100 percent, ready to hit for power and provide a significant spark down the stretch. He was hitting .302/.413/.623 in the 15 games leading up to that Chicago series, so maybe a healthy knee is all he needs to be one of the best hitters in baseball again. If he comes back as good as ever, the Yankees will have a bigger addition than any team could hope for at the trade deadline. It’s worth noting that Rodriguez has only 13 home runs at this point. His streak of 13 straight seasons with at least 30 homers is probably coming to an end.
Added to the 40-man after a tremendous 2010 season, Triple-A third baseman Brandon Laird started this season with a .184 average through the month of April, and he’d still hit only two home runs by the end of May, but he’s turned things around significantly and how has a .268 average with 10 homers at the break. He’s been especially good against lefties and could play a role at the big league level to help fill the A-Rod void. In the lower levels, Rob Segedin and Robert Lyerly played well enough to earn mid-season promotions to Tampa and Trenton respectively (Lyerly has primarily played first since joining the Double-A roster). First-round pick Dante Bichette is off to a slow start in rookie ball.
Can Eric Chavez play a role in the second half?
The Yankees seemed to have landed a significant bench player when Chavez started this season hitting .303 as a part-time third baseman, first baseman and designated hitter. He might have pushed Jorge Posada out of the DH spot had he not hobbled off the field in Detroit back in May. He hasn’t played since, and his rehab has included a series of setbacks. If Chavez could come back healthy, he could be the best Rodriguez place holder the Yankees could ask for.
It was the quad in 2008, the hip in 2009, the calf in 2010 and now it’s the knee. Rodriguez remains one of the game’s better hitters, but he’s about to turn 36 years old and he’s showing signs of breaking down. He’s signed through 2017, so the Yankees might have to count on more DH time and fewer starts at third base in the not-so-distant future.
Associated Press photo
Monday night notes and links • 06.27.11
I have very few absolute rules in life, but one of them is this: If the AP has a cool picture of Yogi Berra and Don Larsen together in the Yankees dugout on Old Timers’ Day, I should find a place for it on the blog.
So, as we’re wrapping up the Yankees final off day until the all-star break, we’ll start with a picture of the catcher and pitcher together again.
Naturally, the return of Joe Torre grabbed the headlines today. Some of Torre’s history might be tainted, but in the end, I think John Harper’s column today was right on the money: Whatever your take on Torre’s book, it’s silly to ignore his place in the franchise’s history. I think it’s possible to be disappointed in the book, but still celebrate the legacy. That seems to be what the Yankees did in inviting Torre to yesterday’s event.
Anyway, here are few more notes and links for the day. The Yankees get back on the field tomorrow against the Brewers.
• Back in Scranton, my old darts playing partner Marty Myers caught up with the one-armed military veteran who made a highlight catch at Yankee Stadium on Friday night. Michael Kacer is from the Scranton area, lost his left arm in a rocket attack in Afghanastan and made a now famous leaning catch with his cap. Great story.
• Here’s a really nice read about Eduardo Nunez’s role on the Yankees and his part in Sunday’s win. It’s written by one of the finest writers and reporters I know.
• Dante Bichette Jr. is getting the full Yankees experience down in Tampa. He seems to be enjoying working alongside Derek Jeter.
• Over at Baseball Prospectus, Jay Jaffe looked at the Yankees struggles against pitchers they’ve never seen. It’s not as much of a problem this year as it was last year.
• River Ave. Blues looked ahead to the 40-man spots that could open when injured Yankees come off the disabled list. I tend to agree with their list. I’d put Buddy Carlyle, Kanekoa Texeira and Brian Gordon at the top of the list of guys who could be removed to open a spot, though Gordon could certainly pitch his way into sticking around as a long man.
• This one’s a few days old, but with Derek Jeter taking some swings today, it seems to apply: The Hardball Times looked at other players — like Jeter — who have experienced an extended wait while on the verge of a major milestone.
• In the final NL voting update before the all-star rosters are announced, Rickie Weeks has moved ahead of Brandon Phillips in the race for second base.
• I failed to mention it until now, but the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center reopened last week after being closed for nearly a year for extensive renovations.
Associated Press photos