Friday, March 31, 2006

Bombers Head West (3/31)

The final day of March is upon us, which means April Fool's Day (official holiday of MLB investigations?) is tomorrow, Sox and Indians go at it in the opener Sunday night, and the Yankees-A's start off what we really care about on Monday. At last!

The temps in the metropolitan area are going to be about 17 degrees above normal today, or in the low 70s. Baseball Fever is in full bloom. Before the Yankees head to Oakland there's a quick two game pit-stop in Phoenix to play a series with the Diamondbacks. Now Chase Ballpark since they bought out Bank One (no more "The Bob" - now if they would only rip that pool out). Things weren't so pleasant the last time the Yankees were here. Andy Pettitte was having his head handed to him in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series and Mariano Rivera had a rare meltdown in the spotlight, losing the decisive Game 7 in the bottom of the 9th. But enough about that aberation.

Chien-Ming Wang gets his final spring tuneup, making his first appearance since sustaining a bruised knee against the Tigers. Kevin Jarvis gets the start for the Diamondbacks in a game televised on YES at 8:40 ET.

Barring any changes this should be the Yankees 25-man roster when the real fun begins:

11 Pitchers
Randy Johnson
Mike Mussina
Chien-Ming Wang
Shawn Chacon
Jaret Wright
Mariano Rivera
Kyle Farnsworth
Ron Villone
Mike Myers
Scott Proctor
Tanyon Sturtze

3 Catchers
Jorge Posada
Kelly Stinnett
Wil Nieves

6 Infielders
Jason Giambi
Robinson Cano
Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez
Miguel Cairo
Andy Phillips

5 Outfielders
Hideki Matsui
Johnny Damon
Gary Sheffield
Bernie Williams
Bubba Crosby

Disabled List
Octavio Dotel
Carl Pavano
Aaron Small

Matchups in Oakland

Randy Johnson vs. Barry Zito
Mike Mussina vs. Rich Harden
Chien-Ming Wang vs. Dan Haren

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Yanks Depart Florida With 6-4 Loss (3/30)

Thankfully for the Yankees, Mariano Rivera will be closing out games in the ninth this season as he has done for the past nine season. The Tampa Devil Rays rallied for three runs in the ninth off of Matt Smith to beat the Yankees 6-4. Jorge Cantu delivered a 2-out, 2-run double and Aubrey Huff followed with an RBI single. The Yankees had taken the lead in the eighth on a Luis Garcia sacrifice fly.

The Yankees will now head to Arizona for a two game exhibition series with the Diamondbacks on Friday and Saturday, before heading to Oakland for Monday's regular season opener. They finished the Florida portion of spring training with a 14-16 record.

Mike Mussina had his final spring training tune up this afternoon, going four innings and allowing 2 runs, including a home run to Russell Branyan. The Rays built a 3-1 lead before the Yankees tied it with two in the sixth, one of them coming off of the bat of Gary Sheffield's first home run. The Yankees managed to scratch out just six hits, however, with Miguel Cairo picking up a pair.

Jesuse Colome picked up the victory for the Rays with Jason Childers notching the save. Smith was tagged with the loss for the Bombers.

Yankees-Devil Rays 1:15 on YES (3/30)

The Yankees wrap up the Florida portion of Spring Training when they host the Tampa Bay Devil Rays today at 1:15 ET. After the game the Yankees will head to Arizona for a two game exhibition series with the Diamondbacks.

Mike Mussina get his final pre-season tune up today for New York, while Edwin Jackson takes the hill for Tampa. The Yankees knocked Jackson around in a game this past weekend.


Randy Johnson wrapped up his spring work on Wednesday with a 5-inning outing against the Phillies' Clearwater 'A' team. The Unit allowed 3 runs, including a 2-run home run to J.J. Johnson, but didn't seem concerned. "If you make a mistake to even a young kid, he's going to hit a home run," said the left-hander. "I don't have the room to make any mistakes from this point out, but you know I will, because that's the nature of the game." Johnson's opening day start will be the 13th of this career.

Keith McDonald, recently acquired as insurance at the catcher position, was reassigned to the minor league camp leaving 36 players remaining with the big club.

Scott Proctor was originally ticketed to start the year at Columbus, converting to a starter. But injuries to Carl Pavano and Aaron Small, and an outstanding spring has Proctor heading north with the team. Proctor has allowed just 2 eared runs in 17 innings pitched - that translates to a 1.06 ERA.

Update 2:15 pm

The Yankees trail the Devil Rays 2-1 in the 4th inning. Russell Branyan opened the scoring for the D-Rays, belting a solo home run off of Yankees' starter Mike Mussina. The Rays added another run in the third on a truple by Carl Crawford and an RBI ground out by Jorge Cantu. The Yankees got one back in the third when Johnny Damon singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a lined single to right by Derek Jeter. The two then pulled off a double steal with Damon stealing home.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yankees Pitch Their Way to 4-2 Win (3/29)

The Yankees pitching staff will be under much scrutiny this season, but for today at least it was outstanding. Minor leaguer Jeff Karstens limited the Detroit Tigers to three hits over 5 innings, and Scott Erickson, Ron Villone, Kyle Farnsworth, and Matt Childers shut down the Tigers lineup the rest of the way.

The Yankees didn't do much hitting of their own, scratching out the same number as the Tigers, seven. Andy Phillips had two of those hits and scored a pair of runs. He also stole his second base of the spring. Russ Johnson delivered a key 2-run double.

Karstens quickly blew a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second, but was otherwise outstanding. Erickson was just glad to be back on the mound after missing a couple of weeks with a bad back. Childers has yet to be scored upon this spring in eight innings. Kenny Rogers took the loss for the Tigers.

Yankees-Tigers 1:05 (3/29)

The Yankees travel to Lakeland, Florida today for a 1:05 game with the Detroit Tigers. This is the second to last game in the Grapefruit League before the Yankees had to Arizona for a 2-game exhibition with the Diamondbacks. Minor leaguer Jeff Karsten will start for the Yankees against veteran Kenny Rogers.


Special advisor Mel Stottelmyre may have made a large contribution yesterday. Stottelmyre showed Chien-Ming Wang a new grip on his sinker for those times when blisters interfere with Wang's pitching. The Wanger said it felt good.

Octavio Dotel threw batting practice yesterday as he continues his recovery. Russ Johnson was impressed. "They put a good ligament in there."

Scott Proctor and third-string catcher Wil Nieves appear to be the sure bets for the final two roster spots when the Yankees head north. They'll be taking the place of Carl Pavano and Aaron Small, both of whom will start the season on the disabled list.

Pavano Returns, Yankees Fall 3-0 (3/28)

Carl Pavano made his first appearance in a game since last August and things weren't much different for now as he surrendered a solo home run to the Phillies Chase Utley. The Phillies also got home runs from Shane Victorino and Sal Fasano en route to a 3-0 win. The big news though was getting Pavano back on the mound. Pavano missed a large chunk of last season due to back and arm problems and has been slowed this spring by a sore back. He felt positive after tonight's game though. "I thought I controlled the zone pretty good for someone who hadn't pitched in eight months," Pavano said. "I thought I controlled my emotions pretty well, as excited as I was to be out there." Pavano also escaped unharmed when he tumbled on his way to covering first base.

The Yankee bats took the night off managing just 4 hits off of starter Ryan Madson and three relievers (including Tom Gordon). Scott Proctor was once again impressive in his start, allowing 1 run on 3 hits in 5 innings. Proctor also walked one and struck out 5. He's allowed just 1 run over his last 9 innings pitched. Mariano Rivera and Mike Myers threw a scoreless inning each, but Tanyon Sturtze continued to struggle, allowing Fasano's home run.


Chien-Ming Wang threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and felt fine afterwards. He's scheduled to start against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix on Friday. Jaret Wright will test out his back in a minor league start on Thursday.

Jorge Posada returned to action for the first time since last Wednesday, serving as the designated hitter. He went hitless, but is still batting .407 for the spring.

MLB Notes

Marquis Grissom has called it a career after 17 big league seasons. Grissom, in Chicago Cubs camp as a non-roster invitee, realized it was time to hang it up.

Jeremy Reed and the Seattle Mariners got some very good news on Tuesday when it was revealed that his right wrist wasn't broken after all. Reed had broken a bone in the wrist when he was a teen and that combined with swelling lead doctors to the wrong conclusion. A number of tests on Monday revealed that there indeed was no break. A very good break for Reed.

Tony Graffanino was claimed Tuesday by the Kansas City Royals off of the waiver wire. Graffanino had been waived by the Red Sox over the weekend.

No, it's not deja vu. The Chicago Cubs have placed Kerry Wood and Mark Prior on the disabled list.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

AL Central Preview

These Sox Don’t Smell

When White Sox shortstop Juan Uribe fielded a ground ball off of the bat of Astros outfielder Orlando Palmiero and fired it into the mitt of first baseman Paul Konerko, the White Sox ended a World Series drought of 78 years. There’s no reason to think that the White Sox won’t be celebrating again this year. Pitching and defense win championships, and in Chicago’s case, it provided a clean sweep of the Astros in the 2005 World Series. The White Sox return four starting pitchers from last year - Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, and Jose Contreras. Orlando Hernandez was dealt to the Diamondbacks in the off-season for Javier Vazquez. For the Sox to repeat, those five must be on their game. While El Duque’s age is always a wonder, he’s one of the grittiest playoff performers of all time. Vazquez, albeit partially due to an arm injury, melted in the New York spotlight.

The White Sox must get repeat performances from Garland and Contreras. At 25, Garland had a break out season, winning 18 games. Contreras finally got some confidence and some adjustments from pitching coach Don Cooper, and went 11-2 after the all-star break.

Bobby Jenks came up huge last season when closer Dustin Hermanson went down with a bad back. The job is all Jenks now, who must prove he can do the job for an entire season.

The biggest acquisition for the White Sox in the off-season was their own player. Free agent Paul Konerko stayed home after putting his signature on a brand new 5-year, $60 million contract. The White Sox gave up one of their best defensive components in centerfielder Aaron Rowand so they could acquire another big bat in the Phillies Jim Thome. Manager Ozzie Guillen can only hope that Thome’s ailing back has healed sufficiently enough for a return to his 35-40 home run seasons. Meanwhile rookie Brian Anderson will finally get his chance at the bigs replacing Rowand in center.

2005 - 1st Place 2006 Prediction - 1st Place

Circle the Wagons, Here Come The Indians

Cleveland shot back into the playoff chase in 2005 thanks to an infusion of young, talented players, good pitching, and a team that can swing the lumber. Under 3rd year manager Eric Wedge the tribe won 90+ games for the first time since 2001. In fact the Indians have improved in each of Wedge’s three seasons- 68-94, 80-82, 93-69. Unfortunately for Indians fans that trend will probably end this year.

While there is no doubt that the Indians will be competitive, they may very well have taken a step back from last season. Gone are ace Kevin Millwood and sparkplug Coco Crisp. Gone too is reliever David Riske, who struggled in closing situations, but did pretty well in middle and set up relief.

C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee are the two standouts in the starting rotation. While more than the adequate, the remaining three, Jake Westbrook, Paul Byrd, and Jason Johnson , are less than stellar. The bullpen has been a problem for Cleveland and will continue to be one. Newly acquired Guillermo Mota may not be healthy and closer Bob Wickman, who stayed in Cleveland with a one-year deal, is 37 and injury prone. Rafael Betancourt is solid, but was suspended last season for steroid use.

There are plenty of big sticks in the lineup though. MVP candidate Travis Hafner has averaged 30 home runs and 108 RBI the last 2 seasons. Joining him are the capable bats of Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, Ronnie Belliard, Grady Sizemore, Ben Broussard, Casey Blake, and Aaron Boone. If Boone should falter, super prospect Andy Marte will be waiting in the wings to take over third base. The Indians should score plenty of runs, but give up plenty as well.

2005 - 2nd Place 2006 Prediction - 2nd Place

And Oh Those Twins

Minnesota fell out of the playoff race last season due to a lack of offense. The acquisitions of Rueben Sierra, Rondell White, and Tony Batista aren’t going to change that. Torii Hunter’s recovering from a devastating ankle break could make or break - no pun intended - the lineup and season as well.

The Twins still have the dynamic duo of Johann Santana and Brad Radke to front the starting rotation, and Joe Nathan to close out games. Outstanding young arms in Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker could provide a huge boost as well. However, it’s going to be the Twins young hitters that will determine how competitive this team is.

Catcher Joe Mauer, still just 22, is coming off of a .294 season and hopes to increase his power from last year’s disappointing 9 home runs (he hit 6 home runs in 382 less at-bats in 2004). Stud prospect Jason Kubel hopes to get over the injury bug that has plagued him the last two seasons and to beat out Lew Ford for the right field job. First Baseman Justin Morneau will look to improve on a 22-HR 79-RBI season. Throw in veteran outfielder Shannon Stewart, and newly acquired second baseman Luis Castillo, and the Twins could improve on last year’s run total - if they go get another bat.

2005 - 3rd Place 2006 Prediction - 3rd Place (seeing a trend here)

Throwing Good Money After Bad Money

That’s what the Detroit Tigers did prior to the 2005 season when they signed free agents Troy Percival and Magglio Ordonez. Closer Percival appeared in only 26 games due to elbow problems and is leaning towards retirement this spring. Ordonez missed the first 2 ½ months with a hernia, then hit just 9 home runs in 82 games. Their best acquisition this off-season? No, not 41-year old, cameraman shoving, left-hander Kenny Rogers. New manager Jim Leyland will bring his enthusiasm and knowledge to the game and help make the Tigers more competitive. Alan Trammell can’t be blamed for much of what transpired in Detroit, but the mix of young pitchers and veteran hitters should blend better under Leyland.

Teams need to be strong up the middle to win and Detroit is getting there. Ivan Rodriguez is behind the plate for his third year with the Tigers. He needs to rebound from a 50-RBI campaign if this team is going to win games. The Tigers middle infield has good hitting, good fielding Carlos Guillen at shortstop and Placido Polanco at second base. Polanco provided a lot of spark last season after being acquired from the Phillies, hitting .338 in 86 games.

The early favorite for rookie of the year is the Tigers 5-tool center fielder Curtis Granderson. Granderson got a taste of the bigs last season, hitting .272-8-20 in 47 games. He and young first baseman Chris Shelton should add a lot of pop to the offense along with veterans Dmitri Young, Craig Monroe, and Brandon Inge. The Tigers starting eight should produce more than the Twins.

Just 23-years old, Jeremy Bonderman is the ace of the Tigers staff. The right hander struck out 145 en route to a 14 win season. Bonderman wore down in the second half though as he threw a career high 189 innings and only won 3 decisions. He’ll be joined by lefties Rogers, Nate Robertson and Mike Maroth, and rookie right hander Justin Verlander.

Veteran Todd Jones returns to Detroit to close, with Fernando Rodney waiting in the wings should he falter.

2005 - 4th Place 2006 Prediction - 4th Place (lots of improvement with nowhere to go)

Anything But Royalty

Do you smell that? No, that’s not the wind blowing off the Missouri River. That’s coming from the Kansas City Royals lineup. It’s hard to believe that that it was over 25 years ago when guys like George Brett, Hal McRae, Bret Saberhagen, and Dan Quisenberry were leading the perennial AL West favorites. Now they’re the favorites to live in the basement every year. Stuck at the kiddie table at Thanksgiving, never to sit at the grown-ups table.

Not that there aren’t plenty of grown up here. This past off-season the front office brought in 35-year old second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, 31-year old first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz (you need a dictionary for this team too), 35-year old pitcher Elmer Dessens, 32-year old pitcher Mark Redman, 30-year old pitcher Joe Mays, and 38-year old outfielder Reggie Sanders (thank you for having a normal name). They join 30-somethings, Emil Brown, Mike Sweeney, and Matt Stairs.

Manager Buddy Bell probably wishes Ben Gay was managing this team instead of him. In all fairness, Brown and Sanders can still hit. Okay, enough positives. Sweeney is a star, but hasn’t played more than 126 games in the last 4 seasons due to a myriad of injuries.

Things aren’t starting out well for KC this year either. Closer Mike McDougal will miss six weeks with a shoulder strain. One of their few good prospects, pitcher Zack Greinke, left camp with an undisclosed reason and won’t be back for the start of the season.

Is there any reason to go any further with this? If the Royals win 50 games it will be a miracle.

2005 - 5th Place 2006 Prediction - 5th Place (there are only 5 teams, but they should really finish 9th)

Monday, March 27, 2006

LaRoche blast sinks Bombers 5-4 (3/27)

Adam LaRoche's 3-run blast highlighted a 4-run sixth inning as the Atlanta Braves came from behind to defeat Shawn Chacon and the Yankees, 5-4. Alex Rodriguez hit his third home run of the spring in helping the Yankees build a 3-0 lead after 4 1-2 innings. Brian Jordon's solo home run off Chacon in the fifth got the Braves on the board before LaRoche's shot tied it. Ryan Langerhans capped the sixth with what proved to be the game winning single.

The Yankees banged out 15 hits, but left 12 men stranded. Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi had three hits each, and A-Rod had a pair of hits including his 2-run homer. Johnny Damon also stole his first base as a Yankee.

Chacon (1-1) was solid, save for Jordan's home run, through the first five. But he struggled in the sixth and was charged with all 5 runs in 5 1-3 innings. Chacon allowed six hits, walked three, and struck out seven. Kyle Farnsworth and Ron Villone each tossed a scoreless frame.

Jorge Sosa gave up all four Yankee runs in four innings pitched, but the Braves used six relievers in blanking the Bombers the rest of the way. Joey Devine (1-0) picked up the victory, with Brian O'Connor getting the save. The news was not all good for the Braves though as closer Chris Reitsma had to leave the game with a pulled hamstring.


Chien-Ming Wang's knee showed some improvement one day after being hit on a one-hopper off the bat of the Tigers Curtis Granderson. Though still swollen, Wang showed good range of motion on Monday. Joe Torre will probably err on the side of caution and skip Wang's next start, which could effect the early regular season rotation as well.

Carl Pavano is counting the minutes until his first game appearance on Tuesday. Pavano is slated to work one inning against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Jorge Posada had splints removed from his broken nose and could see action at designated hitter as early as Tuesday. Joe Torre said Posada will not return to behind home plate until at least Thursday. Posada is now expected to be ready for the season opener.

Colter Bean was reassigned to Triple-A Columbus as the Yankees continued to trim their roster. Mark Corey and Dusty Bergman were reassigned to the minor league camp.

Scott Proctor will get the start on Tuesday as the Yankees meet the Phillies in a 7:15 start. Ryan Madson will go for the Phillies in the game televised on YES.

Yankees vs Braves 7:05 (3/27)

The Yankees haven't won a World Series in nearly 5 years, but tonight they'll be going to Disney World. Okay, so it's only for an exhibition game against the Braves. Shawn Chacon will be starting for the Bombers and will be opposed by the Braves' Jorge Sosa. Chacon has a 2.16 ERA in 5 Spring appearances.

MLB Notes

Brad Halsey, acquired by the Diamondbacks in the Randy Johnson deal, was on the move again today as he was dealt to the Oakland A's for reliever Juan Cruz.

Jeff Nelson's career in St. Louis is over before it got started. The former Yankee was released earlier today.

Tony Graffanino has reportedly been placed on revocable waivers by the Boston Red Sox.

Dustin Hermanson will most likely start the season on the disabled list with a bad back. Hermanson had been the White Sox closer in 2005 before back troubles lead to Bobby Jenks taking over the role.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Yankees Win, Lose Wang

The Yankees outscored the Detroit Tigers 9-8 in an afternoon matchup at Legends Field, but their injury prone pitching staff took another hit. Chien-Ming Wang took a ball off of the bat of Curtis Granderson into his right knee and had to leave the game in the third inning. X-Rays were negative, but Wang is doubtful for his next start.

The Yankees had their hitting shoes on once again, lead by Gary Sheffield and Bubba Crosby who had 2 RBI each. Crosby hit what to be proved to be a game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth. Johnny Damon (.455), Robinson Cano (.353), Derek Jeter (.381), and Sheffield paced a 13-hit attack with 2 hits apiece.

The Yankee pitching on Sunday was ugly as Wang's knee. Wang allowed 2 runs in 2-plus innings before being forced to leave. Mark Corey allowed 1 run in 1 1-3 innings before Tanyon Sturtze allowed 3 runs, 1 earned in 2-3 of an inning.

The Tigers went ahead 8-7 in the seventh when Dusty Bergman allowed a solo home run to Chris Shelton. Ramiro Mendoza pitched a scoreless eighth for the win; Mike Myers tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save.

The Yankees improved to 13-13 with the victory


Despite a pair of black eyes, Jorge Posada was able to return to workouts on Sunday, including taking batting practice. It's not known when he'll be able to return to game action.

Carl Pavano was schedule to make his first game appearance on Thursday, but team doctors approved moving it up to Tuesday against the Phillies. Pavano will work one inning.

Keith McDonald, a 33-year old veteran catcher, was acquired from the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later. With third string catcher Wil Nieves out of minor league options, the Yankees wanted to pick up some insurance for behind the plate. McDonald has never appeared in a major league game.

Kevin Reese and Kevin Thompson were both reassigned to Columbus after the game. Catcher Ben Davis, recovering from Tommy John surgery, was reassigned to the minor league camp.

Shawn Chacon will get the start Monday night when the Yankees travel to Orlando for a 7:05 pm contest with the Atlanta Braves. Jorge Sosa will get the start for Atlanta.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Yankees Sting Rays 10-1

The Tampa Devil Rays gave the Yankees fits last season, but were no match in today's exhibition game in St. Petersburg, Florida. Alex Rodriguez homered and Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield drove in two runs each as the Yankees improved to 12-13 in the spring.

Johnny Damon, who returned to center field, lead off the ballgame with a walk against Rays starter Edwin Jackson and scored on a triple by Jeter. Jason Giambi followed with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead. Rodriguez homered off of Jackson in the third to extend the lead to 3-0, before the Yankees broke it open in the 4th.

After the Yankees loaded the bases with none out, Jeter drove in his second run with a sacrifice fly to deep center. Giambi walked to load them again and two batters later, Sheffield hit a frozen rope that missed clearing the left field wall by a foot. Two runs came in on the play and Sheffield pulled into second with a double.

Matt Childers was oustanding in making his first start for the Bombers. Childers pitched three shutout innings and has not been scored upon in 6 2-3 innings this spring. Colter Bean allowed the only Rays run when he gave up a solo shot to Travis Lee in the 4th. Lefty Matt Smith threw a pair of scoreless innings before Ramiro Mendoza, Mark Corey, and Frank Brooks threw a shutout inning apiece.

Kevin Thompson continued to make a push for a call-up during the season, delivering an RBI single in his only at-bat. Thompson is now hitting .391 in the spring.


Mike Mussina threw 92 pitches in a minor league outing against he Ray's Triple-A Durham team. Mussina went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits, walked three and struck out three.

Jaret Wright threw 34 pitches in a bullpen session, splitting them between the rubber and halfway up the mound. Wright will have one more bullpen session and hopes to start on Thursday.

Aaron Small, nursing a bad hamstring, threw a session from halfway up the mound.

Carl Pavano was to throw batting practice on Saturday, but that was canceled when temperatures dropped in the 50s. Pavano will have a side session on Sunday instead and then will pitch in relief on Thursday.

Octavio Dotel is expected to throw batting practice sometime next week. Scott Erickson, recovering from a bad back, also threw in the bullpen on Saturday.

Yankees-Devil Rays 1:05 on YES (3/25)

The Yankees travel across town this afternoon to go up against the AL East rival Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Minor leaguer Matt Childers gets the start for the Yankees, while Edwin Jackson gets the nod for Tampa Bay.

Childers has thrown 3 2-3 innings this spring with no runs and just 2 hits allowed. Jackson was acquired this past winter as part of the deal that sent Danys Baez to the LA Dodgers.

Jorge Posada may not end up on the disabled list, but he could miss the part or all of the season opening series against Oakland due to a painful broken nose. Posada is still suffering from headaches and it is not known when he will start working out again. Joe Torre, who always takes a cautious approach to injuries, told Posada to take his time and not worry about being ready for opening day.

Mike Mussina will also pitch this afternoon - against Triple-A Durham. Mussina will face the D-Rays in his next start so the Yankees did not want them to see Mussina too much prior to the season.

Randy Johnson's continues to get better with more work. After some shaky outings earlier in the spring, the Big Unit now has a 2.96 ERA in 24 1-3 innings pitched. He's allowed 24 hits and struck out 24. Now if only the Yankees could bring 70 degree temperatures to New York for April.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Unit Solid As Bombers Fall, 3-1

Randy Johnson brought his 'A' game against the Minnesota Twins, but the Yankees brought their "D" bats. Johnson's six one-third innings of 1-run ball wasn't enough to offset a Yankee lineup that was made up of minor leaguers, reserves and just two regulars - Bernie Williams and Robinson Cano. The Twins scored twice in the eighth off of Jose Veras and Dusty Bergman for a 3-1 victory.

More important than getting a win was seeing Johnson dominate once again. He allowed a fourth inning home run to Terry Tiffee, but allowed just 5 hits, walked none and struck out 6. Bernie Williams had given the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the third with an RBI single. That was one of only six hits on the day for the Yankees, who had only one extra base hit against Carlos Silva and four relievers.

Robinson Cano was 1-3 and is now hitting .344 for the Spring.

MLB Notes - 3/24

Jeremy Broken - No, not a new Pearl Jam lyric. Mariners center fielder Jeremy Reed, still looking for a breakout season, had to settle for breaking his wrist for now. Reed broke a bone in his right wrist when he ran into the outfield wall. A timetable for his return won't be known until he's re-evaluated.

Larry Bigbie of the St. Louis Cardinals will be out a minimum of 2-3 weeks weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot.

Pedro Martinez, who has been nursing a sore toe, will make his Spring Training debut this Sunday against Baltimore.

Yankees-Twins 1:05 ESPN2 (3/24)

The Yankees travel to Fort Myers to take on the Minnesota Twins in a nationally televised (ESPN2) affair at 1:05. Randy Johnson coming off of his best start of the pre-season goes up agains the Twins Carlos Silva.

Prior to last night's game, Alex Rodriguez took a line drive in the shin off the bat of backup catcher Wil Nieves. Nieves' first thought - "I'm going to be released". Except for a bloody bruise, A-Rod was okay and slugged a 2-run home run in the game against the Astros.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Proctor No Gamble In Victory

Scott Proctor helped himself out in his attempt to head north with the big ball club by throwing 4 shutout innings against the Astros en route to an 8-1 Yankees win. The Yankees had planned on converting Proctor into a starter at Triple-A Columbus, but injuries to Carl Pavano, Aaron Small and Jaret Wright have given Proctor a shot at making the Yankees bullpen. Tonight Proctor was the starter as the Yankees romped over the Astros to win their second straight.

Leading 1-0 in the fourth, Alex Rodriguez had his first hit of the Spring, a 2-run home run off Astros starter Carlos Hernandez. Two batters later Hideki Matsui hit a solo shot, his third home run of the month. Luis Garcia broke the game open in the 7th inning when he belted a three-run shot, his second in as many games.

Gary Sheffield, A-Rod, and Matsui (added an RBI single) combined for 6 of the 10 Yankee hits.

The Astros managed just 2 hits and a walk against Proctor, and didn't fare much better against the Yankees bullpen. Colter Bean, Mariano Rivera, Mike Myers, Tanyon Sturtze, and Kyle Farnsworth worked one inning each, allowing only two more hits and the lone Astros run (a Luke Scott home run off of Sturtze).

The Yankees improved to 11-12 with the win. The Yankees travel to Ft. Myers on Friday for an afternoon match up with the Minnesota Twins.


Mariano Rivera's appearance against the Astros came one night after facing the Boston Red Sox - Rivera's first consecutive appearances of Spring Training.

Jaret Wright played catch for 10 minutes Thursday afternoon and reported no ill effects. Wright could throw a bullpen session on Saturday and could be back in game action next week.

Jorge Posada was released from the hospital Thursday, one day after breaking his nose on a throw from fellow catcher Kelly Stinnett. Joe Torre expects Posada back in the lineup next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Randy Johnson looks to make it three straight solid starts as he faces the Carlos Silva and the Minnesota Twins in a nationally televised game (ESPN2 @ 1:05) on Friday. Bernie Williams, Robinson Cano, Andy Phillips, Bubba Crosby, Stinnett and Miguel Cairo are expected to be on the travel roster.

Yankees-Astros 7:15 (3/23) - Update 8:30 pm

The Yankees played their second consecutive night game this evening as the Houston Astros come to Tampa. Scott Proctor will get the start for New York, while Carlos Hernandez takes to the mound for Houston.

Update 8:30

The Yankees lead the Astros 4-0 in the 5th inning. Already leading 1-0, Alex Rodriguez (1) and Hideki Mastui (3) connected for home runs off of Astros starter Carlos Hernandez.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Garcia Blast Tops Sox

It's only Spring Training and it was only the first meeting between the Yankees and Red Sox, but as usual the two teams put on a show. Johnny Damon faced his former mates for the first time, going 1-4 as the designated hitter. Luis Garcia provided the big hit though. The former Met minor leaguer slugged a 2-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to snap a 3-3 tie.

Garcia's home run came three batters after David Riske hit Derek Jeter with a pitch in the back. In the top of the eighth, Tanyon Sturtze retaliated by hitting Mike Lowell in the hip. Both teams were warned by the umpires and no further incidents took place.

The Yankees scored single runs in the second and third innings to build up 2-0 lead for starter Shawn Chacon. Bernie Williams, who went 3-3, turned on a Jon Papelbon inside fastball and drove it over the right field fence to start the scoring in the second. Gary Sheffield's sacrifice fly plated Johnny Damon an inning later.

Shawn Chacon tossed three scoreless innings, but newcomer Wily Mo Pena lined a 2-run shot over the left field fence to tie the game at two. Adam Stern drove in the go-ahead run later in the inning. The inning would be the only blemish on the night for Chacon who went 5 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, walked 3 and struck out 6.

An error by shortstop Alejandro Machado allowed Jason Giambi to reach in the bottom of the sixth. Giambi would come around to score on a Robinson Cano single.

Boston's final run came in the ninth when Stern homered off of Kyle Farnsworth. Mike Myers picked up the victory, while Riske was tagged with the loss. In addition to Myers, Mariano Rivera and Sturtze each threw one shutout inning.


Jorge Posada was originally scheduled to play, but broke his nose while playing catch with backup catcher Kelly Stinnett. This is especially surprising since Stinnett's throws don't look like they could break a pane of glass. Unfortunately for Posada, he was distracted when the throw came. He was to have his nose re-aligned Wednesday night and go for further evaluation on Thursday. He's expected to miss at least 3 days.

Gary Sheffield is on the hot seat once again. Newsday released a report saying that Sheffield is implicated for steroid use in the newly released book, "Game of Shadows". Sheffield is said to have injected steroids as well as human growth hormones. Sheffield previously stated he had only "accidentally" used "the cream", an illegal steroid ointment which he believed was cortisone based. Sheffield responded, "Nope", to reporters prior to tonight's game when asked if the information in the book regarding him was true.

Anyone out there believe him?

Jaret Wright will try to resume throwing on Thursday, depending on how his back feels.

As expected, Carl Pavano threw 35 pitches in batting practice.

The Yankees will host the Houston Astros at Legends field Thursday night. Scott Proctor will get the nod for the Bombers. Carlos Hernandez makes the start for Houston.

Soriano Update

Alfonso Soriano has decided to play left field in the Nationals' Spring Training game Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, a team spokesman said.

This is a wise move by Soriano, but Jim Bowden (must be taking deep breaths right now) should still look out for a viable offer.

Yankees-Red Sox 7:15 on YES (3/22)

It's more of a preliminary bout than Round 1, but tonight the revamped Yankees and Red Sox meet for the first time in 2006. The most notable change of course will be Johnny Damon manning center field for the Yankees rather than the Sox. Damon gets a bit of a reprieve from the boo birds though since this game is in Tampa.

Righty Shawn Chacon will be opposed by youngster Jonathan Papelbon.

Carl Pavano will throw batting practice today and, if all goes well, again on Saturday. Pavano should make his first Spring start in a week. It appears now that Pavano won't be ready to come off the DL in Mid-April. The end of April now appears to be a more like scenario as Pavano will need to get more work prior to then.

Chien-Ming Wang started against a collection of Toronto minor leaguers yesterday - and got hammered. Wang gave up a pair of home runs and 5 runs in 3 2-3 innings. Wang attributed his problems to his shoulder flying open, causing his sinker to rise rather than sink.

"He was just up," pitching coach Ron Guidry said. "He wasn't getting through the ball. It looks like he was swinging and not driving the ball to the plate. ... When he found out what it was, the third inning was more like him.

"Some days you have those days. I don't think there's anything wrong. Maybe his wife made him sleep on the couch."

Scott Erickon continues to struggle with a bad back. He's improved since the weekend, but is still too hobbled to take part in any drills or to throw.

Joe Torre is likely to carry 11 pitchers to start the season, opening up an additional roster spot. One player considered for that spot is catcher Wil Nieves, who is out of options.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sori? ah, no

When the Washington Nationals dealt for Alfonso Soriano this past winter, they knew they were taking a chance. Washington already had an All-Star second baseman in Jose Vidro, who was healthy once again, and Soriano had refused to move to the outfield while he was with the Texas Rangers. GM Jim Bowden was hopeful that Soriano would use his contract year to play a decent left field and put up stellar offensive numbers. Soriano wasn’t in camp long before he reported to the Dominican Republic team for the WBC. He made it clear, though, that playing the outfield was not an option.

Monday night everything came to a head. Soriano, back from the WBC, was told by manager Frank Robinson to play left field in the Nationals Spring Training game. Soriano flat out refused. Now things are really getting ugly (Soriano is lucky that, even at his age, Frank Robinson didn’t knock him out). The Nationals are considering filing a grievance to put Soriano on the disqualified list. Translation: Soriano would be suspended without pay.

Both teams have a lot to lose in this mess. The Nationals gave up a hard-nosed player in Brad Wilkerson, a promising young outfielder in Termel Sledge, and a minor league pitcher. That’s a lot to give up for someone who won’t be playing. Soriano has plenty to lose, too. He’s in the final year of his contract and will be testing the free agent waters next winter. It’s hard to put up big numbers when you don’t play.

You can understand the position that each side is taking. Soriano feels his market value will be diminished by playing a position he’s not used to. The Nationals picked up an exciting player they thought could have a big impact on their lineup. Both sides made a big mistake and continue in their error-prone ways.

Soriano has to come to the realization that his offensive output will be the determining factor in how much cash he can pull in this winter. He’s committed to playing second base, but that may be borne out of a stubborn streak rather than a love for the position. Soriano came up as a shortstop, the dream position of every Dominican kid. When the Yankees called him up for brief stints in 1999 and 2000, Soriano played 23 games at third Base, 10 at shortstop, and only 1 game at second base. As a matter of fact, if not for Chuck Knoblauch, Soriano might have been an All-Star outfielder by now.

Knoblauch’s throwing problems were well documented when the Yankees came to camp in the Spring of 2001. The Yankees were giving Knobby one last shot to straighten out the mental block he had when throwing to first base. By late Spring, the Yankees had seen enough and decide to swap Knoblauch with the kid who was learning to play left field. That kid was Soriano. He had played well in the field and was ripping the cover off the ball when he came up to bat. Not quite a Wally Pipp-Lou Gehrig story, but that’s how Soriano got settled in at second base. Five years later, Soriano is quite possibly worse defensively than when he started out.

What Soriano needs to do is move to the outfield. His offense will already be hurt by playing in Washington’s spacious ballpark (maybe deep down that is really the crux of this issue), but combined with poor defense, you’ve got a free agent who can’t command top dollar. Soriano would also extend his career by playing the outfield. He wouldn’t have to worry about being blindsided by a runner looking to break up a double-play. He’s got the speed and arm to play the outfield - now he just needs to show the maturity to do it. It’s possible that Soriano’s agent, Diego Bentz, is behind a lot of this. But, it’s time for Soriano to stand up for himself. Everyone says he’s a good kid; right now he’s not showing it.

Jim Bowden was a decent GM when he ran the Cincinnati Reds ball club. He’s been less than that in running the Nationals operation. He gets some leeway for taking over a team in complete disarray, without a permanent home or an owner without the initials M.L.B. That said, he has made a number of terrible signings and trades as the Nationals GM. This may be the topper. Bowden already knew that Soriano had steadfastly refused to make the position switch while playing for Buck Showalter, and that wasn’t even in a contract year. Bowden made the deal anyway - a huge mistake for the amount of talent given up. He should have insisted on a 24-48 hour window to talk to Soriano prior to making the deal. Had Soriano still held out during that time, Bowden could have called the deal off. Bowden now needs to start shopping Soriano around to save face and get some talent back.

There are other teams that could use his offense and would be willing to put up with his shoddy defense. Soriano will be making a hefty sum,10 million dollars, but just for this year. So, the Nats may not even have to throw money into the deal. Teams like Baltimore, who is concerned about the health of Brian Roberts’ elbow and has plenty of young pitching to spare, and others like Minnesota, who is still short on bats, surely must have interest. Any team picking up Soriano could spit him right back out at the trade deadline - thereby getting some prospects and saving some cash.

All of these suggestions are rational, which is why, of course, none of them will probably happen. Yes, in baseball in Spring, hope springs eternal - but not everywhere.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Tigers Go Moose Hunting

The Detroit Tigers made Mike Mussina's trip to Lakeland, Florida a most unpleasant one. Mussina coming off of a 5 inning, 8-strikeout performance, got jumped on immediately, allowing 4 first inning runs. Things got worse in the third, when Dmitri Young blasted a 2-run home run, and Brandon Inge and Alexis Gomez hit back-to-back solo shots. Magglio Ordonez finished things off with a line-drive 2-run home run in the fifth.

Mussina went from his best outing to his worst. In four innings pitched he allowed 10 runs on 12 hits. Non-roster invitee Dusty Bergman was charged with 3 earned runs, and Ron Villone allowed a final pair in the eighth inning, as the Tigers lashed out 19 hits.

The Yankees scattered 8 hits off of starter Jeremy Bonderman and 3 relievers. Miguel Cairo blasted a solo home run and Derek Jeter delivered an RBI single. Jeter, Johnny Damon, and Andy Phillips had 2 hits each.

The Yankees have a rare off day tomorrow, before hosting the Boston Red Sox in a televised primetime matchup.

Yankees vs Tigers 1:05 (3/20) - Updated 2:55 PM

The first day of spring will see the Yankees travel to Lakeland to meet the Detroit Tigers in a 1:05 start. Mike Mussina, looking to have back-to-back solid performances, gets the start for the Pinstripes. Jeremy Bonderman will take to the hill for the Tigers.

Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, and Robinson Cano will not make the trip, but Johnny Damon, Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez will be in the starting lineup.

Back to the Sidelines

Jaret Wright, who had his best outing by far on Saturday, was hit by back spasms on Sunday. The Yankees don't believe it is serious, but Wright will be re-evaluated today to determine if an MRI is needed.

Scott Erickson is in even worse shape. His back is locked up so badly, that he's using crutches to help get around. The team doctors have been unable to get him righted thus far.

On a more upbeat note, Carl Pavano threw from the regular mound with a batter standing in the box. Pavano threw 35 pitches and hopes to throw batting practice on Wednesday.

Thanks For Coming

The Yankees major league roster and camp got smaller yesterday with the retirement of Al Leiter and several players being re-assigned. The Yankees optioned right-hander T.J. Beam to Double-A Trenton and outfielder Melky Cabrera and left-hander Sean Henn to Triple-A Columbus. Left-hander Frank Brooks, right-hander J. Brent Cox, catcher David Parrish and infielders Marcos Vechionacci, Ramiro Pena, Eric Duncan and Mitch Jones were reassigned to the Minor League camp.

With early season injuries and the fact that he's still being in camp, Kevin Thompson could have a shot of making the ballclub when the team heads north. Thompson has had an outstanding spring, batting .436 with OPS of 1.066.

The First Robin of Spring

Update 2:10

All those good feelings Mike Mussina had after his last outing, went out the window today. Dmitri Young, Brandon Inge, and Alexis Gomez took Mussina deep and the Yankees trail the Tigers 8-0 in the 4th inning.

Update 2:55

The day continued to be a sour one for Mike Mussina as he gave up a fourth home run - this one by Magglio Ordonez. The Yankees trail in the sixth innings, 13-1. Miguel Cairo has homered for the lone Yankees tally.

Red Sox Get Bat - Looking to strengthen their starting lineup, the Red Sox have shipped pitcher Bronson Arroyo to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Wily Mo Pena. Arroyo could immediately becomes the ace of the Reds staff. The right-handed hitting Pena, just 24 years old, could split time in the outfield with lefty Trot Nixon or could be the full-time right fielder if Nixon is moved. He also serves as insurance if right-handed hitter Mike Lowell cannot stay healthy. Pena, originally a Yankee prospect, slugged 26 home runs in just 336 at-bats in 2004. Last season, with a healthy Ken Griffey Jr. back in the lineup, Pena managed just 311 at-bats, but still hit 19 home runs.

Arroyo, 29, came up big for the Red Sox during their championship run in 2004, and last year won a career high 14 games.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Dreaming Of Opening Day

Unit fires Yankees past Indians 2-0 (3/19)

The Yankees starting lineup got a boost with the return of Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Bernie William, but Randy Johnson's pitching was the story on Sunday. A sharp biting slider and a fastball that topped out at 93 mph help Johnson blank the Indians for six innings. Johnson, who had pitched very well in his last start against the Cardinals, was even better this time out. He allowed just 4 hits, struck out 9, including the side in the 2nd innings, and didn't walk a batter.

The Yankees offense gave Johnson an immediate boost in the first inning. Damon lead off with a single and scored all the way from first when Jeter ripped a pitch just inside the third base foul line for a double. Jeter, who went to third on the play, then scored on a Jason Giambi single.

The Yankees looked to add to the lead in the second when Bernie Williams' lead-off walk was followed by the first of Robinson Cano's two singles. Indians starter Jason Johnson bounced back though, striking out Kelly Stinnett and inducing Johnny Damon to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play.

The fans in attendance didn't realize that they were seeing Al Leiter's last appearance when he came on to pitch the 7th inning. Leiter announced his retirement before the game. After getting a lead=off ground out, pitching Ron Guidry came out and pulled Leiter from the ballgame. His teammates awaiting him in the dugout gave him a standing ovation. Mike Myers, Kyle Farnsworth, and Tanyon Sturtze finished up the shutout.

Cano's two hits raised his spring average to .358. Eric Duncan, who figures to see less playing time with the regulars back, singled in his only at-bat to raise his average to .414.

Yankees-Indians 1:15 on YES (3/19)

The Yankees return to Legends Field today after a two game stint in Jupiter, Florida, t take on the Cleveland Indians. The starting lineup will also look familiar as it is expected to include Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Bernie Williams, all back from the WBC.

Randy Johnson looks to make his second consecutive good start as he takes the hill for the Bombers. Jason Johnson will get the start for the Indians.

"I'm still not comfortable," he said. "I'm not allowed to be comfortable. That's the reality of it. I always have to play with my back against the wall. And it's just one more year of that. It's just always my situation. I've got to be somewhere for one or two years and [then they] reevaluate you and go from there." Those are the words of Gary Sheffield in explaining his March slump - or more precisely his unhappiness with the "non-automatic" pick-up of his contract extension. This could be a very long, ugly summer in the Bronx if Sheff continues to be unhappy.

Jaret Wright's first impressive outing of the spring yesterday was due in part to a new curveball grip. A grip suggested to him by teammate Mike Mussina. Instead of gripping the ball across two seams, Wright now holds his curve with four seams.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Yankees-Marlins 1:05 (3/18)

Jaret Wright hopes to rebound from his rough outing against the Pirates, goes up against the Marlins today at 1:05. Briam Moehler gets the nod for the retooled fish.

The Yankees starting lineup will be strengthened when the team returns to Tampa tomorrow. Johnny Damon, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Bernie Williams will be back in camp, the result of the US and Puerto Rican teams being eliminated from the WBC. Damon had been cleared by Dr. Lewis Yocum to pinch-run and pinch-hit for Team USA, so the Yankees are hoping he won't miss much action due to shoulder tendinitis. Joe Torre feels that Bernie Williams will need the most work of the four since he only saw action as a designated hitter.

Carl Pavano and Aaron Small will already be starting the season on the disabled list, and now word comes that outfielder Bubba Crosby is suffering from a sore hamstring. Crosby, who missed time earlier with a bruised index finger, sat out Friday and most likely will not play on the weekend.

Update 1:45

The Yankees have just taken a 4-0 lead in the top of the 3rd. With one run already in, Hideki Matsui blasted a long 3-run homer off of Marlins starter Brian Moehler.

Update 2:10

The Yankees have just broken the game open in the 4th, taking a 7-0 lead. Kevin Howard, who already had an RBI single to his credit, delivered a bases loaded triple knocking Moehler out of the game.

Jaret Wright has had his best outing to date, with a fairly easy 3 innings.

Update 4:05

The Yankees improved to 8-11 for the exhibition season with an 8-3 victory over the Florida Marlins. Kevin Howard and Hideki Matsui drove in 4 runs each and Jaret Wright had his best outing of the spring.

Howard put the Yankees on the board first with an RBI single and later added a 3-run triple. Matsui belted a 3-run home run and added a sacrifice fly, as he and Howard combined for all the RBI.

Wright had plenty of life on his fastball and the most command of his pitches that we've seen this spring. He allowed 1 run in four innings of works. Dusty Bergman, Mike Myers, J.B. Cox, and Ron Villone threw an inning each.

The Yankees return to Legends field on Sunday to face the Cleveland Indians. Randy Johnson gets the start for the Yankees in a game televised on YES at 1:15.

Friday, March 17, 2006

This Bud’s Not For You

There were reports Thursday that Major League Baseball had decided to launch an investigation into the alleged steroid use by Barry Bonds. Bud Selig has publicly denied any such investigation. "It's just something I'd rather not discuss right now," Selig told reporters at the USA-Mexico clash in the WBC tourney. "I'll make the decision based on all the factors that are involved and go from there, and do what I think is in the best interest of everybody involved."

Let’s consider what could be the factors that the “commissioner who wore no clothes” could be deciding on.

Q: Will the African-American population feel this is just a threat to Bonds passing Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list.

A: Last time I looked, Hank Aaron was the all-time home run leader. It’s a great accomplishment to pass Babe Ruth, but Hammerin’ Hank is still #1.

Q: How much longer should I procrastinate?

A: This is a tough one Bud. You ignored the rumors of rampant steroid use in the league for years. You looked the other way in 1998 when a puffy Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hit one moon shot after another. You needed to get the fans back from the 1994 strike and just figured, “boy these guys work out.” Jason Giambi was rumored to be the biggest juicer in the game. You did nothing about it until Giambi was forced to testify before a grand jury. You didn’t even stir until Congress came calling. Even then you were ready to decline the Congressional Committee’s invite, until you realized it wasn’t so much an invite as a “you had better be there”. The absurd testimony of McGwire, Sosa, excuse me - Sosa’s lawyer, and Rafael Palmiero further emphasized your “look the other way” attitude. Now comes the case of the man with the ever-growing head, and I don’t just mean his ego, Barry Bonds. Rumors have followed Bonds since the 1999 season when his physique increased dramatically. His name was mentioned in front of the same grand jury that Giambi spilled his enhanced guts to.

Now comes a book, “Game of Shadows”, that is due out for release on March 23. Excerpts were first published in this past week’s Sports Illustrated. The author’s have done more work than you, first reporting for the San Francisco Chronicle and now expanding their investigation to write the book. It clearly documents the extent of Bonds’s steroid abuse. Is there really anything to think about?

Q: What if I investigate and it damages the game?

A: Buddy, Buddy, Buddy…you crazy guy. The game is already damaged. Fans of the San Francisco Giants readily admit that Bonds is “probably” on steroids, but yet they still root for him and want him to pass both Ruth and Aaron. New York Yankees fans have accepted Jason Giambi back into the fold since his apology for nothing last spring and his redemption on the field. Gary Sheffield has gotten a pass as well since he has driven in 100 runs each of the last two seasons. Had he struggled, Yankee fans would have vilified him. You may not be to blame for the fan’s apathy, but your lack of action until recently has certainly helped to strengthen those feelings.

Bud, you are certainly not to blame for players abusing their bodies and the game itself, but you’re indecisiveness and fear of action/reaction is all on you. Grow a set, will ya.

The opinion here is that a full investigation needs to be done by not only MLB, but the government as well. As much as I hate to see the feds get involved in these matters, this goes much deeper than just professional sports. And I’m not talking about some bunch of idiot Congressmen. Real investigators need to be used. The pervasive use of steroids and human growth hormones in high school and college athletes is very disturbing. Just as with illegal drugs, the sellers need to be stopped, not just the users.

As for players such as McGwire, Sosa, etc., it is difficult to quantify their statistics unless they admit to when they began steroid use. That being said, their offense is the equal of, and possibly worse than, that of Pete Rose. Therefore these players should not be eligible for enshrinement in the baseball. If they are put on the ballot, then the baseball writer’s should not vote them in.

It’s clear that the game has been warped by what has taken place. Now it is up to individuals to get the game back to level.

Yankees-Cardinals 1:05 (3/17)

The Yankees travel to Jupiter, FL today to take on the St. Louis Cardinals in a 1:05 start. Shawn Chacon will be opposed by Jeff Suppan.

Tanyon Sturtze blamed yesterday's poor outing on bad mechanics caused by overthrowing. It still remains to be seen whether Sturtze will be ready for the start of the regular season. One player who won't be starting the season on time is Aaron Small. Small will on the DL for a minimum of two weeks with a pulled hamstring. He'll join Carl Pavano who, if all goes well, will be activated April 15.

With the USA's elimination yesterday in the WBC, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez will be returning to camp shortly. Bernie Williams, whose Puerto Rican team was eliminated earlier, should be back this Sunday.

Update 1:55

Yankees-Cards scoreless after 2.

Update 3:50

The Cardinals have just scored two in the bottom of the eighth to take a 3-2 lead, and are still batting.

Game Notes

The Cardinals rallied for four runs in the eighth, off of Jose Veras and Matt Smith to capture a 5-2 win. Veras allowed one run and left the game with the bases loaded. John Gall's sacrifice fly snapped the 2-2 tie, and Hector Luna's 2-run single broke the game open. The loss droppped the Yankees pre-season record to 7-11.

Starter Shawn Chacon allowed a run on five hits, while walking two and striking out three in 3 2-3 innings. Deivi Cruz homered for the lone run Chacon allowed. Ron Villone, Scott Proctor, and Frank Brooks combined for four shutout innings of relief.

Gary Sheffield, sac fly, and Kevin Thompson drove in the Yankees runs. Thompson, Miguel Cairo, and Kelly Stinnett had two hits apiece.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Yankees-Astros, Yankees-Tigers (3/16)

The Yankees will use a split squad for the second time in this exhibition season as they meet the Astros at Legends Field (1:15 on YES), and travel to Lakeland (1:05) to take on the Tigers.

In Tampa, Chien-Ming Wang will face right-hander Brian Backe. Aaron Small was originally scheduled to start against the Tigers, but had to be scratched due to a hamstring injury. He's listed as day to day. Matt DeSalvo or Sean Henn will get the nod today against Nate Robertson.

Carl Pavano continued his rehab yesterday with a 45 pitch mound session. Pavano felt fine afterwards and is scheduled to throw batting practice on Sunday. In a rare display of enjoyment, Mike Mussina was ecstatic over his eight-strike out performance against the Astros yesterday. Mussina was on location, throwing 60 strikes out of 78 pitches.

Update 2:00

Yankees-Astros 2-2, bottom 2

Tigers 1 Yankees 0 Omar Infante with a solo shot off of Matt DeSalvo

Update 2:15

Yankees have taken a 4-2 lead to the top of the 4th on the Astros behind Hideki Matsui's home run.

Yankees also have just scored 2 to take a 2-1 lead on the Tigers in the 4th.

Update 2:50

Yankees still leading the Astros 4-2 as they play the top of the 6th.

Former Met Vance Wilson homered off of Jeff Karstens to tie the Tigers and Yankees at 2 over in Lakeland. Yankees are now batting in the top of the 7th.

Off topic - nice job by Seton Hall embarrassing themselves in the NCAA tournament. You proved you didn't belong there. I'm not sure who was dumber, the committee for putting you in or me for thinking you could win a game.

3:15 Update

The Astros Mike Lamb has homered off Kyle Farnsworth to the cut the Yankees lead to 4-3 in the 7th.

Meanwhile in Lakeland, the Yankees and Tigers are tied at 3 in the bottom of the eigth. The Bombers had taken the lead, but former farmhand Marcus Thames struck again, homering off of Scott Erickson. Thames homered off of Mariano Rivera earlier this spring.

Update 3:50

The Tigers scored in the bottom of the 9th off of Sean Henn to top the Yankees 4-3. Things aren't going much better in Tampa. Tanyon Sturtze was touched up for 4 runs in the 7th giving the Astros a 7-4 lead. The Yankees are now batting in the bottom of the 8th.

Update 4:25

The Tigers tacked on 3 runs in the 9th to finish off the Yankees 10-5. Russ Johnson had homered for NY to cut the lead to 7-5, before T.J. Beam allowed the Tigers to put the game out of reach.

Chien-Ming Wang looked good for the second straight start, going 4 innings and allowing no earned runs. Youngsters Melky Cabrera and Ramiro Pena had two hits each.

Sac Flies

The All 'R' Team

C - Buddy Rosar
1B - Eddie Robinson
2B - Willie Randolph
SS - Phil Rizzuto
3B - Alex Rodriguez
LF - Tim Raines
CF - Mickey Rivers
RF - Babe Ruth
DH - Bobby Richardson
SP - Red Ruffing/Allie Reynolds
RP - Mariano Rivera

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Yankees-Astros 1:05, ESPN (3/15)

Mike Mussina takes to the hill today as the Yankees travel to Kissimmee to go against the Houston Astros. Former Yankee Andy Pettitte will get the nod for Houston.

Update 2:10

Yankees lead it 3-1 after 3 1/2; Mitch Jones has smacked his third home run. It came off of knuckleballer Steve Sparks.

Update 3:20

Yankees lead the Astros 8-1 after 7 1/2. Some good news - an MRI on Johnny Damon's shoulder revealed tendonitis.

Update 3:55

Yankees win it 11-1 as Mitch Jones homers twice, and Robinson Cano goes 3-4. Mike Mussina picked up the victory, while Andy Pettitte was shouldered with the loss.


The Yankees ripped 17 hits off of 4 Astro pitchers, lead by Kevin Thompson's 4-5 effort. Thompson drove in 3 runs and scored a pair. Andy Phillips and Robinson Cano had 3 hits apiece. Jason Giambi was in the lineup for the second straight game, going 0-1 with 2 walks.

The big story of this game, however, was Mike Mussina. Moose went 5 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits, while walking 1 and striking out 8. He threw 78 pitches, 60 of them for strikes. Ron Villone, Scott Erickson, Ramiro Mendoza, and Frank Brooks each tossed a scoreless inning to close out the victory.

Former Yankee Andy Pettitte allowed 2 runs on 5 hits in 3 innings pitched.

The Loathe List - The Ides of March are Here

Back on January 31st, we presented our first loathe list - time to see who has moved up or down, been added or been dropped.

1. Barry Bonds - Barry, I promised you that you wouldn't last at #6 for long. "Game of Shadows" will be hitting the bookstores soon, further documenting your steroid use, your abusive nature, and you're overall "prickishness". Then you had the balls to say you wanted to play for Team USA in the 2nd round of the WBC. You are an automatic for the loathe Hall of Fame. Hopefully, that's the only Hall of Fame you ever get into.

2. Bud Selig - For continuing to waste airspace with this spectacle of a baseball tournament. Johnny Damon now has a sore shoulder from being pushed too hard in the early practices. I hope this is an utter failure in the US, the only place where the results really matter for the moneymakers. (down one spot from #1)

3. Curt Schilling - You might have actually fallen off the list had you not hit the Pirates Chris Duffy. Those things happen -- but then you blamed him for not getting out of the way. To put it simply, you're a dick.

4. Stephon Marbury - Oh excuse me, Starbury. If you're game and winning ability only matched your mouth. People actually defend you because they merely look at your numbers. You're not only a coach-killer, you're a team-killer.

5. Daunte Culpepper - A newcomer to the list. It wasn't bad enough that you and your teammates embarrassed yourselves on the party boat, but now you and your lawyers are trying to take the focus off of yourself by playing the race card. For shame!

6. Isiah Thomas - You've always been a phony as a person, and somehow you've tricked a bunch of NBA owners that you know how to run a team. You were a great basketball player, but you may be an even greater con man.

7. Roger Clemens - Rocket, maybe you shouldn't be on the list, but just retire or sign with someone, but stop dicking everyone around.

8. To whichever NFL owner signs Terrell Owens. Welcome to your nightmare.

9. Bode Miller - The Olympics has been over for a while now, but your "I could careless attitude" still resonates.

10. MLB schedule makers for having the Yankees first 3 games on the West Coast with late starts.

Gone from the list - Anna Benson, Jeffrey Loria, Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Roenick, Herman Edwards, sports agents.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Yankees-Cardinals 1:15 on YES, ESPN

The Yankees return to Legends field today to take on Tony LaRussa and the St. Louis Cardinals. The 1:15 matchup will be televised on both YES and ESPN.

Randy Johnson will get the start for the Yanks, while Sidney Ponson goes for the Cards.

The Yankees got some not-so-good news yesterday from the WBC. Johnny Damon has been shutdown due to a sore left shoulder and may be removed from the star roster. Damon isn't concerned, feeling that is a short term, rather than long term, problem and that it is best to err on the side of caution. Damon's shoulder bothered him last season and he received a cortisone shot in September.

Update 2:00

Yankees lead the Cardinals, 1-0, in the bottom of the 4th. Robinson Cano broke the scoreless tie moments ago with an opposite field home run. Randy Johnson breezed through the first four innings. His best out of the spring thus far.

Update 2:45

Cardinals have jumped on top of the Yankees, 2-1, after 5 1/2. Chris Duncan's solo home run tied the game at one, and then the Cards added another off of Randy Johnson in the 5th.

Game Notes 4:45

The Cards Chris Dunca, son of Cards coach Dave Duncan and brother of the Yankees Shelley Duncan, homered off of Johnson and had the game winning hit off of Tanyon Sturtze in the eigth.

Jason Giambi returned to the lineup, going 0-2 with a sac fly and an RBI. Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 sixth innings. Mike Myers allowed an insurance run in the ninth. Johnson breezed through the first four innings, before being charged with two runs in the fifth. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out five.

The Yankees will travel to Kissimmee tomorrow to face Houston. Andy Pettitte will be getting the start for the Astros.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Yankees-Pirates 1:05 (3/13)

The Yankees travel to Bradenton today to take on the Pirates in a 1:05 start. Jaret Wright gets the starts for the Pinstripes, while lefty Sean Burnett (correction) goes for the Bucs. Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada, and Andy Phillips are scheduled to make the road trip.

The Yankees got some good news from yesterday's loss to the Indians on Sunday. Tanyon Sturtze saw his first exhibition action of the spring. Though he threw one scoreless inning, the bigger news was that he was completely pain free for the first time in a long time.

More good news came from a side bullpen session where Carl Pavano threw 40 pitches in his continued rehab. Pavano mixed up his pitches and felt good about where he's at. Though he's still expected to start the season on the DL, the Yankees expect him back soon rather than later. Pavano's season will be a key to the Yankees season.

Jason Giambi could have returned to the lineup today, had the Pittsburgh Pirates been willing. The Yankees submitted a request to use the DH in the National League ballpark, but were turned down by the Pirates. How nice of them. Giambi will be back in the lineup tomorrow against the Cardinals.

Update 1:30

Yankees lead 1-0 in the first on a Bubba Crosby solo home run.

Update 1:55

The Pirates reached starter for a pair of runs in each of the first two innings, to lead 4-1 after 2 1/2.

To me this is a good sign, because there's no way I want Wright taking a spot in the rotation.

Update 2:25

The Pirates tacked on 4 more in the 3rd. Joe Randa's home run off of Wright being the big blow. Pirates lead it 8-1 after four.

Update 2:45

Jeromy Burnitz smacked a solo shot off of Scott Proctor - after 5, Pirates lead 9-1.

Yankees Home Run Rally Falls Short 3:55

The Yankees hit five home runs, four over the final two innings, but still fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-8. Bubba Crosby's solo home run in the first gave the Yankees their only lead 1-0. Jaret Wright was roughed up for a pair of runs in each of the first two innings and Joe Randa took Scott Proctor deep as the Pirates built a 9-1 lead.

Mitch Jones in the eighth to cut the deficit to 9-3, and then Jones, Eric Duncan and Kevin Thompson each hit long balls in the ninth to bring the Yankees within a run, 9-8. Three of the home runs came off of former Met Scott Strickland. The rally would end there, however, as Matt Whiteside came in to save Sean Burnett's victory.

Game Notes

Jaret Wright's pitching line was a true nightmare. 3 IP, 11 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 1 walk, and no strikeouts. What a great signing he was. Ron Villone and Ramiro Mendoza each worked a scoreless inning.

Mitch Jones, the perennial minor leaguer, had 3 hits, including a pair of home runs, and 3 RBI. Eric Duncan had hits in both his at-bats, including his second home run of the spring. Bubba Crosby's home run lead off the ballgame.

Joe Randa homered and drove in 3 for the Pirates, while Sean Casey added 2 hits and an RBI.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Yankees vs. Indians 1:05 (3/12)

The Yankees travel to Winter Haven this afternoon for a 1:05 start against the Cleveland Indians. Righty Shawn Chacon will face Indians lefty, C.C. Sabathia. Tanyon Sturtze is expected to see his first game action of the spring.

Game Recap and Notes 4:30

The Cleveland Indians rallied for 3 runs off reliever Scott Erickson in the bottom of the 8th to capture a 7-5 victory over the Yankees. Todd Donovan, who stole 62 bases at Double-A ball last season, capped the inning with a solo home run. Travis Hafner and Ben Broussard knocked in 2 runs each.

The Yankees got shutout pitcher from their starting pitcher for the second straight game. On the heels of Chien-Ming Wang's three scoreless innings on Saturday, Sunday's starter Shawn Chacon tossed three of his own. Chacon did struggle somewhat with his control, walking four, while allowing two hits and striking out three. Sean Henn looked as bad as he did in his two brief call-ups with the big club last year. Henn lasted only one inning, allowing four runs on four hits and four walks. Control problems plagued Henn throughout 2005's major league experience.

Tanyon Sturtze threw a scoreless inning in exhibition debut, while Mike Myers threw up a goose egg for his one inning of work.

Russ Johnson lead the offense with a pair of RBI, while Felix Escalona had two of the Yankees six hits and drove in a run. Eric Duncan (1 RBI, 1 run) and Melky Cabrera each singled in their only official at-bats.

Indians starter C.C. Sabathia allowed three runs (1 earned) in four innings of work. Danny Graves picked up the victory with a scoreless eighth, while Edward Mujica picked up the save after allowing a run in the 9th.

The Yankees, now 6-6 in the spring, face the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday at 1:05 pm.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Yankees-Braves 1:15 on YES (3/11)

The Yankees take on the Atlanta Braves at Legends Field today, in a 1:15 start. Chien-Ming Wang gets the start for the Bombers. The game will be televised on YES.

Injury Update

Carl Pavano threw 37 pitches off of the bullpen mound during the Yankees-Reds game on Friday. Next up will be a chance to throw batting practice and simulate game conditions.

Jason Giambi will most likely remain out of the lineup until early next week due to his strained left calf.

Update 6:20

The Yankees topped the Atlanta Braves 7-3 this afternoon behind a strong outing by starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang. Wang who struggled in his previous start, had his heavy sinker falling sharply off the table. Wang threw just 37 pitches while striking out four and allowing one hit.

The Yankee hitters reached Braves starter Horacio Ramirez for a pair of runs in the second. The Yankees loaded the bases on singles by Andy Phillips and Mitch Jones, and a walk to Melky Cabrera. Marcos Vechionacci followed with an RBI single through the right side. Miguel Cairo's double play ball drove in the second run of the inning.

Jorge Posada's 3-run blast off of Travis Smith highlighted a four run fifth inning that broke the game open, 6-0. It was Posada's 2nd home run of the spring. All three Braves runs came off the bat Jarrod Saltalamacchia's home run off of Matt Smith in the sixth.

Aaron Small worked 2 2-3 scoreless innings before allowing two runners to reach prior to Saltalamacchia's blast. Mariano Rivera, Kyle Farnsworth, and Ron Villone each worked a scoreless inning.


Robinson Cano continued his good hitting spring with a single and a double. Tony Pena Jr., son of Yankees 1st base coach Tony Pena, started at shortstop for the Braves. Bubba Crosby, who has been bothered by a sore index finger, entered the game in the sixth as a defensive replacement. He produced an RBI single in his only at-bat.

Tanyon Sturtze will make his first game appearance on Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.

The Yankees reassigned pitchers Philip Hughes and Darrell Rasner, catcher Jason Brown, infielder Danny Garcia, and outfielder Chris Prieto to their minor league camp.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Yankees-Reds 1:05 (3/10)

The Yankees travel to Sarasota today to take on the Cincinnati Reds. Mike Mussina will get the start against lefthander Phil Dumatrait.

Notes - Jason Giambi hit out of the batting cage for the first time since injuring his calf muscle. He's expected to return to the lineup on Saturday. Happy Birthday #29 to non-roster invitee, Ben Davis.


The Reds topped the Yankees 5-4, in the bottom of 9th, as right fielder Rudy Guillen misplay of a Chris Denorfia single allowed the winning run to score.

Start Mike Mussina pitched hitless ball for 3 innings before giving up 2 runs in the 4th. Mussina was not impressed with his first 3 innings, however, as he wasn't able to locate the ball where he wanted.

The Yankee lineup featured no regulars, with Miguel Cairo and Kelly Stinnett the only major league experienced players seeing action. Felix Escalona had two hits, including a solo home run, and Guillen knocked in a pair of runs in the 8th to tie the game at three.

After Mussina departed, J.B. Cox retired all three batters he faced. Phil Hughes allowed a run on three hits, while walking one and striking out a pair in 2 innings of work. Scott Erickson went the final inning and a third, and was saddled with the loss.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Yankees vs Tigers, Phils (3/9)

The Yankees play their first split squad games of the Spring. The "main" game at Legends Field (1:15) will see Randy Johnson take on Kenny "I can't pitch in NYC" Rogers and his new team, the Detroit Tigers. The second group of Yankees will travel to Clearwater (1:05) to go up against the Phillies. Matt DeSalvo will get the start for the Bombers.


Scott Proctor was originally slated to start the Phillies game, but left the team to be with his wife who is in labor.

Carl Pavano and Octavio Dotel had mound session again yesterday, splitting their pitches between halfway up the mound and from atop the rubber. Joe Torre feels that Pavano may be ready to throw batting practice next week.

Jason Giambi hit off a tee yesterday, but Torre is holding him out of action until Saturday.

Update 12:00

Ramiro Mendoza, Kyle Farnsworth, and Ron Villone are also scheduled to pitch against the Tigers.

Update 2:20

Yankees trail the Tigers 5-1 after 3. Randy Johnson knocked around again. Touched for a 2-run HR by Chris Shelton in the 1st.

Better news from Clearwater, Yankees leading it 4-1. Eric Duncan hitting his first HR of the spring.

Update 3:30

Yankees lead the Phils 7-3 after 6 1/2 in Clearwater. Fans at Legends Field are seeing a stinker. Yankees trail 6-1 in the 8th and have managed just 1 hit.

Update 3:55

Final - Tigers 6 Yankees 1 (2 hits)

Clearwater - Yankees lead 7-3 in the 9th

Update 4:10

Yankees gain a split of the day with an 8-3 win over the Phillies. Shelley Duncan adding a home run in the 9th.

Game Notes

Yankees-Phillies: The Yankees banged out 17 hits, two of them by Eric Duncan, who had a grand slam. Danny Garica and Austin Jackson had 3 hits each. Shelley Duncan also homered.

Matt DeSalvo continued to impress, throwing 3-shutout innings, allowing a hit and a walk, and striking out 2. Mike Myers added 2-1/3 shutout innings.

Yankees-Tigers: Things weren't so rosy in Tampa, however, as the Tigers pasted the Yankees 6-1. The Yankees managed just 2 hits off of Kenny Rogers (3 IP) and 3 relievers. Chris Shelton, and former Yankee, Marcus Thames each homered, with Thames' shot coming off of Mariano Rivera. Rivera struck out the other three hitters he faced.

Randy Johnson started and was ineffective. Going four innings for the first time, the Unit allowed 5 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits, a walk, and a hit batsman. He struck out just 3. Ron Villone and Kyle Farnsworth tossed a scoreless inning each, before TJ Beam shut the Tigers down over the final two innings.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Yankees - Pirates (3/7)

Legends Field 7:15

Jaret Wright vs. Paul Maholm

Jason Giambi will sit out once again with a calf strain. There is a possibility that Gary Sheffield will play.


Yankees won their 4th straight, 8-3 over a split squad of Pirates. Jaret Wright pitched an effective 2 2-3 innings before allowing a pair of runs to tie the game at 2. The Yankees answered back with 3 runs in the bottom of the third, highlighted by Andy Phillips' RBI double.

Jason Giambi sat out again with a bad calf, but Gary Sheffield returned as the DH and went 1-2. Darrell Rasner picked up the victory. Scott Erickson impressed by throwing 2 hitless innings, striking out 3.

Injury Update

Taynon Sturtze is scheduled to throw a bullpen session tomorrow, with the hopes he can pitch in a game next week. Bubba Crosby, who has sat out several days with a bruised index finger, took batting practice and may return shortly.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Yankees-Twins 1:15 on YES (3/7)

Legends Field, 1:15

Shawn Chacon vs Brad Radke; Mariano Rivera is also scheduled to pitch.

Gary Sheffield (hamstring) and Jason Giambi (who strained his left calf yesterday) will sit out.

Injury Update

Carol Pavano and Octavio Dotel threw from the mound for the 2nd time this spring. Pavano threw 40 pitches in total, 27 from halfway up the mound, and the remainder from the rubber. Dotel threw 30 pitches, evenly splitting the amount between the halfway spot and the rubber.

Kirby Puckett
March 14, 1960 - March 6, 2006

Update 2:00

Jorge Posada hit his HR of the spring, a 2-run shot to right. Yankees lead 2-0 after 2.

Update 2:25

Top 4, still 2-0 Yankees. Sean Henn in to pitch. Chacon tossed 3 shutout innings.

Update 4:15

Yankees win it 5-0 in just 2:21. Chacon gets the victory.

Update 4:50

Both teams managed just 6 hits on the day. Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui had 2 each. Kevin Howard, acquired in the Tony Womack trade, drove in 2 runs. Shawn Chacon (2), Sean Henn (2), Mariano Rivera (1), Kyle Farnsworth (1), Ron Villone (1), and Matt Smith (1) combined on the shutout.

Yankees improve to 3-3 with their 3rd stright win. They take on the Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow evening at 7:15. Jaret Wright gets the start.

Leiter considers retirement

Leiter told reporters, "This could be the last thing I do. Very much so". Wonder if this had anything to do with the Giants kicking his ass over the weekend?!

Monday, March 6, 2006

Kirby Puck Passes Away From Stroke

Kirby Puckett, who suffered a stroke Sunday morning and underwent neurosurgery later in the day, died today at age 45*. Last rites had been administered earlier in the day. Puckett passed later in the afternoon. The former Minnestota Twins Hall of Famer is survived by 2 children.

Puckett played the game with tremendous enthusiasm and hustle. He was well respected, loved, and admired by both his teammates and opponents.

* Research by the MLB Hall of Fame found that Puckett was actually born in 1960, not 1961.

Yankees-Blue Jays 1:05 (3/6)

Yankees face the Blue Jays today in Tampa with a 1:05 start. Chien-Ming Wang starts against highly touted Dustin McGowan. The game will be televised on YES.

Gary Sheffield missed yesterday's game with a tight hamstring and could sit out again today. Hideki Matsui, who DH'ed on Sunday, is expected to return to the outfield today.

The Jays are missing Vernon Wells (USA), Alex Rios (Puerto Rico), and Gustavo Chacin (Venezuela) to the WBC.

The Yankees are 30-23 all-time vs. the Jays in Spring Training games.

Injury Update - Tanyon Sturtze threw 10 minutes of batting practice and is expected to do so again later in the week.


Kirby Puckett remains in critical condition in a Scottsdale, AZ hospital after surgery following a stroke.

Update 1:45

Blue Jays lead 3-2, top 2

Glaus and Hinske have homered for the Jays.

Giambi with a sac fly; Andy Phillips RBI single.

Update 2:25

Yankees put a 6-spot up on the board in the 2nd to take an 8-3 lead. Robinson Cano with a home run.

Update 2:45

Aaron Small in to pitch the top of the 4th. Wang went the first 3, allowing 3 runs. Yankees lead 8-3.

Update 3:15

Blue Jays rallied for 5 runs in the top of the 5th to tie the game. Kevin Barker hitting the Jays third HR of the day, a 3-run blast off of Ramiro Mendoza.

Update 4:00

Yankees lead 10-8 in the 7th. Kevin Thompson's RBI double highlighted a 2-run 5th.

Ron Villone pitching.

Update 4:45

Yankees win 11-8; Wil Nieves added a home run. Despite a shoddy outing, Mendoza get the win. J.B. Cox picks up the save. Yankees improve to 2-3.

Game Notes

Andy Phillips led the hitting attack with 3 RBI, while Miguel Cairo and Robinson Cano added 2 ribbies each. Cano went 2-2 and was hit by a pitch.

Troy Glaus drove in 4 for the Jays, while Kevin Barker added 3 RBI.

Yankees pitching line

C Wang.............................2...6...3....3...0...0...2
A Small............................2...4...4...1....0...1...0
R Mendoza (W,1-0)..................1...1...1...1....0...1...1
S Erickson.....................1 2-3...2...0...0....0...2...0
R Villone......................1 1-3...0...0...0....0...2...0
J Cox (S,1)........................1...0...0...0....1...1...0

Jays prospect Dustin McGowan was torched for 7 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in just 1 official inning pitched.

Yankees host Minnesota tomorrow, 1:15 on YES. Shawn Chacon faces Brad Radke.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Kirby Puckett Felled By Stroke

Hall of Fame outfielder Kirby Puckett was rushed to Scottsdale (AZ) Memorial Hospital this morning with an apparent stroke. He was later taken to Scottsdale Osborne Hospital for Neurosurgery.

The 44-year old former Twins outfielder retired in 1996 due to glaucoma.

Yankees-Blue Jays 1:05 (3/5)

Yankees vs Blue Jays - Dunedin, FL 1:05 PM

Mike Mussina vs Ted Lilly

Injury Update - Carl Pavano threw 30 pitches from the rubber yesterday, the last 17 of which were changeups. Pavano was originally scheduled to only throw from halfway up the mound, as Octavio Dotel did with his 30. Both pitchers worked under the watchful eyes of Ron Guidry and Joe Kerrigan.

Phillip Hughes will make his 2nd appearance of the spring today. He retired all six batters he faced in his first outing against the Phillies.

Update - 4:25 pm

Yankees win their first game of the spring 3-2. Phillip Hughes pick up the victory with Matt DeSalvo notching the save.

Update 5:15

Mike Mussina started for the Yankees, going 2 2-3 innings and allowing 1 run on 4 hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. Phillip Hughes allowed his first run of the spring in 1 1-3 innings, walking two and allowing one hit.

Melky Cabrera and Hideki Matsui had 3 hits each, while Kevin Thompson added a pair. Jorge Posada, Andy Phillips, and Felix Escalona drove in the Yankees runs.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Yankees vs Reds 3/4

Top of the 8th, Reds lead the Yankees 3-1. Randy Johnson's first inning was similar to his 2005 first innings - Edwin Encarnacion took him deep.

Final Score 4-1 Reds, drops to the Yankees to 0-3 in the spring.

Encarnacion homered and doubled off of Johnson.

Yankees had 9 hits, 2 by Miguel Cairo. Kevin Thompson drove in the only run. Newly acquired righty Darrell Rasner threw 2 shutout innings.

Hideki Matsui made his first appearance of the spring, acting as designated hitter. Gary Sheffield made his first appearance in right.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Yanks and Phils in Clearwater 1:05 3/3

Yesterday's game went pretty well,with the exception of Mike Myers' appearance. Today the Yankees will send Jaret Wright to the mound as they further try to formulate their rotation for the start of the season. The other day some pundit mentioned that Wright would most likely be the number 5 starter, that was counting as Pavano as one of the five. Hello? Excuse me...Shawn Chacon has to be in that rotation, he'd be wasted in the pen. I personally don't care what happens to Wright. It was an awful signing by Brian Cashman; a desperation move made in the wake of losing Jon Lieber.

Hideki Matsui will be sitting out today's game, once again, with a sore left knee. He is expected to be in the lineup on Saturday though. Gary Sheffield and Jorge Posada are not scheduled to make the trip to Clearwater either. Ex-Yank Tom Gordon will see some action for the Phils. Our old friend Jon Lieber will get the start.

Immediately after yesterday's game, the Yankees WBC participants, including newly added Al Leiter, headed off to their national team locations. Leiter took time out to talk to reporters - what else is new? - to express his enthusiasm for the tourney, and to remind us that "everyone in camp knows how I can pitch". Yeah Al, that's why we want you gone. Shut your mouth and go run for office already.

Carl Pavano and Octavio Dotel are scheduled to throw halfway up the mound tomorrow as they continue their respective injury rehabs.

Update 2:05 PM

Yankees trail 4-2 bottom 3. Ryan Howard and Aaron Rowand with home runs for the Phillies. Both were hit off of Jorge DePaula.

Update Update 4:40 PM

Phillies scored off Frank Brooks (everyone go who?) in the bottom of the 9th to win 11-10. Tom Gordon blew the lead in the 9th when Eric Duncan's RBI single capped a 2-run rally.

Ryan Howard added a second moonshot to his first one.

Yankees-Phils Game Notes

Yankee young centerfielders Melky Cabrera and Kevin Thompson both had impressive days at the plate. Cabrera, who got rushed to the majors last year, was 4-5 with a pair of ribbies and runs scored. Thompson went 3-3 with two runs scored. The Yankees, who drop to 0-2, had 16 hits on the day.

Ryan Howard had an awesome day for the Phillies, going 4-4, with a pair of long home runs and 5 RBI. Yankee fans were probably wishing the game was in Tampa after Tom Gordon's recent remarks. Gordon came into the 9th for a save and quickly blew a 2 run lead. The Yankees bullpen bailed him out though in the bottom of the 9th.

The Yankees pitching line was just plain ugly.

Wright 2 IP, 1 ER
De Paula 1 IP, 3 ER
Villone .2 IP, 3 ER
Erickson 1.1 IP, 2 R
Mendoza 1.1 IP, 1 ER
Childers 1.2 IP, 0 R
Brooks 0.2 IP, 1 ER

Friday Bunts

The Yankees All "M" Team


3B Gil McDougald
C Thurman Munson
1B Don Mattingly
CF Mickey Mantle
RF Roger Maris
LF Bobby Murcer
DH Hideki Matsui
SS Gene Michael
2B Billy Martin

SP Mike Mussina
RP Johnny Murphy

Mgr Joe McCarthy

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Yankees - Phils In-game Update

Yankees and Phils are tied 2-2 after 3 innings. Shawn Chacon threw 2 scoreless innings, retiring the first 5 hitters he faced. Sean Henn gave up the first gopher ball of the spring to Pat Burrell, with a man aboard, in the 3rd.

Johnny Damon 2-2 so far, including an RBI single. Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams each had base hits and scored the Yankees runs. Robinson Cano with the best defensive play of the game thus far, diving to his left, getting up and throwing the batter out at first. 2:20 PM

3:00 Update

Yankees have just taken a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 6th as Andy Phillips homered to right on the first pitch he faced. Henn retired the final 4 men he faced, before Aaron Small came on to throw two scoreless innings. My main man, Melky Cabrera, now playing centerfield.

3:30 Update

Mike Myers showed why he's a lefty specialist, getting hammered by the Phils' righties to the tune of 3 runs. J.B. Cox made his debut giving up a solo home run. Andy Phillips now 2-2, adding a single to the HR he hit earlier. Eric Duncan made his debut, hitting into a 4-6-3 double play. Phils lead 6-3, bottom 8.

Final Score

Phillies hung on for a 6-3 win. Matt Smith, whom the Yankees are very high on as a lefty reliever, pitched a very impressive 9th inning.

Spring Training Opener - Yankees vs Phillies

There's a certain feeling in my stomach. It could be from the office's cafeteria food, but more than likely it is because it's the Spring Training opener. There's a forecast of 4-8 inches of snow as the Northeast continues to get belted with a late burst of winter, but partly sunny skies and a temperature around 80 degrees will soothe the fans sitting in the stands at Legends Field. Again, it could be yesterday's turkey sandwich, but this shade of green is the envy that occurs when you're freezing your ass off instead of having it parked in a molded seat watching the national pasttime.

Another season getting underway, warm weather, short skirts, bikinis, barbecues, all that is summer. Okay, enough waxing poetic - clapping, booing, yelling, cheering, cursing, eating too many hot dogs, no leg room - that is the ballpark experience. I can't wait for that first game I attend at The Stadium this season. Making your way through the crush of traffic to the GWB, through the throngs of ticket scalpers and sidewalk musicians, and into the Big Ballyard in the Bronx.

There's plenty to do before that day though, and it all starts in Tampa today. This will be the only chance to see Johnny Damon, Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez before they head off to the World Baseball Calamity. To top it off the game will be televised on YES. With the Olympic Break depriving me of Rangers hockey, there's been a definite need for some real sports, especially as the snow is falling.

The countdown to opening day really begins. Just a mere 32 days. Seems like a lifetime!

Yankees vs. Phillies 1:15

Shawn Chacon 7-3 2.85


Ryan Franklin 8-15, 5.10

Yankees Notes - Gary Sheffield will be limited to DH; Hideki Matsui is out with a sore knee. Sean Henn will see action in relief of Chacon.

Phillies Notes - Pat Burell has been bothered by a sore foot, but is expected to play. David Bell, already suffering from a sore elbow, hurt his back Wednesday and is to be examined.

Extra Innings

he WBC took 4 more hits today as Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner, C.C. Sabathia and Vlad Guerrero all dropped out. Big Vlad is going through a tough time, mourning the loss of 3 cousins in a fatal car accident. There is some good news for Yankee fans though, Al Leiter has been added to the US roster. That lessens the chance of him making the ball club. I'm going to have a kaniption if I hear Joe Torre one more time talk about Leiter's clubhouse presence and how well he's throwing the ball. Hey Joe, it's easy to throw strikes when there's no batter to intimidate you out of it.

Kip Wells' once promising career took another hit Wednesday, when it was announced he would undergo surgery Monday to replace a vein in his (left) pitching arm, which was contributing to a blood clot. There is no timetable for recovery.