Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Yankees Did Nothing...And Nothing Was Good

There are probably plenty of Yankees fans out there tonight bemoaning the fact that Yankees did not acquire one player at the trade deadline. Despite another excellent outing from Freddy Garcia, there's a sense of panic that the pitching staff won't hold up and won't get the job done when the biggest games are on the line.

But what these fans don't realize, there was nothing of substance on the market. Yes, there was Ubaldo Jimenez, who personally I have concerns about, but Colorado wanted Phil Hughes, Dellin Betances, Jesus Montero, and Manny Banuelos. That is bananas. Cashman was willing to include Hughes in a deal, but the Rockies weren't interested especially after the Yankees wanted to see Jimenez's medical records ahead of time.

Some fans probably are livid that the Red Sox landed Erik Bedard, but the achy-breaky left-hander hasn't exactly had a lengthy, healthy track record. The Red Sox didn't even have to part iwth any of their top tier prospects to get him. (Though the Dodgers gave up their 10th rated player, Trayvon Robinson, to Boston who then dealt him to Seattle.)

The price was too high for San Diego's Heath Bell and though Mike Adams would have been a nice addition, where exactly would he fit with Soriano, Robertson, and Rivera?

King Felix was not available. The Yankees were willing to pay $21MM of the remaining money owed Houston's Wandy Rodriguez, but the Astros wouldn't pick up the rest.

The Yankees could use another bat..and they'll have one soon. His name is Alex Rodriguez.

It is what it is and it's not good to make a trade just for the sake of making a trade.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Burnett, Bats Come Up Short

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would think that the Yankees' hitters got together before each of A.J. Burnett's starts and agreed, "We will not produce offense tonight." (On the flip side of the coin they make up for it when CC Sabathia pitches.) Last night the offense again pulled up lame and Burnett was not good enough as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees for the first time in seven tries this season, 4-2.

After scoring 21 runs in Burnett's first three starts this season, the Yankees have averaged just 3.2 runs per game in his 19 starts since then. Burnett has not helped matters by having an ERA that has gotten progressively higher as the weather has gotten warmer. (3.09 in April to 4.83 in July). Last night was a typical Burnett start, decent, but not great and not good enough to win. He threw a complete game, snapping a streak of three straight starts that he didn't make it out of the 6th inning, and limited the O's to five hits. He also struck out 10 batters for the first time this season.

But Burnett put the Yankees in a hole early, surrendering a 2-run home run to Mark Reynolds in the 2nd inning. Derek Lee added a solo home run, the 20th allowed by Burnett this season (he allowed 25 HR's in each of the last two seasons) and an RBI double. Conversely, Jeremy Guthrie was putting up zeroes on the scoreboard, despite being one of the Yankees favorite targets. With the victory, Guthrie is still just 4-9, 5.15 in 17 appearances (15 starts) against New York.

Guthrie had everything working last night though and the Yankees couldn't take advantage of what little opportunities they had. Guthrie retired the first seven Yankees hitters before Jorge Posada and Russell Martin reached on back to back singles in the 3rd, but Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter couldn't produce in the clutch. Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher drew two out walks in the 4th, but Eric Chavez to grounded out to end the inning.Mark Teixeira finally got the Yankees on the board in the 6th inning with his 29th home run of the season.

Guthrie limited the Yankees to four hits over seven innings and Koji Uehara tossed a scoreless 8th, before the bats finally woke up in the 9th.Consecutive doubles by Cano and Swisher off of Orioles' closer Kevin Gregg cut Baltimore's lead in half. Posada drew a one out walk to put the tying runs on base, but Martin bounced into a force out and Gardner struck out swinging on a full count to end the game. The prior pitch was outside, but was called a strike by home plate ump Mike DiMuro. After he swung and missed at Gregg's final offering, Gardner expressed all of the Yankees' frustrations by smashing his bat on the ground.


As expected, Rafael Soriano was activated before the game and Steve Garrison was sent back to Trenton. Sergio Mitre was placed on the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.

The Yankees and Orioles play a day-night doubleheader today. Both Orioles starting pitchers are being recalled from the minor leagues. Chris Tillman faces Bartolo Colon in the opener, while Zach Britton goes against Ivan Nova, also being recalled from Triple-A, in the nightcap.

The Yankees held a moment of silence prior to the game for Hideki Irabu, who committed suicide on Wednesday. Jorge Posada called Irabu's death "devastating".

The Yankees' HOPE week concluded with a very emotional reunion of two friends who were orphans in Russia at one time. Read all about it here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hideki Irabu Found Dead In LA

Hideki Irabu and Rudolph Guiliani in happier times.

Former New York Yankees and Japanese League pitcher Hideki Irabu has been found dead in his home in Los Angeles, CA. Kyodo News reported that police are investigating a possible suicide. Another source said that Irabu had hung himself, but that has not been confirmed.

Irabu was a solid, but unspectacular pitcher for the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japanese Pacific League before signing with the Yankees during the 1997 season. (After acquiring his rights from San Diego). At the time, his four year, $12.8MM was the highest for a Major League rookie. But Irabu's performance never matched the hype nor did his fastball,which was supposed to be in the upper 90's.

In two-plus seasons in New York, Irabu was 29-20, 4.80 before he was dealt to the Montreal Expos with Jake Westbrook for Ted Lilly and Christian Parker. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner infamously referred to Irabu as a "fat pussy toad".

Irabu pitched in just 14 big league games for the Expos (2-6, 6.69) and was released in early September. He played on more season in the US for the Texas Rangers in 2002 and recorded 16 saves as a reliever. He returned to Japan after the season and pitched for two years with the Hanshin Tigers.

He came out of retirement in 2009 and attempted a comeback with the Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League, but retired in August. Last year he was arrested on a DUI charge in California.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.

King Ends Mariners Skid

Felix Hernandez is the big grand prize that every team in baseball wants, but Seattle put him under lock and key and said, "not happening". Hernandez has not matched his Cy Young season of a year ago, but he's still pitching well enough to win as he did in a 9-2 victory over the Yankees. The win snapped the Mariners 17 game losing streak and evened the King's record at 9-9.

Hernandez walked four batters in seven innings, but limited the Yankees to a single run. Yankees starter Phil Hughes scuffled through six, but departed trailing just 2-1. However, Cory Wade, Boone Logan and the Yankees defense let the game get out of hand with three unearned runs in the 7th inning.

Ichiro, who was 4-5 on the day, led off the inning with a double off of Wade and Brendan Ryan and his bad 'stache followed with an infield single. Logan produced a potential double play ball from Dustin Ackley, but Robinson Cano's flip to second base was wild for a run scoring error. Logan walked Justin Smoak to load the bases and one batter later Mike Carp unloaded them with a triple when Curtis Granderson couldn't hold onto his deep drive to center. The final run of the inning came in on Franklin Gutierrez's double off of Luis Ayala.

As for Hughes, it wasn't a pretty sight. The right-hander is still in search of his stuff that made him so succesful in the first half of 2010. He allowed nine hits, walked two and threw 101 pitches. (65 for strikes.) On the positive side he worked out of a lot of jams. On the negative side...he was in a lot of jams. What Hughes performance showed more than anything is that the Yankees really do need to acquire another solid starter if they are to truly compete in this year's playoffs.


Alex Rodriguez turned 36 on Wednesday.

Rafael Soriano is likely to be activated on Friday for the four game set with the Orioles. Steve Garrison is the most likely candidate to be sent down.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FullCountPitch - Total Domination

If you live in the metropolitan area you’ve seen the commercial hundreds of times. Two car rental agents sit around the break room talking about the prior night’s New York Yankees game. One refers to it as “Total domination”.

You can bet today there are plenty of workers sitting around their break room, standing by the vending machines or watercoolers, discussing last night’s Yankees game and using the phrase “Total dimination” with regularity.

That’s because last night CC Sabathia was about as good as you can be without throwing a perfect game. Granted, his opponent was the hapless Seattle Mariners, but that doesn’t make 27 up and 27 down any easier to do. From the 1st inning on though it appeared Sabathia might just have a date with “baseball immortality” as Yankees’ radio man John Sterling likes to put it.

Sabathia breezed through the first three innings and then the Mariners bats made a breeze as Sabathia struck out the side in the 4th and 5th innings. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans and you could tell by the 5th that a rain delay was imminent.

Lightning lit up the sky and it began to drizzle as the Mariners came to bat in the 6th inning. This was no Roy Hobbes story though. Sabathia struck out Mike Carp, for his seventh straight K, to start the frame. But then the skies opened up and rain came down in sheets. A 31 minute delay interrupted what appeared to be destiny calling.

There was no question Sabathia would come out after the relatively short delay. He kept loose throwing underneath the stands and re-took the mound to face rookie Greg Halman. Sabathia retired him…but on a pop up. Suddenly contact was made. The next batter, Chone Figgins, grounded out to Derek Jeter to end the inning.

18 up, 18 down, but Sabathia’s location was a little off and bat was meeting ball. Sabathia struck out Ichiro to start the 7th, but quickly fell behind 2-0 to Brendan Ryan and then let a 94 mph fastball get too much of the plate. Ryan slapped it in to left-center field for the Mariners first and only hit of the night. Sabathia bounced right back and blew away Dustin Ackley and Miguel Olivo for his 13th and 14th strikeouts (a new personal high) on the night.

Read more about Sabathia's game and the Mariners' July demise at, where the content is always free.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

CC Brings Out The Beast

It didn't take long to realize that the Seattle Mariners were in for a very long night at Yankee Stadium this evening. CC Sabathia was dominant from the start, perfect for 6.1 innings, and sharp as nails until a second rain delay threw him off his game in the 8th inning. The result was a 4-1 Yankees win that pinned a 17th straight loss on the Mariners, who had just one hit on the night.

In winning his Major League best 15th game, Sabathia outshone his counterpart, Doug Fister, who pitched well enough to win on most nights. But Sabathia was literally unhittable- he struck out seven straight at one point and 14 overall, setting a career high. His seventh straight strikeout was Mike Carp to start the 6th inning, but then the rain came down in sheets and led to a 31 minute rain delay.

When play resumed Sabathia retired the final two batters in the 7th on a pop out and ground out. Sabathia k'ed Ichiro Suzuki to begin the 7th, but Brendan Ryan hit a clean single to left-center to break up the perfect game and no-hitter. After the fans stood on their feet and applauded, Sabathia struck out Dustin Ackley and Miguel Olivo to end the inning.

The Yankees grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 4th when Curtis Granderson hit his 28th home run into the left field seats. It was the first home run that Granderson hit to the opposite field this season. An inning later the Yankees added some breathing room on consecutive singles by Nick Swisher, Jorge Posada, and Eric Chavez, who was activated from the DL prior to the game, and a ribbie ground out by Derek Jeter.

Another 18 minute rain delay impacted the game and Sabathia as he began the 8th by walking three straight hitters. Joe Girardi called on David Robertson, who struck out pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy and got Chone Figgins to hit a potential double play grounder to Chavez. But the third baseman booted the ball and could only get a force as the Mariners got on the board. Robertson then caught Ichiro looking to strand a pair of runners.

Mark Teixeira added an insurance run in the home half of the 8th with his 28th home run of the season before Mariano Rivera struck out two of three in the ninth for his 26th save.


The combined 18 strikeouts by Sabathia, Robertson, and Rivera tied the single game Yankees record held by Ron Guidry, who did it all by himself in 1978.

Brandon Laird was sent back to Scranton to make room for Chavez on the roster.

HOPE Week continued with the Yankees honoring Tuesday's Child, an organization that was originally started to help out children who lost parents in 9/11 as well as parents who lost older children on that horrible day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yankees Extend Manglers Losing Streak to 16

That's not a typo, do not adjust your monitors. I would like to see the Seattle Mariners officially change their name to the "Manglers". Because no one can mangle a baseball game like the Mariners right now. The Yankees beat them up early and went on to an easy 10-3 win. The loss was the 16th straight for Seattle, who did their best to help the Yankees in every way possible.

Freddy Garcia cruised into the 8th inning with the help of the impatient M's. He threw 11 pitches in the 1st inning, nine in the 4th, eight in both the 5th and 6th innings in raising his record to 9-7.

Mark Teixeira got Garcia off to a good start in the bottom of the first with a 2-run home run off Seattle starter Jason Vargas. Up 2-1 in the 3rd, Derek Jeter hit one into the right field seats for a solo home run.

The Yankees broke things up open with a five run 4th inning as the Mariners stumbled along. Eduardo Nunez and Brett Gardner stroked RBI singles for a 5-1 advantage, and another run came home on Dustin Ackley's throwing error. Curtis Granderson's sac fly and Teixeira's RBI single closed out the scoring for the inning. Vargas was given a reprieve by manager Eric Wedge after the inning as Chris Ray came into pitch.

No one could blame Wedge if he walked out the door and never came back. The Mariners were 43-43 and in the thick of the AL West race....and they haven't won since. Even Ichiro is having issues. He got picked off in a crucial situation in Boston and kicked a Derek Jeter ball in the right field corner into a triple tonight.

All of this also makes you think the Mariners may reconsider dealing Felix Hernandez as they are a team in need of massive changes.


Steve Garrison made his Major League debut, getting the final two outs in the 9th inning. He's likely to be sent down when Rafael Soriano is activated this week.

Yankees started their annual HOPE Week by honoring Daniel Trush and the Daniel Music Foundation.

The Yankees moved to 60-40, the first time they have been 20 games over .500 on the season.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A's Melt, Yankees Win

On a sweltering night in the Bronx, a night that Phil Hughes would just as soon forget, the Yankees bats picked up the slack and then some and smashed the Oakland Athletics 17-7.

Hughes wasn't around long enough to get the win, but Nick Swisher tied a career high with 5 RBI and Mark Teixeira belted a grand slam as the Yankees had their biggest offensive output since scoring 15 runs against the Orioles back on April 23. A's starter Trevor Cahill is a very good pitcher, but not when he faces the Yankees. He entered the game with an 0 and 3 won-loss record and a 9.72 ERA against the Bronx Bombers. He won't want to look at those numbers tomorrow. The Yankees tagged him for 10 earned runs in just two innings pitched.

His counterpart, Hughes, didn't fare much better. Hoping to built off his solid start against Toronto five days ago, Hughes was bad from the start, and was unable to locate his pitches. He had a 14-2 lead at one point, but with the score 14-5 in the 5th, Hughes loaded the bases with just one out. Having seen his pitcher labor through 98 pitchers already, manager Joe Girardi said enough is enough and went to the bullpen. Hughes was charged with seven runs on his record after Hector Noesi allowed two inherited runners to score. Noesi settled down after that to earn the win (2-0) with 3.2 scoreless innings.

The game was all about offense though. Down 2-0 in the 2nd inning, the Yankees bats took over and battered Cahill. Eduardo Nunez and Brett Gardner reached on RBI singles to tie the game and Derek Jeter put the Yankees ahead for good with a 2-run single off first baseman Conor Jackson's glove. Curtis Granderson's sac fly brought in the fifth and final run of the inning.

The Yankees topped the 2nd inning with a nine run 3rd inning. Nick Swisher smashed a 3-run home run, reliever Michael Wuertz walked in two runs and then allowed Teixeira's slam. It was the first home run for the Yankees; first baseman (playing DH on Friday) since June 30, a span of 78 plate appearances. Swisher added a 2-run single in the 7th to complete his big ribbie night.

Yankees third baseman Brandon Laird made his Major League debut and achieved a bunch of firsts. To begin with, he got to pinch-hit for Derek Jeter. The first pitch to him from Joey Devine went behind his back. He ended up with a walk on a pitch that Harry Doyle would have said was "Jusssssssst outside". Laird scored on Swisher's 7th inning single and one inning later it was Laird with an RBI as he went back up the middle for his first Major League hit.


A's hitting coach Gerald Perry was ejected in the 4th inning after a horrible strike three call by home plate ump Marty Foster on outfielder Coco Crisp.

To honor Hideki Matsui's 500th home run, the Yankees showed a video of Matsui home runs over the years.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

FullCountPitch | Help Wanted: Shortstop

I wouldn’t be surprised if you opened up the pages of the classified ads in today’s Arizona Republic or looked under jobs on their online site and found a listing for a shortstop. Pay based on experience, need to fill position ASAP.

The Diamondbacks, one of the biggest surprises in baseball this season, suffered a huge blow last night when shortstop Stephen Drew fractured his ankle sliding into home plate against the Milwaukee Brewers. Drew is one of the key players on a Diamondbacks team that is just 4.5 games behind San Francisco in the NL West. The Diamondbacks were probably set to be moderate buyers at the deadline and while that is still probably true, their level of interest has certainly gone up a notch.

Drew was fourth on the team with 46 RBI, just four behind Chris Young's team leading 50, and second among shortstops in the National League. Defensive minded shortstops can be found fairly easily, but coming up wiht a player who will pick up the offensive slack left by Drew’s absence won’t be so easy.

So, who replaces Drew?

Read the rest of this free article at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Omedetou Hideki Matsui

Omedetou is Japanese for "congratulations" and a big congrats is in order tonight for Hideki Matsui. The former Yankee, hit his 500th career home run for the Oakland A's. It was his 168th MLB blast, added to the 332 he hit in Japan.

Go Go Godzilla..still a fan favorite in the Bronx. "He's the Hideki you know."

Yankees Give Rays The 'G' Treatment

It's not quite the same as the M & M boys of Mantle and Maris, but the Tampa Bay Rays got a double dose of the letter 'G' on Wednesday night. Curtis Granderson homered, made a marvelous catch in centerfield, and shook off a mid-90s David Price fastball to his back to help Freddy Garcia and the Yankees to a 4-0 win.

Garcia was every bit as good as he was bad against the Blue Jays last week. He would have pitched seven full innings if not for an Eduardo Nunez error that kept the inning alive. Garcia was on target all night, 66 of his 93 pitches were for strikes, as he struck out seven and did not walk a batter.

Granderson gave him a good head start when he followed Derek Jeter's lead off walk in the 1st inning with his 26th home run of the season into the right field seats. It was just the fourth home run a lefty batter had hit against the left-handed Price in his career (the second by Granderson). The Yankees added some insurance in the 9th on a two out, two run single by Nunez for a 4-0 final. Until then the game was a nail biter. Garcia struck out Matt Joyce with two runners aboard to end the bottom of the 1st and did the same to Evan Longoria in the 3rd.

Sam Fuld doubled with two away in the 4th and moved to third on a wild pitch, but Garcia K'ed Sean Rodriguez to strand another Rays' runner in scoring position. Casey Kotchman's two out double in the 5th put two runners in scoring position for Longoria, who hit a deep drive to center field. Granderson, who lost a crucial fly ball in the ceiling Tuesday night, this time had the ball all the way and tracked it down just before crashing into the center field wall.

The Yankees bullpen was dominant in the game as well. Boone Logan came on in the 7th to strike out Casey Kotchman to strand a pair, and David Robertson and Mariano Rivera struck out two of the three batters they each faced.


Tampa Bay's Matt Joyce earned the "Golden Sombrero" with a four strike out night.

Eric Chavez went 4-5 as a DH for the Single-A Tampa Yankees on Wednesday. He'll play the field on Thursday.

Rafael Soriano, who pitched 1.1 innings in a rehab appearance for Tampa on Tuesday, will make another appearance on Thursday.

Ivan Nova was placed on Scranton's disabled list with a sore ankle.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Welcome To The Dunderdome

Baseball was meant to be played on grass fields in outdoor stadiums. Due to weather and financial restrictions, domes and artificial turf were introduced to the game beginning in the 1960's. But by no means was baseball ever meant to be played in a warehouse. A warehouse with poor lighting, poor acoustics, catwalks, hanging fixtures, wires, a fish tank (ok, rays tank) and other assorted paraphernalia. Ball parks can be quirky. There is nothing quirky about a puke green decorated warehouse that costs teams wins.

Minnesota did Major League Baseball a favor when it built it's new beautiful Target Field and abandoned the piece of garbage (and outfield fences made of garbage bags) known as the Metrodome. Now Tampa Bay needs to do the same and jettison the Trop. Heck if you have to screw and swindle the fans and voting public like Florida's slimy owner, Jeffrey Loria did. Perhaps owner Stuart Sternberg can ring Loria up for some pointers on bilking the constituency.

Why all the anger? All of the vitroile, as Michael Kay likes to say. Because when you see your team lose a game because of the Tampa Bay's excuse of a ball park, it pisses you off.

Bartolo Colon, who struggled with his confidence and control since returning from the DL, had gotten his mojo back (the Trop also caused me not to use an Austin Powers-Bartolo Colon photoshopped picture!) Tuesday night against the Rays. He struck out a season high nine batters and held a 2-1 lead in the 7th inning. Joe Girardi pulled him after 105 pitches and back to back one out singles by Robinson Chirinos and Sean Rodriguez. That's when the Trap Trop came into play.

Boone Logan got pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano to hit a routine fly to center field, but Curtis Granderson lost sight of the ball in the ceiling and it dropped in for a single. Suddenly instead of two on and two out, the Rays had the bases loaded and just one out. Logan again made the right pitch, this time to Elliot Johnson, getting the pinch-hitter to hit a comebacker. But instead of a possible inning ending double play, the ball ticked off the glove of the 6'7" Logan for a game tying error.

So what did Logan do? He made another good pitch. Johnny Damon hit a shallow fly that normally would not allow a runner to score from third base. But the ball was too deep for either shortstop Eduardo Nunez or second baseman Robinson Cano to reach. Instead Granderson made a sliding catch that enabled Ruggiano to get a good jump off third and score easily ahead of the wild throw home.

The Yankees only put one base runner on in the final two innings, but that was erased when Cano, who supplied the Yankees runs with a 2-run homer ended the 8th by grounding into a double play.

Starter Jeremy Hellickson held the Yankees to five hits over seven innings and picked up the victory (9-7). Reid Brignac, who was hitting .192 at the time, singled in the Rays first run in the 5th inning.


Brett Gardner swiped two more bases (the Yankees had four steals in all) to take over the AL lead with 29, one more than Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury and Texas' Elvis Andrus. Gardner has been successful in 14 consecutive steal attempts.

Joel Peralta earned his first save of the season and the third of his career by pitching a 1-2-3 9th inning.

Prior to the game the Yankees put Sergio Mitre on the disabled list with a sore shoulder and called up left-hander Steve Garrison from Double-A Trenton.

Since the 5-5 day that enabled Derek Jeter to reach 3,000 hits and beyond, the Yankees captain is in a 5-26 slide.

Yankees Walk To Win

Mark Teixeira snared the last out from the stands.

A.J. Burnett was going through one of those frustrating nights last night that has become the hallmark of his 2 1/2 years as a Yankee. He wasn't putting hitters away, he put his team in a 4-1 hole, and he got into a verbal disagreement with a Yankees fan sitting behind the visitors' dugout. But the Tampa Bay Rays had a bigger issue. They had used nine pitchers the night before- actually the same day, since the game ended after 1 a.m., in a 16-inning loss to the Red Sox. The result was a kid making his Major League pitching debut and a come-from-behind 5-4 win for the Yankees.

23-yr old Alex Torres was one out away from getting out of a 9th inning jam, but it was not meant to be. He gave up a lead off single to Curtis Granderson, but struck out Mark Teixeira for the first out. (Teixeira, like players and managers on both sides, had trouble with home plate umpire Ed Hickox' balls and strikes calls and it affected his final two at-bats, both of which were strikeouts.) Granderson swiped second with Robinson Cano up and moved to third when Cano grounded out to second.

Rays' manager Joe Maddon decided to intentionally walk Nick Swisher to set up a matchup with the less productive Andruw Jones. The move backfired though, when Torres unintentionally gave Jones a free pass to load the bases. Then, everything exploded in Maddon's face when Torres missed with a 3-2 pitch to Russell Martin to force in the go-ahead run. Mariano Rivera then pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning for his 24th save.

Trailing 1-0, the Rays came right back with a three spot in the bottom of the 1st inning. Burnett got off on the wrong foot by walking Johnny Damon and then allowed a single to Ben Zobrist. Evan Longoria brought both runners home with a double to left-center for a 2-1 Rays lead. Casey Kotchman singled to move Longoria up a base, but Teixeira's Gold Glove defense temporarily saved Burnett from further trouble.

Teixeira gloved B.J. Upton's grounder, froze Longoria at third and started a 3-6-3 double play. (It helped that Upton, as usual, didn't run hard to first). Burnett didn't take advantage of his good fortune though, when he fielded Sean Rodriguez' chopper and threw wildly to first for a run-scoring error.

Rookie starter Alex Cobb held the Yankees to three hits over six innings, but the Yankees chipped away at the lead in the 8th against Cesar Ramos and former Yankee reliever Kyle Farnsworth. Cano singled to start the frame and Swisher followed with a walk. Farnsworth retired Jones, but gave up back-to-back singles to Brett Gardner and Martin to produce a run, and another scored on Eduardo Nunez' fielder's choice.

David Robertson struck out two of the three batters he faced in the 8th inning to raise his record to 3-0. He now has 59 strikeouts in 37.1 innings.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Brandon Laird, Come On Down

The Yankees roster has seen a number of new names and faces this season and another has been added to it. Due to an emergency appendectomy to utility man Ramiro Pena, the Yankees have recalled Brandon Laird from Triple-A Scranton.

Unlike Pena, Laird has made his reputation with his bat and not his glove. He tore up Double-A Trenton last season before a promotion in August to Scranton. Laird started off slowly this season and has raised his OPS to just .711. He does have 10 home runs and 49 RBI playing primarily third base, with some time across the diamond and in the outfield.

Laird hit 23 home runs and drove in 90 runs in 107 games for the Eastern League's Thunder in 2010. He also added 22 doubles and 38 walks and was a Double-A All-Star. He's the younger brother of MLB veteran catcher Gerald Laird.

Pena, who turned 26 today, is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Joba Chamberlain, already sidelined with Tommy John surgery, had an appendectomy two weeks ago.

FullCountPitch - GMs, Man Your Phones!

It’s less than two weeks until the annual MLB trade deadline, the time when buyers and sellers manipulate their rosters to make a run at the playoffs in the current season or re-tool their teams for the future.

These next two weeks will determine whether the teams become buyers or sellers. There are so many teams still in play in the divisional and wild card races that the demand currently outweighs the supply. Teams currently on the bubble could fall off with a bad stretch or they could become more aggressive with a winning streak.

As for the players available, there aren’t a lot of sexy names out there and I would expect this season’s deadline trading to be a fairly boring one. Of course, one major deal could change all of that. Here’s a look at the teams that are buying/selling and some of the players that could be switching uniforms by the time August rolls around.

AL East

Buyers – Boston, New York

The Red Sox and Yankees would both like to add a starting pitcher as well as add depth to their bullpens. (as would every other contender in baseball.) There are no big names out there, unless you believe the Ubaldo Jimenez is on the market” rumors. The media should know by now that just because a team is scouting another team’s minor leaguers that doesn’t mean trade talks are going on. It’s just the nature of the business. A more likely scenario would have both teams discussing Huston Street or Rafael Betancourt with Colorado.

As for a starting pitcher a deal for someone like the Astros’ Brett Myers would make more sense. A’s GM Billy Beane will most certainly receive calls for one of his young pitchers, but Beane is not likely to deal Trevor Cahill or Gio Gonzalez at this point unless he gets a large haul in return.

Moderate Buyer – Tampa Bay

The Rays aren’t going to make a big splash at the deadline. They simply won’t deal any of their top prospects – Desmond Jennings, Jake McGee, etc., – especially since there aren’t many available players worth a top notch prospect. The Rays do need another bat though if they are to stay in the divisional and wild card races. Perhaps a Michael Cuddyer? The Rays reportedly covet St. Louis’ Colby Rasmus, who doesn’t see eye to eye with his manager, Tony LaRussa.

If things go south for the Rays in the next two weeks, they could also find themselves as sellers. With Johnny Damon’s semi-resurrection, the Rays could certainly get back something of value for him should they decide to deal him. There are constant rumors about outfielder B.J. Upton, but teams are leery about Upton’s lack of steady performance and, at times, hustle.

Seller – Baltimore, Toronto

The Orioles have pitching, not necessarily great pitching, but pitching nonetheless that could be moved. Unlike last season when the Orioles could find no takers for Kevin Millwood (possibly asking for too much), the Orioles should be able to move Jeremy Guthrie. The 32-yr old right hander has one of those strange oddities about his numbers over the last four seasons- thumbs up in the even number years, not so much in the odd numbered years. The Rangers are reportedly showing interest as they hope to add some depth to their rotation.

The Orioles also have inconsistent closer Kevin Gregg and the more dependable set up man Koji Uehara who could bring back some low level prospects. Lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez would basically have to be given away. Offensively, the Orioles might find a taker for 1st baseman Derrek Lee, but again they won’t get much in return since Lee has had only one month in which his OPS has eclipsed .700. Any chance of dealing Vlad Guerrero prior to the waiver deadline ended when Guerrero suffered a fracture in his right hand, courtesy of a pitch from Boston’s Kyle Weiland.

The Blue Jays are building for the future and have a number of good, talented players on the way, some of which have been up this season already (Kyle Drabek, Zach Stewart), or are about to be (Brett Lawrie). The Blue Jays will find takers for Jon Rauch and/or Frank Francisco. Both have bounced back and forth between set up and closer, with Rauch now in the 9th inning role.

With Lawrie due to arrive in early August, third baseman Edwin Encarnacion is expendable, but his .299 OBP suits him for a reserve role (his .412 SLG Pct could make him a useful pinch-hitter). Outfielder Corey Patterson, who turns 32 in August, could also serve in a reserve outfield role for a number of teams.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

CC Stops The Bleeding

"You ain't hitting this."

After shaky outings from Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, you can bet Joe Girardi was ecstatic to put CC Sabathia's name on the lineup card as the starting pitcher.

Sabathia became the Major's first 14-game winner with a dominant eight inning performance against the Toronto Blue Jays in a 4-1 Yankees win. The victory snapped the Yankees two game losing streak with a chance to gain a split of the series tomorrow afternoon.

Sabathia won his seventh straight after he allowed a run in the first inning. Rajai Davis drew a lead off walk and stole his 25th base of the season. One out later Yunel Escobar singled past a diving Robinson Cano for a 1-0 Blue Jays lead. But Sabathia would allow just one more hit until John McDonald's one out double in the 8th. He allowed three walks, struck out eight and won for the 12th time in 13 starts. The 6'7" left-hander has also won seven straight starts and has allowed just two earned runs in his last 39.2 innings pitched.

The Yankees took the lead in the 2nd inning when Andruw Jones followed Nick Swisher's ground rule double with an RBI single off Rickey Romero. Jones homered twice in Thursday night's loss. Brett Gardner's double put boith runners in scoring position with Jones scoring on Eduardo Nunez's chopper to third.

The Yankees played sloppy defense in the first two games, but Saturday it was Toronto's turn to do some gifting. Curtis Granderson drew a lead off walk to start the third and one out later Robinson Cano singled him to third. Romero struck out Swisher, but Cano broke for second to draw a throw from catcher J.P. Arencibia. Second baseman Aaron Hill threw wildly home as Granderson scored the Yankees third run.

The Yankees scored again in the 4th when Gardner, who had three hits, hit a bloop to center and hustled to second for a lead off double. He scored from third on a two out RBI single by Derek Jeter for a 4-1 Yankees lead.

The Blue Jays got back to back one out bloop singles off Mariano Rivera in the 9th, but the Yankees closer picked up his 23rd save when he struck out Hill and got Travis Snider to ground out to Jeter to end the game.


In addition to his three hits, Brett Gardner stole his 10th consecutive base without getting caught.

Eric Chavez will reportedly start a rehab assignment any day now.

Eduardo Nunez's fielding trouble continued Saturday. He made his 12th error of the season.

The Blue Jays hope to get Jose Bautista (twisted ankle) back on Tuesday. For now, he's in a walking boot.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yankees Still On Break

The Yankees have had two games since the All-Star break, but apparently no one has notified them yet. Thursday they started with an embarrassing 16-7 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Friday night the Yankees were doubled to death by Toronto in a 7-1 loss. The two games have exposed the elephant in the room/stadium. The Yankees starting pitching staff is still a question mark.

The rotation had exceeded expectations during the first half, but cracks began to show when Bartolo Colon went on the DL with a hamstring injury. Colon has made two starts since being activated and is pitched poorly both times out. After Thursday night's first inning exit, Colon admitted he's been tentative due to his leg injury. Colon's success in the first half was due to his blazing fastball and aggressive approach.

Colon's allowed five runs in 5.2 innings against Tampa Bay on July 7, but things went worse for him last evening. He had trouble getting over to first base to cover on a grounder to Mark Teixeira and couldn't move quickly enough on a pair of swinging bunts on the third base side of the mound.

In fairness to Garcia, he entered Friday evening on a streak of five straight starts with three runs or less allowed and at least six innings pitched. But Friday night Garcia hung one breaking pitch after another to the tune of five doubles in five innings. That is the problem when you have two aging starters whose best days are behind them. Colon has had physical issues for a number of years, while Garcia is no longer the hard thrower he once was. If he's on, he's terrific, but when he's not you get games like tonight's.

The Yankees still need to improve the rotation for the long haul of the second half. Whether it is Ivan Nova or a pitcher acquired through a trade, something needs to be done.

Monday, July 11, 2011

CC Tops

CC, how do I love thee,
Let me count the wins,
Thirteen at the All-Star break!

CC Sabathia knew he had to be at his best on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays own ace, James Shields, was toeing the rubber for the visiting team. All Sabathia did was go out and throw a complete game shutout in the Yankees 1-0 win.

Sabathia, who was named to the All-Star team on Sunday though he won't pitch in the game, was superb. He rared back in the 9th inning and blew a 98-mph fastball by Elliot Johnson to end the game. His 9th strikeout of the game improved Sabathia's record to 13-4 and lowered his ERA To 2.72. In his last four starts (31.2 IP), Sabathia is 4-0 with a 0.28 ERA (one earned run allowed), 42 strikeouts, and a 7:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Overall, the big man has won his last six starts and 10 of the last 11 times he's been on the mound.

Sabathia faced just two batters over the minimum as he got some help from his defense. Catcher Russell Martin threw out B.J. Upton and Sean Rodriguez on steal attempts and Andruw Jones doubled Upton off of first base on a fly out to right field.

The Yankees couldn't do much better off of Shields, who lowered his ERA to 2.33 despite the loss. The Rays gifted the Yankees a run in the 7th to break the scoreless tie. Robinson Cano led off the inning with a single and was nearly doubled off first when Jorge Posada flew out to shallow center. But Upton's throw sailed into the seats for a two base error. Rays manager Joe Maddon is never afraid to throw caution to the wind, but a two out decision in the inning cost the Rays the game.

Shields tried to pick Cano off of third base, but Sean Rodriguez was late to cover and Shield's throw sailed wide to allow Cano to score the game's lone run. The run proved to be enough for a Yankees team that had neither Alex Rodriguez or Nick Swisher in the lineup and managed just four hits on the day.


A-Rod will undergo knee surgery today on his slightly torn meniscus and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. He visited with specialist Dr. Lee Kaplan in Miami on Sunday and will follow Kaplan's recommendation to have the procedure done. Eduardo Nunez will get the majority of playing time while A-Rod is out. No word on who the Yankees will add to the roster in A-Rod's place, but that decision does not have to be made immediately with the the league at the All-Star break.

Speaking of All-Stars, reliever David Robertson has been added to the squad as a replacement. "Houdini" has had quite a year; he moved into the 8th inning set up role when Joba Chamberlain had Tommy John surgery and has struck out a remarkable 56 batters in 35.1 innings pitched (14.3 per nine innings).

Nick Swisher sat out his second straight game on Sunday with a strained quad, but hopes to be back in the lineup when play resumes on Thursday.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What The Opposition Had to Say About DJ 3K

As you read these comments, a lot of them from the top players in the game, you know that it's mainly scrubs and jealous players that call Derek Jeter overrated.

From NY Daily News:
Joe Torre (in section 121B): In the end, though, "I don't think it could've been scripted any better - Yankee Stadium, day game, Saturday afternoon, playing one of your division rivals and the best pitcher on their staff out there," Torre said. It was apt that Jorge Posada was in the lineup and was the first to greet Jeter at the plate, Torre said, and that Mariano Rivera closed the game.

Perfect for Jeter, who "is about as loyal a Yankee and proud to be a Yankee as anybody I've ever been around," Torre said. "This was just so heartwarming for me. My daughter was here, my wife. I can't tell you what this meant to me."

From (Star Ledger):

Alex Rodriguez: “Only a guy like Derek Jetercan have a day, and a moment, and a hit like he had today.”

From ESPNBoston: Prior to their own game, Boston gathered around the TV set to watch some history.

Dustin Pedroia: "It's not just me, it's the whole league. This guy has played the game right for a long time. He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer and when he's done, I don't think there will be a bad thing said about him. He's a first-class guy. He's a winner. The highest praises you could say about a guy is what you would say about Jeter."

Tim Wakefield: "It's a fitting tribute to a guy that has spent his whole career with one organization and has been a true professional his whole career there. For him to get 3,000 hits in the amount of time that he's done it is pretty amazing. It shows how great of an athlete he is and I have the utmost respect for him the way he goes about his business. He's as professional as anyone. It's pretty cool that I've faced him the most times of anybody."

Terry Francona: "If you like baseball, he's a lot of what's good in baseball. He respects the game. He plays the game right. He makes me proud for the way he goes about his business."

Jason Varitek: "For anyone, that's a fabulous feat. To be a part of it in your generation of players is pretty neat. He's been a superstar pretty much since Day 1 that I've been in this uniform and have played against him. He's carried himself that way, he's played that way and there's a reason he has 3,000 hits."

"A great part of my career are the head-to-head battles with that organization. That has been hundreds and hundreds of games. It's been fun. I have the utmost respect for him as a player, the way he conducts himself and the way he conducts himself as a champion."

Jonathan Papelbon: "He's been one of the true statesmen of the game. He plays the game the right way," Papelbon said. "From my perspective, I've always loved to compete against him. Every time I have an at-bat against him, it seems like it's a 12- to 15-pitch at-bat. For me, and for this season, it's one of the high points of baseball."

From the NY Times:
Terry Collins: “I thought it was tremendous, not only for Derek Jeter, but it was great for baseball,” he said. “He’s one of the true great players and to do what he did today to celebrate 3,000 hits is incredible.”

Collins said he expected more magical chapters from Jeter.

“You know, if you wrote a story, that would be the ending to it,” he said. “When he’s going to retire, the last game he’s going to get four hits and get the game winner and he’s going to make a play in the hole and make a jump throw to first and nip the guy in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Yankees are going to win the last game and the World Series.”

Tony Gwynn: “Jeter did it right. That was great. I know a lot of guys, including me, the mindset that you had your entire career is out the window as you get close to 3,000. I went into a homestand needing 12 hits. No problem. I got six. I needed six in St. Louis, got five. That was the most I pressed in my career.” “It’s still cool, 3,000 is one of those moments you never forget.”

From ESPNNew York:
Casey Kotchman, who tipped his cap to the Yankees legend as Jeter broke into his home run trot past him.: "I felt like that was the right thing to do out of respect for what he's done and what he means to the sport," Kotchman said. "On a single or a double I thought I'd have my chance to shake his hand and give him a hug and say congratulations first. When he went in the seats, that wasn't going to happen and I wasn't going to be able to shake his hand so I tipped my cap."

Johnny Damon, former teammate: "It was a great moment for Derek, his family and the history of the Yankees franchise. Derek stands for the good stuff in baseball. I'm proud of him."

David Price: "I feel like everyone in this locker room has mutual respect for Derek Jeter, probably everybody in baseball, it's not like he's done anything to anybody to have not the same amount of respect as everybody else," Price said. "He's done it the right way and I know a lot of guys respect him."

Joe Maddon: Maddon said it was a great day at Yankee Stadium, while saying it was unfortunate Jeter went 5-for-5 against his team, including the game-winning RBI in the eighth inning. He said his team will always remember being part of this game and he has an appreciation for what happened.

From Miami Herald:
Jack McKeon: “It’s nice to see a guy do that, especially at his home park,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.

Randy Choate, former teammate: “That guy has lived a pretty storied career,” Choate said. “I don’t know what more you could want, and it couldn’t happen to a better person.”

From NY Post:

Wade Boggs: "It is an exclusive honor, achieved by only a select group, that not many people can call their own," Boggs said in a statement. "It is a monumental achievement, and Derek has climbed the mountain. He's reached that honor, where he can stake his flag in the mountain and call it his own."

"I had no doubts that Derek would reach this milestone," Boggs said. "He is a very consistent player and he never deviated from his game."