Monday, October 30, 2006

Let The Fun Begin

We’re only at Halloween and a lot has already taken place in Yankeeland. Let’s start from the beginning and work our way forward.

• George Steinbrenner quickly ended the biggest speculation of this off-season by telling Joe Torre he would be back for his 12th season as Yankee’s manager. I think Torre has done a great job while he’s been here, but I also think it was time for a change. Poor decision making in the playoffs since the 2003 World Series should have spelled the end.

• The tragic death of pitcher Corey Lidle on October 11th was a complete stunner to everyone, not just baseball fans. Bud Selig let Mother Nature cancel the Mets-Cards game that night, but he should have done it himself.

• M*A*S*H 4077th – The post-season surgeries began with Randy Johnson having his bad back worked on and Jason Giambi having a torn tendon taken care of in his wrist. Andy Phillips also had his right knee scope. All three are expected to be ready for Spring Training, with Johnson likely behind the other pitchers. Unless of course Carl Pavano is still here.

• The Asshole That Roared – Gary Sheffield may be more reliable than Tommy Henrich was. Of course in Henrich’s case it was referring to his ability to hit in the clutch. Sheffield on the other hand can be counted on to make outrageous statements and demands when his ego isn’t stroked enough. This time it’s because of a hot rumor that the Yankees will pick up Sheffield’s $13 million option for 2007, but only so that they can trade him.

Sheff’s all bent out of shape because he wanted to test the free agent waters and has already been quoted as stating that if he gets dealt on a one-year deal, it’s going to be a problem. Wait a second Sheff. Aren’t you the guy who was ecstatic in Spring Training when you thought the Yankees were going to exercise the option. And then weren’t you the same guy who was pissed because you misunderstood Brian Cashman – and the option was an auto-renewal like you were lead to believe?

Sheffield even went as far as dropping by George Steinbrenner’s place in Tampa. Only King George wasn’t home (though you can picture him peeking from behind a curtain as Sheff throws pebbles up at the window).

Bend over and take it like a man Sheff. Weren’t you the guy who negotiated your contract. Yeah, absolutely. So one more thing Sheff. Shut your fucking hole. You have NO leverage. The Cubs, Phillies, Angels, and Tigers are among the teams that have already shown interest.

• There, There A-Rod – Can we please Kleenex in bulk from Costco? We ask because it’s going to take a whole lot of therapy sessions this off-season so that Alex can come back and play with his teammates next season.

There’s no question that the abuse that A-Rod took this season from the fans went beyond what was called for. A-Rod took the heat for the Yankees failures this season, especially in the playoffs, when he was once again a no-show.

That being said, is this really the same player that won the MVP award in 2005? While he insists he wants to stay, and Brian Cashman insists he is staying, it would probably serve everyone the most if A-Rod went somewhere else. He’s about this close to becoming Nancy-Rod to the fans.

• You Stand Over There – When a manager returns after a poor season or playoff, one of his coaches usually takes a hit. Especially if that manager is working for George Steinbrenner. Though it hasn’t been officially announced, Lee Mazzilli is gone as bench coach for the Bombers and Don Mattingly has been “promoted” to bench coach. Long time minor league hitting instructor Kevin Long will be named to replace Mattingly.

Now we know that there is a push from behind the scenes to make Mattingly the successor to Torre in 2008. However, this move really makes no sense. Mattingly did a very good job as hitting coach and can’t be blamed for the horrendous performance by the Pinstripes in the last 2 playoffs.

Additionally we have no idea if Mattingly can manage and it would have made a lot more sense to make Joe Girardi, who it appears will not be managing this year, the new bench coach and possible successor to Torre. Instead it looks like Girardi’s talents will be wasted in the YES broadcast booth.

Can Kevin Long cut it as a hitting instructor at the Major League level? Especially, with a team full of egos. It’s great that the guy gets the chance, but it would have been greater if it were somewhere else.

• Brian Cashman has his work cut out for him this Winter. It was made crystal clear that this team cannot win on talent alone. The greatest lineup ever assembled couldn’t have beaten the cast of a Broadway musical. The starting pitching needs to be revamped, the bullpen needs to be strengthened, and some heads need to roll (besides Sal Fasano and Nick Green). It should make for a very rumor filled winter.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Jeter, Abreu Tame Tigers

Captain leads the way with 5-5 night.

Derek Jeter was arguably the regular season AL MVP. Last night he put the first exclamation point on the post-season with a 5-5 night that concluded with a home run and an 8-4 Yankees victory over the Detroit Tigers. Jeter wasn't alone though as the vaunted Yankees lineup got a big boost from Bobby Abreu who had 4 RBI in his first post-season game in 9 years as the Yankees. Jason Giambi chipped in as well with a 2-run home run as the Yankees captured the 1st game of their AL Division Series. Chien-Ming Wang was the recipient of the run support, but did his part as well by allowing 3 runs in 6 2-3 innings.

There is no weak spot in the Yankees starting lineup and Tiger's starter Nate Robertson quickly learned that. After throwing 2 scoreless innings and facing each batter in the order, Robertson ran into a roadblock in the 3rd. It started innocently enough when Johnny Damon's little dribbler eluded a stumbling Robertson for a lead off single. Jeter followed with his 2nd hit, a double to center to put two runners in scoring position for Abreu. The last time Abreu appeared in the playoffs he had gone hitless in 3 at-bats for the Houston Astros in the 1997 playoffs. Abreu grounded out his 1st time, but picked up his 1st career post-season hit when a slapped a Robertson delivery into the gap in right-center for a 2-run double. Gary Sheffield followed with a line single to right-center for a 3-0 lead and Jason Giambi capped the inning with a towering 2-run HR.

Wang ran into his only real trouble of the night in the 5th. Craig Monroe took him deep for his first post-season home run. Placido Polanco and Sean Casey delivered two-out, run scoring doubles and all of a sudden the Tigers were back in the ball game at 5-3. Magglio Ordonez represented the tying run, but Wang struck him out on a hard sinker to escape further trouble.

The Yankees added some much needed insurance in the 6th and once again Jeter and Abreu were right in the middle of it. Robertson retired the 1st two hitters, but Damon slapped a single to center and Jeter lined a double to left. Abreu came through again, hitting a bleeder just out of the reach of a diving Polanco and into right field to drive in both runners. Polanco appeared to aggravate the shoulder injury which kept him out of the lineup for 5 weeks in August in September, but he remained in the game. It was the last batter Robertson faced, however, as Tiger's manager Jim Leyland went to the pen.

Wang retired the side in the 6th and the first two hitters in the 7th before he was inexplicably pulled by manager Joe Torre after 93 pitches. It was one of those cases that have plagued Torre too many times in the last several years - overmanaging. And in bit Torre in the ass again as lefty specialist Mike Myers gave up a solo home run to left-handed hitting Curtis Granderson. Torre quickly replaced Myers with Scott Proctor who had trouble finding the zone as he gave up back to back singles to Polanco and Casey. Ordonez again failed to come through in the clutch, stranding both runners when he flew out to Damon in right-center.

Kyle Farnsworth continued the shaky bullpen outing when he walked Carlos Guillen to start the 8th, but bounced back to retire the next 3 batters to bridge the gap to closer Mariano Rivera. Torre had vowed not to use Rivera for more than 1 inning in the 1st round of the playoffs and possibly longer. Jeter made sure Rivera would have even more to work with as he belted a solo home run, his 5th hit of the night, to centerfield for an 8-4 lead. It was more than enough for the greatest post-season closer, who allowed a 1-out single to Granderson, but induced Polanco into a game ending 4-6-3 double play.

Except for the set up men, Yankee fans couldn't have scripted the game any better. Tonight the Bronx Bombers will try to replicate it in the sequel.


Derek Jeter entered the game with the most career hits in the post-season with 142. That quickly jumped to 147. The home run was the 17th of Jeter's career, spanning 116 post-season appearances.

Chien-Ming Wang became the 1st pitcher from Taiwan to win a post-season game. The LA Dodgers
Hong-Chih Kuo
, who is from the same town as Wang, will try to replicate the feat when he faces the Mets Wednesday night.

Former Yankee Tino Martinez had the honor of throwing out the 1st ball before last night's game.

One could not help but think about Twin's manager Ron Gardenhire last night as Ronan Tynan sang what seemed to be an even slower version of "God Bless America". Gardenhire was outraged during the 2003 ALDS when Brad Radke gave up a decisive 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th following Tynan's deliberate rendition.

Game 2 will feature Tiger's rookie Justin Verlander going against Yankee's veteran Mike Mussina. The Yankees are expected to use the same lineup.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Rookies Step Up as Yanks Sweep Rays

Cano drives in 3 more in 7-4 win

With rain falling throughout the day, Yankee's manager Joe Torre decided to push scheduled starter Chien-Ming Wang back a day and pulled outfielders Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu from the starting lineup. It didn't matter much as reliever Darrell Rasner threw 4 shutout innings and Robinson Cano drove in 3 runs as the Yankees completed a 3 game sweep of the Tampa Devil Rays with an 7-4 victory.

Jeff Karstens moved up a day in the starting rotation, but was not sharp for the first time. He gave up a pair of home runs and a triple to Rocco Baldelli as the Rays built a 4-1 lead. But Ray's starter Jamie Shields ran into a wall when he tried to retire the side in the 5th to make an official game. Hideki Matsui opened the inning with a walk and Aaron Guiel followed with a single to move Matsui to 2nd. Shields bounced back, striking out Kevin Thompson and Bernie Williams to set up a two-on, two-out situation for Derek Jeter. Jeter, who had extended his hitting streak to 23 games with a 1st inning single, singled to right to cut the lead in half. Robinson Cano then followed with a drive to deep left. Carl Crawford, who probably played the worst defensive series of his career, shied away as reached the left wall and the ball kicked off the heal of his glove for a gift 2-run double to tie the game. Shields escaped further trouble by getting Alex Rodriguez to ground out to third.

With a brand new ballgame, Torre pulled Karstens and brought in Rasner, who had been unceremoniously dumped earlier in the year by Washington. He was making his 8th appearance of the season and immediately rewarded Torre for using him by retiring the first 7 batters he faced. The Yankees then took advantage of the Ray's bullpen in the 7th.

Thompson and Williams stroked one out singles off of Ruddy Lugo to put runners on the corners. Shawn Camp came out of the pen to strike out Jeter for the 2nd out, but Cano came through with an RBI double to left-center. Cano has driven in 40 runs in the 36 games he's played since returning from the DL on August 8. A-Rod then singled through the right side to bring home 2 more to break the game open. Rasner did the rest, allowing just 1 hit over 4 innings, while striking out 5 and walking none.


Derek Jeter's 23-game hitting streak is the longest since Don Mattingly hit in 24 straight in 1987. Jeter momentarily took over the batting lead from Joe Mauer, but Mauer singled his final time up to take the lead back by a percentage point.

Gary Sheffield will NOT be activated this weekend despite speculation that it could occur. Torre will not do so until Sheffield is swinging at or near 100%.

Chien-Ming Wang will look for his 18th win tonight as he faces Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a 4 game series.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Around the Horn - 9/13

I'm not going to lie and say it's great to be back from vacation, but it's great to be able to get back to the information world. With no computer and newspapers that were published too early to even have 7 pm starts, it took a healthy, well maybe unhealthy, does of Baseball Tonight to keep up with things. That and wading through college football scores on the TV screen tickers.

- Ryan Howard - this guy is incredible. He's got 56 home runs entering today's play. The only other lefties in NL history to top 50 home runs in a single season are Barry Bonds and Luis Gonzalez. He has slugged 80 home runs in 870 at-bats of his brief career. He's also driven in 201 runs in 228 games. And he's only 26! Hopefully he's done this all clean and will one day eclipse Bonds's tainted single season record. He should become just the fifth player to top 60 home runs in a season, and the first to do it since Roger Maris without cheating.

- The AL East batting title is going down to the wire. Fellow MVP candidates Joe Mauer (.348) and Derek Jeter (.346) are separated by just 2 percent points entering Wednesday's play.

- Just how far can the KC Royals fall before they hit rock bottom? At the conclusion of last night's 3rd inning, starting pitcher Runelvys Hernandez and catcher John Buck exchanged blows. They both stayed in the game and Hernandez picked up the victory. What did Buddy Bell ever do wrong to deserve this?

- Can Jeffrey Loria please shut his mouth. That's not a request either. Do it. Of course when Joe Girardi is managing in Chicago next year, you can come up with some other reasons for your team's drop-off from this year and why you're playing in front of 10 of your closest friends. Idiot. Guys like you and Peter Angelos are Steinbrenner wannabes. Only difference is George "somewhat" wised up from his 1970-1980s days and the Yankees became consistent winners. You two are just consistent idiots.

- Talk about playing under the radar. In case no one has noticed, or possibly not cared, Barry Bonds has gotten hot in September. Recent injection or rub-on cream? Perhaps. Either way, Bonds not has 731 home runs after hitting 4 in the first 8 games of September. Now if they can only find a way to ban this scumbag in the off-season before he breaks Hank Aaron's record. You can bet Bud Selig is praying that George Mitchell can find something.

- How about Mike Piazza. Last night he belted his 21st home run, the most he has hit since 2002. More remarkable is that he leads all catchers in home runs.

- Eddie Guardado, Jason Isringhausen, Roger Clemens, Brad Radke...those are just a sampling of the major players that are hurting in September. Some are DL'ed, some are resting, either way they have a big impact on their team’s chances in September, and in some case, in October.

- The Minnesota Twins have to be worried. After throwing pain-free in his rehab start, Francisco Liriano had to leave his start against Oakland today after just 29 pitches due to elbow pain.

And finally, a speedy recovery and prayers sent out to the Red Sox's Jon Lester who is battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Matsui Return Perfect, Yankees Roll 12-4

There aren't many nights when a hitter can knock in 7 runs and get overshadowed. But that's what happened to Bobby Abreu last night when Hideki Matsui played his first game in Pinstripes since May 11 as the Yankees pounded the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 12-4. Abreu drove in 7 runs, 6 in the 1st inning, but it was the return to the lineup of Matsui that really pumped up the paid crowd of 52,265. It started with a standing ovation his first time up, which resulted in a bloop RBI single and ended with another standing ovation when he left for a pinch-runner after going 4-4 with a walk. Matsui did all that batting 8th in an even deeper Yankees lineup.

The Yankees jumped all over Ray's starter Tim Corcoran, sending him to the showers before the first inning was even over. After a lead off single by Johnny Damon and a walk to Derek Jeter, Abreu crushed a Corcoran pitch over the right-centerfield fence for a 3-0 lead. It was Abreu's first home run at Yankee Stadium. An Alex Rodriguez walk and stolen base was followed by an RBI double by Jorge Posada. Consecutive singles by Robinson Cano and Matsui pushed the score to 5-0 and sent Corcoran home early. Reliever Brian Stokes didn't fair much better, allowing a single to Melky Cabrera to load the bases and then issued a bases loaded walk to Jeter to force in the 6th run. Abreu blew the game wide open when his fly to deep left-center was played into a 3-run double by Carl Crawford, who ran a poor route to the ball. Abreu's 6-RBI inning tied the AL record and is the 2nd highest total in MLB history.

Of even greater importance than Matsui's return was the effective, free throwing performing by starter Mike Mussina. Mussina had one ineffective start after returning from a groin injury and had his start pushed back from Sunday due to a sore shoulder. Moose retired the first 10 hitters before allowing a single to Delmon Young. He departed after 6 1-3 innings and 87 pitches, having allowed no runs, 5 hits, struck out 5 and walked none.

T.J. Beam threw a scoreless 1 2-3 innings, before Octavio Dotel got lit up for 4 runs in the 9th to end the shutout. But this game was about offense. Abreu added a 7th RBI on a sacrifice fly and narrowly missed a grand slam and 11 RBI. Now if only Gary Sheffield could pitch.


In a quirk of the official rulebook, Derek Jeter's 21-game hitting streak is still alive despite not getting a hit in 4 trips to the plate. That's because all 4 trips were not official at-bats. In addition to walking 3 times, Jeter was also hit by a pitch.

Gary Sheffield took live batting practice before the game, but swung lightly. Sheffield is hoping to return this weekend.

Mariano Rivera continues to feel better and is hoping to throw back-to-back bullpen sessions this weekend if he continues to progress.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wang Captures 16th in Opener

Wilson HR highlights 2-0 win

Chien-Ming Wang won his 16th game of the season and Craig Wilson hit his 3rdd home run as a Bomber as the Yankees shutout the Detroit 2-0 in the 1st game of a day-night doubleheader. Pitching before a sparse crowd of a little over 18,000, Wang excelled for 7 2-3 innings, limiting the Tigers to 3 hits and recording 13 ground ball outs. He left to a standing ovation in the 8th with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs. Scott Proctor retired Magglio Ordonez on a fly to Melky Cabrera in left on the first pitch he threw. Mariano Rivera closed things out in the 9th, allowing just a bloop single, for his 32nd save.

The Yankees wasted many opportunities against Tiger's starter Nate Robertson, but nothing could stop Wilson's fly ball from leaving the ball park. It snapped a scoreless tie and was his 16th of the season between the Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. Johnny Damon followed with a walk and Derek Jeter moved him to a third with a single, one of his three hits on the day. Robertson struck out Bobby Abreu, but Jason Giambi lofted a fly ball to right-center for a sacrifice fly and a 2-0 lead.

That would be all the scoring the Yankees would manage on the day. They had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out in the 3rd, but Jeter struck out and Abreu grounded out. One inning later, Melky Cabrera stranded two runners in scoring position with an inning ending fly out. The Yankees got 2 men on again in the 6th with help from Carlos Guillen error, but Wilson flied out and Damon grounded out. In the 7th, Robinson Cano came up with the bases loaded, 2 out, and a .171 average when the sacks are full. He promptly grounded out on the first pitch as Robertson pulled his final escape artist trick on the day.


Alex Rodriguez was 0-3 with a walk, but made several outstanding defensive plays to help keep the Tigers off the board. He also had to be relieved not to strike out.

Chien-Ming Wang is now tied for the AL and Major League lead in victories with Toronto's Roy Halladay. Chicago's John Garland has a chance to match the feat this evening.

Wilfredo Ledezma (2-1) and Jaret Wright (9-7) face off in the 2nd game this evening at 7:05.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yankees Notes - 8/29

Tigers in Town; Pavano injures himself yet again;

The Yankees open a 3 game series tonight with the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers. No, it doesn't get any easier for the Pinstripes, even though they're finally sleeping in their own beds. Coming off a stretch of 21 games in 20 days, in which they went 11-10, the Yankees finally got a much needed day off yesterday. Scott Proctor and Ron Villone probably pitched anyway.

The Yankees got more bizarre news on the Carl Pavano front. After last Friday's rehab assignment for Columbus, Pavano complained of some discomfort in his oblique area. Nice try there Carl. Turns out that Pavano was in a car accident 2 weeks ago and hadn't bothered to inform the team. The truth finally came out on Saturday. Pavano is being evaluated to determine if he can continue to pitch. Maybe they should evaluate his mental state instead, It's hard to imagine, but this has been a bigger disaster than signing Jose Contreras. You can see the Yankees eating salary to deal Pavano and then he'll win 20 somewhere else.

Weather permitting, Chien-Ming Wang takes the hill tonight looking for his 16th win. That would match Roy Halladay for the AL lead. Lefty Nate Robertson gets the nod for the Tigers. The two teams met back in late May/early June with the Yankees taking 3 of 4 on the road. The Tigers have struggled in August, going 12-14, and lost their starting 2nd baseman Placido Polanco for the remainder of the season with a separated shoulder. Polanco led the AL in hitting with runners in scoring position. The Tigers have still managed to maintain a 5 game lead over Minnesota and 5.5 games ahead of Chicago.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bernie's Blasts Salvage Weekend

6 RBI end road trip on a high note

Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter each hit a pair of home runs Sunday and Jeffrey Karstens earned his first major league victory as the Yankees held of the Los Angeles Angels 11-8. Bernie drove in 6 for the day with a solo shot, a 3-run blast, and a 2-run double. He also added a single. Jeter's 2-run shot in the 1st, the first of three hits on the day, jumped the Yankees out to the early lead. After poor performances by veterans Jaret Wright and Corey Lidle in the 1st 2 games of the series, Karstens tossed a quality start to gain the win. His numbers would have been even better if had not been for an errant throw by Alex Rodriguez on a potential inning-ending double play ball.

The Yankees built up an 11-4 lead when Kyle Farnsworth entered the game in the 8th. What looked to be a laugher quickly changed into a near nail biter as Farnsworth couldn't find the plate. All 4 batters he faced reached safely, 3 of them on walks. It caused Joe Torre to bring in Mariano Rivera into a 6 out, non-save situation. The inning could have ended quickly, but Chone Figgins's possible DP grounder went right thru Nick Green for an error and the lead was suddenly 11-7. Mo retired the next 3 hitters without further incident. He did allow 1 run in the 9th before striking out Friday night's hero Mike Napoli to end the game.

Angel's starter Joe Saunders (4-2) dominated the Yankees at the Stadium back on August 11, but the Yankees made quick work of him this time. After building a 3-0 lead on home runs by Jeter and Williams, the Yankees temporarily broke it open in the 3rd on Robinson Cano's 2-run single and a 3-run Bernie blast.

Karstens (1-0) worked an efficient 6 innings, scattering 6 hits while allowing 3 runs. He walked 2 and struck out 1. He threw 83 pitches, 53 of them for strikes. He'll likely get another start with Mike Mussina on the DL.


- The Yankees finished the road trip 7-4, going just 2-4 after the 5 game sweep in Boston. They still managed to add to their AL East lead, however, with the Mariners sweeping the Red Sox.

- What I wouldn't give for another starting pitcher right now. The bullpen was maxed out on the trip and didn't get any help Friday or Saturday with poor, make that rotten, outings from Jaret Wright and Corey Lidle. The Yankees need to find a way to get Wright out of the rotation. You get 6 innings out of him at best, and it was a shaky 6 at that. To put it bluntly, he's, he's shit. And don't look for Carl Pavano to be a conquering hero. This guy clearly doesn't want to pitch. After his 89 pitch outing last Friday he complained about some discomfort in his oblique muscle. It's more likely he's got discomfort between the ears. I've always been a big defender of Brian Cashman, but the signings of Pavano and Wright have been disastrous.

- Johnny Damon hit in all 10 games, in which he batted, on the road trip and added a cheesy mustache as is the team trend right now. He's hit in 11 straight overall. He's hit at a .304 clip in August with 11 HR and 23 runs batted in.

- After today's off day, the Yankees take on the Detroit Tigers for 3 at the Stadium.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wang, Cano Sink Mariners 9-2

5 run outbursts keys victory

The arrival of Chien-Ming Wang and Robinson Cano early last season helped turned the Yankees 2005 campaign around and opened the door for other young players, like Melky Cabrera, to contribute this season as well. Wang and Cano have been even better than last year. Last night, Wang pitched a brilliant 7 innings to earn his 15th win and to give the tired bullpen a much needed rest as the Yankees topped the Seattle Mariners 9-2. Cano was the biggest contributor on offense driving in the first two Yankees runs with a single and knocking in the last one with a double. Cano now has 16 RBI in his last 10 games.

The Yankees knocked around Mariners sensation Felix Hernandez from the beginning, though he did retire the 1st 2 hitters to start the game. It was all downhill after that. A Bobby Abreu single and walks to Jason Giambi and Jorge Posada loaded the bases. Cano delivered a pair with a single up the middle.

Hernandez worked out of a jam in the 2nd and retired the side in order in the 3rd, but the Yankees knocked him out of the game in the 4th. The Yankees loaded the bases on a walk to Cano and singles by Melky Cabrera and Nick Green. Green was starting at 3rd base in place of Alex Rodriguez who sat out with a throat infection. Johnny Damon singled to drive to drive in 2 and both Damon and Green advanced an extra base when the rightfielder Chris Snelling misplayed the ball. A two-out walk to Abreu loaded the bases again and Giambi made the Mariners pay with a 2-run ground rule double that just stayed fair. Jorge Posada's RBI single increased the lead to 7-0 and finally sent Hernandez (10-12) to the showers.

Posada's sacrifice fly and Cano's RBI double in the 8th off of Joel Pineiro accounted for the final scoring. Mike Myers and Octavio Dotel worked an inning each to close out the win.

Wang (15-5) dominated from the outset, something he has struggled to do on the road this year. He allowed just 3 hits over the 1st 6 innings before a controversial umpire's call cost him a possible shutout. With 2 out and the Mariner's Richie Sexson on 3rd, Jose Lopez hit a ball back up the middle. Cano ranged far to his right, backhanded, and apparently threw into time to first to get Lopez. But 1st base ump Jeff Nelson ruled Lopez safe and the M's were on the board. The Mariners added another run on a bloop single by Yuniesky Betancourt.


With 2 hits last night, Bobby Abreu is now hitting .393 in 23 games with the Yankees. He also has 12 RBI, 18 runs scored, a .505 on-base percentage and is slugging at a 1.066 clip.

With the victory last night Chien-Ming Wang has won 23 games in his 46 major league appearances.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Yankees Score a Pair

26 runs gains sweep

It took 26 runs, 8 hours and 41 minutes, 20 pitchers, and 783 pitches for the Yankees to complete a huge sweep of their day-night doubleheader with the Boston Red Sox yesterday in Fenway Park. After blasting the Red Sox 12-4 in the 1:10 afternoon start, the Yankees and Sox battled for a 9 inning record time of 4:45 before the Yankees prevailed 14-11.

Unlike previous trips to Fenway Park, Johnny Damon shrugged off the boos and destroyed his former teammates. Damon homered in both games, and drove in 7 runs on a 6-12. His 2nd HR of the night was his 20th of the season, matching his career high set in 2004. Bobby Abreu was 6-9 as the Yankees had 17 hits in each game.

Chien-Ming Wang (14-5) struggled in and out of jams in game 1, allowing 3 runs in 6 innings, but held the Sox hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He also put the collar on David Ortiz, who ended up 0-4. The Yankees held a 4-3 lead when they blew things open with 4 runs in the 7th. They added 4 more runs in the 9th. Jason Johnson (3-12) managed his own little Houdini act before it finally caught up with him in the 3 run 5th that gave the Yankees the lead for good. Johnson was designated for assignment after the game.

The nightcap saw two starting pitchers that didn't have much of everything. Underachiever Sidney Ponson started for the Yankees, in what one can only hope will be his last appearance in pinstripes. Rookie Jon Lester went for the Sox. Trailing 1-0 in the 2nd, the Yankees jumped on Lester for 5 runs. Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, and Damon each drove in a run before Abreu delivered a 2-run double. But Ponson gave most of it right back as the Sox scored 3 runs on doubles by Kevin Youkilis and Mark Loretta. The Sox tied the game in the 3rd when Craig Wilson made like Bill Buckner, letting Coco Crisp's grounder skip through his legs. Manny Ramirez came home with the tying run.

The Yankees came right back at Lester to take the lead on Damon's 2-run shot. His 3rd straight game with a home run. But Joe Torre, hoping to save his bullpen, let Ponson go back out to start the 4th. 3 straight singles to start the inning finally convinced Torre to go to the pen for Ron Villone. Ortiz hit into a fielder's choice to drive in one run and then Ramirez singled to tie the game once again at 7-7.

A clearly overworked Villone couldn't keep the game tied one inning later. Alex Cora singled in the go-ahead run and Mark Loretta delivered a 2-run single off of Bob Bruney for a 10-7 lead. Neither team actually scored in the 6th, but the Yankees took advantage of a weakened Sox pen in the 7th.

Youngster Craig Hansen retired Cano to start the inning, but the Yankees then loaded the bases on a walk to Jason Giambi and singles by Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada. Terry Francona went to veteran Mike Timlin who has struggled since coming off the DL. His struggles would continue. Melky Cabrera, who is quickly establishing himself as a very good 2-strike hitters, quickly fell behind in the count 1-2. But after working the count full, Cabrera lined a single to run to cut the lead to 10-8. Damon flied to shallow left for the 2nd out, but Derek Jeter ripped a 2-strike pitch into the right field corner. Williams and Posada scored easily and when rightfielder Wily Mo Pena bobbled the ball, 3rd base coach Larry Bowa sent Cabrera home as well. Melky easily beat the relay for an 11-10 Yankees lead.

The Yankees weren't done either. The Sox opted to walk Abreu to pitch to the struggling Alex Rodriguez, but A-Rod came thru with an RBI double. Cano, who started the inning, kept it going with a 2-run single for a 14-10 lead. Giambi finally made the final out, but the damage was done.

The Yankees had hoped not to use Scott Proctor after he threw in the first game, but Pena lined a shot off the knee of Kyle Farnsworth. Remarkably, Farnsworth was able to recover to throw Pena out at first, but had to leave the game. X-rays were negative, but the big righthander is expected to be out a few days. Proctor finished his good day by tossing 1 1-3 scoreless innings - giving him 3 scoreless on the day. Ortiz got the Sox final run in the 9th when he hit his major league leading 43rd home run off Mariano Rivera. Another A-Rod error on a Ramirez ball kept the inning going, but Mo shut it down and the Yankees could get a very good night's sleep.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Captain Comes Up Small

A lot has been made by the media, Mike Francesca in particular, that Derek Jeter needs to step up, defend A-Rod, and tell the fans to simma'. I haven't taken a particularly strong stance about this until now. Yesterday, Derek Jeter, the Captain, the leader of the team, the man with the 4 rings, looked very small.

The play should have been an innocuous one. The Yankees were already getting crushed; the game was all but over. The Yankees were trailing 9-2 in the 6th when Jay Gibbons hit a harmless pop-up. Alex Rodriguez was settled under it. Derek Jeter was moving to his right and calling for the ball. The ball started to settle in A-Rod's glove and Jeter bumped into him, causing the ball to pop out. Jeter was charged with an error for impeding the play.

Jeter was quoted as saying "he said you got it? I thought he was kidding. I started to run off the field". Jeter did in fact start to run off, which at the time made me think WTF? Why isn't he picking up the ball? He also had an icy glare on his face as he looked back at A-Rod. A run came in and then Fernando Tatis, who only seems to homer against the Yankees, bashed one out to finish the scoring.

Jeter was shocked to learn he had been charged with the error. He sloughed it off to reporters, but then was seen in the hallway campaigning the official scorer to change the ruling. Now we know that A-Rod made comments to Esquire magazine several years ago downplaying Jeter's importance to the Yankees. And we know that A-Rod has a tendency to say too much to the press and to make too many excuses (or excuses that aren't excuses - "I was hurt, but I'm not going to tell you what it was").

All that being said it's time for Jeter to step up. If the Yankees are to not just win the division, but have any chance of making the playoffs, the Yankees need the real A-Rod. Not the robotic, average looking guy that has been here for most of this year. Jeter needs to put his own feelings aside and do what's best for the ball club. If he doesn't the team will suffer and so will his well preserved reputation.

Wright All Wrong

Wright walks the park, Yankees crushed 12-2

I had the distinct displeasure of witnessing yesterday's Yankees-Orioles game first hand. Things started out oddly enough when I saw the backhoes digging up the site for the new stadium. Holy slap in the face Batman.

Wright was awful - no two ways about it. Maybe he was overthrowing. The Stadium radar had him consistantly in the mid 90s. He struck Miguel Tejada out with a 97 mph fastball. That is about the only one he threw for a strike. Nothing is more annoying then seeing a guy not find the strike zone and Wright couldn't have found it if it were right in front of his fat, chaw-chewing face.

The game started out all right - home runs by Johnny Damon and Robinson Cano (whose warm up shirt I had on) gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead after 2. It was all downhill from there. There's no real reason to go into details of the game. I would rather than not relive it.

Needless to say it's one that has to be tossed out the window with the big 5 game series with the Sox starting today.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Octavio Dotel Joins the Big Club

The Yankees hopefully strengthened their bullpen today when Octavio Dotel was recalled from his minor league rehab stint. Jose Veras was sent down to make room on the roster. Dotel was expected to be recalled by September 1, but the Yankees had been hesitant to commit to a date. I guess a big series with Boston will makes those decisions.

Around the Horn - 8/16

4 games in 2 - MLB witnessed some unusual history last night. Not one, but two games went 18 innings before a winner was decided. Roger Clemens wasn't at his best last, but finally got some run support and departed after 6 innings with a 6-5 lead. But the Cubbie's Matt Murton took Brad Lidge deep in the 9th to tie the game. And the goose eggs started. The Cubs used all 25 men on their roster for the first time in 20 years. Their 10th pitcher, Rich Hill, picked up the victory when Murton came through again in the 18th with a 2-run single. The game has a lasting effect as the Cubs had to call a player up from the minors to start today's game. The game took 5:36 and poor Willie Taveras went 1-9.

The 2nd double-game occurred between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. The Rocks tied the game up in the 5th and that's the way it would stay for 13 more innings. Luis Gonzalez finally singled in the go-ahead run in the 18th off Ramon Ramirez. The game was ended in 5:21 and Jamey Carroll had the big oh-fer in 8 at-bats.

The Detroit Tigers run for the pennant took a serious blow last night when 2nd baseman Placido Polanco separated his left shoulder making a diving catch in the Tigers game with the Red Sox. Polanco could miss the remainder of the season. The Tigers substitution was an unexpected one - Ivan Rodriguez.

Pedro Astacio has been on the disabled list more than the pitcher's mound in recent years. But last night Astacio got up off the scrap heap for the Washington Nationals and threw a complete game shut out against Atlanta. Making it even remarkable was the fact that he threw just 89 pitches. The game only took 2:01 to play.

Apparently the Toronto Blue Jays are conceding the playoff race. Today they dealt left-hander Scott Schoenweis to the Cincy Reds for a player to be named and cash. It must be the Reds hope to acquire every reliever in MLB by the end of the year.

Damon Pulls Yankees to Victory

HR, Triple Rallies Bombers to 6-3 Win

The first 6 innings of baseball last night at Yankees Stadium looked like a bad 'B' movie. Another A-Rod error, hitters 1-7 with runners in scoring position, Mike Mussina battling through jams and the Yankees trailing 3-1. While it was playing out as less than star grade movie, the Yankees 'A' list stars turned things around as the Yankees rallied for a 6-3 win. The victory moved the Yankees 3 games ahead of Boston, which lost to Detroit 3-2.

Oriole’s starter Erik Bedard had held the Yankees to a run on 5 hits in 6 innings of work, but the patient Yankee hitters made Bedard work for it. Manager Sam Perlozzo had no choice but to go to the bullpen after Bedard tossed 106 pitches. The Yankees immediately pounced on the opportunity. Melky Cabrera led off the 7th with a single off of reliever LaTroy Hawkins. That brought up Johnny Damon who was 10-24 with 3 home runs against Hawkins. Damon made it 11 hits and 4 home runs when he ripped his 16th home run of the season into the rightfield seats to tie the game. The Yankees weren't done either.

Bobby Abreu lined a one-out Hawkins delivery to the gap in right-center. What should have been a double, turned into more when the ball skipped through the legs of rightfielder Nick Markakis, allowing Abreu to reach 3rd. Jason Giambi was intentionally walked to set up the double play with Alex Rodriguez coming up. A-Rod avoided the DP, but didn't know show much more when he fouled out for the 2nd out. Having already made a costly error in the game, he was serenaded with boos, despite the fact he had also driven in the Yankees 1st run. Robinson Cano picked A-Rod up though when he took an outside pitch from lefty Tim Byrdak and lined it to left for an RBI double and a 4-3 Yankees lead.

The Yankees got insurance in the 8th when Cabrera delivered a one-out single and came home on Damon's triple into the rightfield corner. The ball stayed in the corner rather than kicking out, so 3rd base coach Larry Bowa waved Cabrera all the way. In fact Bowa practically raced Cabrera to the plate as Melky scored ahead of a high relay throw. Derek Jeter's sacrifice fly brought home Damon with the final run. Then it was up to Mariano Rivera, who allowed a 2-out single to Brian Roberts before notching his 31st save.

The game was scoreless until the 5th when Yankees nemesis Kevin Millar hit a Mussina delivery into the leftfield seats for his 10th home run. Roberts led off the 6th with a double and advanced to 3rd on Melvin Mora's single. Miguel Tejada flied to shallow right, but Mussina left a pitch up in the zone to Jay Gibbons and Gibbons responded with a line single to right for a 2-0 lead. Mora raced to third and came home moments later when A-Rod booted a potential double play ball off the bat of Jeff Conine. Rodriguez could have still gotten the out at first, but his throw pulled Craig Wilson off the bag. Mussina retired Corey Patterson and Millar to get out of further trouble.

The Yankees got a run back in the bottom of the 6th when they loaded the bases with no one out. Derek Jeter led off with a single and Abreu and Giambi drew walks. Rodriguez dunked a single into left to cut the score to 3-1 and the bases remained loaded. But Bedard got out of the jam without any further trouble thanks to defensive help from his third baseman Mora. After Cano struck out, Jorge Posada lined a pitch that had 2-run single written all over it. But Mora leapt with glove extended and snared it for the 2nd out. Mora caught the ball in the heel of his glove and had to leave with a sprained thumb. X-rays were negative. Bedard got Craig Wilson to hit into a force out to end the threat.


Carl Pavano threw 56 pitches in a rehab start for Tampa yesterday. In 4 scoreless innings he allowed 1 hit, walked 1, and struck out 5.

Joe Torre said that Octavio Dotel is getting close to coming off the DL.

Veteran 1st BasemanCarlos Pena was released by Columbus yesterday. The move is most likely to allow Pena to try to hook up with a major league team when the rosters expand.

The Yankees are finally expected to officially sign their 2006 1st round draft pick Ian Kennedy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Around the Horn - 8/15

Chipper Jones had played 1,733 major league games over parts of 13 seasons and had hit 346 career home runs. But it took until game 1,734 for Jones to join an elite group - players with 3 home runs in one game. Jones tattooed Ramon Ortiz, Ryan Wagner, and Travis Hughes of the Washington Nationals for his hat trick night.

Jones's teammate Matt Diaz did he one better...well actually 7 better. Diaz had hits his first 4 times up against the Nats to reach base safely in 10 straight at-bats - all hits. Diaz streak was finally ended when he grounded out to short his final time up.

The Mets have to be worried about the health of their ace Pedro Martinez. Martinez got smacked around for 6 runs in 1 inning against the Phillies last night and had to leave in the 2nd with a strained calf.

The Mets continue their talks with the Arizona Diamondbacks about Shawn Green. Green reportedly said he would waive his no-trade clause to come to the Big Apple.

Getting closer to 500 - Frank Thomas hit his 473rd home run last night, and Alex Rodriguez hit number 454 on Sunday. Nice to see high, steroid-free totals.

The LA Dodgers beat Dontrelle Willis and Florida last night and are now 13-1 in August. In doing so they've opened up a 2 1/2 game lead on 2nd place San Diego.

Johnson Comes Up Big to Earn Split

Pitches Solid 7 in 7-2 Win

On paper at least Randy Johnson is the ace of the New York Yankees pitching staff. In his first season and 3/4 he has usually been far from it. Last night was a definite exception. Having lost 4 of 6 to the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels, the Yankees needed their starting pitcher to stop the bleeding. Johnson (13-9) did just that. The Big Unit was sharp for 7 innings, running into a bit of a wall in that final inning when his arm dropped down, causing him not to get on top of his slider and fastball. But he scattered 8 hits, walked just 1, and struck out to earn the victory. When he struck out Tim Salmon in the 4th inning he became only the 3rd player, joining Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, in baseball history to record 4,500 career strikeouts.

The Yankees bats broke it open late after the Angels had tied the score at 2-2 in the 7th. Johnny Damon led off with a single off of Angels starter John Lackey (10-9) and Derek Jeter beat out a bunt for an infield single. Bobby Abreu then did something he hadn't done successfully in 9 years. As a matter of fact he had to look at 3rd base coach Larry Bowa more than once to be sure he was really seeing the correct sign. Abreu laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position for Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez. Angels manager Mike Scioscia elected to walk Giambi to set up the force at any base. With the crowd ready to do their usual obnoxious booing, A-Rod delivered with a sacrifice fly to the wall in right, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

After Kyle Farnsworth tossed a 1-2-3 eighth, topping 100 mph on the radar gun several times, the Yankees padded their lead. Brendan Donnelley relieved Lackey and Jorge Posada, who earlier snapped out of an 0-25 skid with 2 hits, lined his 15th home run into the lower deck in right for a 4-2 lead. Craig Wilson followed with his 2nd hit of the night and Melky Cabrera laid down a sac bunt that turned into an infield single when Chone Figgins throw was not in time. Figgins looked to get the force at 2nd, but no one was covering allowing Cabrera to reach safely. Damon fouled off a bunt attempt before working a walk to load the bases. With the infield in Jeter bounced a grounder to shortstop Orlando Cabrera for an easy force at home. But reliever J.C. Romero was tagged by Bobby Abreu (RBI single), Jason Giambi (sac fly) and Alex Rodriguez (RBI infield single) as the Yankees opened up the lead to 7-2. Mariano Rivera was already warming in anticipation of a save situation so Joe Torre brought him in anyway to close it out in the 9th.


Derek Jeter's 2-run HR in the 3rd inning was his 10th of the season. He's now reached double figure in home runs in all 11 seasons he's played. Jeter also added a single and double on the night.

Alex Rodriguez got a gift RBI single in the 8th. Even he was amazed at the official scoring. His grounder to Orlando Cabrera took a bad hop, but Cabrera also let the ball play him. What's more amazing is that it was revealed that in Sunday's post game, A-Rod mentioned that he had not been 100% healthy until recently. However, he would not explain what had been bothering him. He just keeps digging the hole deeper and deeper.

Octavio Dotel pitched a 1-2-3 inning for Triple-A Columbus last night as he continues his rehab from Tommy John surgery. The Yankees hope to recall him prior to September 1st.

Sidney Ponson has been announced as one of the starters of a day-night doubleheader this weekend when the Yankees and Red Sox play a 5 game series in 4 days. Ponson really should have been held out until Monday when he would have faced off against fellow weight challenged hurler David Wells. It could have been touted as the heavyweight title bout with Don King as home plate umpire.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Around the Horn - 8/14

Cleveland's Travis Hafner tied the MLB record for grand slams in a season when he his 6th yesterday against Kansas City. The mark is shared by Don Mattingly who accomplished the feat in 1987. They were the only grand slams of Donnie Baseball's career.

The vintage version of Greg Maddux was on the hill last night for the LA Dodgers. Maddux needed just 68 pitches to throw 8 innings of 2-hit ball before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in a scoreless ball game. Jason Schmidt tossed an impressive 8 innings himself, but the Dodgers won in extra innings on a walk off home run by Russ Martin.

It still has to be considered an outside shot, but Alfonso Soriano once again has a shot at a 40-40 season. Soriano smacked his 38th home run against the Mets on Sunday. He has 28 steals to go along with it. As a member of the Yankees in 2002, Sori fell just short with 39 HRs and 41 steals.

Preston Wilson was designated for assignment over the weekend by the Houston Astros. Wilson has slowed with the bat and in the field, but supposedly the Colorado Rockies have an interest in their former outfielder.

Visit from Angels not Heavenly

Figgins, K-Rod help take 2 of 1st 3 at Stadium

The weekend started and ended ugly for the Yankees in their 4 games series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The series finale is this evening with Randy Johnson looking to salvage a split of the series. John Lackey gets the nod for the Angels.

The games on Friday night and Sunday afternoon were similar and followed a trend that has haunted the Yankee teams of recent years. Throw a kid out there, especially one that doesn't throw hard, and the Yankees won't touch him. Friday night's Yankee tamer was Joe Saunders who was making just his 6th big league start. Corey Lidle, battling a stomach virus, was as shaky as his insides. He surrendered a solo shot to Garret Anderson in the 2nd and a 2-run blast to Maicer Itzuris in the 3rd.

Lidle was pulled after 4 innings and replaced by the man who is literally weighing down the bullpen, Sidney Ponson. Trailing 3-1, Ponson threw some fuel on the fire, probably to start a barbecue, and within moments the Yankees trailed 6-1. Bringing in Ponson was Joe Torre's 1st mistake. His 2nd was letting Nick Green hit for himself after Sal Fasano's 2-run double cut the lead in half in the 7th. It was fine to give Robinson Cano a day off with a day game on Saturday, but since he pinch-hit in the 9th there was no reason he couldn't pinch-hit in the 7th. Green hit into a double play with help from the slow-footed Fasano and the Yankees were done for the night as Francisco Rodriguez picked up the final 4 outs. Yankee killer Chone Figgins - 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 stolen base.

Saturday's game was a lot brighter as was the sunshine. Jaret Wright did his usual Houdini act for 5+ innings and came out to protect his sore back. The Yankees only scored in one inning, but it was enough as the bullpen did the job. Robinson Cano smacked a 3-run home run deep into the right-center bleachers in the 2nd. Later in the inning Johnny Damon belted his 16th with a man aboard for a 5-1 lead. Four Yankee pitchers held the Angels to 4 hits with Mariano Rivera picking up his 30th save. Figgins - 0-3 with a walk and run scored. A-Rod also managed to pick up his 20th error.

The start of Sunday's game was a portend of things to come. Chone Figgins led off the ball game with a solo home run off of Chien-Ming Wang. The Wanger struggled for the 2nd straight start. E-Rod helped out though. Howie Kendrick followed Figgins home run with a bouncer to the left side between short and third. Rodriguez got there, but misplayed it. It was generously scored a hit and the Angels took advantage as Juan Rivera and Adam Kennedy singled in runs for a 3-0 1st inning lead.

Jered Weaver worked his rookie magic against the Yankees - though he came with a stud rep just as Florida's Anibel Sanchez had. Weaver limited the Yankees to hit 3 hits over 6 innings, struck out 8, and improved to 8-0 with a 2.14 ERA.

Craig Wilson's solo home run cut the lead to 3-1, but Rivera and Kendrick added RBI singles for a 5-1 lead. Rodriguez and Jason Giambi hit back-to-back 2-out home runs in the 9th to cut the margin to 5-3, but K-Rod retired Jorge Posada on a fly to left for his 30th save. Figgins - 3-4 1 RBI, 3 runs scored, 1 stolen base.

With the Red Sox sweep of the Orioles, the Yankees lead in the AL East is down to 1 game.


Jorge Posada's collar on Sunday left him in an 0-23 skid. His average has dropped from .289 to .262.

Octavio Dotel threw a scoreless inning of relief for Triple-A Columbus on Sunday as he continues his rehab. Hideki Matsui was told by doctors on Friday to shut it down for 10 days to rest his surgically repaired left wrist. Gary Sheffield worked out at 1st base on Sunday with assistance from gold glover Don Mattingly.

Philip Hughes tossed 5 more shut out innings on Sunday as he continues to progress as the system's stud prospect.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Around The Horn - 8/11

The Boston Red Sox have lost 5 straight games. That's hard enough to believe, but even tougher to swallow is that it has come at the hands of the two teams with the worst records in the AL. The Sox dropped the last 2 of a series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and then were swept by the woeful KC Royals. It was KC's first sweep of Boston in a decade. Overall the Sox have lost 10 of their last 14 games, going from a 3 game lead over the Yankees to a 3 game deficit.

The Minnesota Twins are very worried about Francisco Liriano. Doctors are not optimistic he'll pitch again in 2006. Tests showed a "mild chronic strain of his ulnar collateral ligament, and a clinical exam revealed weakness and stiffness in his shoulder that is causing the soreness in his forearm near his elbow".

Mike Piazza had a nice return to Shea Stadium with the San Diego Padres this past week. Piazza received numerous ovations on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The crowd got even louder when Piazza hit a pair of home runs, including one off of Pedro Martinez.

Ervin Santana only lasted 2 batters in his start against the Indians on Thursday night. The Tribe's Jason Michaels lined a pitch off of Santana's left knee, forcing him from the game. X-rays were negative and Santana is listed as day-to-day.

Roger Clemens' victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday was the 345th of his career.

Rain Delays Yankees 5-4 Loss

Bats can't overcome early errors

The rubber game of the Yankees-Chicago White Sox series was delayed for nearly 90 minutes due to heavy rains. For those on the east coast who stayed up until 1 a.m. to watch the entire game it would have been better if it had just been rained out. Misplays by Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera helped the White Sox score 4 runs in the 2nd inning and a shaky Javier Vazquez and the White Sox pen held on for a 5-4 win. All 3 games in the series were decided by one run, with the White Sox taking 2 of 3. Remarkably, the Yankees still gained a game in the AL East lead thanks to the KC Royals sweeping the Boston Red Sox.

Mike Mussina hit Jermaine Dye with a pitch to start the 2nd and A.J. Pierzynski followed with a single to right. Mussina looked like he was going to end the threat quickly when he induced a potential double play grounder by Joe Crede. Rodriguez fielded the ball cleanly at 3rd, but threw the ball into right field, well out of the reach of 2nd baseman Robinson Cano. Alex Cintron followed with an RBI single to left. When Melky Cabrera mishandled the ball, Crede came around to score as well. Mussina struck out Brian Anderson to finally record the first out of the inning, but Scott Podsednik singled in the 4th run of the inning.

The Yankees immediately put Vazquez in a jam in the first when Johnny Damon led off the game with a double and Derek Jeter followed with an infield single. Both runners advanced on Bobby Abreu's deep fly out, but A-Rod struck out for the 2nd out. Jason Giambi drew a walk, but Vazquez bounced back by getting Jorge Posada to line out to end the inning. Vazquez (11-6) escaped with men in scoring position in the first 4 innings of the game.

The Yankees did cut the lead in half in the 3rd when Giambi smacked his 33rd home run of the season with a man aboard. Giambi has now hit 55 HRs and driven in 145 runs in his last 171 games since the 2005 All-Star break.

Mussina (13-5) settled down after the 2nd, but the White Sox picked up a big insurance run off of him in the 6th. Mussina retired the first 2 hitters, but Brian Anderson doubled and Podsednik followed with an RBI single. The run proved to be huge as Melky Cabrera smacked a 2-run shot, his 7th, off of Brandon McCarthy in the 8th. The Yankees had one more chance in the 9th against closer Bobby Jenks, but again failed to get the big hit with runners in scoring position. Bernie Williams and Cabrera singled after there were two away, but Johnny Damon grounded out to Paul Konerko at first to end the game.


Robinson Cano is 7-14 with 4 doubles and a home run since being activated from the DL.

Octavio Dotel threw a 1-2-3 6th inning for the Double-A Trenton Thunder last night. He retired the side on a strikeout, ground out, and a fly out. Prospect Eric Duncan has missed time recently at Trenton due to a bad back.

Manager Joe Torre said yesterday that he expects to have Hideki Matsui back before Gary Sheffield. The timetable for both is iffy, especially with the minor league season winding down which could eliminate rehab games.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Around the Horn - 8/10

Don't hand that AL MVP award over to David Ortiz just yet. Justin Morneau may have a thing or two to say about it. Morneau became the first members of the Twins in 19 years to hit 30 home runs when he belted the game winner off of the Tigers Joel Zumaya yesterday. Morneau has 101 RBI to go along with a .322 average.

The LA Dodgers winning streak finally came to an end at 11 games last night when the Colorado Rockies scored twice in the 9th to snap a 1-1 tie. The 2nd run of the inning scored when Brad Hawpe stole home.

Can someone please shut Mad Dog Russo the hell up? I know it's a difficult task, but how many more days is he going to go on with his high and mighty speech about how the Mets Duaner Sanchez shouldn't have been out so late when he was involved in a season ending car accident.

A life thrown away to drugs. That's the story of Marlins former #1 pick Jeff Allison. Allison overdosed on heroin in 2004 and did again last night, having to be revived by the police.

Yankees Hold on for 7-6 Win

Nearly blow 7-0 lead and Johnson effort

The Yankees knew they needed to bounce back from Tuesday's night tough extra-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox and they did just that. Then they nearly revisited Tuesday's game again. Leading 7-0 the Yankee saw their lead cut to 7-6 before Mariano Rivera escaped a 2-on, 2-out jam in the 9th to preserve the win.

The game looked like it was going to be a laugher. Randy Johnson was dominant, throwing 6 innings of no-hit ball before Tadahito Iguchi led off the 7th with a single. The Yankees jumped on John Garland in the 1st when Johnny Damon led off the game with a triple and came home on a Bobby Abreu single for 1-0 lead. The Yankees had a chance for more, but Alex Rodriguez bounced into a double play and Jorge Posada popped out.

The Yankees then turned to home run derby. Melky Cabrera led off the 5th with his 5th home run of the season. Later in the inning Abreu hit his first Yankee home run with a man aboard for a 4-0 lead. Robinson Cano extended the gap to 5-0 with his 5th home run leading off the 6th. Cano also had a double and is 5-9 in his 2 games back from the DL.

Garland (12-4) was finally knocked from the box in the 7th after allowing a lead off double to Andy Phillips. Phillips entered the game in the 4th as Damon left with a tightened groin. David Riske walked Derek Jeter after a passed ball allowed Phillips to reach third. Jeter then stole his 25th base to put two runners in scoring position. Both came home on a single by A-Rod and a ground out by Posada. The Yankees led 7-0 and the White Sox didn't even have a hit yet.

Johnson (12-9) hadn't struck out a batter in his last 2 starts, but had 5 on the night. He returned to starting his windup with his hands in front of his face. It was the first time he had done so since his start on May 24. After Iguchi broke up the no-no, Johnson walked Jim Thome and gave up back-to-back doubles to Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye. Just like that it was a 7-2 game and Johnson was done for the night. Ron Villone walked Joe Crede to load the bases, but 2 pop ups and fly out later, he got out of the jam.

The 8th inning again showed what an enigma Kyle Farnsworth is. He can be totally dominant one moment and look like a guy who belongs in the Pioneer League in the next. After striking out Scott Podsednik to start the frame, he hung a slider to Iguchi that the 2nd year player hit into the seats to cut the lead to 7-3. Farnsworth struck out Jim Thome for the 2nd out, but then things got really interesting. Paul Konerko drew a walk and Jermaine Dye followed with a single. Joe Crede then knocked Farnsworth out of the box with a 411-ft, 3-run shot to cut the gap to just one run. Mariano Rivera retired A.J. Pierzynski on a comebacker to finally end the inning.

The White Sox had one more chance against Rivera in the 9th after Mo hit Brian Anderson with one out. Podsednik k'ed again, but Iguchi, who came into the game on a 3-24 skid, picked up his 3rd hit of the night chasing Anderson to 3rd. The blooper to center may have been caught by Damon had he still been in the game, but Bernie Williams, who started the game as the DH, didn't come close. Rivera finally put the game to rest, getting Thome to bounce out harmlessly to Cano to pick up his 29th save and send everyone to bed happy.


The victory by Randy Johnson was the 275th of his career. John Garland's loss snapped an 8 game winning streak.

Bobby Abreu's home run snapped a homerless streak of 163 at-bats, the longest of his career.

Octavio Dotel will continue his rehab from Tommy John surgery at Double-A Trenton. Carl Pavano will make an appearance for Single-A Tampa today as he attempts, yet again, to return to the big club.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Around the Horn - 8/9

Update 3:15

The Cincinnati Reds continued their push for the NL playoffs by acquiring Todd Hollandsworth from the Cleveland Indians this afternoon. The Indians will receive the well worn "player to be named later".


The Los Angeles Dodgers stood 7.5 games back of the 1st place San Diego Padres in the NL West after losing to them on July 26. They looked dead in the water. But since that time they acquired Wilson Betemit, Julio Lugo, Greg Maddux, and got Jeff Kent back from the DL. It has all added up to an 11 game winning streak that has the Dodgers just 1/2 game back of the lead.

One prospect down, one up. The Minnesota Twins have lost super rookie Francisco Liriano to the DL with a sore elbow, but have called up another stud prospect Matt Garza to take his place. Garza, who will make his MLB debut on Friday vs. Toronto, was 14-4 at 3 different minor league levels. He recorded 154 strikeouts in just 135 2-3 innings.

Richie Sexson's walk-off home run for the Mariners last night came with the bases loaded. It was his 4th grand slam of the season.

Josh Hamilton has had a rough go since being drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with the #1 pick in the 1999 draft. Hamilton finally was reinstated this season and had played 15 games for the Rays Single-A Hudson Valley team in the NY-Penn league before it was announced yesterday that he would have season ending knee surgery.

One Ray’s prospect is on the fast track. Evan Longaria, not to be confused with the desperate housewife, was the Rays 1st pick in this year's draft. After hitting .424 in 33 games at Hudson Valley, Longoria was moved up to higher 'A' Visalia in the California League. Longoria hit .327-8-28 in 28 games there before being promoted to Double-A Montgomery yesterday. The third baseman could make B.J. Upton expendable.

Windy City Blow Job

Yanks lose tough one, 6-5

Recipe for disaster - take 1 part bad starting pitching, 1 part no clutch hitting, and 1 part rare blown save opportunity and you've the perfect mix for the loss column. The Yankees did just that last night in an 11-inning 6-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang was far from his best, allowing 4 runs in 5 innings pitched, and the Yankees didn't take advantage of several situations to blow the game open. Then in the 9th, clinging to a 5-4 lead, Mariano Rivera got ahead of Paul Konerko with a 1-2 count, but served up a gopher ball to tie the game. In the 11th Jermaine Dye singled in the game winner off of Scott Proctor to move the White Sox into sole possession in the wildcard race. The Yankees maintained their 2 game lead over Boston in the AL East thanks to the Royals 6-4 win over the Red Sox. A loss like this is made even tougher when you have the over hyped, overrated, obnoxious Ozzie Guillen sitting in the other dugout.

Tadahito Iguchi reached on an infield single after a great stop by Robinson Cano and Jim Thome walked to put Scott Proctor in trouble. Konerko flied out, but Dye lined a single to center to bring home Iguchi who scored easily ahead of Johnny Damon's throw. Dye had popped up the prior pitch in foul territory along the 3rd base stands. Alex Rodriguez chased after it, but unfamiliar with the layout of the field, came up well short. A-Rod admittedly has trouble with pop-ups and one wonders if the ball could have been caught, tough play or not. Dye certainly took advantage of the opportunity.

The game was a seesaw battle right from the get-go as was the Yankees failure to get the big hit. Johnny Damon reached on an error to lead off the ball game, stole second, and scored on Bobby Abreu's single. Abreu stole 2nd and Alex Rodriguez reached on a walk giving Jason Giambi an RBI opportunity with just 1 out. But Giambi bounced into an inning ending 1-6-3 double play.

Craig Wilson's 1st Yankee home run gave the Bombers a 2-0 lead, but Wang struggled from the start. Konerko and Dye stroked back-to-back doubles to start the 2nd, cutting the lead in half. Four batters later Alex Cintron singled in 2 runs to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead.

White Sox starter Freddie Garcia wasn't have a much better night than Wang as he quickly surrendered the lead. With a man aboard Alex Rodriguez crushed a Garcia pitch into the seats in left for his 23rd home run and his 79 and 80th RBI. The Yankees lead lasted all of one inning until Wang gave up a game tying blast to Joe Crede.

Ron Villone took over for Wang in the 6th and the game remained tied until the 8th. Derek Jeter reached on a 1-out single against reliever Matt Thornton and Abreu reached on a walk. A-Rod lined a single to center off right-hander Mike McDougal to load the bases for Giambi. Guillen countered with left Neil Cotts, but Cotts hit Giambi on the right elbow to force in a run to give the Yankees the 5-4 lead. The Yankees failed again to break the game open when Jorge Posada bounced into an inning ending double play.


There were some bright spots in the game. Robinson Cano returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his hamstring on June 25. He went 3-5 and looked sharp at 2nd. Although Jorge Posada looked miserable at the plate, he was outstanding behind it, throwing out 3 would-be base stealers.

Philip Hughes had another outstanding start for Double-A Trenton on Tuesday. Hughes allowed a run on 2 hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out 6 in 5 innings. He's now 7-3, 2.62 for Trenton.

As expected, Miguel Cairo was placed on the 15 day DL with an injured hamstring. He's expected to miss at least 3 weeks.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Around the Horn - 8/7

Update 3:30 pm

David Ortiz belted his 40th home run on Sunday to become the 1st Boston Red Sox player to hit 40 HRs in 3 consecutive seasons.

Mark Mulder threw a 5 inning rehab stint over the weekend and is expected to throw 1 more game in the minors before being activated by St. Louis.

Livan Hernandez was claimed on waivers by an unknown team, but a trade couldn't be worked out with the Washington Nationals. Correction - it was previously reported that Hernandez was pulled off waivers, but this afternoon he was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Nationals received two 23-year-old prospects, right-hander Garrett Mock and left-hander Matt Chico.

David Wright got a nice present from the NY Mets, a 6-year, $55 million contract. The Mets had tied up Jose Reyes earlier in the week.

Former Yankee Ruben Sierra is expected to sign a contract with the Mets for the remainder of the season. Sierra has been tending to his ailing mother and would join the team when rosters expand on Sept. 1.

Bombers Over Baltimore

4 Solo HRs top O's 6-1

With the growing onset of injuries this season the Yankees have become accustomed to play small ball to win. Yesterday they returned to their legacy slugging 4 solo home runs in a 6-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Combined with the Boston Red Sox loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays the Yankees now hold a 2 game advantage in the AL East. After being blanked with just 1 hit on Saturday, it took the Yankees only 2 batters to turn that all around.

Derek Jeter hit a Rodrigo Lopez pitch into the seats in right-center with one out in the top of the 1st to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. The last time Lopez and Jeter faced off in Camden Yards Lopez (8-12) hit Jeter with a pitch on the hand, causing the captain to miss 3 games. Yesterday was sweet revenge as Jeter smacked back with his 9th home run.

Johnny Damon led off the 3rd with his 15 home run of the season for a 2-0 advantage. Two batters later, Bobby Abreu picked up his 1st of 3 hits on the day, a single to left, and stole his 1st of two bases of the game as well. Jason Giambi brought him home with a double to right.

Jaret Wright struggled, but escaped jams in the first 3 innings. The Orioles left a man on third in both of the 1st two innings and left 2 men in scoring position in the 3rd. As Wright performed his Houdini act the Yankees tacked on more runs. Melky Cabrera belted his 5th home run in the 4th inning for a 4-0 lead.

The Orioles finally got to Wright in the bottom of the 4th on a Nick Markakis RBI single. But again the Orioles stranded a runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs. Jason Giambi got the run right back in the 5th when he long a home run into the centerfield bleachers. It was Giambi's 32nd HR of the season, matching last year's total.

Wright (8-6) threw 95 pitches in a 6 innings stint before turning the game over to Proctor. When Proctor got into a two-out, two-on jam in the 8th, manager Joe Torre went to his closer Mariano Rivera for a 4 out save. Rivera retired all 4 men he faced for his 28th save of the season and the 407th of his career.


Robinson Cano finished up his rehab assignment at Double-A Trenton Sunday and is expected to be activated for the 3 game series with the Chicago White Sox that starts tomorrow night.

Cano's activation comes just in time as Miguel Cairo is expected to miss 3 weeks after straining his left hamstring on Saturday. Nick Green will serve as the utility infielder for now.

17-year old hot prospect Jose Tabata return from the disabled list for Single-A Charleston on Friday, but had to be quickly removed from Saturday's game as he felt pain in his bruised thumb. Tabata had been DL'ed after being hit with a pitch.

Carl Pavano will throw a bullpen session today and if all goes well will start a rehab assignment for Single-A Tampa.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Around the Horn - 8-5

Chase Utley's hitting streak ended at 35 consecutive games last night. Utley went 0-5 against the Mets at Shea Stadium. He falls 3 games short of the team record set earlier this year by teammate Jimmy Rollins. Rollins' 38 game streak carried over from last season.

Reports had Andruw Jones claimed by several team on waivers and the Braves trying to work out a deal with one of them. The Braves have steadfastly denied they are dealing Jones who becomes a 10 and 5 player this month.

Javy Lopez was behind the plate a little earlier than expected for the Boston Red Sox. Starting catcher Doug Mirabelli turned his ankle in last night's game and had to leave. He's listed as day-to-day and will be re-evaluated to see if a DL stint in necessary. Corky Miller is expected to be called up today as Lopez's backup.

Posada HR Salvages Night

During this past off-season the Yankees explored the idea of signing free agent Bengi Molina to split the team's catching duties with Jorge Posada, and possibly circumvent Posada's $12 million option for 2007 from kicking in. The front office decided against it, feeling that it would affect Posada's performance. It was a wise choice. Molina has lost playing time with the Toronto Blue Jays while Posada has had one of his most consistent seasons. That $12 million option will kick in when he starts against Baltimore today. Last night he celebrated early with a game winning 9th inning home run against the Orioles.

The Yankees had squandered a 3-0 lead and trailed 4-3 as they entered the 8th. But new arrival Craig Wilson doubled in the tying run and Posada's 14th home run pushed the Yankees ahead 5-4. Mariano Rivera pitched the 9th, getting Ramon Hernandez to bounce into a game ending 4-6-3 double play to preserve the victory. Posada's home run bailed out a mediocre performance by Randy Johnson and a lack of timely hits by his teammates, who left 13 men on base.

Johnson was handed a 3-0 lead after the first two innings, but struggled with his control, his mechanics, and probably his psyche as the Orioles came back. In the 3rd, the Orioles produced 2 runs on consecutive singles by Chris Gomez, Brian Roberts, and Fernando Tatis, and an RBI ground out by Melvin Mora. Two innings later the Orioles took the lead when Tatis hit his first major league home run since 2003 and Mora and Miguel Tejada hit consecutive drives off the scoreboard in right field. The score may have been worse than 5-3, but rightfielder Bobby Abreu threw out Tejada trying to reach 2nd.

Johnson finally had a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th and Ron Villone and Scott Proctor combined for a pair of scoreless frames to enable the Yankees to come back. Jason Giambi reached on a one-out walk in the 8th and Posada followed with a single to left. Craig Wilson then a hit deep drive to right that resulted in an RBI double to tie the score 4-4. After Melky Cabrera was intentionally walked, the Orioles escaped with the lead as Bernie Williams popped out and Johnny Damon lined out.

The Yankees jumped to a quick 1-0 lead in the 1st when Damon led off the ball game with his 14th home run of the season. The Yankees added 2 more in the second when Wilson doubled and Cabrera followed with a single to put runners on the corners with on one out. Miguel Cairo brought them both home with a double to the gap in left-center.


Robinson Cano had three hits in his rehab stint at Double-A Trenton and is still expected to be activated on Tuesday in Chicago. Nick Green will probably be designated for assignment to make room on the roster.

Bubba Crosby has been up and down from the minor leagues in his 3 year stint with the Yankees, but he was shaken yesterday when the team designated him for assignment to recall another arm. Right-handerJose Veras was recalled from Columbus to take his place. There's a good chance that Crosby will catch on with a team, especially the Floria Marlins since Crosby is a favorite of manager Joe Girardi.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Around the Horn - 8/4

The Boston Red Sox have temporarily made up for the loss of Jason Varitek with Javy Lopez. The much rumored deal took place today as the Baltimore Orioles sent Lopez to the Red Sox for a player to be named later (if he can clear waivers it's most likely going to be Adam Stern). While Lopez's bat is better than Varitek's, his defense ability does not compare. The Orioles quickly inked Chris Widger, who had been released by the White Sox, to replace Lopez.

Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 35 games last night with a 3-6 effort against the Cardinals. Fred Clarke, Ty Cobb, and Luis Castillo are the only other major leaguers to hit in 35 straight games.

Greg Maddux made his Los Angeles Dodger debut last night and it was a memorable one. It could have been even more memorable if not for a rain delay. Maddux had thrown 6 innings of no-hit ball, but rain stopped played for 46 minutes and ended Maddux's night. Reliever Joe Beimel gave up a single to the first man he faced, Scott Hatteberg, to end the team no-hit bid.

Roger Clemens turns 44 today - wonder if he'll get yet another hummer as a gift.

Lidle Takes the Fifth

Newbie sparkles in debut as Yankees sweep Jays

Corey Lidle gave the Yankees exactly what they were looking for out of their 5th starter in yesterday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. A quality start. And more importantly, an 8-1 victory that combined with the Boston Red Sox loss gave the Bombers a full 1 game lead in the AL East. Lidle's victory was the first by a starter other than Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang, or Jaret Wright since Shawn Chacon topped Texas on May 6. Ironically, Chacon won his debut start for the Pirates yesterday as well.

Lidle's high school teammate Jason Giambi gave his fellow alumnus a quick lead in the first. Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a one-out single. After Bobby Abreu was retired, Jay's rookie starter Shaun Marcum walked Alex Rodriguez. That brought up Jason Giambi who had to leave Tuesday's game and sat out Wednesday's game with leg cramps caused by the heat. Giambi's legs felt just fine as he mashed a 3-run home run deep into the rightfield seats. The Yankees chased Marcum (1-1) from the game in the 3rd as they threatened again, but Brian Tallet retired Craig Wilson with the bases loaded.

Lidle (9-7) meanwhile ran into little trouble in his 6 inning, quality start. Rookie Ryan Roberts touched up Lidle for the Jays only run with his first major league home run in the 5th. The Yankees got the run back plus another in their half of the 5th. Jeter drew a lead off walk from new pitcher Brandon League and Abreu followed with a single through the right side. A-Rod hit a tapper to the side of the mound that League fielded and threw off-balance, the ball skipping into right field. Jeter scored and Abreu advanced to 3rd on the play. Giambi was intentionally walked to load the bases and League struck out Wilson for the first out of the inning. But Melky Cabrera came through with an RBI single for a 5-1 lead.

The Yankees blew the game open with a 2-out rally in the 6th against lefty Scott Schoeneweis. After Johnny Damon and Jeter grounded out, Abreu doubled to the gap in left-center. The Jays elected to intentionally walk Rodriguez to set up a lefty-lefty match up with Giambi. That was a mistake. Giambi blasted a deep drive to center that one-hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double and a 6-1 lead. Wilson then finally came through with men on a base with a 2-run single to right.

The rest of the game was uneventful except for Kyle Farnsworth taking a comebacker off his bare hand in the 8th. It caused a burst blood vessel which didn't allow him to grip his fastball properly. He's listed as day-to-day.


Robinson Cano went 2-5 in his final appearance with the GCL Yankees. He'll start the next step in his rehab assignment with the Trenton Thunder today.

Octavio Dotel threw one inning in the GCL game, striking out one and walking one. He tossed 17 pitches.

Hideki Matsui didn't receive all good news from his visit with the doctor yesterday. His wrist is healing nicely, but because of tenderness he can't add any extra exercises to his regime. Translation - see you in September.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Around the Horn - 8/3

5:00 Update

The NY Daily News is reporting that the New York Mets and Jose Reyes have agreed to terms on a four-year, $23.25 million contract extension with an option for 2011.

Fausto Carmona won't be getting Christmas presents from the Yankees any time soon. Carmona took over as the Cleveland Indian's closer after Bob Wickman was traded to the Atlanta Braves. Carmona faced the Boston Red Sox yesterday and Monday in save situations and imploded in both situations.

On Monday Carmona entered the 9th to protect an 8-6 lead. He gave up a single to Alex Cora and walked Kevin Youkilis. Carmona got Mark Loretta to pop up for the 1st out. It would be the only out. Big Papi was next and the game was quickly over as Ortiz smashed a 3-run home run to deep center. Yesterday was even worse.

Protecting a 5-4 lead, Carmona started out great, striking out Wily Mo Pena and Coco Crisp to start the 9th. Then he hit Doug Mirabelli with a 3-2 pitch. Carmona followed that up by hitting Alex Gonzalez and walking Youkilis on a 3-2 pitch. Loretta then ended the game with a double off the Green Monster.

Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 34 games. It's the longest streak since Benito Santiago hit in 34 straight games in 1987. Dom DiMaggio also hit in 34 games. Utley's streak was extended due to some hot hitting by his teammates late in the game. The Phillies scored 8 runs over the 8th and 9th innings to allow Utley to extend his streak after going 0-4. In the 8th Utley hit a slow chopper that pitcher Randy Flores fielded, checked the runner at third, and then made a throw to first that pulled 1st baseman Ryan Howard off the bag. The play was originally ruled as a fielder's choice, but was later changed to a hit since Utley had already beaten the throw. It didn't matter anyway as Utley picked up another hit in the 9th.

Greg Maddux makes his Dodger debut tonight as LA faces the Cincinnati Reds. Shawn Chacon of the Pirates and Corey Lidle of the Yankees are also starting for their new teams today.

Kerry Wood has opted against surgery on his injured right shoulder. The Cubbie has a partially torn rotator cuff, but has decided against having it repaired. Wood's plan is to work as a reliever next year whether it is in Chicago or elsewhere.

Wang Grounds Jays to a Pulp

Extends coreless streak to 17 innings in 7-2 win

When the Yankees acquired Randy Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks they thought they had picked up a pitcher who could go out every 5 days and dominate. That hasn't been the case, but someone else right under their noses has done exactly that. Chien-Ming Wang threw his 2nd consecutive dominant start, blanking the Blue Jays for 8 innings in a 7-2 Yankees victory. Wang threw 94 pitches in oppressive heat so manager Joe Torre decided to go to the bullpen for the 9th. Troy Glaus broke up the shutout with a long 2-run home run off Ron Villone, his 28th, into the blackened section in centerfield. By then the game had already been decided.

Derek Jeter jumped on a Ted Lilly pitch in the 3rd and drove it into the bleacher in right-center for his 8th HR of the season. The score stayed that way until the 6th when the Yankees busted it open. The rally almost didn't get off the ground though. Alex Rodriguez led off the inning with a base hit towards the left field foul line. Seeing that the left fielder Frank Catalanotto had a long way to get to the ball, A-Rod jetted towards second. The only thing was Catalanotto's throw was already waiting in the glove of 2nd baseman Aaron Hill. A-Rod pulled up short on his head first slide to move his body away from Hill's glove. He then reached around with his right hand to touch the base ahead of Hill's tag. The play generated laughter in the Yankees dugout and ignited the Yankees bats.

Jorge Posada followed with a long home run into the left field seats for a 3-0 lead. It was Posada's 13th home run of the season. A single by Craig Wilson and a ground rule double by Melky Cabrera gave the Yankees 2 runners in scoring position with one out and knocked Lilly (9-10) out of the ball game. Dustin McGowan entered the game and immediately walked Miguel Cairo to load the bases. Johnny Damon followed with an RBI single and Jeter walked to force in a run to push the score to 5-0. Reliever Scott Downs came on to strike out Bobby Abreu, but A-Rod picked up his 2nd hit of the inning, a single off the glove of shortstop John McDonald, that plated Damon and Cairo and blew the game open.

Wang (13-4) started out shaky, partly because of the tight strike zone being called by home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman. Wang rarely shows emotion on the mound, but stared in at Dreckman several times as he issued 3 walks in the 2nd inning. After that Wang had the Jays pounding his hard sinker into the ground to the tune of 16 ground ball outs. He also did not walk another batter after the 2nd and struck out 3.


Chien-Ming Wang's 13th victory tied him for the team lead in victories with Mike Mussina. Wang also extended his winning streak to 5 games. In those 5 games he has thrown 43.2 innings (8 per start), has a 2.47 ERA and a 1.19 ratio.

Carl Pavano threw a simulated game off the Yankee Stadium mound yesterday and still hopes to return before the season is over.

Craig Wilson made his Yankees debut and went 2-4 while making several good plays at 1st. Bobby Abreu, who had gone hitless in his 1st game in pinstripes, was 2-5.

Corey Lidle makes his Yankees debut this afternoon in the finale of the 3 game series at 1:05. Rookie Shaun Marcum goes for the Jays. Thankfully the Yankees don't face the Phillies the rest of the year. Lidle's parting remarks questioned the Phillies player’s hearts. Most of the Phillies were upset by his words, especially Arthur Rhodes who reminded everyone that Lidle was a scab back in 1995.

Robinson Cano is expected to play one more game for the GCL Yankees today before continuing his rehab stint with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

Yankees #1 prospectPhilip Hughes threw 5 scoreless innings in Trenton's 5-1 loss to the Reading Phillies last night. He allowed 2 hits, walked 2 and struck out 8, and didn't figure in the decision.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Around the Horn - 8/2

MLB News Updated: 4:00

Today marks the 27th anniversary of one of the saddest memories in NY Yankees history. Thurman Munson was killed in a plane crash on this date in 1979, breaking the hearts of many Yankees fans and stunning the nation. It's still shocking to this day.

The Boston Red Sox received a big blow when it was learned that catcher and team captain Jason Varitek would have to undergo surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee. Varitek is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.
The Red Sox also placed RF Trot Nixon on the DL Monday with a strained bicep tendon.

Rookie sensation Francisco Liriano will miss his Thursday start for the Twins with a sore forearm. It was originally reported that Liriano was suffering from elbow problems, but the Twins dismissed that report.

300 game winner Greg Maddux will make his LA Dodger debut on Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds.

Home runs continue to fly off the bats of the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez and the Mets' Carlos Beltran. Ramirez has 9 home runs in the last 13 games while Beltran has 5 in his last 3 games. He also has 12 RBI in those 3 games.


Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 33 games yesterday. It's the 7th longest streak of all time.

The Mets have sent rookie Mike Pelfrey back to the minors after allowing 9 runs in 10.1 innings over his last 2 starts. Royce Ring has been recalled.

Cuban 2b baseman Yuliesky Gourriel had reportedly defected last week in Columbia. The rumors proved to be false when Gourriel met with reporters in Cuba today and laughed off the situation.

Bernie Steals the Spotlight

Delivers key hit in 5-1 victory

New arrival Bobby Abreu had Yankee Stadium buzzing last night, but it was old veteran that took the spotlight. Bernie Williams, a Yankee since 1991, doubled with the bases loaded in the 4th inning to snap a 1-1 tie and propel the Yankees to a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. The victory, combined with the Boston Red Sox loss to the Cleveland Indians, moved the Yankees into a share of 1st place in the AL East.

Abreu received a loud ovation as he ran out to play RF in the 1st inning and was greeted by the Bleacher Creatures with changes of "Bob-by Abre-u". Abreu quickly warmed to the pinstripes. It appeared it could be a long night though as Yankees starter Jaret Wright struggled through 5 innings in blistering heat and humidity. After the game manager Joe Torre referred to it as "battling" through 5. Nice spin there Joe. The Jays took a 1-0 lead in the 2nd when Wright walked Lyle Overbay and hit Aaron Hill. John McDonald took a high fastball to right for an RBI double. Wright retired Reed Johnson on a deep fly to right to escape further trouble.

Blue Jays starter A.J. Burnett breezed through the first 3 innings before encountering trouble in the 4th. Derek Jeter led off with a walk and quickly swiped his second base. It was his first of two steals on the night. Jason Giambi's single put runners on the corners for Alex Rodriguez who lined a shot to the gap in right-center for an RBI double to tie the game at 1 apiece. Abreu then quickly fell behind in the count 0-2 and barely checked his swing to avoid a 3rd strike. Jay’s manager John Gibbons didn't agree and barked out at home plate ump Gary Darling and 3rd base ump Ed Hickox. Abreu ended up drawing a walk to load the bases. That's when the Yankee with the longest tenure took over. Williams hit a liner to the gap in left-center just out of the reach of a diving Reed Johnson. The ball rolled to the wall and cleared the bases for a 4-1 Yankees lead. The double was also the 442nd of Bernie's career, tying him with Don Mattingly for 2nd place on the all-time Yankees list. Lou Gehrig sits in the top spot with 534.

Burnett was pulled from the game after the 4th and vented his frustration on one of the dugout water coolers. The rest of the night was up to Wright and the Yankees bullpen. Wright worked many full count at-bats and threw 103 pitches in his 5 inning effort. He managed to scatter 5 hits and walk just 1 though while striking out 5. Ron Villone, Scott Proctor, and Kyle Farnsworth worked the final 4 innings to close out the win.


Derek Jeter was 1-3 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. During the streak, Jeter is 20-40 (.500) during the streak, raising his average to .354. He's not just 13 points behind league leader Joe Mauer.

Alex Rodriguez stole his 10th base. It's the 10th time in his career he's reached double figures in steals.

Octavio Dotel threw 10 pitches in a 1 inning rehab stint for the Gulf Coast Yankees. Dotel struck out two and reached 94 mph on the radar gun.

Robinson Cano will make his 1st rehab appearance tomorrow in Tampa as a designated hitter. The goal is to have Cano back with the Yankees on August 8.

Craig Wilson gets his first start as a Yankee tonight as Chien-Ming Wang faces left-hander Ted Lilly. Wilson will play 1st base.