Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Yankees Win Road Finale

The Yankees finale spring road trip ended well, as the Bombers beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3. Joba Chamberlain threw a very effective 5.1 innings and Melky Cabrera drove in three runs in this afternoon's contest in Sarasota.

Brett Gardner added three hits and Angel Berroa had a pair in a sloppily played ball game. The two teams combined for seven errors. The Yankees pen did the job again though, allowing one unearned run in 3.2 innings.

The Yankees are back at home in Tampa tomorrow to take on the Phillies.

Box Score

Nice Joba

Good day for Joba Chamberlain; he ran out of gas in the 6th, but pitched a smooth first five innings. In the sixth, he walked a pair and gave up a pair of RBI singles.

His line for the day:

5.1 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 6 K

Brian Bruney, pitching better of late, got the final 2 outs in the sixth.

Orioles Opening Series Pitchers

The Yankees and Orioles open the season on Monday at Camden Yards. It'll be a 4:05 EDT start with CC Sabathia going against Jeremy Guthrie.

Tuesday's an off day and then the two teams meeting on Wednesday at 7:05 pm. Chien-Ming Wang will face Japanese rookie Koji Uehara. The series concludes Thursday at 1:35 pm with A.J. Burnett facing an undetermined pitcher.

The Daily Yankeeland - 3/31

The last day of March is here, which means opening day is less than a week away. The Yankees are in Sarasota today to play the Cincinnati Reds at 1:05 pm. Joba Chamberlain will be starting for the Yankees. We'll try to Twitter as much of today's game as we can.

Believe it or not, Joba's arraignment on DUI charges has been postponed for a 4th time. In this case it's only for a day though, so Joba can pitch this afternoon.

Beginning May 4, the Yankees will offer tours of the new Yankee Stadium to anyone willing to fork over $20. The money will be going to charity.

1998 Superman Shane Spencer is now a minor league hitting coach for the San Diego Padres.

Former Yankees pitcher Ross Ohlendorf, included in the Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte trade, has made the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation. He's allowed just 2 earned runs in 20.2 spring innings.

The Yankees Single-A affiliate, Charleston River Dogs, are working in conjunction with "Teacher’s Supply Closet" to help educators in the area. The Teachers Supply Closet assists educators in getting school supplies to children who can't afford them. The River Dogs are running a program to exchange $1 seats for anyone donating school supplies at their games.

The YES Network grabbed 13 Emmy Awards in ceremonies held Sunday night. It included 5 awards for the Yankeeography series.

Here's some info on Yankee Stadium catering (we weren't awake enough to read it).

Albaladejo Gets Final Spot in Pen

According to Tyler Kepner of the Times, you can officially forget having a long man in the bullpen. Yankees reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, acquired prior to the the '08 season for Tyler Clippard, has been told he has the final spot in the Yankees bullpen.

Brett Tomko, Dan Giese, and Al Aceves were thought to be battling to be the final man, but Joe Girardi recently revealed that he might not go with a long man after all. Albaladejo also gives Girardi the ability to mix and match more in the late innings.

Aceves will be a starter for Scranton, which is probably a better role for him anyway, while Giese and Tomko will be assigned to the Scranton pen.

Breaking News: Gary Sheffield released by Tigers

Former Yankee, and always controversial figure, Gary Sheffield is now a former Detroit Tiger too. The 39-yr old is just one home run shy of joining the 500 home run club, but has become injury prone the last few years. Last season he hit just .225 in 114 games.

Some team will probably give him a shot, though he is likely to clear waivers, meaning he won't be on an opening day roster.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Yankees get an Andy performance

Andy Pettitte may no longer be a front of the rotation guy, but he still knows how to pitch. Pettitte was dominant this afternoon in the Yankees 3-1 win over the Blue Jays in Dunedin.

The left-hander allowed one run on five hits in 6.2 innings, didn't walk a batter and struck out seven. Pettitte put away Lyle Overbay three times on strikes.

Mark Teixeira was the big hitting hero. He followed a first inning single by Derek Jeter and a walk by Johnny Damon with an RBI single for a 1-0 lead. After the Jays tied in the 6th, Teixeira came through again in the seventh.

Jose Molina led off the inning with a single before being forced out at second base on a ground out by Brett Gardner. Melky Cabrera, batting for the first time in the game, singled to right, and Teixeira following with a rip off of Overbay's glove at first that went down the right field line for an RBI double.

The Yankees added an insurance run in the eighth when second baseman Justin Snyder, in his frist AB of the day, tripled with one out. Angel Berroa, you guessed it..in his first AB of the day...doubled home Snyder before being thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple.

But the story of the day was Pettitte, who was as solid as he's been this spring. He ran into trouble only in the bottom of the sixth when a wild pitch helped contribute to the Blue Jays' run. He came back out to start the seventh and retired both batters he faced before leaving in favor of Damaso Marte. Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez (save) worked the final two innings to seal the victory.

Containing his move up one slot to lead off, Jeter was 1-2 with a walk, run scored, and a stolen base. Damon was 0-1, but walked twice.

Box Score

Bouton, John are Featured Speakers

Former Yankees pitchers Jim Bouton and Tommy John are the guest speakers at the Fairfield County Sport Commision's 2nd Annual Celebrity Breakfast on April 9th. The Fairfield, CT. event features Mad Dog Russo as the emcee and raises money for fitness awareness programs.

The suggested donation is $75, which covers food, drink, and the chance to win Yankees tickets.

For more information contact Tom Chiappetta at 251-8481 or tomc@fairfieldcountysports.com

We're Twittering today's game

Just look for My Pinstripes on Twitter.com

The Daily Yankeeland - 3/30

The Yankees topped the Pirates 9-8 on Sunday, but it was a rough outing for starter A.J. Burnett. The free agent signing has been outstanding this spring, but gave up 7 runs (6 earned) on 10 hits over 4.1 innings. He allowed 3 home runs and walked 3.

The Yankees pen did well though; Mariano Rivera allowed a hit in his one inning of work, but struck out the side. Phil Coke continued o impress, ringing up 4 K's in 2 innings.

Robinson Cano homered, and he and Nick Swisher drove in 2 runs each. Johnny Damon banged out 3 hits.

Box Score

For all of spring training we've heard about the battle between Dan Giese, Al Aceves, and Brett Tomko for the long man role in the bullpen. Joe Girardi, however, is pondering the possibility of not keeping a long man and adding Jonathan Albaladejo to the pen. Albaladejo, who was acquired prior to the 2008 season for Tyler Clippard, has been throwing very well this spring.

The Yankees made 8 more cuts over the weekend- Todd Linden, Shelley Duncan, John Rodriguez, Doug Bernier, Justin Leone, P.J. Pilittere, Chris Stewart, and David Robertson. Robertson impressed Girardi and could be the first reliever recalled from the minors.

Yankees play the Blue Jays in Dunedin this afternoon (1 pm). Andy Pettitte gets the start.

Lou Saban passed away on Sunday at age 87. Saban was a legendary football coach in the old AFL and the NFL, but also worked for the Yankees for parts of two years. No one at the time, us included, could figure out why other than the fact that he was buds with George Steinbrenner. Though he had no baseball background, Saban was hired as team president in 1981.

The Yankees got back another Rule V player, pitcher Ivan Nova, whom the Padres selected this past December. The Yankees paid $25,000 to retrieve Nova, who will be assigned to Double-A Trenton.

We send out our condolences to Mr. Saban's family and friends.

Steinbrenner Field Honors 9/11 Victims

The Yankees unveiled a new tribute to the victims of 9/11 prior to yesterday's spring training game with the Pirates. The foundation of the memorial is shaped like the Pentagon, while the Twin Towers rise above it. A piece of steel from the towers sits on the base as well. The surrounding grass represents the victims of Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania.

The memorial was presented by the Gene O'Kane Division of retired NYC firefighters. Member Joe Holland, whose son, and fellow firefighter, Joseph was killed in the towers, threw out the first pitch to Tino Martinez. He was accompanied to the mound by his son Bryan, Derek Jeter and Joe Girardi.

Sit on someone's lap?

We got an emailed this morning saying opening series tickets are still available. You can see the little 'T' icon next to the Yankees opener on April 16. So, just for the heck of it, we put in for one ticket....and got no seats available. We thought we would at least be offered a $2,656 seat.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gardner has the tools and the job

Joe Girardi made it official today- Brett Gardner will be his starting center field when the Yankees "real" season gets under way.

Girardi made the announcement after the Yankees 9-8 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates today. Melky Cabrera finished second in the running, despite a recent hot streak that saw his spring average rise to .340.

But Girardi cited the quality of Gardner's at-bats, which has translated to a .385 exhibition average. Gardner's speed and ability to steal bases also gives the Yankees a tremendous weapon at the bottom of the order.

For now, Cabrera will be on the bench as a reserve, filling in defensively for Johnny Damon and giving each of the outfielders some rest when needed. The Yankees will still entertain offers for the Melkman since he is out of minor league options and a trade would open more playing time for Nick Swisher.

Build it and they will play

In my latest Baseball Digest piece, I take a look at the Stadium's opening. No, not the new stadium, the refurbished stadium in 1976.

Click here to read it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Daily Yankeeland - 3/27

The Yankees play the Reds in Tampa this evening at 7:15 EDT. The game is on WABC radio so you can hear the melodic voice of one John Sterling. CC Sabathia gets the start and Mariano Rivera will be making another appearance.

George Steinbrenner will be at the Yankees home opener, according to a source in the know. King George hasn't been at the Stadium since last season's All-Star game.

Peter Abraham of the Journal News reports that it will cost $19 to park at the new Stadium and the new Metro North station won't be ready for the first home stand.

To promote his new album, Bernie Williams sat down for an interview with Entertainment Weekly magazine. Among his revelations, Derek Jeter hated when Bernie played his guitar on team bus rides or airplane flights.

The NY Times' Richard Sandomir has a profile of Yankees veep/bulldog Randy Levine.
“Part of Randy likes to fight,” said Hal Steinbrenner, the managing general partner. “He has a history of not backing down. He likes to be the bad cop. I’m the good cop.”
You may have read the other day that the wife of former Yankees prospect Jose Tabata was arrested after abducting a new born. The story gets even stranger. A stunned Tabata, who is 20 years younger than his wife, thinks she also lied to him about a number of things, including being pregnant. Click here to read Tabata's full statement.

Time to get your priorities in order, Hanley Ramirez. The Yankees have long had a dress code that includes no facial hair, other than a mustache, no earrings, and no long hair. The Florida Marlins recently instituted a similar policy, causing Ramirez to go ballistic after getting his hair cut.
"After the star shortstop was forced to shear his long locks, he strolled through the clubhouse sharing his opinion of the new fashion rules across his chest, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

"I'm sick of this s---," the message read, in thick Sharpie letters. "I'm angry," Ramirez said. "I want to be traded." Ramirez was not only forced to cut off his cornrows under the new policy, he also won't be allowed to wear jewelry while playing.

"It's incredible," he said later. "We're big-leaguers."

Ramirez eventually cooled down after a talk with team officials and said everything was cool.

Around the Horn - Injury Update

Alex Rodriguez's hip is of prime concern to Yankees fans, but there are plenty of other top major league players suffering through injuries at the moment. Here's a quick update.

Justin Duscherer (A's)
The right-hander is suffering from an elbow pain and will most likely start the season on the disabled list. Duscherer feels fine warming up, but experiences pain when throwing at game speeds.

Ryan Braun (Brewers)
Braun has been feeling tightness in the back of his rib cage, but an MRI has not revealed anything. Braun played through similar tightness last season and felt it again during the World Baseball Classic. For now, the team has barred him from hitting.

Nate Robertson, Adam Everett, Joel Zumaya (Tigers)
Robertson, battling for the fifth spot in the Tigers rotation, sprained his thumb while field a grounder in Wednesday's exhibition game with the Mets. X-Rays were negative, but he's day to day for now.

Everett injured his left ankle in the same game on a slide into second base, but is expected to back in the lineup on Saturday.

Zumaya won't be ready for opening day after continuing to experience stiffness in his throwing shoulder.

Ervin Santana, Kelvim Escobar, John Lackey (Angels)
Santana is expected to miss at least the first month of the season with a sprained elbow ligament.

Escobar is ahead of schedule in his recovery from shoulder surgery and hopes to be back by the end of April.

Lackey is experiencing forearm tightness and will skip his next start. The Angels hope he can still be their opening day starter.

Get Well Soon Aaron Bleepin' Boone

Aaron BooneHis Yankees career was a short one, but Aaron Boone hit one of the most memorable home runs in franchise history. His 11th inning blast off of Tim Wakefield gave the Yankees a game 7 ALCS come from behind victory over the hated Red Sox.

A knee injury in the off-season to follow (in a non-sanctioned basketball game) led to a trade for Alex Rodriguez and Boone's Yankees carrer was over.

Boone showed a lot of heart during the ALCS, in which he struggled at the plate until that one big swing. Now Boone's heart is under repair. He went underwent surgery yesterday to repair his aorta and replace his aortic valve. It's a condition that Boone has known about since college. Surgery became a necessity when his (Astros) team physical this spring showed some abnormalities.

Doctors called the surgery a sucess and his father, former catcher Bob Boone, said he was doing well. Boone hopes to resume his playing career once he is healed up.

photo courtesy of espn.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yankee Home Opener to be Voiceless

Bad news Yankees fans. Newsday's Neil Best reports that Bob Sheppard will not be able to make it to opening day. When Sheppard spoke with WFAN's Ed Randall back on February 15, "The Voice of God" was quite hopeful of attending the April 16th opener with the Cleveland Indians.

But Sheppard's doctors say his stamina is still not at a level that will allow him to return to work yet, even for just one day. Hopefully, April showers will bring Bob Sheppard to May baseball games.

Yankees and Phils Thumping Early

The Yankees and Phillies are 2-2 in the top of the second inning in Clearwater. A Derek Jeter single and a Hideki Matsui home run put the Bombers on top, but Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hit back to back shots off of Joba Chamberlain to tie things up.

Nice second inning for Joba, retiring the side in order.

Yankees are up 4-2 after five. Cody Ransom put the Yankees ahead in the fourth and Johnny Damon added an RBI in the fifth. Chamberlain went 4.1, allowing 3 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, and struck out 3.

Phil Coke finished up the fifth inning.Blogger: My Pinstripes - Edit Post "Yankees and Phils Thumping Early"


The Yankees finished off the Phillies 10-2 this afternoon, putting the game away with a 5-run eighth inning. Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera joined Hideki Matsui and Cody Ransom by thumping home runs. Melky has quietly raised his average to .313, and, if nothing else, has made himself more marketable.

A nice job by the Yankees bullpen today - Phil Coke, Edwar Ramirez, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, and Jonathan Albaladejo allowed just three hits over the final 4.2 innings.

Box Score

Watch the Yankees on your Computer for Free

Today only..you can watch the Yankees for free on mlb.tv.

CC to Open Open

Bryan Hoch of mlb.com is reporting that CC Sabathia will pitch the both home and away opening day assignments. It was originally though that Chien-Ming Wang would open the new Stadium, but he'll now be throwing in the exhibition game against the Cubs on April 3rd. Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett will both make appearances against the Cubs on April 4th.
"I'm excited to be able to take the ball the first game of the season and to open up the Stadium," Sabathia said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

Arthur Richman, 83

Arthur Richman experienced a lot in his many years in baseball, including the zoo like atmosphere that sometimes occurred during his time with the Yankees and Mets. The long time writer, advisor, and right hand man passed away yesterday at 83.

Jack Curry of the Times has a nice feature on the man who was beloved my many he dealt with.

Ticket Fall Out Continues

If you've tuned in to "Miked Up" On WFAN the last couple of days, you've heard outrage in the voices of Yankees and Mets fans concerning the availability of individual game tickets. Actually, the non availability of tickets would be a better way to describe it. One fan after another told host Mike Francesa how they were unable to purchase reasonably priced tickets. A number of fans were also turned away attempting to buy group seats.

If you recall, we told you last week how the Yankees were holding a lottery to give fans the right to purchase individual game tickets this past Monday. If you lost out, you would have the chance to buy tickets beginning on Tuesday.

I went on Tuesday morning, hoping to get our usual 2-3 games that we attend a year. We always get seats up behind home plate in the upper deck. It's high up, but you see everything. Just takes you longer to get to the bathroom and back. Well things have changed.

Obviously, there was going to a much greater ticket demand this season. But any upper deck seats that were left were down by the foul poles. It's my own personal preference, but if I'm paying good money to go to a game, I want to actually see what's going on without binoculars. I also don't want to sit 400 miles away in the bleachers.

Actually, the first thing that I saw was the big shocker everyone is talking about. I put in 2 seats, best available, and up popped the $2,625 per seat selection. I nearly fell out of my chair.

Basically, I couldn't find any reasonably priced seats for any game the entire season. So I turned to Stub Hub. Apparently so is everyone else and ticket holders are taking advantage by selling seats at ridiculous prices.

I ended up purchasing 2 seats to the April 19th game against the Indians, paying a little over face value, plus one of those idiotic extra charges. (The concept of printing your tickets at home is still bizarre too.)

For the most part though, tickets are pretty expensive on Stub Hub too. Especially if you are trying to take your family to a game. In the meantime, the Yankees have plenty of overpriced "seats between the bases" and other individual seats that costs hundreds of dollars a pop.

Poor job Steinbrenners, poor job.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How much is that Igawa in the Window?

Kei Igawa has had a good spring training, but was sent to the minor league camp as expected. Can the Yankees finally find a taker for their overpaid lefty?

That's my latest topic for discussion on Baseball Digest. You can check it out here.

Yankees Johnny Blanchard Passes

http://www.vintagecardtraders.com/virtual/60topps/60topps-283.jpgWhen your third in line to catch behind the likes of Yogi Berra and Elston Howard, you've got things tough. But that didn't stop Johnny Blanchard from leaving his mark on baseball. Blanchard died earlier today of an apparent heart attack. He was 76.

Blanchard played on five pennant winners (1960-1964) with the Yankees as part of his eight year career. He was one of six Yankees to top twenty home runs when the team set a then major league record with 240 home runs in 1961. That season Blanchard was at best, hitting .305, with 21 home runs and 54 RBI in just 93 games.

Blanchard hit .345 in 29 World Series at-bats with a pair of home runs and 5 RBI. Though we never got to see him play, we always remember him as a regular attendee at Old-Timer's Day.

We send our condolences to his family.

photo courtesy of vintagecardtraders.com

Ramiro Pena Makes his Case

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/05FU6sRbph4X1/340x.jpgMark Feinsand of the NY Daily News reported this morning that the Yankees are giving serious consideration to awarding the utility infield spot to 23-yr old Ramiro Pena. With the injury to Alex Rodriguez opening a spot on the roster, it was believed that Cody Ransom would be the every day third baseman and Angel Berroa would be the utility man.

But Pena has opened a lot of eyes this spring with his glove, speed, and the ability to play multiple infield positions. A .304 spring batting average and 7 RBI hasn't hurt his cause either.

The down side, of course, is having a 23-yr old sitting most days instead of playing regularly in the minor leagues. (Pena hasn't played above Double-A thus far.) Berroa has made a case for himself this spring by hitting .400 this spring. He's got power and could push Ransom if he were to struggle in A-Rod's place.

The bad news for both players is that the winner of the competition will most likely be sent to the minors when A-Rod returns, with Ransom resuming his utility role.

Video Tour of Yankee Stadium

Members of the media took a tour of the new Yankee Stadium yesterday. Here's some video from NJ.com.

Touring the new Yankee Stadium with Lonn Trost

Austin Jackson Slams his way out of Camp

http://static.playdo.com/1017/futureyankee13/tabimages/austin_jackson_s.jpgAustin Jackson left a lasting impression for the future in last night's Yankees-Red Sox spring training game. The player the Yankees front office hopes is the face of center field in 2010 or 2011 and many years to follow, belted a game breaking grand slam in the Yankees 7-1 victory over the Red Sox last night in Tampa, Florida.

The Yankees had grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth and were looking for more when Jackson stepped up to face Manny DelCarmen. Moments later, Jackson was circling the bases with his third home run of the spring. Hewas rewarded after the game with a reassignment to the minor league camp. Of course, that was totally expected.

A.J. Burnett had another fine performance, limiting the Sox to one run over 5.2 innings. He left with the bases loaded and two outs, but Jonathan Albaladejo retired Rocco Baldelli to keep it a 1-0 game at that point.

Burnett allowed three hits, walked two and struck out four. He's pitched to a 1.20 ERA this spring. Edwar Ramirez picked up the victory with 1.1 innings of work. Mariano Rivera threw another 1-2-3 inning, recording a pair of strikeouts.

With a slight breeze assisting him, Tim Wakefield baffled the Yankees with his knuckleball. Wakefield, beginning his 15th season in Boston, allowed four hits, one run, a walk, and struck out five in 5.2 innings pitched.

Derek Jeter played his first game since the US was eliminated in the WBC. He went 1-2 with a walk. Jorge Posada threw out would be base stealer Jacoby Ellsbury with the help of a nice tag by Jeter.

Box Score

Ichiro "Raps" up WBC Title

Japan and Korea were tied, 3-3, in the top of the 10th Monday night. The World Baseball Classic title was hanging in the balance. Japan had runners on second and third with two outs and Ichiro Suzuki up the plate. No-brainer right? You walk him to loaded the bases and set up a force at any base, and face anyone other than the guy who wields a bat like Zorro swung a sword.

But Korea did indeed pitch to Ichiro and the Seattle Mariner made them pay with a 2-run game winning single. With the 5-3 victory, Japan successfully defended their WBC championship, which they first won in 2006.

Korea's manager Sik Kim had signaled to pitch around Ichiro and was befuddled afterwards as to why his pitcher and catcher didn't follow his orders. But why even mess around? It shouldn't have been left to chance; Ichiro should have been intentionally walked.

The Red Sox' Datsuke Matsuzaka won the tourney MVP award, just as he did in 2006.

Box Score

photo courtesy of NY Times

Monday, March 23, 2009

Phillies putting a world of hurt on Yankees

The defending world series champion Phillies got off to a slow start, but a four run sixth inning against Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang and reliever Brian Bruney has put them ahead, possibly for good. In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Phillies lead it 8-2.

Wang had a 2-1 lead after five innings, but left trailing 3-2. Bruney then allowed a 2-run home run to Matt Stairs to give the Phils a 5-2 advantage.

Dan Giese, battling for the long man spot, has gotten roughed up in the seventh. He's allowed three runs, including a home run by former Yankee Miguel Cairo.

UPDATE - 4:18 PM

It's a final- Phillies 8 Yankees 3

John Rodriguez brought home the Yankees final run in the ninth inning with a pinch-hit RBI single.

Box Score

Nady has the X Factor

If the regular season were to start today, Xavier Nady would be the team's regular right fielder. That according to Joe Girardi earlier today, who, as usual, couched his statement by saying there's still plenty of time left in spring training.

Nady was hitting just .244, but the Yankees know what he's capable of. There's also a need for a steady right-handed power bat in the lineup with A-Rod sidelined with his hip injury.

For now, Nick Swisher will be back up all three outfield spots as well as Mark Teixeira at first base.

Japan Bounces US from WBC

Derek Jeter is headed to Tampa, Yankees fans. Jeter and the US squad got thumped by Japan last night, 9-4, ending their run at a WBC title. Japan will take on Korea in tonight's championship game.

US starter Roy Oswalt got smacked around in a 5-run fourth inning. Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima and shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima each drove in two runs in the game.

Brian Roberts homered for the US and Jimmy Rollins went 4-4.

Defending champion Korea reached the finals on Saturday with a 10-2 rout of Venezuela. Indians' outfielder Shin-Soo Choo belted a 3-run home run off of the Mariners Carlos Silva as Korea scored seven runs in the first two innings.

Don't Let the Door Hit Ya

According to his blog, which we never link to here at My Pinstripes, Curt Schilling is officially hanging it up. While we don't like Schilling at all (we'll refrain from calling him the name we usually do), we do acknowledge his career as very good, bordering on great.

Schilling's got three world series rings, three-20 win seasons, and over 3,000 strikeouts. Beginning in 2013, it will be interesting to see how hall of fame voters look at his career. While his strikeout totals and world series rings are impressive, 216 wins isn't going to blow away the minds of voters.

Winning Streak Ends in Pt. Charlotte

We're sitting here dismayed at the fact that tickets are now going on sale for those "chosen" ones selected in last week's right to buy lottery.

Meanwhile the Yankees are in Clearwater, FL today to play the world champion Phillies. Brett Tomko gets the start as he continues his battle for the long man spot in the pen. It's Chien-Ming Wang's day to pitch, but with the game being played in an NL park, the Wang will pitch against minor leaguers back in Tampa.
UPDATE - 1:25 PM EDT: This update from Peter Abraham. Because of weather in Tampa, Chien-Ming Wang went to Dunedin to face the Blue Jays' Triple-A squad. Well, the weather prevented that too, so now The Wanger is in Clearwater to face the Phillies...if the weather holds out.

The Yankees extended their winning streak to nine games on Saturday with a 4-3 win over the Tigers. Joba Chamberlain had his third straight good start, allowing one run in three-plus innings. Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira had RBI doubles and Melky Cabrera had a pair of hits. Juan Miranda replaced Teixeira later in the game and hit a 2-run home run, his second of the spring, that proved to be the difference in the ball game.

The streak came to end though on Sunday as the Yankees bats were silenced by the Tampa BayRays, 5-0. Phenom David Price started for Tampa and tossed four shutout innings. The Yankees managed just six hits with Robinson Cano picking up two of them. The Rays had their running shoes on, stealing five bases in six attempts.

Al Aceves gave up a run in 2.2 innings pitched and Steven Jackson allowed two runs in just an inning a third. Damaso Marte made his first appearance since returning from the WBC and threw a scoreless frame. Kei Igawa allowed his first run of the spring as he struggled with his control.

The Yankees were sloppy in the field, committing three errors. Cody Ransom, Nick Swisher, and Ramiro Pena made one misplay apiece.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

RIP Walt Poddubny

Former NHLer Walt Poddubny has died at 49.

The Associated Press reports the Thunder Bay native collapsed and died at his sister’s home. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Poddubny, chosen 90th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980 NHL draft, spent 11 seasons in the NHL, collecting 185 goals and 238 assists in 468 games. A three-time 30-goal scorer, in addition to the Oilers, he suited up for Toronto, the New York Rangers, Quebec and New Jersey.

He also coached Anchorage of the West Coast Hockey League and returned to his hometown six years ago to be closer to his children and pass his expertise to younger generations.

Around the Horn - 3/22

Aaron Boone is set to have open heart surgery on Thursday to replace his aortic valve. It's a condition that Boone knew eventually would have to occur.

Kevin Youkilis is hoping to back in the Red Sox lineup Monday after sitting out with Achilles tendinitis and an ankle sprain. It forced his early exit from the WBC. (Ryan Braun replaced him on the roster.)

Corey Koskie tried to make a comeback with the Cubs this spring after sitting out the last 2 years. But Koskie, who suffered from post-concussion syndrome, called it quits after pulling himself from a spring training game after feeling light headed.

Phillies starter Cole Hamels threw a bullpen session on Saturday, and said afterwards that his sore elbow felt better.

Catcher Josh Bard, released by the Red Sox this past week, has signed a minor league deal with the Nationals.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer will miss opening day with lower back problems.

Outfielder Vernon Wells returned to the Blue Jays lineup after missing a month due to a bad hamstring.

Hughes among latest cuts

It came as no surprise, but Phil Hughes had to feel a sense of a let down when he was sent to Triple-A Scranton on Saturday. Spring training 2009 was much different than last year's version. Hughes was guaranteed a spot in the rotation in '08, but he knew no matter how well he pitched this spring his ticket was probably already punched for Scranton. With the acquisition of CC Sabatha and A.J. Burnett in the off-season, Hughes' immediate future was clear.

Joining Hughes in Scranton will be pitchers Anthony Claggett and Steven Jackson, while pitcher Humberto Sanchez and catcher Francisco Cervelli are headed to Trenton. Pitchers Jason Johnson and Sergio Mitre were sent to the Yankees minor league camp.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thanks for Nothing Yankees

Yankees Blast Their Way to Another Win

Let's hope the regular season goes this smoothly. The Yankees got another good performance from a starting pitcher, this time Phil Hughes, and belted four home runs in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers, FL this afternoon. The victory was the Yankees 7th straight and raised their spring record to 13-8-1.

Mark Teixeira went deep for the first time in pinstripes (or in this case, navy blue Yankees workout shirts) as did Trevor Linden. Teixeira's home run came off of Twins closer Joe Nathan in the sixth inning and cut Minnesota's lead in half. Linden went deep with a man aboard in the eighth to put the Yankees ahead for good. Austin Jackson added his second home run of the spring in the ninth for some insurance. It came off of Jason Jones, the Rule V draftee that was taken from the Yankees over the winter. He's got a chance to make the opening day roster after having allowed three runs in 10 innings thus far.

It's been a good transition for Tex so far this spring. He's hitting .414 (12-29) with three doubles and three RBI to go along with his first home run. He's also walking three times and has a gaudy 1.076 OPS. Tyler Kepner of the Times spoke with Teixeira about his transition to the Yankees.

Hughes was sharp, allowing a run and three hits over 4.1 innings. He walked one and struck out none. Anthony Claggett picked up the victory with an innings of scoreless work, and Kei Igawa escaped a jam in the ninth inning to record the save.

Jason Johnson also made his second appearance since surgery for eye cancer. The Star Ledger's Marc Carig has a nice story on his recovery.

Box Score

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yankees Survive Blue Jays

The Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-4, in Tampa tonight, but the victory was secondary. More importantly, starter A.J. Burnett was okay after being hit on the left arm with a line drive off the bat of Toronto infielder John McDonald. Burnett went on to throw 3.1 innings of work, allowing one run.

Burnett didn't have his best stuff, walking three batters as he struggled with his command. McDonald's second inning comebacker brought Joe Girardi and assistant trainer Brian Donahue out of the dugout, but Burnett was able to continue.

The Yankees offense had a good night, spreading out 14 hits throughout the lineup. Nick Swisher had the lone multiple hit game, with a pair of doubles and an RBI. Eduardo Nunez added a 2-run home run in the eighth.

Burnett wasn't the only Yankees pitcher to not have the best night. Brian Bruney was tagged for a pair of runs and walked four hitters in an inning and a third. But Mariano Rivera, making his second appearance of the spring, breezed through a 1-2-3 sixth inning.

Angel Berroa continued his fine spring, going 1-3 and is hitting .415. Hideki Matsui continues to swing a hot bat (1-2, 1 RBI) as he recovers from off-season knee surgery.

Box Score

Won't you be my neighbor

The majority of the population surrounding Yankee Stadium won't be able/can't afford to attend a game at the ball park, but some will have a chance to take a sneak peak at the new place.

The Yankees announced that 15,000 free tickets will distributed through local organizations for a look inside the park on April 2.

Here's the official press release from the Yankees:
The New York Yankees will welcome thousands of their fellow Bronx neighbors for a special preview of the new Yankee Stadium on Thursday, April 2nd at 11 AM. Fifteen thousand free tickets will be distributed by local Bronx Community Boards and the New York Yankees.

Gates open at 11 AM and ticketed fans will have the chance to walk around and explore all areas of the new stadium including Monument Park. At 1:30 PM, fans will get the opportunity to sit and watch the first workout and batting practice in the new Stadium. All ticketed guests will also receive free lunch vouchers which are good for a beverage and their choice of pizza or hotdog.

"What better way to celebrate the Yankees' new home than giving our good friends from across the Bronx the opportunity to be the first to experience the new stadium," said Brian Smith, Senior Vice President, Community Relations. "Our longstanding partnerships with various Bronx-based community organizations are at the heart of our commitment to the borough. We're proud to be giving back to families across the Bronx, who we count among our most loyal fans."

One thousand free tickets will be given to each of the twelve Bronx Community Boards for them to distribute to their local residents. To inquire about tickets, Bronx residents should contact their local Community Boards directly. Contact information for each of the Community Boards can be found by visiting http://www.nyc.gov/html/cau/html/cb/cb_bronx.shtml . An additional 3,000 tickets will be distributed to community based organizations and union workers who have participated in helping to build the new Stadium. The preview will be held rain or shine on the 2nd.

This special Open House comes one day before the Friday, April 3 exhibition game vs. Chicago. The Official Opening Day is scheduled for Thursday, April 16 at 1:05pm vs. Cleveland.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Joba to back up Mo

No, Joba Chamberlain is not being removed from the starting rotation. But unnamed sources have told the New York Post's Joel Sherman that Joba would step in as closer if Mariano Rivera were to miss a significant amount of playing time this season.

Upper echelon Yankees officials feel that Chamberlain has the best mental make up and stuff to take on the closer role should a substitute for Rivera be needed.

Yankees Pitching has Hopes High

It may only be spring training, but the performance of the Yankees starting rotation certainly has us feeling good about the upcoming regular season. Chien-Ming Wang's five innings of one run ball versus the Astros today, came on the heels of CC Sabathia's 1-hit, 7 strikeout, four inning performance last night against the Pirates.

Today's 4-1 win in Kissammee gave the Yankees five straight victories. (Six in a row if you count the 'B' split squad game on Saturday.) In those five games, the Yankees starting pitching has limited their opponents to just two runs and eight hits in 19 innings. Yankees pitching has also record 16 strikeouts in that span.

Consistency has been the name of the game. Joba Chamberlain had two poor starts to begin the spring, but bounced back in his last two outings. CC Sabathia has had just one bad appearance. The pitchers are keeping the Yankees in all their games, which is doubly important with Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup.

The Yankees worked out a deal with the Astros today to make sure Wang stayed healthy. It was against this very Houston team last June 15 that Wang suffered a season ending Lisfranc injury. The Yankees rallied from a 1-0 deficit with two runs in both the seventh and ninth innings. Angel Berroa drove in his ninth run of the spring and Eric Duncan delivered a pinch-hit 2-run single.

The Yankees rolled over the Pirates 9-2 last night as Mariano Rivera made his spring debut. Mo breezed through the fifth inning, striking out a pair of hitters. Making the night even better was having Mo throwing to Jorge Posada.

To top things off, Hideki Matsui, recovering from knee surgery, looked like he was in mid-season form. Godzilla drove in four runs with a 2-run single and a 2-run home run.

A.J. Burnett will face his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays, tomorrow in a 7:15 PM EDT start.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Team USA Wrights the Ship

David Wright's one out, 2-run single in the bottom of the ninth capped a three run rally that has sent Team USA over Puerto Rico and into the Pool 2 finals against Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico led 5-3, but Shane Victorino and Brian Roberts opened the ninth with back to back singles off of J.C. Romero. Romero retired Derek Jeter on a fly out with Victorino moving to third base. Roberts then stole second base, just ahead of the throw from Yadier Molina. Jimmy Rollins followed with a tough at-bat, eventually drawing a walk to load the bases.

Puerto Rico manager Jose Oquendo sent for right-hander Fernando Cabrera to face Kevin Youkilis, but Cabrera walked in the tying run. Then it was Wright's turn to play the hero, slicing a pitch towards the right field corner that fell well in front of Alex Rios for a game winning single. Wright's teammates flew out of the dugout, nearly crushing him under a celebratory pile.

Rios had given his native country a 1-0 lead with a solo home run off of Team USA starter Ted Lilly in the second inning. The US immediately countered with a pair of runs in their half of the inning on a sac fly by Brian McCann and an RBI single by Victorino.

The US added a run in the third inning on Youkilis' solo home run off of starter Jonathan Sanchez. But the lead was short lived as Carlos Delgado took Lilly deep in the top of the fourth for a game tying home run.

Puerto Rico went ahead in the sixth on Rios' RBI single off of Heath Bell and added an insurance run in the ninth on Ramon Vazquez' single against eventual winner Jonathan Broxton.

The US will meet Venezuela at 8 PM EDT on Wednesday. The two teams have split a pair of games previously in the tournament.

Box Score

Our World Turned Upside Down

The words we did not want to utter, "the deconstruction has begun", are now on our lips. The process has begun in taking down the House that Ruth Built and we fell in love with it.

Tom Kaminski of WCBS 880 radio took these shots and others as he flew his traffic helicopter over the Stadium. (thanks to the guys the Voice of the Yankees Universe for finding these.)

Around the Horn - St. Patrick's Day

A happy green day to everyone. Phillies fans are hoping the luck of the Irish will help out Cole Hamels. The left-hander's MRI came out negative as far as structural damage goes, but just what is causing the ace's pain?

Julio Lugo will be out of the Boston lineup until probably the end of April after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Jed Lowrie will fill at shortstop in the meantime.

Marlins pitcher Matt Lindstrom took exception to a slow home run trot in the WBC the other night and threw behind the next batter. Shortly there after Lindstrom had to leave the game with shoulder pain. Turns out Lindstrom was hurting before the game and didn't tell anyone (here we go again). An examination revealed a strained rotator cuff that will shut down Lindstrom for 7-10 days.

Team USA has been bitten by the injury bug. In addition to Lindstrom, Dustin Pedroia (strained oblique), Ryan Braun (strained intercostal muscle), Chipper Jones (minor oblique strain), and David Wright (rung bell) have all suffered injuries.

Manny Ramirez will sit out the remainder of the week with a hamstring strain. Manny was quoted as saying, "I'm getting old." That didn't seem to be an issue when he wanted a $100 million contract.

Vernon Wells is almost ready to suit up for a spring training game. He's begun swinging the bat in Blue Jays intrasquad games as he makes his way back from an injured hamstring.

Yankees Hoping to Capitalize on Burnett

The Yankees have seen the ups and downs of A.J. Burnett's career. They're banking on his 2008 season not being a fluke. That's my latest article for the online version of Baseball Digest. I invite you to give it a read.

Yankees hoping Burnett’s ‘08 was no fluke : Baseball Digest

photo courtesy of mlb.com

New Pics of the New Stadium

Bob Ruffalo of The Voice of the Yankees Universe got an inside look at the new stadium. He's got some great photos.

US and Puerto Rico set for WBC rematch

Venezuela advanced to the World Baseball Classic Pool '2' final last night with a 2-0 win over Puerto Rico, and will await the outcome of an elimination rematch between the Puerto Rican squad and Team USA tonight (7 PM EDT).

Puerto Rico pounded the US squad, 11-1, on March 14, but couldn't solve Venezuela's pitching last night. Felix Hernandez struck out seven batters in four-plus innings and four relievers allowed just one hit the rest of the way. Ramon Hernandez belted a solo home run in the third inning off of Puerto Rican starter Ian Snell and Carlos Guillen added an insurance RBI in the eighth.

Cuba knocked Mexico out of the tournament with a 7-4 win. Frederich Cepeda had a single, double, triple, and 4 RBI. Cuba will play the loser of tonight's game between Japan and Korea, with the winner advancing to the finals of Pool '1'.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Astros Lock up Pudge

The Houston Astros felt they didn't have enough offense or experience at the catching position with Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles, so they have signed Ivan Rodriguez to a one year, $1.5 million contract.

Rodriguez can double his earnings through incentives.

Welcome Back Kroenke

Zach Kroenke will soon be back in the familiar navy blue and white spring training uniforms worn by the New York Yankees. The 25-yr old left-hander was selected by the Florida Marlins in this past December's Rule V draft, but he was returned to the Yankees today for $25,000.

Kroenke was selected by the Marlins based on his fine 2008 performance, but he was roughed up this spring and wouldn't have made the Marlins out of camp.

photo courtesy of Mike Ashmore/thunderbaseball.wordpress.com

Cano, Marte get Passing Grades

Bryan Hoch of mlb.com reports that there was no evidence of structural damage on the MRIs for Robinson Cano and Damaso Marte. Cano was diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder, while Marte's discomfort in his left shoulder was attributed to inflammation.

Cano will be put on anti-inflammatory drugs and continue to do strengthening exercises. He feels he could be back at second base tomorrow, but the Yankees are not going to rush things.
"I knew in my mind that it was nothing bad, because I could throw," Cano said. "There was still a little pain, but it's a good thing it was just that, and I'll be ready in a few days."
Collective sigh of relief.

I am a Lumberjack I am

The Yankees are swinging the heavy lumber in Tampa this afternoon, now leading the Phillies 11-0 after six innings. An important day for Nick Swisher, who came into the game below the Mendoza line (.200 average). Before leaving for a pinch-runner in the sixth, Swisher collected three hits and three RBI.

Eduardo Nunez has 3 hits, Xavier Nady, and Cody Ransom have a pair of hits each. Angel Berroa went 1-3.


The Yankees polished off the Phillies, 12-0, for their fourth straight victory. After the impressive three innings thrown by Joba Chamberlain, Brian Bruney, Kei Igawa (3 IP), Jonathan Albaladejo, and David Robertson blanked the Phils over the final six innings.

Perhaps this is the year the Yankees finally move Igawa. He's thrown nine scoreless innings this spring, and has allowed just five hits and two walks. He's also struck out nine batters.

The Yankees totaled 20 hits in the game, with 13 different batters collecting at least one base hit.

Box Score

Joba Solid Again

Joba Chamberlain posted his second straight good start today, tossing three scoreless innings against the Phillies. Chamberlain allowed no runs, two hits, walked one and struck out three. Brian Bruney replaced him to start the fourth inning.

The Yankees have a 2-0 lead aftet three innings thanks to an RBI single by Jose Molina and a Phillies' error.

Yankees Make More Cuts

Ian Kennedy didn't have the best spring, but he did end his time in major league camp on a good note Sunday, allowing an unearned run in three innings. Kennedy was reassigned to Scranton today as the Yankees cut down the number of players in the big league camp.

Pitcher Christian Garcia, on the road back from Tommy John surgery, was reassigned to Trenton. Infielder Kevin Russo, pitcher Mark Melancon, and catchers Jesus Montero and Austin Romine were sent to the minor league camp.

Yankees Win a Weekend Trio

We took a little time off this weekend from working the blog, but baseball does not wait for us. The Yankees won two of the games they would like to during the regular season- by getting excellent starting pitching. The other was a shootout with the Pirates that Yankees held on to for a 13-10 win.

The most impressive aspect of Saturday's game, which was televised on YES, was the perfect work of A.J. Burnett. Perfect in that Burnett retired all 12 batters he faced in the Yankees 3-1 win over the Astros.

One surprise in the game was an appearance by Robinson Cano, who came up as a pinch-hitter. Cano has not yet been cleared to return to the field. He and Damaso Marte will be headed for MRIs today.

Johnny Damon led off the bottom of the first with a home run off of Astros' starter Wandy Rodriguez. Cody Ransom enjoyed a 2-hit game.

Ian Kennedy came out the winner in the wild victory over the Pirates in Bradenton. Kennedy bounced back from two bad outings in a row to allow one unearned run over three innings. He also struck out five. Starter Phil Hughes had an up and down outing, allowing a pair of solo home runs and three walks in three innings.

Jesus Montero highlighted a seven run seventh inning with a grand slam. Austin Jackson also homered. On the down side, Mark Melancon was tagged for five runs in just 2/3 of an inning.

Yesterday, it was Andy Pettitte's turn to put together a fine performance in a 5-1 win over the Twins. Making the day even better was Jorge Posada's first appearance this spring behind home plate.
"He (Posada) seemed normal back there to me," said Pettitte, who worked three scoreless innings. "I guess I'm so used to seeing him back there -- the way he sets up and everything -- that it's just kind of embedded in my head." MLB.com
Posada didn't get the chance to throw out any base stealers, even though speedster Carlos Gomez did reach base safely.

Phil Coke, Jose Veras, Anthony Claggett, and Stephen Jackson all looked good in keeping the Twins to five hits over the final six innings.

Angel Berroa continued to impress with his bat, going for 1-2 with 2 RBI. He's now hitting .438 (14-32) for the spring with 8 RBI in 13 games.

The Yankees takes on the Phillies today in Tampa at 1:15 EDT. Joba Chamberlain will be looking to build some momentum off his last start.

Brian Cashman said Alex Rodriguez is coming along nicely in his rehab from hip surgery. Cashman has so much faith in Dr. Marc Phillipon that he doesn't feel he needs to check in with him regularly on A-Rod's progress.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Daily Yankeeland - 3/14

The Yankees and Astros are just underway in Tampa (game is on YES). The Yankees are looking to bounce back from Chien-Ming Wang's rough outing against the Red Sox last night. A.J. Burnett is on the hill for the Bombers.

Brett Tomko helped himself in the battle for the long man spot with 3.1 scoreless innings last night.

This is actually a split squad, with another group of Yankees in Bradenton to face the Pirates. Jason Johnson will be starting for NY in that one. No Billy Crystal sightings this year.
CORRECTION (2:00 PM EDT) - It appears that Phil Hughes, not Jason Johnson, got the start in Bradenton. Hughes was tagged for a pair of solo home runs in the first inning.

Bernie Williams has been accused of striking a woman in a bar, after the woman tried to take his photograph. She claims he grabbed the camera, hitting her in the face in the process. Bernie denied the allegation, but does not want to go into detail since it's a legal matter.

Mariano Rivera threw 40 pitches from the mound earlier today and is on target to make his exhibition debut on Tuesday.

We don't know how the Yankees pitching staff will during the season, but as Kat O'Brien of Newsday explains, they've already been tattooed.

Former big league catcher Josh Paul has been named the new manager of the Staten Island Yankees of the NY-Penn League. Paul last played in the majors in 2007 and will be just 34 when the short season starts in June.

Pedro and Pudge Still Looking for Work

We never thought we would see the day that come mid-March, Pedro Martinez and Ivan Rodriguez would be looking for work. The future Hall of Fame players are both in the same boat though as no team has made an offer to their liking.

Martinez struggled with arm issues the last two years, but opened some eyes with his performance in the World Baseball Classic. The Dominican Republic was eliminated, but not before Martinez tossed six scoreless innings. He didn't walk a batter, allowed just one hit, and struck out six.

Reportedly, the former Red Sox hero wants a one year deal worth $5 million. Teams are reluctant to offer up that much guaranteed money for a guy who had surgery and missed so much time the prior two seasons.

But one only has to take a look at the deal John Smoltz recently signed with the Red Sox to know that someone may just pony up the money for Martinez after all. Smoltz is guaranteed $5.5 million this year and has a shot at another $5 million in incentives. That contract was given despite Smoltz' shoulder surgery last June.

The Mets have resisted bringing back Martinez, who just completed a four year contract. But Martinez has piqued the interest of the Dodgers, who lost Derek Lowe and Brad Penny to free agency.

Martinez, along with older brother Ramon, grew up in the Dodgers system before being dealt to the Expos for Delino DeShields. To say that it would be strange to see Pedro, Manny Ramirez, and Joe Torre in the same dugout, is beyond an understatement.

There are plenty of other teams looking for pitching, but not willing to pay the cash. There's also uncertainty if Martinez is a good influence on young pitchers.

Pedro may have to wait for a team to suffer an injury to get a deal he finds acceptable. (Can you imagine Pedro in Pinstripes if there was an injury or Joba was ineffective? George and Hank would love it.)

There's no question that teams feel Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez would be a good influence on inexperienced catchers and a pitching staff, but there's plenty of concern about the life left in his bat. I-Rod has tried to answer those concerns in the WBC.

Through the first three games, the Puerto Rican born catcher was hitting .545 (6-11) with 2 home runs, one double, and 5 RBI. He's also added a walk and a stolen base.

It's only three games, but it's a far cry from how Rodriguez ended the 2008 season. After losing his full-time job in Detroit, Rodriguez was shipped to the Yankees, who needed some offensive help with Jorge Posada having gone down to injury.

But Rodriguez was soon sitting on the bench in New York too. He hit just .219 in 96 at-bats. Worse was his lack of run production- just 3 RBI- which led to Rodriguez taking a seat in favor of a .237 lifetime hitter (Jose Molina).

Whether or not his small measure of work in the WBC can land him a job remains to be seen. But a $1 million salary plus incentives would probably be enough to sign him.

There have been rumors on and off of one of his old teams, the Marlins, having an interest, but so far that has not come to fruition. As of now, Wes Helms is the Marlins' only position player that earns seven figures in annual salary.

But this would be a win-win situation. The three catchers currently on the Marlins' 40-man roster only have 147 games of combined major league experience (one of them, Brett Hayes, has no MLB experience). Pudge would have to accept a part-time playing/teaching role, but he would also be living near his Miami home.

There has also been some mutual interest between Pudge and the Mets too. Ideally, the Mets would have Rodriguez split the catching duties with Ramon Castro, and move Brian Schneider, a .253 career hitter, and his $4.9 million salary.

We think the Orioles would be another good fit. The O's signed the left-handed hitting Greg Zaun this past winter. Rodriguez could platoon/split time with the Zaun, who hasn't hit above .242 the last two seasons and is a mediocre defensive catcher. Once uber-prospect Matt Wieters is ready to come to the majors, Rodriguez could move into a mentoring role.

For now though, Pedro and Pudge are still checking the help wanted ads (maybe they could work a package deal.).

photos courtesy of epochtimes.com and ivanrodriguez.com

Why I Hate the WBC

This is a piece I did for Baseball Digest. You can read it there too.

Okay, so maybe hate is too strong of a word. But I expressed my distaste for the World Baseball Classic back in '06 and didn't watch or discuss it on My Pinstripes. This year I decided to watch all or parts of games, and keep updates on the blog.

But my biggest issue with the WBC came to light when Robinson Cano and Damaso Marte returned to Yankees camp after the Dominican Republic was eliminated from the tourney.

We knew yesterday (Friday) that Robinson Cano experiencing tightness behind his right shoulder. I was under the assumption that the Yankees knew about the issue that Cano said he had since the start of spring training. Well guess what? The Yankees didn't know, because Cano kept his mouth shut. In all likelihood it was because he knew the Yankees wouldn't permit him to play in the tournament if he had told them. Meantime, Cano played all nine innings in three games.

Marte came back with soreness in a pec muscle. He said it happened after he lifted 25 pound weights prior to going out and throwing one inning in the tournament. He claims it doesn't hurt when he pitches, only when he moves. Huh???

These two incidences prove how wrong ESPN's Steve Phillips is when he says these are just like spring training games. Guys can get the same injuries in spring training games too, is Phillips' theory. Well he is wrong.

Had they known about the injury, the Yankees would have had Cano examined and would have shut him down until they were convinced he was feeling all right. And Cano put his country above his team. While they may sound noble, his country isn't paying him millions of dollars to play baseball.

Had Marte hurt himself lifting in Yankees camp, he would have been shut down until the muscle felt better. He wouldn't have gone out and thrown in a game right after injuring himself, as he did in the tournament.

The WBC is not a "classic" and has no purpose, other than giving players the opportunity to play for their country, and in some cases, even that is distorted. (A-Rod playing for two different teams; an American playing for Italy because that's where their grandfather was from.)

MLB doesn't need to market baseball to China or Cuba, or the Netherlands. The world series doesn't truly encompass the world, and it never will.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Yankees vs. Red Sox - Mar 13

Chien-Ming Wang is on the mound in Ft. Myers tonight as the Yankees take on the Red Sox. The game is scoreless in the bottom of the first after Tim Wakefield got Xavier Nady to hit into an inning ending double play. Brett Gardner and Juan Miranda had drawn walks, and Gardner stole his third base of the season.

Damaso Marte and Robinson Cano are back from the WBC, but Cano was sent to have his right shoulder checked out. Cano has had discomfort in the back of the shoulder since the beginning of spring training.

The Yankees have taken a 1-0 lead in the 2nd on Juan Miranda's RBI single. John Rodriguez singled and scored the run.

The lead was short lived; Mike Lowell led off the bottom of the second inning with a long solo home run.

A Juan Miranda throwing error opened the flood gates for the Red Sox in the second inning. Seven runs in all crossed home plate, two of them on a David Ortiz home run.

The Yankees answered immediately with three runs in the top of third. Xavier Nady delivered a 2-run double and Jose Molina brought him home with an RBI single.

Brett Tomko replaced Wang with two outs in the second and tossed a scoreless third.

The Managerial Hot Seat

I recently wrote a piece on the MLB managers' job security are lack thereof. Our very own Joe Girardi heads the list of those on the hot seat.

Joe Girardi (NYY):

The Yankee manager’s year was already was off to a tough start with Alex Rodriguez’ admission of steroid use. Then things got much trickier when it was discovered that A-Rod needed hip surgery. The Yankees spent a small fortune in the off-season to bring Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett into the fold. After missing the playoffs for the first time in a non-strike year since 1993, the front office won’t settle for anything less than a playoff spot. But of course that will not guarantee Girardi’s return in 2010 either. A slow start, a prolonged slump, or a late fade, could spell doom for the former Yankee world series hero.

Baseball Digest: Click here to read my take on all the MLB managers