Don’t mess with Martin…
If there is anything about Russell Martin and what he has brought to the Yankees this year, it is his bulldog mentality. After a strong start at the place, his average has tailed off and he has spent time on the DL. His recent back problems could be a persistent problem, but when he plays, he is ‘all-in’. I consider Boston’s Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia as championship competitors because they are always ready to play regardless of the game situations and Martin is certainly cut from the same cloth.
On Saturday against the Chicago Cubs, Martin blocked the plate after receiving a perfect throw from left fielder Brett Gardner and prevented a charging Carlos Pena from scoring in the 6th inning. It was a critical situation with the Yanks up by just one run, and bases loaded with Cubs. Given Martin’s recent health challenges, you could understand if he had chosen the path of least resistance but that’s just not his way.
Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune
I know that Martin is just keeping the catcher’s seat warm until super prospect Jesus Montero is ready. I know that Montero needs his at-bat’s in the minor leagues, but it would be great for him to spend time learning behind Martin at some point. The sad part is what to do with Francisco Cervelli (we’ll cross that bridge when it comes), but Martin plays the position like my all-time favorite catcher, Thurman Munson.
Now pitching for the Yankees, John Doe…
The Yankee scouts definitely deserve kudos for their continued prowess at identifying forgotten or unknown players who can help the team. The latest examples are starter Brian Gordon, who came from Lehigh Valley in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system to beat the Texas Rangers last week, and reliever Cory Wade who had most recently been in the Tampa Bay Rays organization after coming up with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I’ve seen comments comparing Gordon, a 32-year-old journeyman minor leaguer, to Aaron Small and Dustin Moseley. Small appeared out of nowhere to go 10-0 in the 2005 season before he vanished back into oblivion. Moseley helped provide rotation stability last season before departing for the San Diego Padres in the off-season. Gordon’s stay is most likely very temporary but hopefully he can continue to put up solid efforts like he did against the Rangers. I did read one story that the Rangers were actually interested in signing Gordon, who had a major league opt-out clause in his minor league deal with the Phillies, but when they called, Gordon had already verbally committed to the Yankees.
In a bullpen that has been hurt by injuries (Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain being the most critical), Wade has stepped in to provide solid support. In three games totaling 3 2/3 innings, he has yet to give up a run. The solid performances by guys like Wade and Hector Noesi have allowed David Robertson to excel as the bridge to Mariano Rivera.
I do not expect any of these additions to help the Yankees overcome the Boston Red Sox, but at least they are helping the Yankees tread water until stronger reinforcements can be acquired.
The name rocked the Rockies and will now rumble in the Bronx…
I have to admit that it is strange seeing Dante Bichette’s name associated with the New York Yankees. Bichette was best known for his years with the Colorado Rockies, and he had a monster year in 1995 when he hit 40 homers and 128 RBI’s to go with a .340 BA. His days in Colorado spawned a close relationship with Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Girardi started with the Cubs organization but was a draftee of the expansion Rockies and was with them until after the 1995 season when he was acquired by the Yankees. I spent time in the early 1990’s in Denver so I am well familiar with the “Blake Street Bombers”.
The association of the Bichette name with the Yankees, of course, pertains to Dante Bichette, Jr., who was the Yankees first round selection in the recent major league draft. A third baseman, young Dante projects as an eventual power hitting outfielder. Yesterday, the Yankees announced that they had signed Bichette so time will tell if he can eventually play for his father’s buddy at the major league level with the Yankees.
Happy Dad’s Day!…
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers across America! May this be a spectacular day for you and your child or children! J