The Year of the Disabled List…
Just as we start to get some of the regulars back to reinforce the over-achieving bargain bin replacements, Curtis Granderson is headed back to the bench for a month due to a broken pinkie suffered in Friday night’s Tampa Bay Rays game. This season seems to prove the old adage that if it can go wrong, it will. In Granderson’s case, each return to the DL almost solidifies that he is playing his final year in pinstripes.
Yesterday morning, I was reading an article about how the Yankees were trying to figure out how to rotate four outfielders into three spots. The article seemed to imply that among Vernon Wells, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Granderson, Ichiro would be the odd man out given how strong Wells has played so far this year. I guess Granderson’s pinkie came to the defense of Ichiro as it will keep him on the field for the foreseeable future.
I hope that Granderson’s return to the DL results in the return of Brennan Boesch who has been spending a few weeks at Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
I saw the Yankees have activated Ivan Nova. I suppose that Nova now knows what it must have felt like to be Wally Pipp. Granted, David Phelps is no Lou Gehrig but Phelps is clearly the better starting pitcher than Nova. The battle for a spot in the starting rotation is no doubt between Nova and Phil Hughes. I have watched enough of The Phil Hughes Show. I am ready to change the channel even if that means putting Nova in his spot. Of course, Hughes will probably go to another city and win a Cy Young but some guys just aren’t cut out for New York and I think Hughes is one of those guys. Or it could be that he’s just not a good or consistent pitcher…
David Adams has been a pleasant surprise at third since his call-up from the minors. When the Yankees placed him on waivers earlier in the season in order to remove him from the 40 man roster and return him to the minor leagues, I was surprised that he wasn’t claimed by another team. He has always had potential and it is good to see him finally enjoy a cup of coffee in the big leagues. I wonder how this bodes for Kevin Youkilis when he returns. As well as Adams is playing, he does not deserve to be sent back down. I like the idea of Adams and Youk at third so I am sure that Joe Girardi will find time for both. My only disappointment will be when Alex Rodriguez returns. I have truly enjoyed the time away and frankly I’d love it if A-Rod never returned.
Can Sox Blood Succeed in the Bronx?…
I would really like to see Austin Romine start to hit. All of the reports indicate that his defense will ensure a career as a backup catcher and the difference in the ability to start is his offensive game which has been feeble thus far. Everyone knows that Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli and Romine are just keeping the plate warm for the next couple of years until highly touted prospect Gary Sanchez arrives. Still, I’d like to see ex-Red Sock Kevin Romine’s son succeed in the Bronx.
#23 deserves so much better than this…
I feel really bad for Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Going into the season with ridiculously high expectations, it was clear that this would be a very challenging season for Donnie Baseball. His recent comments about the ill-construction of the team were on mark and were said in a very professional Donnie-like manner. I see that the Dodgers executive team is giving Mattingly a vote of confidence, however, that’s never a good sign. I still hope to see the day where Mattingly takes the field as Yankees manager, but I do not want to see him unceremoniously dumped in LA. He is playing with the hand he was dealt. I do not blame Mattingly for the Dodgers’ early season struggles as I feel that he is doing the best he can. The blame should be placed on the GM and the ownership group.
Put a great manager in a good organization and see what happens…
It’s fun to see Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona having fun again. He is another one of my favorite managers, even during his time in Boston. He is 1-1 in the first two games of a four game set in Boston, but winning the first game had to be a thrill. Here’s to hoping for more success for Tito on Saturday and Sunday.
I guess Larry Platt (aka “Pants on the Ground”) is unavailable…
I didn’t watch American Idol this past season (apparently I wasn’t alone), but I find the show’s choice of Jennifer Hudson to be a curious one. I heard that they are also looking at Kelly Clark and Adam Lambert or Clay Aiken for the other two judge seats. Interesting that they are only looking at their own homegrown talent. I am not sure if it will be enough to bring the viewers back. I am watching The Voice (and have from the start). I like the chemistry among the show’s judges and their format is much more positive with a better focus on quality talent. The show didn’t lose anything in judge chemistry with the substitutions of Shakira and Usher for Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green. I think it is time to sunset American Idol and let the younger shows take the main stage. Well, on the latter point, they already have…
It’s good to be home again…
The Yankees started the latest home stand on the right foot with an 8-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians. Phil Hughes was the winner in a game that was relatively tight until Robinson Cano broke it open in the bottom of the 7th inning with a grand slam.
For Hughes, it was great to see him return to top form after a few subpar performances. He allowed 5 hits, 2 runs, and just 1 walk in seven innings of work, striking out 8. Hopefully, the improved pitching will spill over to CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, both of whom have struggled in recent starts.
Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger
The game also marked the return of center fielder Curtis Granderson, who went 1-for-3 with a run scored. The activation of Grandy had an effect on the roster as the Yankees designated outfielder Randy Winn for assignment. It is a sad end for Winn’s brief Yankee career, but he was ill-suited for the backup role on the team. I think he can still be a productive player, but he needs to play every day to be the player he was with the San Francisco Giants. He was not going to get that opportunity with the Yankees, so this move is for the best. It also allowed young, versatile Kevin Russo to remain on the roster. Russo has already been instrumental in several Yankee wins this season, and he is a much better fit for the roster than Winn. I do wish Randy the very best and thank him for his contributions to the team this season.
Nick Swisher hit his 9th home run in the game. I am pleasantly surprised with Swisher’s play this year. I had been fearful that 2009 was an aberration and that Nick would revert to the player he was with the Chicago White Sox. So far, he has proven me wrong. After two months of the season, Nick has a .301 batting average and 27 RBI’s to go with his 9 home runs. His numbers are definitely superior to former starter and current Chicago Cub Xavier Nady.
Keivom/NY Daily News
I saw the question posed if the Yankees should pursue a trade for Andy Pettitte’s pal, Houston Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt. While it would seem that if the Astros do decide to trade Oswalt, the Texas Rangers would be the obvious choice. Personally, I do think the Yankees should consider pursuit of him. Clearly, Javier Vazquez has proven that he can’t handle the pressure of New York and the American League. But he can still excel in the National League. Houston’s low-pressure environment would be the right setting. If the Yankees were to package Vazquez, plus cash to pay a large part of his salary, and the right combination of prospects, it would seem that the team could be successful in acquiring Oswalt. It would slot very nicely into the rotation, and he’d be a great replacement for Andy Pettitte if/when Pettitte retires after the season.
Tonight was the perfect night in the AL East. A win by the Yankees, combined with losses by both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. The perfect combination!
Boston Globe Staff
Speaking of winners, congratulations to American Idol winner Lee DeWyze. Lee had become my choice in recent months, and it was great to see his victory on Wednesday over Crystal Bowersox. Mama Sox would have been a terrific champion too, and I am sure that both will be very successful as they embark on their professional careers.
Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend!
The agony of defeat…
It’s amazing how you can go from a very high “high” to a very low “low” in 24 hours. A night after a walk-off home run by Marcus Thames, he was a goat in last night’s 7-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox. His drop of Marco Scutaro’s fly ball in the 9th inning was a crucial blow that set the stage for Jeremy Hermida’s two-run double that gave Boston the runs it would need to win.
Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger
There were several goats in this loss. Thames didn’t shoulder the blame alone. You really have to start with the awful performance by Joba Chamberlain. On Sunday, he allowed the floodgates to open for the Twins and the momentum crushed Mariano Rivera. In many ways, it happened again last night. Chamberlain didn’t allow the runs in the 9th (Rivera did), however, the Red Sox had clearly taken the momentum of the game with the 4 run 8th inning to tie the score. I could tell after a couple of batters that Joba didn’t have it last night, but manager Joe Girardi stuck with Chamberlain to erase the 5-1 advantage.
Keivom/NY Daily News
The Yankees had their chance for late inning heroics but this time Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon closed the door. The Yanks were able to pick up a run on a Robinson Cano double in the bottom of the 9th. However, with the game-tying and game-winning runs on 2nd and 3rd, Juan Miranda grounded out and Randy Winn struck out to end the game.
The Yankees (25-14) fell another game behind the Tampa Bay Rays with the loss. The Rays, who are in town for a two-game series before the start of the weekend’s matchup against the Mets, beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-2 and are now 28-11. Unless Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera can return the bullpen to a strength, the series against the Rays will be very difficult to win. It’s too bad that a very strong performance by CC Sabathia was wasted last night, The Yanks could have used it against the Rays. Let’s hope that A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte are up to the task.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
On the bright side, I did somehow manage to win the latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. After the Sox had taken the 7-5 lead, we were tied with total runs (16 runs for both teams). But Cano’s 9th inning RBI gave the Yankees a total of 17 runs, so I won on that basis despite the split of the two-game series. So, stay tuned for a post by Julia which will detail the Yankees’ first World Series championship. She has assured me that she will use as few words as possible! Of course, I say when is Julia ever at a loss for words!
It was not a particularly good night for me as the San Jose Sharks lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, to fall behind 2 games to none in the NHL Western Conference Finals.
At least Lee Dewyze gave a masterful performance on the American Idol stage so the night wasn’t a total loss. His rendition of Hallelujah clearly set him apart from his competition (Crystal Bowersox and Casey James), and as Randy Jackson says, he’s in it to win it. Unless American Idol is nothing more than a popularity contest, Casey James should be heading back to Texas tonight for an AI final pitting Bowersox against Dewyze. It should be a great one!
Less than a week until the Yankees travel to 4 Yawkey Way…
My nemesis last year was Julia of Julia’s Rants. The season started so great for her as the Boston Red Sox took the first eight games of the season series against the Yankees. For a time, it seemed as though the Yankees would never get a win. But then along came August, and the tide turned. Led by hip-rejuvenated Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees captured all but one of the remaining games in the series enroute to their 27th World Championship.
There was hope that Julia and I could face one another in the ALCS but John Lackey and the Los Angeles Angels had other ideas. Of course, after the season, Theo and the Red Sox decided that if you can’t beat him, sign him as they inked Lackey to a five-year deal to be their number 2 starter. I know that Josh Beckett is the ace of the staff, but if I were building a franchise, I’d pass on Beckett and Lackey and go with Jon Lester.
Barry Chin/Boston Globe
Still it was gratifying to beat Julia and to enjoy the success of a championship season (my seventh as a Yankees fan). Conversely, I am 0-for-lifetime as a fan of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. If only Brett Favre had just tucked the ball and ran…
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Here we are ready for a new season, and the battle between Julia and I gets off to a very early start. I was listening to an interview with Boston beat writer Ian Browne and someone asked him if it was too early for Yankees-Red Sox. His response was that it could be January 19th and a foot of snow on the ground and it wouldn’t be too early. Precisely! Granted, it’s your final record that determines whether you’ll see October, but the Yankees measure themselves against the Red Sox. There is much more satisfaction in beating Boston than there is in beating, say, Kansas City. The wins are measured the same, but still a win against the Royals just doesn’t have the same meaning. I don’t want to offend my friends in Tampa because I know the Rays have the talent to win it all so this is not about disrespect. However, the rivalry between the Rays and Yankees just isn’t as deep and heated as it is against the Red Sox. There was a day that I despised the Baltimore Orioles like no other, so I am sure that the tide will eventually turn. However, right now, as it has been for most of the past decade, baseball doesn’t get any better than Yankees-Red Sox. As a Bay Area resident, I’ve been to Giants-Dodgers games, but they just don’t compare.
For our first wager, Julia and I have agreed to a book report assignment. The winner gets to send a book of his/her choice (I know, the winner pays…go figure). If the Yankees win, Julia gets to read and write a book report on the following book:
Don’t click…this was just a cut and paste from Amazon.com! The real thing will be making the trip to the Boston metro area to see my friend Julia! I chose this book because it had special meaning to me. 1947 was the year that my late father graduated from high school, and it was the dawn of the great Yankees dynasty of the early 50’s. If I could go back in time, 1927 would be my first choice so that I could watch the greatest Yankees team of all-time. But for a second choice, given all of the great Yankees clubs in the past, 1947 would be next. The team didn’t realize that it was on the verge of the greatest success in baseball history and it would have been fun to see the excitement and enthusiasm of those early years.
Yeah Joe, you can smile a little larger! You’ll be getting over on that dude next to you! 🙂
If I lose (c’mon, Carsten Charles Sabathia, don’t let me down!), I will have to read one of Julia’s favorites:
I like Julia’s essays, so I am pulling for my favorite MLB Blogger! Go Julia! Lose to the Yankees and write that book report! As Rob Schneider would say, ‘C’mon, you CAN do it!’. 😉
Courtesy: Julia’s Rants
Congratulations to Ian Kennedy for being named to the starting rotation for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I was very frustrated at times with Kennedy and his attitude when he was with the Yankees, but I do hope that he finds success. It wasn’t that long ago when his name was mentioned in the same breath as Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. Also, hats off to the Detroit Tigers newly named starting center fielder Austin Jackson. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing Curtis Granderson in center field for the Yankees. But I will also wonder ‘what could have been’ with Ajax. He made me a believer with the way he tattooed a home run a couple of years ago in spring training. Granted, he is not a home run hitter, but he has that “it” quality people talk about. Having Johnny Damon as your personal mentor is not a bad thing so long as Damon doesn’t wear that freakin’ 2004 ring! 😉
Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger/US Presswire
I was also glad to see Chad Gaudin land with the local Oakland A’s. It is his second go-around with the A’s, and I think he’ll thrive in their bullpen. I am only a BART trip away from the A’s Stadium, so I am sure that I’ll be there a time or two to see how he progresses in his return.
Is this really the last season of 24? Wow, those were eight fast years! On the bright side, you know that they can’t kill off Jack Bauer. Not with the proposed movie deals in the works…
How could Jesse James cheat on Sandra Bullock? I don’t get it. She is perhaps one of the most beautiful and inspirational actresses of my lifetime.
I know, I’m getting way off topic. Sorry. I’ll close with saying that I am pulling for Crystal Bowersox on American Idol! Go Crystal! Keep up what you are doing. You are special!
Unfortunately, Johnny Damon hasn’t forgotten how to beat the Yankees…
Gene J. Puskar/AP
In Damon’s first appearance against his ex-mates, he hit an RBI single and a solo home run to power the Tigers to victory, 6-2, in Lakeland, Florida. Hopefully, this doesn’t become a regular occurrence in Yankees-Tigers matchups. Two of the hopefuls for the fifth spot in the starting rotation were the victims of Damon’s abuse. Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre each gave up three earned runs in three and four innings of work, respectively. Austin Jackson even got in on the action with some great defensive plays.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
On the bright side, the Yankees also played the Baltimore Orioles in Tampa and won 5-3 behind the heroics of Jorge Posada. Javier Vazquez was the starter and winner, but Alfredo Aceves continued to impress. So, if Phil Hughes has competition for the starting rotation, I’d have to say that Aceves is the top contender at this point. I am convinced that Joba Chamberlain is headed to the pen, and either Mitre or Gaudin (or both) will find themselves pitching elsewhere.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
Kei Igawa, perhaps the Yankees most disappointing free-agent signing in recent memory outside of anyone named Carl, saw his latest attempt to make the Yankees flame out. He was one of nine players cut and re-assigned to minor league camp. The other notable name, but not unexpected, was pitcher Andrew Brackman. The odds have definitely been against Brackman but I hope he can persevere and pitch in the big leagues one day.
Nick Latham/Getty Images
As a Minnesota Vikings fan, this has been a disappointing off-season so far. Of course, there’s the inevitable ‘will he or won’t he’ retirement talk about Brett Favre. If Favre does retire, it’s hard to get excited about the team’s offense being helmed by either Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels. We’ve already seen a great running back depart when Chester Taylor signed with the rival Chicago Bears. The team wined and dined free agent LaDainian Tomlinson, but he left Minnesota for New York with no agreement. Nothing against Minneapolis, but it’s hard to compete with the city of New York. There’s no telling where LT will eventually land, but he would be a nice backup for Adrian Peterson. So far, the Vikings biggest acquisition has been the free agent signing of long kicker Rhys Lloyd. Hopefully, the Vikings will be able to make the necessary moves to ensure that their current championship quality window does not close without any hardware.
Peter Read Miller/SI
This has been an interesting year on American Idol. I have seen most of my early favorites depart, so I’ve had to find new ones to back. At this point, I am a fan of Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze. I am surprised at some of those who advanced to the Top 12 and some who didn’t, but the show should start heating up in the coming weeks.
I am headed down to Burbank to see The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this week. The scheduled guests are Terry Bradshaw and Kara DioGuardi. The musical guest is Ziggy Marley. It should be a fun and energetic show to watch. I am looking forward to it. I was able to see The Late Show with David Letterman last year, so it will be fun to see how it compares to Leno. Of course, from my perspective, I can’t wait until Conan O’Brien is back on the air…
Now that CC is getting warmed up, Spring Training is officially underway…
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
So far, Camp has been very quiet for Team World Champions. Of course, that figures to change when position players report next week. But it has been great to see the guys arriving in Tampa as they begin defense of their World Series championship.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
I always enjoy hearing about the players who re-committed themselves during the off-season, and arrive in camp in better shape than ever. This year’s “Biggest Losers” are reliever Jonathan Albaladejo and right fielder Nick Swisher. Both reported significantly lighter than we lost saw them in October. I have been a bit concerned that Swisher will have difficulty matching last season’s success, but hopefully, the weight loss will help him build upon the success and we’ll continue to see the A’s version of Swisher and not the White Sox version.
It’s evident the players have a great deal of respect for Andy Pettitte. Andy could have had the perfect ending to a great career by riding off to the sunset after last year’s championship, but he decided that he is not ready to hang up the glove yet. Obviously, I was disappointed when Andy admitted steroid use, however, throughout his career and including the time of the admission, Andy has handled himself with nothing but class and dignity. CC Sabathia credited Pettitte for helping his transition, and I am sure that he’ll have a similar influence on Javier Vazquez as he re-adjusts to life with the Yankees. I would have preferred if Andy had never left to play in Houston for three years, but conversely, the time away definitely gave Andy a different perspective and he clearly values his Yankees legacy now more than ever before.
I saw the comment by Hideki Matsui on the Angels MLB.com website that although he feels physically strong, his knees aren’t 100%. As tough as it was to see Godzilla leave, I think the Yankees made the right decision. While I recognize that he may have a great 2010 season, sooner or later he’ll begin breaking down and missing more time. Besides, there’s not much more that he could have done for a Yankees farewell than being named the World Series MVP.
Speaking of ex-Yankees, Johnny Damon is now officially a member. He signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers for $8 million. Damon will definitely be the poster child for negotiating failures, at least for the short term. With better strategy, he could have secured a longer term deal for more money from the Yankees, but Damon and agent Scott Boras overvalued the market. Of course, the Yankees quickly moved on. I do not find fault with the Yankees approach because had they waited, they risked getting nothing. As it stands, the Yankees offense should be fine with Nick Johnson, Randy Winn and Marcus Thames on-board. I am still puzzled by the Tigers since they moved Curtis Granderson because of money, and he would have made less this year than Damon will cost them. I guess Damon is an $8 million insurance policy as a hedge to see if Austin Jackson is capable of making the leap to the major leagues.
Another former Yankee, Chien-Ming Wang, signed with the Washington Nationals. I am surprised that he went with the Nats. Nothing against them, but I really expected to see Wang go with Joe Torre and the Los Angeles Dodgers. They have a clear need for a fifth starter, and if healthy, Wang could have potentially filled the void. Whatever happens, I wish Wang the best of luck…and health. I hope he has learned to run the bases now that he’ll be hitting in the National League.
Now that Jose Molina is in Toronto, it sounds like manager Joe Girardi is going to make sure that Jorge Posada and A.J. Burnett work as a team this spring. Hopefully, they’ll be able to build a good rapport. If not, I hope that Francisco Cervelli is up to the challenge of being A.J.’s personal caddy.
The Yankees will definitely encounter more than a few former players (and manager) during the upcoming season.
Hopefully, the “pies” will belong to the current Yankees and not the former crowd. It should be a fun season, and I am looking forward to the renewed battle with Julia. I was hoping that we’d have a few “warm-ups” during the Spring, but the Yankees and Red Sox are not scheduled to face each other until Opening Day. Oh well, I am looking forward to starting the season 1-0. Right, Julia? 😉
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
This is off-topic, but now that American Idol has reduced the field to 24, my early favorite is Janell Wheeler…
But then again, Ashley Rodriguez does have a great voice…
It should be a great Season 9 on American Idol! Music and Yankees baseball…sounds like it will be a great summer to me! If Julia doesn’t agree, this video says it all…