This has not been a good
year for Yankees pitchers (or potential pitchers). First, prime free agent target Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia
Phillies. Then, Andy Pettitte decided it was time to stay home in Deer Park, Texas
to spend time with his family. And now, Phil Hughes is on the DL and it doesn’t
sound like he’ll be coming off any time soon.
Fortunately, the Yankees
have gotten very solid pitching from Ivan
Nova, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon (much better than almost
anyone had expected). But from the ‘glass
is half empty’ approach, can they keep it up?
Most likely, there will be a few hiccups along the way. Considering the Yankees have to decide by
Sunday whether to call up Kevin Millwood
or release, my guess is that they’ll bring him up as the long man in the pen
and send Buddy Carlyle back to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Millwood would be
the first to start should Nova, Garcia or Colon suffer any setbacks. At this point, I don’t think the Yankees can
afford to let Millwood slip away.
As I write this post, I am
watching the 2011 NFL Draft. I am
waiting to see who the Minnesota Vikings select with the #12 pick. As it stands right now, the Buffalo Bills
just selected Marcell Dareus, DT
from Alabama with the #3 pick. I want
the Vikings to pick a QB of the future, so I am okay if they reach with their
pick or trade down to get their man. My
personal favorite for selection is QB Jake
Locker from the University of Washington.
We’ll see how the choice goes down later in this post. If the Vikings don’t get Locker, I’d like to
see them find a way to get Christian
Ponder or Andy Dalton. As a fan of the University of Iowa, I’d love
to see Ricky Stanzi get a shot but I
recognize his talent and potential is below the other name QB’s.
For as great as the Yankees
bullpen is supposed to be, it’s disturbing to see the breakdowns of Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera. It would
seem that pitching the 9th is more difficult than pitching the 8th,
but Soriano is making the 8th look the hardest. Mo recently went through a stretch of two
blown saves although he did right the ship against the Chicago White Sox on
Wednesday night. Hopefully, the guys in
the pen grow accustomed to their roles and manager Joe Girardi is able to resist the temptation to bring Mo in for
anything other than the 9th.
Although Mo leads the AL in saves with 8, it’s strange to see former
Yankees gasoline artist Kyle Farnsworth,
now Tampa Bay Rays closer, in the top 5.
Why do I cringe when I see Eric Chavez playing first base? I know that he can handle the position, but
after watching him with the Oakland A’s the last few years, it’s hard not to
think that the next play could be the one that puts Chavez on the DL…
We are through the first 5
picks of the NFL Draft and Blaine
Gabbert is still on the board. Why
is that important? Because as long as
Gabbert is on the board, Jake Locker
is only the 2nd best QB still available. Here’s to still hoping for Jake Locker in purple, but I can’t see
Gabbert getting by the San Francisco 49ers at #7.
It was strange to see the
Yankees score their first two runs of tonight’s game against the Chicago White
Sox without recording a hit against Sox starter Edwin Jackson (courtesy of four walks in the inning). With CC
Sabathia on the mound, I feel fairly confident that the Yankees will be
able to exit the four game series with a split.
Well, so long as Soriano and Rivera don’t implode in their respective
Surprise, the 49ers didn’t
go for Gabbert so perhaps it helps improve the chances for Locker in the Land
of 10,000 Lakes…
Ugh, the Tennessee Titans
just took Locker!
Wow, I don’t know what I
want the Vikings to do now. There’s no
way that Gabbert will still be available if the Vikings don’t try to move
up. It would be way too early to go
after Ponder so it would appear that the Vikes pick will most likely be a
defensive selection. Bummer for me…
This is how I felt many
years ago when the Titans took Steve
McNair when I was hoping that he’d fall to the Vikings. Drats, those Titans!
Meanwhile, on the Yankees
front, they seem to be having a good night as it is now 5-0 in the bottom of
the 5th inning. The sole
Yankees home run was by Brett Gardner
so maybe his bat is starting to come around.
It’s not that I’d expect Gardy to hit homers since that isn’t his forte,
but still, it’s nice to see him in the offensive mix.
The Yankees game is up to
7-0, and the only players without either a run scored or a RBI are Eric Chavez (two walks) and Jorge Posada. Speaking of Posada, I am not certain how long
the Yankees give Posada to start hitting.
His batting average stands at .134.
If I were the Yankees GM, it would be hard to resist the urge to recall Jorge Vazquez and insert him as a
part-time DH. Of course, I’d have
absolutely no idea who to send down to the farm so that’s why Brian Cashman has the job and I don’t.
Well, give Posada a RBI on a
walk. 8-0 Yanks in a 6-run 5th
(so far). So I guess that makes Chavez
the only one who hasn’t produced a run in this game.
It looks like the
Jacksonville Jaguars will take Blaine
Gabbert with their trade up with the Washington Redskins. So much for the QB for the future for
Minnesota… Does this mean that the Vikings QB will be
someone like Carson Palmer, Vince Young, or Donovan McNabb? Very
disappointing when you play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew
My guess is that the Vikings
will make a play for Ponder or Dalton later in the draft. Man, I really wish that QB Joe Webb wouldn’t have engineered that
upset of the Philadelphia Eagles last year.
With the 12th
pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings take…QB Christian Ponder, Florida State.
Wow, as much as I wanted a QB and I thought that Ponder was the next
best option, #12 is probably a bit early.
But still, with the likes of Joe
Webb and Rhett Bomar as the only
QB options in Minnesota, I do like the upside of Ponder at the position. I just never expected Ponder to go that
early, especially with defensive greats like Nick Fairley and Da’quan
Bowers just sitting there for the taking.
Oh well, Go Seminoles!
Meanwhile, it is still 8-0
in New York in the bottom of the 6th. Oops, 9-0. Nice…
I am headed into enemy territory…
Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe
I am on a mission to see how the Red Sox fans prepare to celebrate Opening Day at Fenway Park. I’ll just put on a disguise and maybe I’ll fit right in as I talk with the locals…
Okay, maybe I should tone it down just a little…
I know, I’ll just go incognito…
I am looking forward to seeing the sights of Boston as I take my morning jog…
I am sure that the people of Boston are warm and friendly to visiting Yankees fans…
Would they take it as a compliment if I said, “Oh, that’s Fenway Park? It’s almost as nice as Yankee Stadium!”?
Would they mind if I said that Manny Ramirez was my favorite Red Sox player?
Would it be okay if I wore my Bucky Dent t-shirt?
Hmmm, how many World Championships do the Red Sox have compared to the Yankees?
Oh, by the way, how did the Patriots fare with that perfect season?
There’s been a few references to “Sox-tober” but isn’t that when the Red Sox players are scheduled to begin their early vacation? Just wondering…
Seriously, I am looking forward to the journey to Boston. It’s a place that I’ve always wanted to visit. I promise not to brag about the Yankees while I am there…well, not too much…
FIRST WORKOUT AT YANKEE STADIUM
The Yankees held their first workout at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. The players were in awe of the new digs, and it promises to be a thrilling weekend in the Bronx as the Yankees play the Chicago Cubs in a two-game exhibition series.
Thursday’s experience left players and fans alike in complete awe of the new Stadium.
BEARS GET CUTLER
I know that is not a football blog, but I’m mad. I am mad that the Vikings made no apparent attempt to acquire Jay Cutler and I’m mad that Cutler was traded to the division rival Chicago Bears. I agree that the Bears paid a very high price for Cutler (QB Kyle Orton, two first round picks and a third round pick).
I cannot say that I would have wanted the Vikings to give up that much, but they didn’t even try to get into the game and that bothered me. I don’t want the team to make a foolish trade. When they acquired Herschel Walker, they were a player or two shy of being a Super Bowl contender (like they are now). But the trade backfired and the bounty propelled the Dallas Cowboys to a few Super Bowl Championships. So, I understand the need to be conservative.
However, the Vikings have done nothing this off-season, in my opinion, to strengthen the team. It has been more about try to keep the status quo. Unfortunately, that won’t translate into a championship. I am rapidly becoming an anti-fan of Head Coach Brad Childress. I am not ready to throw him into the Les Steckel category, but he’s perilously close. I miss Mike Tice today more than I ever have…
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
I’m happy again…I’m headed to Boston…
Enjoy your weekend!
P. S. I still don’t like this guy…
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all MLB.com Bloggers and Readers!
Simply reading The New York Post can assist any Yankees blogger with the hot topics of the day. A scan of today’s paper yields the following observations:
· A-Rod is truly in love with himself
· Robinson Cano knows he was an idiot for hiding his injury
· Joba Chamberlain is struggling to get his fastball back to its normal speed
· Hideki Matsui would be a very expensive bench ornament
Yikes! It was more fun researching Boston Red Sox players! Not really, but the drama never ends in the Yankees Universe…
JANE HELLER WILL BE BUYING DETAILS MAGAZINE
This is just an assumption on my part, but after seeing some of the seductive, brooding photos on Details.com, the She-Fan is probably making a mad dash for Barnes & Noble as we speak!
Photo by Steven Klein
The She-Fan may have had greater influence on A-Rod than meets the eye, given that the name of the Details article is ‘Confessions of a Damned Yankee’.
I don’t know for sure, but I’m just saying… 😉
JOBA’S DRIVING IN THE SLOW LANE
During yesterday’s win over the Philadelphia Phillies, Joba Chamberlain’s fastball was clocked about 5 mph slower than his normal speeds of 97-98 mph.
The article in the New York Post was quick to note that it’s still early in spring training and that Joba’s fastball was “flat” yesterday. My only concern is the shoulder tendonitis that benched Joba toward the end of last season. He did not have surgery, but instead opted to go the rehab route.
My belief is that the ‘early in spring training’ is the most likely cause, but this does bear watching in the coming months.
“POTENTIAL VIKINGS QB”
I know that I am probably the only one who is interested in Jay Cutler as the next QB of the Minnesota Vikings. Erin of Plunking Gomez has already said that she wouldn’t get excited about it until they actually called the press conference to announce the acquisition. Still, I can’t help but notice that the Twin Cities’ Pioneer Press is referring to the Denver quarterback as ‘Potential Vikings QB’ Jay Cutler. So, at least I am not alone in my thinking as a Vikings fan. Of course, Trent Dilfer later burst my bubble on ESPN by saying that while Cutler would be a great PR move, he wasn’t so sure it would help football-wise.
I am sure this topic’s getting much airplay on the Minneapolis-St. Paul sports radio stations.
* * *
Have a safe and enjoyable St. Patrick’s Night! J
Julia (of Julia’s Rants) has graciously reduced my sentence by one blog! Yeah, I am free! Well, I guess I will be after this blog! 😉
For my last Red Sox blog, I thought long and hard about what player I wanted to write about. I thought about David Ortiz since I think the man is personally responsible for the end of the Curse of the Bambino. He gave Manny Ramirez huge protection in the line up, and he instilled a ‘don’t quit’ attitude in the Red Sox clubhouse. For the life of me, I still don’t understand why the Minnesota Twins released Big Papi…or why Brian Cashman didn’t react quicker.
Cataffo/New York Daily News
I also thought about manager Terry Francona. For years, Red Sox managers were always guys that you loved to hate. Even though he later occupied the Yankees bench along side Joe Torre, I couldn’t stand Don Zimmer when he was the manager of the Red Sox. With Tito, the Red Sox finally had a manager who commands respect. I am hopeful that Joe Girardi will one day be the man that Tito is today.
Ultimately, I decided to go with the Man of the Hour. Fresh off the newly signed contract, Jon Lester seems to be the most appropriate current Boston player for my final Red Sox blog.
So, here goes my final blog as a temporary but involuntary member of the Red Sox Nation…
Future 20-Game Winner
I first became aware of Jonathan Tyler Lester in 2006. I had started to hear about the latest Red Sox pitching phenom early that year (he made his major league debut on June 10, 2006 at Fenway Park).
In his first game, Jon pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, and 4 walks. He also had 4 strikeouts. He received a no-decision, but the Red Sox lost the game to the Texas Rangers, 7-4.
Over the next couple of months, Jon pitched very well. He had racked up 7-2 record, with 4.76 ERA in 81 1/3 innings by late summer. But on August 27, 2006, he was scratched from a start in Oakland against the A’s. The reason listed was a sore back, and there were concerns it was related to an auto accident that had occurred earlier that month. He was placed on the DL, and sent back to Boston for further tests. On August 31st, it was reported that Jon had enlarged lymph nodes. A few days later, the doctors confirmed that he had a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
In December of that year, after a sixth round of chemotherapy, the doctors reported no evidence of visible cancer cells and declared that Jon was in remission. It will be a five year process before Jon can be declared cancer free, but it has been all good so far.
Jon was born in Tacoma, WA on January 7, 1984. He graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma. He was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year for Washington in 2000. He had the opportunity to go to college on a scholarship, but opted to sign with the Boston Red Sox after being selected in the second round of the 2002 draft (57th selection overall).
Following the cancer treatments of 2006, Jon’s velocity had returned by mid to late 2007. He returned to the majors in the summer and finished the year with a 4-0 mark, 4.57 ERA and 50 strikeouts.
In October, Jon started and won the deciding Game 4 of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver. He pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball, and only gave up 3 hits and 3 walks, and had 3 strikeouts.
Bill Greene/Boston Globe
As Jon moved to 2008, he had gained 25 pounds from the year before (almost all muscle) and looked to be in great physical condition.
On May 19th, with the temperature only 56 degrees, Jon and the Red Sox faced the Kansas City Royals, and he promptly threw a no-hitter. With 130 total pitches, to go with 9 strikeouts and 2 walks, Jon threw first pitch strikes to 20 of the 29 batters he faced. The game was highlighted by a diving catch of a sinking liner in the 4th inning by Jacoby Ellsbury.
In July, Jon made his debut at Yankee Stadium. Unwilling to yield to the mystique and aura of the Stadium, he threw a complete game five-hit shutout.
Jon finished the successful 2008 campaign with a 16-6 record, 3.21 ERA, and had 152 strikeouts. He became the first Boston southpaw since Babe Ruth (1916) and Lefty Grove (1937) with as many as 15 wins, 30 starts, 200 innings, 150 strikeouts, and sub 3.50 ERA in a single season.
Yesterday, the Red Sox and Jon finalized the much anticipated 5 year contract for $30 million. The contract includes a club option for 2014. “Everyone is excited about it,” 2B Dustin Pedroia said. “You want to play for a long time with those guys you came up with. Jon is going to keep getting better and better. I’m sure by Year 5 of that deal he’s going to be an even better pitcher than he is right now.”
That doesn’t bode well for AL East opponents, including my beloved Yankees. It’s no wonder the Red Sox held Jon out of trade discussions involving the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Josh Beckett, and Johan Santana over the years.
I wish #31 the very best…well except when he makes the trip to the Bronx or the Bombers travel to Fenway. Jon is a champion competitor, a true ace, who plays the game the way it should be played. He deserves our respect, but clearly the pleasure of watching him pitch is all ours…
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
SO LONG RON SILVER…THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!
Granted, it’s not sports-related; however, I would like to acknowledge the passing of actor Ron Silver who died Sunday at the age of 62. He had been fighting esophageal cancer for the past couple of years.
Through the years, Ron has been involved in so many television and film roles dating back to The Mac Davis Show in the early 70’s. More recently, he had a recurring role on “The West Wing” as a slick strategist for the president.
He was a very good actor, he commanded your attention when he was on screen, and he’ll be sorely missed…
AND FINALLY, YANKEES NEWS…
Ah, let’s talk about the Yankees! I love it! Yankees, Yankees, Yankees…24/7 from here on out! Yeah!
- The Yankees routed the Philadelphia Phillies today, 12-0. Nick Swisher played first base, and had 3 RBI. Joba Chamberlain pitched three shutout innings of two-hit ball. He also had 3 strikeouts. Kei Igawa continues to pitch well, but I’d definitely take the ‘sell high’ approach with him (even if it means paying part of his contract to unload him).
- LP Zach Kroenke, 25, who was chosen by the Florida Marlins in December’s Rule 5 Draft, was returned to the Yankees on Monday. He has been assigned to AA Trenton. Sorry, Zach, but I am glad you had a miserable time in the Florida training camp. Welcome back…
- Both 2B Robinson Cano and P Damaso Marte received good news from the results of their respective MRI’s. Cano has bursitis of the right shoulder, and Mare has inflammation of the left shoulder. So, both should be back in action before long…
- Good luck to former Yankees C Pudge Rodriguez who has signed a one-year deal with the Houston Astros.
- In a non-Yankees note of interest to most likely only me, Denver Broncos QB Jay Cutler had a very acrimonious meeting with new head coach Josh McDaniels over the weekend, and has demanded to be traded. The Vikings deny interest, but the Minnesota papers seem to follow every step of the action between Cutler and the Broncos with great detail. I personally think Jay would look pretty good in purple and gold…
It is great to be back in Yankeeville! Hopefully, my guys won’t let me down next month when the Great Showdown II with Julia of Julia’s Rants takes place (the weekend series between the Yankees and Red Sox on April 24th through 26th).
With all sincerity, I do want to thank Julia for the incredible sportsmanship and good humor that she displayed during our first showdown. I know, without a doubt, that it would have been no different had she lost. We are very privileged to have her as one of our leading bloggers, and she continues to work harder than anyone I know at making MLB Blogs an incredible experience for everyone.
But with that, I will still say…Go Yankees! J
Another Loss from the Yankee Dynasty Years…
Another lesser known but important Yankee passed away this week. Tom Sturdivant, who was a member of Yankee teams that played in three consecutive World Series from 1955 through 1957, has died at age 78. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Sturdivant went 16-8 in 1956 and 16-6 in 1957. He led the American League in won-lost percentage in ’57, and was second in ERA at 2.54. He hurt his arm the next year, and was never the same. He was subsequently traded to Kansas City in 1959. He spent the remainder of his career, which ended in 1964, Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Detroit and the New York Mets.
Sturdivant was a member of the 1956 World Series rotation that threw five straight complete games, a feat that has not been matched since. The rotation consisted of Whitey Ford, Sturdivant, Don Larsen, Bob Turley and Johnny Kucks.
Sturdivant evened the ’56 World Series at 2 games apiece on October 7, 1956, with a complete game 6-2 victory. It set the stage for the next day when Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history.
In his final season, on May 31, 1964, Sturdivant combined with three other New York Met relievers to hold the Giants scoreless through 19 2/3 innings (in a game the Mets finally lost in the 23rd inning).
So Much For What’s His Name
Now that T.J. Houshmandzadeh has signed with the Seattle Seahawks instead of the Minnesota Vikings, it removes the pressure for me to learn how to pronounce his name. Surely, there is some free agent Wide Receiver somewhere named Smith or Jones…
Actually, there are some quality wide receivers available, although nobody quite in T.J.’s category. The Vikings still need a playmaker opposite Bernard Berrian.
The latest rumors indicate possible Vikings interest in Denver quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler, refusing to speak with Broncos management over their denial of trade discussions, may hasten his departure from Denver with his current stance. Of course, it’s not exactly like he’s John Elway. I am not sure that he has done enough in the league to warrant his obstinate approach regarding alleged trade rumors. However, despite the Vikings acquisition of QB Sage Rosenfels, Cutler would be a very nice addition for the Vikings.
Odds & Ends…
On the heels of signing SS Orlando Cabrera, the Oakland A’s have inked Nomar Garciaparra. “No-mah” will be the starting DL for the A’s…
QB Kurt Warner’s flirtation with the San Francisco 49ers reminds me of Timothy Hutton’s new TV series…“Leverage“. Seriously, about 10 to 15 years ago, would a player have used to the 49ers to sign with the Cardinals? Um, probably not…
Derek Jeter hit a two-run single in the third inning to help power Team USA past the New York Yankees today in exhibition play. Granted, Kevin Youklis also added a two-run single, but it was painful to see DJ represent the primary reason for a Yanks loss. He also scored a run on a based loaded error in the sixth inning by Angel Berroa.
What’s with the influx of Baltimore Ravens to the New York Jets? First, there was coach Rex Ryan. Then, the Jets signed LB Bart Scott. Now, they’ve reached an agreement with S Jim Leonhard. If the exodus continues, I don’t think the Ravens will be a threat to prevent the Patriots from reaching the play-offs again anytime soon.
Randy Johnson pitched three scoreless innings, and struck out 7 of the 12 batters he faced in a Cactus League match-up between the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Working out some anger management issues there, Randy? The Giants won the game, 7-6.