Despite the new additions, the Yankees lost the
latest series to the Tampa Bay Rays…
Saturday was an exciting day when Robinson Cano
homered in the top of the 9th inning to give the Yanks the go-ahead
run and ultimately the win. Earlier in
the day, the trade with the Houston Astros for first baseman Lance Berkman was
finalized (sending minor leaguers, Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes, to
Houston). In the final hour before the 4
pm Eastern deadline, the Yankees made another trade with the Cleveland Indians
for reliever Kerry Wood (for a player to be named later or cash).
But Sunday, the new additions weren’t the
difference makers as the Yankees couldn’t get any offense going against James
Shields, and fell to the Rays, 3-0. The
loser was CC Sabathia.
Alex Rodriguez sat today, although he did pinch hit
in the 7th inning and struck out.
So, he remains at 599 home runs.
Jeff Griffith/US Presswire
Both Austin Kearns and Lance Berkman started the
game (Kearns in left, in place of Brett Gardner, and Berkman, at first in place
of Mark Teixeira who moved to DH).
Kearns was 0-for-2 and Berkman was 1-for-4 but at least the latter
finally broke through with his first Yankee hit.
The team now heads back to the Bronx to face the
Toronto Blue Jays. Hopefully, the team
and Alex Rodriguez can get untracked at home and put some distance between them
and the Rays now that the lead has dwindled to just one game.
I was reading Ken Rosenthal’s article that the
Yankees apparently tried to work a three-way deal with Texas Rangers that would
have brought Boston’s Mike Lowell back to New York. I would have been in favor of the move as
Mike would have made a great backup for Alex Rodriguez and an occasional DH platoon
partner with Lance Berkman. I am sure
that Brian Cashman will continue to push for a backup third baseman before the
end of August. It would be nice if it
I am still amazed that a team in bankruptcy, the
Rangers, could emerge as the media-appointed “winner” of the trading
deadline. Obviously, their acquisitions,
including Cliff Lee and Jorge Cantu, stood out, however, I am not sure I fully
understand how those decisions were made given the Rangers financial
I thought it was interesting that the Los Angeles
Dodgers acquired two of Joe Torre’s former players with the Yankees, Octavio
Dotel and Ted Lilly. The Yanks weren’t
interested in Dotel, but Torre obviously was.
I wish the Yanks could have found a way to bring Lilly back to New York,
but it was clear the Yanks weren’t interested in giving up any top talent (nor
should they have).
As I was writing this post, I was watching the San
Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-0. Hats off to Matt Cain for his first win
against the dreaded rival Dodgers. Cain
went 7 2/3 innings, and gave up only 4 hits and no runs. He struck out 7, and walked just one Dodger
batter. An impressive win for an unsung
hero on the Giants pitching staff.
Here’s hoping that a new day will bring a Yankees’
The Yankees starting center fielder is…
TBA on Thursday. Seriously? The word is that manager Joe Girardi will announce his starting center fielder on Thursday. He had been toying with playing Granderson in left and Brett Gardner in center, but c’mon, there is really no choice but to start Granderson in center. The higher risk player is Gardner, and if he fails in center, it would be tougher to move Granderson from left to center than it would be to just find a replacement left fielder assuming that Gardner is named to start in left as expected. I suspect that Randy Winn will see a fair amount of playing time, as will Marcus Thames if he makes the roster…and starts to hit (something that he has been unable to do this spring).
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Everyone was amazed with the switch-pitching of prospect Pat Venditte this week. The 24-year-old has no hope of making the final roster, and I’ve always heard that he is not a legitimate major league prospect, but it was still an interesting story. I enjoyed reading the rules about ambidextrous pitchers. I am sure that they had to blow off the dust to find these:
MLB Rule 8.01 (f), regarding ambidextrous pitchers
A pitcher must indicate visually to the umpire-in-chief, the batter and any runners the hand with which he intends to pitch, which may be done by wearing his glove on the other hand while touching the pitcher’s plate. The pitcher is not permitted to pitch with the other hand until the batter is retired, the batter becomes a runner, the inning ends, the batter is substituted for by a pinch-hitter or the pitcher incurs an injury. In the event a pitcher switches pitching hands during an at-bat because he has suffered an injury, the pitcher may not, for the remainder of the game, pitch with the hand from which he has switched. The pitcher shall not be given the opportunity to throw any preparatory pitches after switching pitching hands. Any change of pitching hands must be indicated clearly to the umpire-in-chief.
I am still very skeptical if Venditte will ever make the major leagues, but I wish him much luck and success in his journey. It would be tremendous to have a weapon that could turn around hitters without a pitching change.
Noah Addis/The Star Ledger
Phil Hughes found out that he’ll be staying in Tampa for an extended spring training, with a first start not scheduled until April 15th. The Yankees do not need a fifth starter during the first couple of weeks of the season, and there had been talk that Hughes would be sent down to AAA until he was needed. This is probably a better and palatable solution for Hughes. Once you’ve made it to the Show, it’s kind of hard to step back a level regardless of the circumstances.
What are the odds of hitting your mother in the stands with a foul ball? That’s exactly what happened to the Minnesota Twins’ Denard Span today in the Twins’ 4-2 victory over the Yankees. He hit a foul ball that struck his mother in the collarbone. The hardest part for Span was watching his mother cry, but fortunately, she’s okay. That was definitely a very scary and ironic story…
The Toronto Blue Jays pinned the first loss as a Phillie on former ace Roy Halladay today in the Jays’ 5-2 win over Philadelphia. Okay, it wasn’t an official loss, but still, there was a bit of irony that the first “loss” would come against the Jays.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
The Phillies decision to go with Doc over Cliff Lee looks much stronger given the recent health challenges Lee has experienced. I still think they should have tried to find a way to keep both, but admittedly, I do not know enough about the team’s finances or infrastructure to know if that was even a possibility. Speaking of the Phils, nothing against Jamie Moyer, but I am a bit surprised that the team would go for a 47-year-old as their fifth starter over a solid 25-year-old Kyle Kendrick. Maybe Kendrick is not quite ready, but I would think his upside is much stronger. I guess there’s a reason they call the NL the “senior circuit”….
It sounds like trade talks between the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers are heating up again involving Mike Lowell. Lowell is a favorite of my good friend Julia, but he is a man without a position thanks to the Sox free agent acquisition of third baseman Adrian Beltre. If Boston is going to pay a significant portion of his salary anyway, you’d think they would just keep him to strengthen their bench. Nevertheless, it would seem this is a trade rumor that will happen. So, Julia, I dedicate this song to you…
In the eyes of a ranger,
The unsuspected stranger
Had better know the truth of right from wrong,
Cuz the eyes of a ranger are upon you,
Any wrong you do he’s gonna see,
When you’re in Texas look behind you,
Cuz that’s where the rangers are gonna be
Good luck to Mike wherever he lands. He is the consummate team professional and he’ll be a valuable cog on any roster. Admittedly, I’d prefer to see him on anyone’s roster other than Boston’s…
Jim Davis/Boston Globe
It’s hard to believe that the 2010 season is almost upon us. This is a great time. Every team is equal, and every fan is hopeful that this will be the year. Best of luck to everyone for what I hope will be a truly fantastic baseball season regardless of the outcome. Well, for me, a 28th Yankees World Championship would be good! J
Ugh, not another Red Sox player!
Don’t we already have one of those? I think one is more than enough…
Unless your name is Jason Bay or Jon Lester, I am not interested in seeing you wear pinstripes. It was no fun watching David Wells and David Cone in Boston; conversely I do not need any repeat appearances of Mark Bellhorn or Mike Myers in New York.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Much to my chagrin, the Yankees acquired third baseman Eric Hinske from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hinske was batting .255 in 106 at-bats and had 1 HR and 11 RBI’s (hardly earth-shattering numbers). To Hinske’s defense, he did hit 20 home runs (with 60 RBI’s) for the 2008 American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays but he isn’t exactly the “supersub” I was hoping for. He was also a member of the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox.
Well, I guess sometimes having an ex-Red Sox player is not so bad…
Hinske can play both corner spots, providing relief for both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. I recognize the need for backup support at first since Nick Swisher is locked in at right field now that Xavier Nady is out for the season. Hinske can also play right and left field. The Yankees do not have the roster space to call up Shelley Duncan, who would have been limited to 1B/DH duty. With Hinske on board, the Yanks should be able to rest A-Rod more often.
To acquire Hinske, the Yankees gave up two minor leaguers, right-hander Casey Erickson and outfielder Eric Fryer. They had acquired Fryer in last year’s trade of pitcher Chase Wright to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Due to a flight delay from Pittsburgh, a roster decision might not be made until Wednesday, but Ramiro Pena will be optioned to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes Barre to make room for Hinske. At this point, the move makes sense. Pena needs more playing time, and the Yankees needed some pop off the bench with the loss of Nady.
Hinske must be on one of those AL East circuits like Kevin Millar…don’t stop until you’ve played with every team in the division. He only needs to play for Baltimore to complete the circuit, whereas Millar just has to spend some time in pinstripes. Egads! Please, Brian Cashman, do not let that happen! We do not need any ‘Cowboy Up’ in the Bronx!
Somewhere in Boston, Julia is probably in hysterics. We acquire a Red Sox “has been” and Boston will most likely pursue a former beloved Yankee like Nick Johnson. It’s not fair. One of the days, the tide has to turn. The season has been way too easy on the illustrious Ranter from Boston…
In a move that should signal the Yanks to be cautious with Alex Rodriguez, the Red Sox placed third baseman Mike Lowell on the Disabled List. Lowell had fluid drained from his right hip on Monday, and had received an injection designed to relieve inflammation in the area previously operated on. The Red Sox decided not to take any chances and to give Lowell some added rest so that he’ll be ready for the second half of the season. Perhaps Lowell’s struggles are another reason that led to Hinske’s acquisition. I do wish Mike the best, and hope to see him back in the field shortly after the All-Star Break.
The Yankees also signed another third baseman from the independent leagues. Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 3B Yurendell DeCaster’s contract was purchased by the Yankees, and he was assigned to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes Barre. DeCaster is 29 and was leading the Northern League with 13 HR’s and 43 RBI’s, while batting .344. Sounds like Cash is still looking to catch lightening in a bottle…
Is there anything more temporary than being a good outfielder in Pittsburgh? The Pirates traded yet another quality outfielder in Nyjer Morgan to the Washington Nationals for OF Lastings Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan. The Nats also picked up left hander Sean Burnett. Will Milledge finally realize his potential in Pittsburgh? If so, how long before he is traded? At this rate, he is a future Yankee…
Exit light, enter night, take my hand, off to never never land…
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
When the words of the famed Metallica song, “Enter Sandman”, reverberate throughout Yankee Stadium, it means only one thing. It’s the entrance of Mariano Rivera for yet another save opportunity. On Sunday night, against the New York Mets, Mo reached a milestone with his 500th career save. He became only the second man to reach 500 saves, behind leader Trevor Hoffman.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Mo also picked up his first career RBI on a bases-loaded walk from Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, bringing home Melky Cabrera for an insurance run in the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Mets. The Yankees swept the weekend series against the Mets, and won the season series, taking 5 of 6 games.
Jason Szenes/The New York Times
At the end of the game, there were no fist pumps, no wild displays of emotion. Mo, in his usual business-like approach, calmly watched Robinson Cano fire Alex Cora’s ground out to Mark Teixeira to end the game. Tex handed Mo the game ball and gave him a big hug. The rest of the team came and did the same. It was a very touching scene, and I have to admit that I got chills watching the moment. I have said it will be a very difficult day when Mo decides to hang up his glove, but I am very appreciative for moments like this as we move toward the sunset of an absolutely fantastic career.
As usual, Mo is quicker to credit his teammates than he is to take praise alone.
“But don’t get me wrong, this is definitely special, being the second guy who does that in the history of baseball; it’s kind of special, but I’m a team player. My team fought hard today to give me that opportunity to be there. I tried to do my job. Really, all the 500 saves belong to my teammates.”
“I’m proud of what I have done with the team. I’m proud of my teammates. I’m proud of everything we have accomplished. Every time I have the chance to wear this uniform, I’m proud.”
Mo, we’re even prouder of you…
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Congrats on #500…and #1!
The game started with a double by Derek Jeter. Nick Swisher followed with a fielder’s choice to first, but first baseman David Murphy opted to throw to third to stop an advancing Jeter. But a double pump caused too much of a delay so Murphy’s throw third arrived late, and it allowed Swisher to reach first uncontested. Mark Teixeira promptly hit a double to score both Jeter and Swisher. Tex advanced to third on a fielder’s choice hit by Robinson Cano, and scored on a sac fly by Jorge Posada. Quickly, the Yankees had raced to a 3-0 lead and those were all the runs they would need.
New York Post
Chien-Ming Wang was unable to match the pitching performances of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett in the first two games of the series, but it was still enough to pick up his first win of the year, and his first in 379 days. The Mets did mount a mini-rally in the 4th on a run-scoring double by Fernando Martinez and a RBI single by Luis Castillo. But pitcher Livan Hernandez grounded out to end the threat.
For the game, Wang went 5 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and two runs. He walked three batters and struck out three. His ERA remains in double-digits (10.06), but another quality start will bring it down to single digits after the horrendous start to the season.
Keivom/NY Daily News
Phil Hughes continued his successful transition to the bullpen. In his last five outings, he’s pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings. That’s a far cry of the early season disasters involving Jose Veras and Damaso Marte. Hughes has played a huge role in re-shaping the bullpen into a quality unit. Granted, it still doesn’t match the stellar Red Sox bullpen, but at least it’s improving.
I realize that the Subway Series would have had a different look had Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado et al been healthy. But wins are wins, and I’ll take them. My friend Julia seems to enjoy “distance” but we are quietly gaining ground on her beloved Red Sox. Hey Julia, I’ll use one you used on me once upon a time…even if the deficit is 3 ½ games heading into Tuesday’s action…
Xavier Nady definitely facing an uphill battle in his attempt to come back from his right elbow injury. He previously underwent Tommy John surgery in 2001, so another surgery will be the second of its kind. I read that the success rate for a second surgery is only about 20%. Nady will miss the rest of 2009 and most likely all of 2010 (typical recovery time is 12-14 months). However, it is possible that he may never return and that would truly be unfortunate.
Kim Klement/US Presswire
Speaking of injuries, I want to put the rivalry with the Red Sox aside and wish Mike Lowell the very best. He had fluid drained from his ailing right hip and received an injection to relieve inflammation in the joint. It will take a few days to determine if Lowell will be able to play now or if he’ll need to be placed on the DL for a return later this summer. I truly hope that the best case scenario works out for Mike, and that he is back on the field sooner rather than later. I want to beat Boston, but I want to beat Boston with their best on the field. Mike is a huge part of why the Red Sox have been so successful, and I hope he has a speedy recovery.
Finally, today was the funeral for Iowa high school football coach Ed Thomas (of Aplington-Parkersburg). A 24-year old former player has been charged with the murder of Thomas, who coached the likes of Aaron Kampman, Brad Meester, Jared DeVries, and Casey Wiegmann during his 37-year coaching career. Thomas was the NFL’s High School Coach of the Year in 2005, and won two state titles. I grew up playing Iowa high school football, and it is shocking that something like this could happen in the Hawkeye State. My high school coach, Pearl Smith, never won a state championship (not for the lack of trying, I can assure you), but he was a winner in my eyes. It’s been many years since I’ve seen him, but he had a huge impact on my life and the lessons he taught stick with me to this day. So, I am deeply saddened to see the loss of Ed Thomas and what it means to everyone whose life he touched during his long and very successful coaching career.
Jorge Posada injured the “other” hamstring, and now the Yanks are looking for catching alternatives. Francisco Cervelli, the only other catcher on the 40-man roster, is currently playing for Double A-Trenton.
Jose Molina looked like Big Wally behind the plate last night…and played like it…
Courtesy Julia’s Rants
Joe Girardi, who had an early exit thanks to his argument with home plate umpire Jerry Meals.
Phil Hughes, who is now 1-1, thanks to the Yanks failed rally in the 9th and those home runs to Jason Bay and Mike Lowell. What happened to the 2009 version of Hughes that beat the Tigers last month? We don’t need any repeat appearances of the 2008 version…
Damaso Marte to the 15-Day DL.
Well, at least Damaso has an excuse. What about Jose Veras?…
Forget the two home runs, Mark Teixeira missed his “defining moment” when he struck out with two men on in the 9th inning…
Me, of course. However, I may be down, but I am not out. I am not going to concede defeat to the this woman! And hopefully the great Rain gods in the sky won’t either for tonight’s game…
I know, I have been neglecting the show (thanks to this blog) and I am now about 6 episodes behind. At least I have TiVo…
Are the Los Angeles Lakers really 0-1 to start their series against the Houston Rockets?
Los Angeles Times
Kobe, say it ain’t so!
BUT, NOW WE WIN!
JOE TORRE’S RECORD START
With the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 11 home wins to start the 2009 season, Joe Torre has exceeded his personal best. He started with 10 home wins with the Atlanta Braves in 1983.
However, he must secretly have a death wish for the winning streak considering the scheduled starter tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks is the completely forgettable Jeff Weaver. Good luck with that…
NICE TOUCH BY ANGELS
I was impressed by the Los Angeles Angels decision to take the late Nick Adenhart’s jersey on the road with them this season. The jersey was at Yankee Stadium this past weekend, and it presently occupies a locker in the visitors’ clubhouse at Oakland Coliseum.
Joshua Sudock/The Orange County Register
RETURN OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!
Why look’st thou so? With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.
— From Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Ancient Mariner has returned! Ken Griffey Jr., 39, decided to sign with his original team after deliberating between the sentimental choice versus playing close to home with the Atlanta Braves. Some news accounts earlier in the week were erroneously reporting that Griffey had chosen the Braves.
I was surprised. I had expected Griffey to stay close to home, but obviously the lure of the sentimental return proved to be too great in the end. On one hand, it is a nice story to see his return to Seattle. The fans are excited, and he has the chance to end his career wearing the same uniform he started with. But on the other hand, he is a shell of what he used to be.
As a Cincinnati Red in a June 2007 series at Safeco Field against the Mariners, Griffey did say, “I think I owe it to the people of Seattle, and myself, to retire as a Mariner“.
Apparently, it was Griffey’s teenage daughter who helped seal the deal. Taryn Griffey plays for an AAU basketball team that’s based in the Atlanta area, but according to agent Brian Goldberg, “She told him, ‘Dad, I really think you should go back to the Mariners and not have any regrets about how you finished,” Goldberg said. “That kind of put it over the top.”
Griffey, with 611 career home runs, will play left field and DH for the Mariners.
Despite signing free agent pitchers Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami and trading for pitcher Javier Vazquez, this has been a disappointing off-season for the Atlanta Braves. In addition to losing out on Griffey, they failed in their attempts to sign or acquire Mike Hampton, A.J. Burnett, Rafael Furcal, and Jake Peavy. It also sounds like the Braves will look to fill their outfield needs internally, rather than pursue a trade for someone like Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher.
I’ll admit that it’s nice to see Griffey back in Seattle, but hopefully, we won’t be seeing any repeat headlines like this…
NEW OLD VISITORS
The Yankees had two visitors in camp today. Bernie Williams was invited to practice at the major league facility by manager Joe Girardi as he prepares for the World Baseball Classic. “Obviously he’s retired as a Yankee, but, you know, once you’re a Yankee, you’re always a Yankee,” Girardi said. Hmmm, I wonder if Mike Lowell knows that he is still a Yankee? 😉 The other visitor was owner George Steinbrenner, who is rarely seen in public these days. The frail 78-year-old owner was taken from the parking lot to Steinbrenner Field by golf cart, using a wheelchair to get to his office.
LET THE BATTLES BEGIN…
Nice to see that the Great Yankees-Red Sox War resume battle this week with the opposing points of view regarding a salary cap in Major League Baseball. Red Sox Owner John Henry called for a salary cap, and President Larry Lucchino criticized the Yankees’ spending on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira. Yankees Co-Chairman Hank Steinbrenner, never at a loss for words, fired back with “Along with a few other teams, we’re basically baseball’s stimulus package.” Say what you will about Hank, but he’s right. The Yankees pay a heavy price for their spending habits as evidenced by the high luxury taxes and revenue sharing they pay each year for exceeding the salary thresholds; money that is funneled to other teams. According to AP, the team paid about $110 million last season.
It’s exciting to see the Phoenix Suns return to their “offensive” ways. In the two games since Terry Porter was dismissed as coach, the Suns have scored a total of 282 points. Of course, the opponent in both games was the Los Angeles Clippers. But it’s exciting to see the team return to its fast-paced strategy. It doesn’t mean it will result in a championship, but it is fun to watch. I felt Terry Porter was a mistake when he was named to replace Mike D’Antoni since he was coming from a defensive-minded team like the Pistons. I know what much of the appeal to the Suns was, but they need to stick with the strengths. This is a great opportunity for interim coach Alvin Gentry.
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images
TIGER’S IN THE HOUSE
Tiger Woods has announced on his website that he’ll make his 2009 PGA Tour debut at the 2009 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson, AZ February 23rd through March 1st. Tiger is the defending champ, and also won the event in 2003 and 2004. It will be exciting to see the new dad back in action!