In the “W” column, the Yankees have gotten the weekend off to a great start…
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Unfortunately, there were also a few casualties in Friday night’s 10-3 win over the Boston Red Sox. Robinson Cano left the game in the 6th inning after he was hit in the left knee by Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett. Nick Johnson is most likely headed for the DL due to his problematic wrist which he aggravated on a swing in the first inning and left in the 5th inning when he was unable to play through the injury.
This is a tough formula for the Yankees so far…win a game and lose a player. With Curtis Granderson on the DL and other Yankees like Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada hurting, the Yankees can ill afford to lose Cano for any extended period of time. Fortunately, it sounds like it is a day-to-day situation so more than likely, he’ll be back after missing a game.
Marcus Thames becomes the Yankees’ primary DH. I’d probably be more in favor of moving Jorge Posada to DH, when/if healthy, in order to keep Francisco Cervelli’s bat and attitude in the game. It would also help save some wear and tear on Posada.
The Yankees have already recalled pitcher Romulo Sanchez as a bullpen replacement for Sergio Mitre, who will take Andy Pettitte’s spot in the rotation on Monday. Outfielder Greg Golson’s short stay with the team ended as he was sent back down to Scranton/Wilkes Barre to make room for Sanchez.
In retrospect, Brian Cashman’s decisions run the gamut. Clearly, his call to move Phil Hughes into the starting rotation, with Joba Chamberlain returning to the pen, was one of the best decisions made in the off-season so far this young season. But conversely, the jury is still out on the Curtis Granderson trade. Austin Jackson has performed well in Detroit, and Ian Kennedy has adapted very well to the Sonoran Desert environment in Arizona. Also, the decision to sign Nick Johnson as the DH and forego pursuit of Johnny Damon was a mistake. Granted, the Damon camp was asking too much at the time the Yankees had to make a decision. If Damon had been willing to accept from the Yankees what he got from the Tigers, he’d still be in the Bronx today (well, Boston today, but you know what I mean).
How Cashman responds to his team’s current needs will be critical in the coming weeks and months. I am not saying that the Yankees should go out and trade top prospects for All-Star players and call it a day. But they need to make smart, under the radar moves that help bring quality production. Of the injuries, Nick Johnson concerns me the most since he’s had surgery on the wrist twice before (2000 and 2008). This could be a potential issue that shuts him down for an extended period of time. Andy Pettitte should be back after missing a start, but at his age, any injury bears watching as there could be continued issues throughout the season. If the Yankees were getting what they had hoped for from Javier Vazquez, they could probably get by on smoke and mirrors. But the hole in the 4th spot of the rotation and the inability of the Tampa Bay Rays to lose has magnified the Yankees’ short-comings somewhat.
My friend, Julia, may have had a good night at Fenway Park last evening but obviously she did not have a great night since the Red Sox lost. However, I’d be a fool if I gloated about a single win. This series is far from over, and Julia stands no closer to losing our best than I do. Even with CC Sabathia on the mound today, I am expecting a very charged and resilient Red Sox squad on the field today. It will be a tough game today, as it will be again tomorrow.
How about the impressive debut of Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro? He had a homer and 6 RBI’s in his debut. What a great way to introduce yourself to Major League Baseball fans. “The kid – what a debut!”, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said after the game. Yeah, there’s not much more that you can say about such a tremendous performance in the 20 year old’s first major league game. I wish him the very best on a long and successful career at Wrigley Field.
Well, it’s just about time to watch Game 2 of Yankees-Red Sox. Best of luck to me, Julia! J
The rings of Champions…
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
For the 28th time, the Yankees celebrated by receiving the rings for their 2009 World Championship. It was a very special day as the guest of honor was seated on the opposing team’s bench. Hideki Matsu, the World Series MVP, was very well received by the Yankee Stadium crowd. It was the exact setting that I had hoped he would receive. His hits, time and again, were huge, and he clearly was one of the primary reasons the Yankees emerged victorious. Congratulations to Godzilla for well deserved honor and recognition, and thanks for the memories.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
It was indeed a special day at Yankee Stadium, but there was a game to be played. For the past few years, the Los Angeles Angels have had the Yankees’ number. But the domination was finally halted in the American League Championship Series. Regardless of how this series plays out, the Angels no longer have the aura of invincibility as they strolled into the Bronx.
Andy Pettitte was magnificient. He pitched even better than I had expected. Andy pitched six innings, giving up five hits and no runs. He also had six strikeouts with three walks in picking up the victory, his first of the season. If this truly is Andy’s final year, he is showing that he is a man for the ages. When he departs Yankee Stadium for the final time, he’ll be able to hold his head high despite what may have happened in the past. He has been a very worthy Yankee and I am glad that he has been a significant part of the team for the past decade (despite the three year hiatus in Houston).
Barton Silverman/The New York Times
Nick Johnson got the scoring going with a home run in the first inning. Surprisingly, it was the first run scored by the Yanks in the first inning this season. I think Nick will find Yankee Stadium to his liking this year!
Derek Jeter put the Yanks up by two in the third inning with his first homer of the season.
The Yankees took a 7-1 lead into the 9th inning. Former Yankee Bobby Abreu made it interesting with a grand slam off David Robertson to cut the Yanks’ lead to 7-5.
But the great Mariano Rivera came in to save the day for the third time this season. Robertson has definitely been struggling, so he had better find his 2009 form quickly or he will be calling Scranton/Wilkes Barre “home”.
It was an exciting day for the sellout crowd of 49,293. The day started with a special ring for owner George Steinbrenner, before the on-the-field festivities began, and it ended with a Yankees victory, their fifth in seven games. A memorable and enjoyable day for all…
Barton Silverman/The New York Times
The Bully has spoken…
As much as I love the Yankees and support their right to spend whatever is necessary to win, I admittedly have trouble warming up to Yankees president Randy Levine. I agree with Levine’s words: “We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years. Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players”, Levine said in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com in response to Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio’s ongoing complaints about how much the Yankees spend. Per ESPN, the Yankees have paid out nearly $175 million in the last 7 years (92% of the total revenue sharing that has been paid out to teams).
I agree, in principle, with everything Levine has said, but he still comes across as a big bully. I don’t follow the business side of the Yankees as much as I do the playing side so maybe I just don’t know Levine. Or maybe this truly is the real Levine. Either way, I am not a fan of his…
After failing to see the much-needed clutch hit during Sunday night’s loss to the Red Sox, I could not help but notice Monday’s box scores:
Johnny Damon, Detroit Tigers (8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals)
2 hits (including a double); 2 runs; and 2 RBI’s
Hideki Matsui, Los Angeles Angels (6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins)
2 hits (including a solo home run); 1 run; and 2 RBI’s
Rose Palmisano/The Orange County Register
The four RBI’s could have come in very handy on Sunday night!
At least Melky Cabrera went 0-for-5 for the Atlanta Braves. Well, he did score a run. Ugh!
The Yankees captured their first win of the season with a 6-4 victory in Boston. The win evens the series, and sets up the getaway game as the deciding game in my latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. It should be a great game with Andy Pettitte facing new Red Sox pitcher John Lackey. Hopefully, I will be arranging for the shipment of a book to the Boston area so that a friend of mine can begin her book assignment!
In tonight’s game, Nick Johnson did EXACTLY what he was signed to do…get on base. With the bases loaded in the 8th and the score tied 4-4, Nick worked a walk to bring in the go-ahead run. Robinson Cano added an insurance run with a solo homer in the 9th, but Nick Johnson was definitely the key to the rally.
Joba Chamberlain showed me that he is the 8th inning set up guy, and Mariano Rivera proved, yet again, he is a legend in our midst. I am sure it will be a very sad day when Mo walks off the mound for the final time. I have been very proud of him all these years, and he probably is my favorite Yankee.
It was not a great night for Boston’s Jon Lester but I am convinced this will be a big year for him. I may not be a Red Sox fan but I am a Jon Lester fan. Beckett and Lackey? Not so much…
Who’s the frontrunner?
Suddenly, Sergio Mitre is gaining the backing of the New York Press in his attempt to win the fifth spot in the starting pitching rotation. I still think the winner will ultimately be Phil Hughes, but he needs to show he belongs in the rotation now and forevermore.
Cataffo/NY Daily News
What happens if Mitre doesn’t win a starting role? With the many arms competing for spots in the pen, several with long relief experience, the best case scenario might be to showcase Mitre for other teams for a possible late spring training trade. Prospects are fine, but the Yankees need to parlay Mitre into potential for the future.
Keivom/NY Daily News
It was scary to hear the news that catcher Francisco Cervelli had been plunked in the head. I was in Arizona on a business trip and somewhat removed from sports news. I received an email from my good friend Julia, who expressed legitimate concern for a Yankee even though she dislikes anything Bronx-oriented. Thanks Julia! Cervelli may be ready to play by Friday and I am hopeful for a smooth and healthy return. Cervelli, and his attitude, are definitely why I am proud to be a Yankees fan. He’s a genuinely good guy and the team is placing great faith in his ability to backup Jorge Posada. At his advancing age, Posada will need more days off so the defensive-minded Cervelli will play a huge role for the 2010 Yankees.
I gotta admit that it was nice to see Nick Johnson in the lineup again. ..
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Today was a good day. Two wins. 7-5 over the World Series rival Philadelphia Phillies, and 6-0 against Team ex-Yankees, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Considering the recent string of losses, today was a day to enjoy. I still can’t figure out why the Red Sox aren’t on the spring schedule but two wins are two wins. Well, at least until Opening Day when we pick up our first official win!
I really hope the Minnesota Twins closer Joe Nathan is not seriously hurt. I am not a Twins fan but there is something right about baseball when the Twins are competing. The loss of Nathan would be huge so hopefully the news in the coming days will be positive for Nathan and the Twins.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Count me among those who think the Baltimore Orioles will be much improved this year. If the Orioles were a stock on the NYSE, I’d definitely rate them as a buy. Kevin Millwood is formidable at the top of the rotation, but Brian Matusz flat out scares me. The O’s are quietly assembling a championship club.
I thought the Hank Blalock signing was a solid move by the Tampa Bay Rays. The AL East is going to be a battleground this year. No team can afford to let up for any stretch of the schedule. I am very thankful that Doc Halladay is no longer pitching in Toronto. Here’s my first pass at a 2010 prediction for the AL East:
1. Yankees (of course!)
3. Red Sox (a disappointing year for the newcomers! :D)
5. Blue Jays
For some reason, I don’t think Julia will agree…
The return of Larry Bowa’s nephew…
Although they never wore the pinstripes at the same time, former coach Larry Bowa’s nephew, Nick Johnson, is coming home. Traded to Montreal in 2003 for pitcher Javier Vazquez, Nick has signed a one-year deal for $5.5 million, with a mutual option for 2011, to return to the Bronx.
During Nick’s “exile”, winning baseball was not necessarily a common theme among his teams with the Montreal Expos, Washington Nationals, and Florida Marlins. Nick is eager to return to a team with a “win at all costs” attitude. Nick could have signed with the San Francisco Giants as their first baseman, however, his first love remained the Yankees. So, once the Yankees expressed interest, no other team really had a chance with Johnson.
Hector Gabino/Miami Herald
Nick slots in nicely at the top of the batting order behind leadoff hitter Derek Jeter. Nick has a knack (no pun intended) for getting on base. His career on-base percentage is .402.
Welcome home, Nick! We’re glad you’re back!
Given that the Yankees have now reacquired the two primary players in the December 2003 deal that sent Nick to Montreal and brought Javier Vazquez to the Yankees (the first time), they should consider calling the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays about the availability of outfielder Juan Rivera and reliever Randy Choate, respectively.
Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire
Although those are positions of need, I do not really want to see the return of either Rivera or Choate, but the Yankees do need to get creative about filling the hole in left field. It bothers me that the team hasn’t figured out a way to unload pitcher Kei Igawa, particularly when his salary could go a long way toward bringing in a solid left fielder. The Yankees say they’ll go with Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann. While I don’t feel you need an All-Star in left, I don’t think that Gardner and Hoffman, individually or collectively, are the answer. I have genuine concerns about Nick Swisher’s encore performance and the Yankees do not need simultaneous struggles at both outfield corners. I’d rather pay for a sound and dependable solution for left and then be prepared for Plan B in right.
Best case scenario is the return of Johnny Damon. It could still happen but Damon’s price tag will have to come down. The other solid option (Mark DeRosa) appears to be dissipating as DeRosa is apparently favoring an agreement with the San Francisco Giants. Hey, as a Bay Area guy, I can’t find fault with someone who wants to call the area home. San Francisco’s a great town with a terrific ballpark.
Reed Johnson’s name has been mentioned but I am less than enthused. Johnson missed 49 games in 2009 for the Chicago Cubs after fouling a pitch off his left foot which caused a fracture. A career .282 hitter, Reed only batted .255 in 65 games last season with 4 home runs and 22 RBI’s.
His scouting report¹ says that “Hustle is his strongest suit. Makes consistent contact and hits well with runners in scoring position – especially against lefties. Is a good outfielder.” The report goes on to say “he struggles against finesse pitchers and righties. A quality platoon or 4th outfielder.” It sounds like he would be more capable as a back-up for Curtis Granderson in center than a starter in left.
¹Source: Sportsnet.ca Ontario
Lobbying for the Cubs to re-sign Johnson in September, pitcher (and former Yankee) Ted Lilly was seen wearing a t-shirt that read “With Reed, we will succeed”. Maybe for Lilly and the Cubs, but not for the World Champions. Pass…
So now Jason Bay and his agent are calling the Boston Red Sox? Maybe Jason has started to send Theo fruit baskets like Julia did every day last season! Ha! I bet the Red Sox offer of 4 years and $60 million is looking very appealing these days. But of course, after Boston’s signing of John Lackey and Mike Cameron, the money offered to Bay is probably no longer available. Bay has a 4 year, $65 million offer from the New York Mets. However, $5 million extra over 4 years is not worth the mess known as the Mets. Bay’s best option is to remain in Boston but it is questionable whether the Red Sox have room in the 2010 budget at this point. Bay, at this point in time, appears to have overestimated his worth in the current free agent market. Financial constraint being shown by both the Yankees and the Red Sox…what is the world coming to? 😉
Finally, I’d like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May this be a season of joy for you and your family, and here’s hoping that 2010 fulfills your every dream! Well, except for a World Series championship…I reserve that one for Yankees fans! J
Okay, who will it be?…
Rumors allegedly have the New York Yankees actively pursuing another pitcher for the starting rotation. Apparently, it is a position that the team intends to fill by the end of the year. Will the spot be filled by a free agent signing or via trade? Given the lack of top shelf talent on the free agent market, it would appear that a trade is forthcoming.
Of the free agents, I like Ben Sheets but he’s probably the riskiest of all from an injury standpoint. With Sheets, you’d have to have a very clear Plan B in the event there are any setbacks in spring training. But I do like his upside and on his best day, he can pitch toe-to-toe with the likes of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey.
Jason Marquis was another option but he signed a two-year deal with the Washington Nationals earlier today. A native New Yorker, he would have made a smooth transition to the Bronx but the jump from the NL to the AL would have been more difficult.
Jeff Zelevansky, Icon SMI
Pedro Martinez? Fuggetaboutit!
There have been some reports of talks between the Yankees and the Braves. I do not know the topic of the discussions but I don’t really think that Derek Lowe is the answer at this stage of his career.
Nor am I ready to get excited about a return of Javier Vazquez regardless of how will he performed in Atlanta.
I’d be more willing to see the return of the Chicago Cubs’ Ted Lilly…
There’s always the potential that the Yankees could convince the Florida Marlins to part with Josh Johnson. However, I am not sure the Marlins are ready to do anything with Johnson and there’s always the problem with the NL-to-AL transition.
So where does that leave us? According to the latest reports, a strong possibility could be Aaron Harang of the Cincinnati Reds. Earlier, I was convinced that Harang was headed to the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, that organization seems paralyzed by the McCourt divorce proceedings.
I am not sure what I think about Harang, but he does have some AL experience from his early days with the Oakland A’s. He would clearly be an upgrade over Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre. How I really feel about him will be determined by how much the Yanks have to give up to get him. Last season, he was an uninspiring 6-14 with the Reds and posted a 4.21 ERA. His 142 strikeouts, with only 43 walks, looked good, but this is a guy who led the majors with the most home runs allowed in 2008 (19). That’s not exactly the guy you’d want to be pitching at the Batting Practice known as Yankee Stadium.
Maybe Brian Cashman can convince the Seattle Mariners that they don’t really need Cliff Lee…
We’ll see how this turns out. Hopefully, Cashman will make the smart, prudent choice and ensure the Yankees have the middle of the order protected.
It’s not official yet but it sounds like the Yankees have signed Nick Johnson as their full-time DH. If it is confirmed, I am glad to see Nick return to the Bronx. I had feared that he’d sign with Boston and had quietly hoped that he’d go with the San Francisco Giants. I didn’t really expect him to sign with the Yankees, but I am supportive of the move. All signs indicate Johnson’s arrival spells the end of Johnny Damon’s Yankees career. I do not necessarily agree. I think the Yanks could still find a way to allow Johnny to return under a deal that makes sense for both parties. They are a good fit for each other so hopefully egos can be set aside for the good of all.
After resolution of pitching and left field, I think the Yanks will move either Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner. Cabrera would seem to have the greatest trade value. The Yanks still need a few more arms for bullpen competition in the spring.
I would give the backup catching spot to Francisco Cervelli although I recognize that it is only a matter of time until Jesus Montero arrives as Jorge Posada’s eventual successor.
Ah, the life and times of the Yankees general manager. No stress for the holidays…
P.S. Major League Baseball would like to thank the Yankees for their generous $26 million “donation”. Who says the Yanks aren’t good for baseball…
When does not playing a game mean a Yankees win?
When the Red Sox lose, of course! Thanks for the Red Sox loss to the Texas Rangers, 5-1, on Friday night, the Yankees find themselves back in sole possession of first place.
Posted on YouTube by ShaBiCaoNiMa
Taking the glass is half empty approach, I had assumed that the Sox would pull in the front of the Yanks in the AL East Standings last night. Fortunately, Elvis Andrus continued to impress, Ian Kinsler hit a huge three-run homer, Kevin Millwood pitched a terrific game, and Julio Lugo is the starting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox…
The Boston Glob
Friday’s rainout against the Tampa Bay Rays has allowed manager Joe Girardi to reset the starting rotation in anticipation of the Red Sox series next week. A.J. Burnett, currently appealing the 6 game suspension for throwing near the head of Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, will open the series on Tuesday. Chien-Ming Wang has been pushed from Tuesday to Wednesday (heck, David Ortiz is probably even salivating about the facing Wang), and CC Sabathia, today’s starter against the Rays, will close the series against the Sox on Thursday. Will it be enough to keep me out of a Jason Bay t-shirt and Julia in a Mark Teixeira t-shirt? Time will tell, but I like my chances. I don’t think this will be a sweep for either team but Julia will be in for a surprise if she thinks that this is the same team she saw in April and early May.
Friday night’s game has not been re-scheduled and it will not be made up during the current weekend series in New York. All these make up days are going to take their toll later on the season due to double-headers or lost off-days.
I understood why the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Jason Bay to the Red Sox and Xavier Nady to the Yankees, but I do not understand the trade of Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves. The Pirates are only 6 ½ games out of first place, yet they move one of their best players for young talent. It feels like they are giving up the race before it starts. I think Andrew McCutchen will be a great player, but now wasn’t the time to make this type of move. Of course, it just makes you wonder that when McCutchen finally puts it all together at the major league level if he’ll just simply be moved on for more prospects. Is there a plan in Pittsburgh? I realize they have financial constraints, but the moves are very suspect.
Carl Pavano threw a three-hit shutout against the White Sox? Incredible. I still see the day where the Tribe puts all their eggs in the Pavano basket and come away greatly disappointed.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
Shame on the Atlanta Braves for the way that they handled the release of Tom Glavine. It is sad to see the departures of John Smoltz and Tom Glavine end so poorly. Both guys deserved better treatment from the organization for their years of loyal service and high production. I can’t say that all Yankee careers have ended in a positive manner, but Smoltz and Glavine were poster boys for doing things the right way. Hopefully, Glavine will land on his feet and be allowed to exit the stage on his own terms.
There is speculation that the Boston Red Sox are interested in Washington Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson. I would really prefer to see Johnson traded elsewhere. It hasn’t been fun watching onetime Yankee top prospect Mike Lowell prosper in Boston, particularly since the Yanks do not really have anything to show for the trade. Of course, who did the Yankees get for Johnson? Atlanta Braves pitcher Javier Vazquez, who had a very short stay in the Bronx as he was part of the three-way deal that brought Randy Johnson to New York for two uninspired years. All things considered, I would have preferred to keep Nick Johnson…
Considering that Jason Bay is a “West Coast” guy (born in Trail, British Columbia), I’d like to see the San Francisco Giants pursue him in the off-season.
It would be the perfect setting for him to play in the Bay Area. It doesn’t get any better than that! I wouldn’t mind checking out a few games to see Bay by the Bay. From a marketing standpoint, this makes way too much sense!
Hey Julia, thanks for First Place! Your generosity, as always, is impeccable! Please keep up your spirit of giving! I’ll gladly take it all…