Tagged: Roy Halladay

All Hail the Red Sox Nation…


The first win of the season
goes to my friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants
Despite an 0-6 start to the season, the Boston Red Sox were able to
capture their first two wins of the season in this past weekend’s series
against the New York Yankees.


Red Sox.JPG


With the loss, I have to
write about what’s right with the Red Sox and what’s wrong with the Yankees.  So, here it goes…


Why the Boston Red Sox will win…

Pitching, pitching, pitching.  Say what you
will about Dice-K, but the Red Sox have, arguably, the best starting rotation
in the American League.  Jon Lester has
been one of my favorite pitchers and will be a Cy Young candidate when the
season is over.  Despite some early
season struggles, I definitely feel that Clay Buchholz is one of the up and
coming stars and will be solid over the course of the long season.  I know that the third starter, John Lackey,
has also struggled, but I feel very strongly that he’ll find his niche in
Boston and will consistently put the Sox in a position to win.  Josh Beckett, if he continues to pitch like
he did on Sunday, is back.  The Yankees
have a rookie in the 4th spot…the Sox have a former ace and one who
is capable of pitching like the elite pitcher he once was. 

You can say that the Yankees
have the better bullpen, but if Jonathan Papelbon falters, the Sox have several
fallback options in former Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks and future
closer Daniel Bard.  They have reliable
arms in the pen, and have a proven long man in a guy the Yankees are well
familiar with (Alfredo Aceves).  The gap
between the Sox and Yankee pens won’t be as big as experts may believe,
especially since the Sox will be able to be more selective in relief with a
superior rotation that is able to go much deeper into games. 

Adrian Gonzalez.  Count me as one of those who
believe that Gonzalez will be a monster at Fenway Park.  He counteracts anything the Yankees have with
Mark Teixeira plus he has the intangibles.  
A few years back, I was constantly looking up to see the highlights of
David Ortiz with another walk-off home run. 
I fully expect Gonzalez to be that guy for the Sox, and he is going to
win games with both his bat and his glove. 

Disruption.  Once Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury get
going (it’s a question of when, not if), the Sox are going to be very
disruptive for opposing pitchers. 
Singlehandedly, they have the ability to change the complexion and
momentum of games. 

The forgotten hitter.  For all the
headlines the newest additions have gotten and the return of players who were
injured last year (like Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia), it is easy to forget that
this lineup still features third baseman Kevin Youkilis.  Youk is one of the best clutch hitters in
baseball, and teams will be so focused on stopping Crawford and Gonzalez that
they’ll lose sight of Youk…and will pay a high price for it. 

The dead will rise.  It is easy
for people to write off David Ortiz and Jason Varitek given their respective
ages, however, they are both consummate professionals who can still perform at
a high level.  Like the Toby Keith song
goes, ‘I may not be a good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was’.  There’s no doubt that these two will figure
prominently in Sox wins over the summer. 

The bench.  If there is anything I’ve learned about the
Sox, it is to never underestimate the power of Theo.  Time and again, names come out of nowhere to
lead the Sox to victory.  They had a
chance to catch the Yankees last September despite fielding a roster of
unknowns.  Even on Tuesday night’s game,
the first run of the game came courtesy of a home run by Darnell McDonald.  It wasn’t that long ago the Yankees wanted
Mike Cameron as their centerfielder, and here he is backing up the Sox
regulars.  I don’t care if the player’s name
is Dork Fumblefingers.  If he puts on a
Sox uniform, he is most likely going to hit game winning home runs and make
highlight reel catches in the outfield.

Terry Francona.  When the Sox lose, Francona
detractors seem to come out of the woodwork, but he is, in my opinion, the best
manager in baseball.  The only place with
greater expectations than New York might just be Boston, yet Terry is always a
show of class and his decision making skills show a deft understanding of now
and the future (i.e., the season).  He
garners the most of his roster, and I have no doubt that he’ll right the ship
despite the slow start to the 2011 season. 
With the Sox standing at 2-8 entering play tonight, people are quick to
say how poorly comparable teams have finished. 
I will argue that when the season is done, the Sox will be the model of
the franchise that was able to successfully overcome such a poor start.  In future years, when a team goes on a losing
streak to start the season, the media will be saying ‘but the 2011 Red Sox were
able to overcome…’. 

Theo Epstein, Larry Lucchino, and John Henry.  These
gentlemen took a franchise that was “cursed” from the 1923 trade that sent Babe
Ruth
to the Yankees, and eradicated the word “curse” from the Red Sox
vocabulary.  I also have not heard any
mention of Bucky Friggin’ Dent in several years.  These guys have successfully brought two
world championships to Boston, and there is no doubt that they’ll have a third
one in the not-so-distant future (much to my chagrin). 

The RSN.  The fan base for the Sox is the most
passionate and fervent of any that I’ve experienced.  I am not saying that Yankees fans aren’t
passionate, but Sox fans are like no other. 
They stuck by their team when championships were only something their
grandparents or great-grandparents had ever experienced.  Yankees fans get spoiled by championships in
almost every decade.  The Sox fans have a
greater understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a true
champion.  I am not one of them, but I
respect them. 


Why the Yankees won’t win…

Pitching, pitching, pitching.  As great as
CC Sabathia is, he is still not a sure thing. 
He has his moments where he struggles. 
I know, like all pitchers, but there is something special when a pitcher
like Roy Halladay takes the mound.  Win
or lose, you expect the team to win.  I
expect the Yankees to win when CC is on the mound, but it is not with the
confidence that I’d have if Halladay were a Yankee.  After CC, there is nothing but question
marks.  A.J. Burnett has pitched well to
start the season, but he always starts good. 
It is how he finishes.  If he
reverts to 2010 A.J., the Yankees are toast. 
Phil Hughes and the decreased velocity are a concern.  He finished poorly last season, and he has
yet to pitch lights out this year.  At
this point, I am really not sure what Hughes lies ahead.  After Hughes is a rookie, Ivan Nova, who has
pitched well, but how will he perform the second time around when opposing
lineups get used to him?  Can he make the
necessary adjustments?  As it stood, the
ceiling for Nova was much lower than it is for guys like Brian Matusz or Jeremy
Hellickson
(or even Michael Pineda).  Is
he in the rotation because he has the potential to be great or is it because
none of the other prospects are ready.  I
remain fearful that it’s the latter.  I’ve
heard that Nova’s future is in the pen, and that doesn’t bode well for the
rotation.  In the fifth spot, who
knows.  Freddy Garcia has yet to pitch
due to rain delays.  Bartolo Colon is
waiting in the wings if Garcia stumbles, as are Kevin Millwood and Carlos
Silva
None of the options instill
confidence.

The bullpen looks great on
paper, but already this season, there have been failures by Rafael Soriano and
Joba ChamberlainPedro Feliciano is on
the DL and I heard that he had a setback today. 
Luis Ayala is headed for the DL so the Yankees are already looking to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre for replacements. 
One of these years, Mariano Rivera is actually going to show his
age.  Will this be the year?

Aging lineup.  Mark Teixeira is already
31?  Seriously, we are already in the
midst of another April chill for Tex.  He
started strong this year (thanks to Opening Day in March), but he went 0-fer
against the Sox.  He was as much responsible
for me writing this post as anyone. 
Derek Jeter has continued to show his age and is providing evidence that
his down season in 2010 may be a sign of things to come.  Jorge Posada feels like a fish out of water
at DH.  He’s done at catcher so where’s
his long-term potential with this team? 
Alex Rodriguez looked great during spring training, but he is getting
older.  Question marks continue to dog
Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner.  The
Yankees are a great offensive club, but their hitters just don’t put fear in
you.  If they don’t hit, they can be beat
as Josh Beckett proved on Sunday night. 
In October, you’re facing the best pitchers in baseball.  If the Yankees can’t hit the best, they can’t
be the best.

The bench.  Don’t get me wrong…I love Eric Chavez and I
am glad that he’s a Yankee.  But I am
concerned that injuries may force the Yankees to play Chavez more than they
should, exposing him to potential injury. 
What if Derek Jeter is done?  Is
Nunez ready to take over at short?  I really
don’t expect this to be the year that Jeter goes south, but you have to
recognize that it could happen.  It
eventually happens to all superstars

Hank Steinbrenner.  Eventually,
Hank is going to make an impulsive move that he’ll regret.  I am sure that he has a Jay Buhner like trade
that he’ll force causing the Yankees to relinquish a prime prospect for an
aging past-his-prime veteran in an effort to shake things up.
 

The off-season.  As difficult as last season was,
there is the potential that this off-season will be even more difficult.  CC Sabathia can opt out of his contract, as
can Rafael Soriano.  If the Yankees lose
Sabathia, they won’t be able to recover. 
As the season progresses, the Sabathia opt-out is going to get more and
more ink.  Hopefully, it doesn’t become a
distraction.

Who knows that the 2011
season holds in store for the Yankees and the Red Sox, but I can assure you,
that both teams will be in the thick of things come September.  I will never be fooled by Boston’s slow start.  This is a very dangerous team and one that
can never be underestimated. 

Clearly, I want the Yankees
to win, and I am hopeful they will, but Boston, even at 2-9, is still the best
team in the American League from top to bottom. 
That may change by the trading deadline, but as it stands today, the Sox
are still a team capable of 100 wins.

Julia, I’m out…

–Scott

 

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From Minneapolis to New York, with Love…


I am pleasantly surprised at the Yankees’ success,
so far, against the Minnesota Twins…



 


I had been so disappointed with the team’s pathetic
September performance that saw them lose any chance of winning the AL
East.  Within a matter of days or even
hours, they went from the possibility of the AL East Championship with home
field advantage to a road-traveling Wild Card team.  It was hard to be excited about the start of
the play-offs with the team playing so poorly. 
For the first two games of the ALDS series against the Twins, the
Yankees have risen to the challenge. 
Granted, the Yankees have a history of success against the Twins, but I’d
be the first to say that past domination does not guarantee future domination.  2004 wasn’t that many years ago…



Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

 

While the Yankees have the series advantage and are
now headed for the Bronx to resume the series on Saturday night, the Twins are
far from out of it.  If they can get
solid pitching and timely hitting in New York, they have a chance to take the
series back to Minnesota for the deciding Game 5.  Outside of perhaps CC Sabathia, the Yankees simply
do not have a pitcher that is capable of putting up a Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee
type of performance.  Even CC has his bad
days.  But going into the play-offs, I
knew that the lesser guys would need to stand up and so far, Lance Berkman and
Curtis Granderson certainly have. 



... scores Curtis Granderson to knot the score.

Sipken/NY Daily News

 

I am very surprised to see the AL East Champion
Tampa Bay Rays trailing their ALDS series to the Texas Rangers (down two games
to none).  I realize that the Rays
struggled in September like the Yankees but I felt they were probably the best
team in the American League based primarily on their pitching staff.  Like the Twins, the Rays can still get back
in the series but the Rangers have to like their chances.



Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee flips a ball during a practice for their American League Division Series baseball games against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. Lee is scheduled to pitch game one.

AP



There have been great pitching performances in the
National League with the no-hitter thrown by the Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy
Halladay and last night’s 14-strikeout, complete game shut-out thrown by San
Francisco’s Tim Lincecum in the Giants’ 1-0 victory over the Atlanta
Braves. 



Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle

 

Regardless of what happens, the League Championship
Series in both leagues should be very exciting this year.  I still think the Phillies will win it all,
but the Yankees certainly have as much talent as anyone to get on a roll. 



 


Going off-topic but staying with the ‘Minnesota to New York’ theme, I was very pleasantly surprised to
see the return of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings.  The Vikings play the Jets in the Meadowlands on Monday night.  I have retained my purple #84 jersey all
these years but never thought that I’d get a chance to wear it again.  I knew that Randy had become quite vocal in
recent weeks about the lack of a contract extension and of course there was
last weekend’s blow-up with a coordinator. 
Still, I did not expect the New England Patriots to trade Moss.  The Vikings have clearly been missing Sidney
Rice who will be out until at least mid-season due to hip surgery.  It will be interesting to see if chemistry
develops between Moss and QB Brett Favre. 
It is going to be weird watching Moss catching passes from Favre after
all those years of playing against each other in the Packers-Vikings series. 



Randy Moss

 


At 1-2, the Vikings face a very challenging
October.  After the game against the Jets, they will face the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and
New England Patriots to close out the month. 
The team should definitely know where they stand by Halloween.


–Scott

  

Moving Forward…

With the franchise’s 9,500th win (dating back to the New York Highlanders in 2003), the Yankees moved into sole possession of first place…

 

 

The two central figures in today’s win against the New York Mets were CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. 

 

 

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 

Sabathia has struggled at times this season, and held a 7-3 record heading into today’s action.  Teixeira had a very cold April, started to warm up in May before lapsing back into a deep freeze in June.  But today, they did what it took to win.  CC pitched 8 scoreless innings, giving up only 4 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts.  The Mets couldn’t stop him but a 20 minute rain delay finally did as Mo Rivera finished the game in a non-save situation after the delay ended. 

 

 

Mets at Yankees, June 20th, 2010

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 

Teixeira came up huge in the third inning with a grand slam that provided the former Highlanders with the only runs they would need.  Credit Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher for excellent play and hustle in loading the bases on three singles, only one of which made it out of the infield.  It was very enjoyable to hear John Sterling’s trademark “Tex Message!” call. 

 

 

Mets at Yankees, June 20th, 2010

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 

Despite losing Friday night’s game, the Yankees came back to win on both Saturday and Sunday to capture the series and end the season series in a split. 

 

I was surprised to see Roy Halladay lose again.  This time to Carl Pavano and the Minnesota Twins.  Like his record against the Yankees, Halladay sported an excellent mark against the Twins.  But it was not meant to be today against the Twins as he fell 4-1.  I am not saying that Cliff Lee is a better pitcher than Halladay, but so far, the regular season performances in Phillies uniforms is tilted in Lee’s favor.  Of course, it’s not all Doc’s fault given his 2.43 ERA which implies that he has not had run support given his 8-6 record. 

 

I guess Joe Torre did not have a joyful return to Fenway Park, and neither did Manny Ramirez as the Boston Red Sox swept the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend.  The AL East couldn’t be tighter with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Red Sox just one game behind the Yankees.  The Toronto Blue Jays continue to lurk in the shadows, just 5 ½ games back although they did lose today.

 

The Yankees now head to Phoenix to play the Arizona Diamondbacks.  I don’t have great memories of the Yankees in Phoenix, but fortunately Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling are no longer on the mound and Luis Gonzalez is not in the outfield.  The D-Backs have a good team and former Yankee Ian Kennedy has done well in the rotation.  Nevertheless, I will be hoping for redemption anyway.  Besides, we have a one game lead to protect!

 

I was bummed after the 2010 NFL Draft when the Minnesota Vikings did not draft a quarterback.  They did select Joe Webb of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, however, the immediate talk was that Webb would be shifted to wide receiver.  During the recent mini-camps, Webb, with his 11 inch hands and athleticism, showed that he can be a quarterback of the future.  So, at least for now, the move to wide receiver has been postponed.  The Vikings will take a long look at Webb as a QB in training camp.

 

 

Andy King/AP

 

I hope it was a great Father’s Day for all the baseball-loving Dads!

 

–Scott

And Then They Were Tied…

 

“I must be in the front row!”…

 

 

 

Bob Uecker, by Steve Moore/Getty Images

 

 

The Yankees capped a very successful weekend in sweeping the Houston Astros by moving into a first place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays.  Of course, the Yankees need to keep the pressure on to avoid falling behind the Rays again but they should be in good shape if CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett can keep the momentum going.

 

With Alex Rodriguez still on the bench due to an ailing hip, the Yankees rode Jorge Posada’s second grand slam in as many days to a 9-5 victory at Yankee Stadium.

 

 

Jorge Posada hits his second grand slam in as many days to lead the New York Yankees to a sweep of the Houston Astros.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

 

Manager Joe Girardi stayed with starter Phil Hughes a bit too long in the 6th as the Astros scored four runs after trailing 7-1.  When the Astros scored the first two runs of the inning, I thought that Hughes should have been pulled.  He was over 100 pitches but I know Girardi wanted to see him finish the inning.  It turned out to be a big mistake as light-hitting Kevin Cash delivered a two run homer to end the day for Hughes.

 

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger

 

The Yankees answered with several runs of their own and the bullpen was up to the task of securing the win for Hughes.  It was his 9th win of the season to tie him for the league lead with David Price and Clay Buchholz.  I thought Damaso Marte’s strikeout after relieving Hughes was huge.  The Astros had seized the game momentum but it quickly evaporated with Marte’s strike out of Michael Bourn.

 

The Yankees get a much deserved day off on Monday.  They’ll need it since they’ll be staring at Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.  The Phillies will definitely be seeking revenge for last October.  It should be a great series.

 

Speaking of grand slams, here is a look back at a great one…

 

 

Help Wanted: 8th Inning Set Up Guy…

Forget about 3 out of 4…

 

The Yankees may have won the weekend series against the Cleveland Indians, 3 games to 1, but they should have swept the series.  What happened on Saturday?  Four games and all I want to know is what happened to Joba Chamberlain? 

 

With a 10-4 lead in the fifth inning, the Yankees should have been able to skate to the victory.  Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.  CC Sabathia was less than sharp, so he does hold some responsibility for the Tribe’s momentum that ultimately led to the erasure of the six run lead against Sabathia and the New York bullpen.

 

But it’s getting torturous to watch Joba come into the game at times.    

 

The last two games, although close early on, were both heavily tilted toward the Yankees by the end of the games.  There was a sense that the Yankees would score the necessary runs in both games, which they won 7-3 and 11-2 on Sunday and Monday.  However, there was a common denominator in both games.  Neither featured an appearance by Joba Chamberlain.  At this point, we don’t know if he has a short memory or if this two week stretch is a sign of things to come.  Hopefully, he’ll right the ship and catch up with his teammates who appear to have moved past the struggles of late. 

 

Speaking of today’s win, hats off to Andy Pettitte.  It was a terrific outing by the left hander and in winning his 7th game of the season, he tied the Chairman of the Board, Whitey Ford, for 60th place on the all-time wins list at 236.  Of course, you have to wonder what could have been in terms of those three years in Houston.  When Andy left via free agency, I was surprised at the time given where he was on the Yankees career list for wins by a lefty.  So, instead of tying Ford for the most wins in franchise history, he is 37 wins behind at 199 Yankees victories.  This has been a fantastic year for Pettitte (7-1, 2.48 ERA), however, I feel this may be his last given how much more he has been talking about his family this year.  Regardless of what happens, Andy is doing it his way…

 

It is a startling statistic when Mark Teixeira is intentionally walked.  The grand slam by Alex Rodriguez in the seventh inning broke open what had been a tight pitching duel between Pettitte and Indians rookie Mitch Talbot.  When Teixeira is given a free pass, A-Rod is 5-for-5 with 3 home runs and 18 RBI’s.  So, please AL Managers, please continue to walk Mark Teixeira at your leisure!  J

 

Derek Jeter was hit by a Talbot pitch in the second inning and left the game after hitting a single in the 7th inning when the hamstring tightened.  Hopefully, DJ will be fine after a night’s rest. 

 

A special shout out to two brilliant pitching performances over the weekend.  Roy Halladay went a long way toward making Philly fans forget his recent rocky performances and Cliff Lee along the way in throwing a perfect game on Saturday night.  It was the 20th perfect game in Major League history and the second game this season (Dallas Braden of the Oakland A’s threw the other perfect game this season).  Also, Ubaldo Jimenez (10-1) of the Colorado Rockies became the majors’ first 10 game winner with a 4-0 victory over Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants. 

 

The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Toronto Blue Jays today so the Yankees are just 2.5 games out of first place.  But of course, the Jays and the Boston Red Sox are nipping at their heels.  The Jays are just a game behind the Yankees, and the Red Sox are just 2.5 games back.  So, the AL East lead could be taken by any one of the four teams depending upon who gets hot.  Let’s hope it gets hot for the Yankees…very hot!  

 

–Scott

So Close Yet So Far Away…again…

A wasted Phil Hughes performance…

 

From the movie, Hangover

 

Hughes did his part.  Unfortunately, no one else did.  Pitching into the 6th inning with only one run allowed, Hughes saw a potential victory evaporate in the hands of relievers Boone Logan and David Robertson.

 

 

 

Thanks, in part, to a throwing error by Jorge Posada in the 8th, and a subsequent hit by Cesar Izturis, the Baltimore Orioles had the insurance run they would need to hold off a late rally by the Yankees.

 

A fielder’s choice groundout by Alex Rodriguez in the 9th inning ended the game after two runs had scored in the inning to bring the Yanks within one run, 5-4.  The blazing hot Robinson Cano was left standing in the on-deck circle.

 

 

Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

 

This was a very disappointing performance by the Yankees, who have been very uninspired of late in losing four of the last five games.  Not even a Monday trip to Washington to meet President Barack Obama helped motivate the squad. 

 

 

Obama Yankees Baseball

AP 

 

After a terrific start, the Yankees are now 12-7, 2 ½ games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.  The Boston Red Sox have won two straight to pull within 3 games of the Yankees and into third place.

 

 

Clay Buchholz

 

Boston Globe

 

In typical Curt Schilling fashion, controversial remarks were abound as he indicated Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez was not an American League guy.  Manager Joe Girardi defended Vazquez.  “Guys are asked to analyze situations, and so they make their analysis.  We still believe Javy’s going to be successful, and he’s going to pitch at a very high level for us.”  I hope Joe’s right, but I have to admit I had the same reservations when I first heard the Yankees had re-acquired Vazquez.  His greatest successes have come in Montreal and Atlanta, both National League cities.  I am still hopeful Javy will succeed in the Bronx but the concerns and fears will remain until he proves me wrong…

 

 

The Yankees are bringing pitcher Javier Vazquez back to the Bronx...

Bazemore/AP

 

 

Hats off to San Francisco pitcher Jonathan Sanchez for outdueling the great Roy Halladay in the Giants’ 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies last night.

 

 

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez th... Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

 

 

 

 

Yankees Trying To Get Centered…

The Yankees starting center fielder is…

 

 

Unknown.JPG

 

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). 

 

 

Marcus Thames, Yankees spring training (wire)

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.

Source:  mlb.com

 

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.

 

 

Yankees' prospect Pat Venditte and his special glove

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…

 

 

Steve Nesius/Reuters

 

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. 

 

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay walks to the dugout after giving up four runs in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays, his former team, on Wednesday, March 31, in Clearwater, Fla.

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”….

 

 

92 YEAR OLD BASEBALL PLAYER: Ballard Returns After 7 Decades

 

 

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…

 

 

Mike Lowell is known around the league as the ultimate teammate, while A-Rod's effect on the clubhouses he enters could best be described as 'disruptive.' There doesn't appear to be any 'me' in Mike Lowell, while Rodriguez always seems to put someone off on his own team.

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