Results tagged ‘ Francisco Cervelli ’
Something wicked this way comes…
The stage was set for a masterful start to what could be the final season for Hall of Famer-to-be Mariano Rivera, but it was not meant to be. Called on to protect a 6-5 Yankees lead in the bottom of the 9th at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, the Rays rallied against Mo to win the game, 7-6. Control was the main culprit, but Mo will just shake this one off, and will be prepared to take the mound again tomorrow if called upon.
I had an uneasy feeling with the slim lead heading into the latter stages of the game. David Robertson successfully navigated out of a self-created jam in the 8th inning and it did feel as though momentum was on the Yankees’ side. But after the teams combined for 11 runs in the first three innings, the Yankee bats went silent and the crucial hits, when needed, later in the game never came.
It’s interesting that both the Yankees and Red Sox lost their season openers due to bullpen failures. But at least the Red Sox can say that they had an unproven closer (Alfredo Aceves) in the game. Aceves has a bit of catching up to do to accumulate as many saves as Mo has. Still, it’s just one game, and last time I checked, there were still 161 more to go. I am anxious to see what new Yankee pitcher Hiroki Kuroda can do tomorrow.
Just not quite enough room…
I knew that there was no room for outfielder Justin Maxwell, but it was still disappointing when he was designated for assignment. Maxwell had a good spring, but he has the misfortune of playing for a team that boasts the likes of Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez in reserve outfield roles.
Now you see him, now you don’t…
The biggest surprise of the final roster breaking spring training was the demotion of backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, who was optioned to AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre. In a trade that sent reliever George Kontos to the San Francisco Giants, the Yankees re-acquired defensive catcher Chris Stewart. Stewart will never make anybody forget Cervelli’s bat, but Francisco was a victim of circumstance. Of the two catchers, he was the only one who still had options. The need for Stewart was created by the injured Austin Romine. I understand Cervelli’s frustration and disappointment with the move, but hopefully, he’ll get his head right and take advantage of starting in the minors until the inevitable call comes to bring him back to the Bronx.
Ah, the first time!…
Congratulations to pitcher David Phelps for being named the team’s long reliever. It’s always great to see young players excited when they make a major league roster for the first time. Hopefully it is the start of a long and productive career for Phelps.
Well, today’s loss was no fun, but time to move on. Let’s go Yankees, let’s go Kuroda! Game 2, bring it on!
After some thought, I’ve come around…
Now that I’ve had time to digest the Friday night whirlwind that brought pitchers Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda to the Bronx, my initial disappointment was evaporated. Don’t get me wrong, I love the power potential of Jesus Montero, and I know full well that he’ll be as devastating against the Yankees as Jay Buhner was if not more. But I recognize that from a position of need, a top of the rotation starter is better than a player without a position.
Ever since I first heard Jesus Montero’s name, it always included a statement that he’d eventually have to find a new position because he would outgrow catcher. The obvious moves would be to either first base or left field, but last time I checked, both of those positions were occupied by long-term tenants. Putting an offensive juggernaut at DH is great for offense but it does nothing to help with the defensive aspects of catching or learning a new position. With Russell Martin in the fold for the foreseeable future, there was no way that Montero would gain the starting position at catcher. Martin’s ability to handle the pitching staff is simply too important to the team even if his bat is nothing remotely close to Montero.
With Montero, I was always worried about the other young Yankee catchers. Of course, there’s Francisco Cervelli on the active roster. If Montero were to take the backup catching job, where would that leave Cervelli? Most likely playing for the Twins, backing up oft-injured Joe Mauer or someone like that. I like the defensive reports that I’ve heard about both Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez, but if their path was clogged by Martin and Montero, where did that leave them? Sanchez needs more time in the minors, but Romine is nearing major league ready status. With an injury or two, I fully expect him to get his chance to make an impression at Yankee Stadium in 2012. The trade of Montero ensures that Romine will get his major league opportunity with the Yankees so that’s a good thing. He doesn’t have Montero’s bat (who does?) but good defense is essential for championships.
Maybe just tell us who the Yankees haven’t talked to…
As for the DH slot, it seems like the Yankees have expressed interest in about everyone. There have been reports they’ve spoken to the agents for Carlos Pena, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui. There are pros and cons with all three players, but whoever the Yankees bring on board will have to share time at DH with Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, and Derek Jeter so I’d be okay with any of the three. I’ve always liked the clutch bats of Damon and Matsui, and the swing for the fences power of Pena is nice even if the average is hovering slightly above the Mendoza line. With all the reports that the Yankees only have a $1 million or two to spend on a DH, I half expect a report that they’ve talked to Reggie Jackson! Okay, that might be a stretch, but I’d consider letting ‘all or nothing’ slugger Jorge Vazquez. He does deserve a shot. If not, the Yanks should cut him loose and let him pursue a team that will.
If Jorge Posada had embraced the DH role last year, he’d be on his way back to the Bronx for an encore performance…
Upon second thought…
As for the pitching staff, my initial prediction about the rotation order was flawed. I recognize that Micheal Pineda is the clear #2 in the rotation. I’ve seen Ivan Nova slotted at #4, but I’d still keep him at #3 at least until he gives reason to drop him in the order. I think Kuroda is a great addition, but he has to adjust to the American League in the most difficult division, while moving from a pitcher’s ballpark to a park that is less forgiving. So, I’d give Nova time for pinstripes served and put him ahead of Kuroda. After the former Dodger, it’s anybody’s guess who will win out…Phil Hughes, my personal favorite; Freddy Garcia, probably the better choice among the pitchers in terms of consistency; and A.J. Burnett, the candidate for most likely to depart the Bronx if the Yanks can find a willing trade partner that wants Burnett…and a boatload of cash to pay that ridiculous salary. What happens if either Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances pitches “lights out” in training camp? This is going to be an interesting battle.
He’s really a cousin of Alcides and Kelvim Escobar?…
Back to Friday night’s trade, I was a bit dismayed when I saw that pitcher Hector Noesi had been included in the trade. I kept hearing that his ceiling was the back end of the rotation but there was something that I liked about the pitcher. At first, I didn’t know anything about the “other” Mariner included in the deal, Jose Campos. But since the initial report of the trade, I’ve come to realize that he has great potential. At 19, he’s 6’4” and throws in the mid 90’s. He’ll more than make up for Noesi and fits a better timeline in terms of being major league ready given the high level pitching prospects already in the organization (Banuelos and Betances, for example). The Curtis Granderson trade has been labeled as a ‘win-win-win’ for all concerned. Hopefully, this M’s-Yankees trade will meet a similar fate.
What would I expect Bobby V to say?…
Contrary to what Bobby Valentine may think, the Yankees are a better team today than they were last Thursday. But, I recognize the Boston Red Sox are not done yet. They signed former Dodger pitcher Vicente Padilla today (a guy I loathe personally) and there’s rumors they could go after Roy Oswalt if they can move payroll. I still think Boston could be a player for Cubs starter Matt Garza given Theo Epstein’s knowledge of the Red Sox minor league prospects. Whether Ben Cherington or rather Larry Lucchino would trade with Epstein is another matter. Still, I think there are changes to be made on both the Yankees and Red Sox between now and training camp. Last year, I saw a Red Sox friend predict 118 or 119 wins for Boston. Teams look great on paper, but as they say, the ‘proof is in the pudding’!
Moneyball II, starring Jorge Garcia…
It’s hard to think of the Oakland A’s signing former Yankees starter Bartolo Colon as a low-cost, high reward “Moneyball” kind of move. At 39, I don’t think there’s really any upside to Colon at this point and in my opinion, he’s not capable of sustaining a full season of starts. I’d rather have Gio Gonzalez or Trevor Cahill in the rotation, but I guess since those are no longer options, they have to look at the scrap heap that served the Yankees so well last season.
Yes, I know the way to San Jose!…
Speaking of Oakland, I do hope they are successful in their desire to move to San Jose. As a former San Jose resident, I think it’s very exciting for the city and its metro area to be on the verge of landing both the A’s and the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, to go with the NHL’s Sharks. I saw that A’s owner bought the famed Hotel Sainte Claire in downtown San Jose. He already owns one hotel in San Jose so I guess you can’t read too much into it, but he’s definitely positioning himself for the growth and excitement that San Jose could see in the coming years. I’d be happy with a Stanley Cup Championship this year, but that’s a little off-topic…
I really don’t forsee another 99 losses when you place character first…
I was a little surprised to see the Minnesota Twins sign former Detroit Tigers flamethrower Joel Zumaya. He suffered his devastating arm injury at Target Field in 2010. So, in terms of Karma, you’d think that he’d avoid Target Field like the plague. But I read comments in this morning’s paper about how he was touched by the reception he received from the Twins fans as he left the field that fateful day. Stories like that certainly make me feel honored to be a Minneapolis resident, but I was still surprised by Zumaya’s decision. I wish him the best as he begins the Comeback Trail. Hopefully he can get back to the level he was before. For the Twins, with Joe Nathan in Texas and Matt Capps scheduled to close games, they need Zumaya as the pitcher he once was and hopefully will be again.
When it’s tough being the son of Donnie Baseball, come home to the Bronx!…
Before I go, I want to say that I am really hopeful that the Yankees organization proves to be a blessing for former Dodgers prospect Preston Mattingly. I’ve always heard what a great athlete he is/was when he was younger. I don’t know what happened through his time in the Dodgers and Indians organizations and I realize that he is getting a bit long in tooth for a prospect, but I really hope that he can find some level of success with the Yankees. It would be very cool to see Mattingly make a debut at Yankee Stadium at some point in the future. Who knows if it is in the cards, but being a late bloomer is not outside of the realm of possibility when it comes to someone with his bloodline.
It’s hard to believe that we are just a month away from training camp. I’m excited and looking forward to a great season.
Yeah, but at what price?…
I am bummed…
After years of trade rumors involving Yankees prospect Jesus Montero, I thought he was finally home free and slated to be a member of the 2012 Yankees unless a trade for the seemingly untouchable Felix Hernandez were to materialize. So, to hear tonight’s news that the Yankees have traded Montero to the Seattle Mariners is a shock since it did not involve the aforementioned King Felix.
I was perusing the MLB Trade Rumors tonight when I saw the blurb that the Mariners were close to acquiring an “young impact hitter”. Of course, there aren’t too many guys that fit that description and Montero is near or at the top of the list. I didn’t suspect a King Felix trade since there have been no signals that the Mariners are interested in trading him, so my immediate reaction was the fear of trading Montero for something else. My fear has been justified as the word has come the Yankees traded Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi, a potential candidate for the starting rotation, to Seattle for pitcher Michael Pineda and minor league pitcher Jose Campos. I know nothing about Campos (whether he is a high or mid level prospect or just fodder for the lower leagues). So, this trade was clearly about Pineda, 22, who made the All-Star Team as a fill-in for Justin Verlander last year during his rookie season. I recognized that Pineda was a quality pitcher, and I had him on a few of my fantasy baseball teams.
But still, I bought into the hype that Montero was going to be an offensive force. I recognized that he was a liability at catcher, and that Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli represent the best catching tandem at the moment until Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez are ready to advance. To ask a young player to start at DH does seem to be a poor major league decision, but I was looking forward to seeing Montero star in pinstripes. His bat would have found a good spot in the starting lineup. Maybe a few years down the road, this trade will look great for the Yankees if Pineda wins the Cy Young or becomes the ace of the staff. But right now, I am just shocked. It’s not the type of move that one can embrace or create excitement among the fan base. I truly would have preferred a short term deal to Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt as opposed to giving up young, quality talent. I also liked Noesi, and knew that he was a viable candidate for the starting rotation.
At the moment, and this could change in time, I think the advantage goes to the Seattle Mariners. I am assuming that they have the young pitching talent, to go with Noesi, to find a suitable replacement for Pineda in the rotation. Meanwhile, they get one of the best young bats in the game today. This takes a little heat off first baseman Justin Smoak so perhaps now he can thrive. Right now, I rate the Yankees rotation as CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes, and A.J. Burnett. This means that Freddy Garcia is the pitcher most likely to be cut unless the Yankees can find a home for Burnett.
Maybe he missed pitching to #55…
Okay, after an off-season of solitude, Friday the 13th has just become Yankees Night. The latest word is the Yankees have signed former Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. Based on recent reports, I had expected Kuroda to sign with the Boston Red Sox. Bobby Valentine’s experience with Japanese players, in my mind, gave the Sox the clear advantage. Regardless of what transpired and why he decided to come to New York (Russell Martin?), he’s an innings-eater and fits nicely in the back of the rotation. So, if the news of Kuroda’s signing is accurate, I need to update my starting rotation…CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes, and Kuroda (although an argument could be made for why Hughes should be at the back end of the rotation). The wild card is Hughes, so do the Yankees keep Burnett for long relief and a potential return to the starting rotation if Hughes falters or do they simply cut their losses? I suspect that it will be the latter with Freddy Garcia held in reserve. I also think this virtually confirms that we’ll see Dellin Betances and/or Manny Banuelos in the starting rotation at some point during the season.
My second favorite team is my National League favorite, the Los Angeles Dodgers, so I have to say that I enjoyed the starts I saw from Kuroda in his Dodger days. He may be older, but he’s a quality pitcher. He’s not going to shut down the opposition but he’s going to keep you in the game. I would have preferred Edwin Jackson if no other reason than age (and Jackson’s ability to occasionally be a very dominating pitcher). But still, it’s hard to find fault with the Kuroda signing. I’d rather go with Kuroda over Roy Oswalt. I’ve got to believe that the Yankees figured out the game plan for A.J. Burnett before the events of today unfolded so it’s likely that another deal is forthcoming before pitchers and catchers head for Tampa next month.
The fingerprints of Cash or Hal?…
I always wonder on these types of days if these moves were effected by GM Brian Cashman or if Hank and Hal Steinbrenner got bored and decided to take matters into their own hands. I am not sure that there’s a move out there that could excite me at this point, but there’s no question the Yankees have a better rotation. My primary concern still remains a quality backup third baseman for those inevitable A-Rod absences (i.e., trips to the DL). But now, with Montero in Seattle and Posada on the beach waiting for Old Timer’s Day, who is going to be the DH? At the moment, it’s a DH by committee with a rotation of A-Rod, Andruw Jones, and others. It does make one believe that there is a potential acquisition for a veteran hitter in the making. Bring back Johnny Damon? It’s certainly within the realm of possibility.
The sleeping giant has awakened…
I know the Yankees objective is to get under $189 million in salary by 2014, but the team is always a sleeping giant. If the Texas Rangers can come up with $51 million just to talk to Yu Darvish, you know the Yankees are capable of so much more. It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks unfold. After a season of inactivity, the Hot Stove League just got warmed up for the Yankees…
This weekend’s abbreviated
two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles was a positive despite the
postponement of one game that will cause its share of challenges later in the
Saturday featured a great performance
by CC Sabathia, along with a
plethora of hits and home runs for the Yanks, while Sunday saw the Yanks pull
out a game that they could have lost when Mariano
Rivera blew his second straight save opportunity. I am not concerned about Mo, as he has had
short stretches like this during the season in recent years.
Sunday saw a great hitting
performance by the ‘written off for dead’ Derek
Jeter, who went 4-for-6 with a run scored and a RBI to raise his batting
average to .257. I agree that it’s too
soon to write Jeter’s obituary, just like it is too soon to start questioning
if Mo is losing it. But still, I have
the right to ask. Is it time for Jorge Posada to call it a career? I know it’s still early, but a .153 batting
average is abysmal. Let’s hope that he
turns it around like David Ortiz
always seems to do for the Red Sox…
Congratulations to Freddy Garcia for another six inning
shut-out! Also, after wondering if the
Yankees made a huge mistake in unloading Ian
Kennedy, Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to acquire Curtis Granderson for most of last
season, I am a fan of the Grandy Man! He
hit his 7th home run of this young season, and could be on track for
30+. He has definitely gained a comfort
zone in pinstripes.
Saturday’s hero, aside from
the great job by CC Sabathia, was
catcher Russell Martin. We are not out of April and he already has
one more home run than last season, and needs just one more to tie his total for
2009. Combined with good health, the
change of scenery has been very good for Martin. I am looking forward to Francisco Cervelli‘s return so that he can start spelling Martin on
occasion, but I am glad that GM Brian
Cashman had the foresight to sign Martin rather than go with the untested Jesus Montero. Montero’s time will come but it was obvious
that his time is not now. Martin has
been very instrumental in the Yankees’ strong start, especially when you
consider how sluggish the team has performed the last few Aprils. I don’t want to criticize Posada, but I like
the way Martin has meshed with the pitching rotation.
I hope everyone had a very
Happy Easter today. Easter time with the
family definitely brings back great memories…
With the selections of Ivan
Nova and Freddy Garcia as the #4 and #5 starters in the Yankees rotation, I
think that manager Joe Girardi made the right choices (even if those were
really the only viable options).
J. Meric/Getty Images
I agree with those who
speculate that Bartolo Colon is better suited to be the long man in the
pen. Given his physical conditioning,
there are clearly concerns about his stamina.
His arm may be alright but that wouldn’t get him through long
innings. The trade of Sergio Mitre to
the Milwaukee Brewers opens the way for Colon to make the Yankees roster.
I am not sure what I think
about the Yankees signing pitcher Kevin Millwood to a minor league deal. I realize that he is strictly an insurance
policy, but I’d really like to see one of the younger guys, like Andrew
Brackman, Hector Noesi, or Dellin Betances, get the opportunity should Nova or
Garcia falter. Millwood is probably just
coverage for the next month, while the prospects will be options later in the
The Yankees gave Chris
Dickerson, the outfielder they acquired in the Mitre trade, Darryl Strawberry‘s
old jersey number (39). Those are big
shoes to fill. I love great home run
swings and for as many sluggers that have come through the Bronx, few can
compare to the swing that Straw had.
Dickerson is not a home run guy, so we won’t be seeing #39 swinging for
the fences. But the number did bring
back some great memories of Strawberry at the plate. Dickerson was the player the Reds sent to the
Brewers last summer in the deal that brought Jim Edmonds to Cincinnati. He turns 29 on April 10th so he is
no longer really considered a prospect, but I’d like to see him carve out a
role on the team. With Curtis Granderson
hurting, the Yankees will definitely need help in the outfield and Andruw Jones
can’t do it all by himself.
With all the talk about
catchers Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, and Austin Romine, it’s strange
that Gustavo Molina has emerged as the frontrunner to capture the backup
catching position behind starter Russell Martin. I suspect that Cervelli will take the
position once he is healthy but I am disappointed that neither Montero or
Romine could hit well enough to stay on the major league roster. I know that it just means their arrivals are
simply delayed. Hopefully, they can draw
positives from the heavy focus this spring and use it to power forward when
their next opportunity comes.
I was surprised that Baltimore
Orioles manager Buck Showalter took potshots at Derek Jeter and the Boston Red
Sox. I would have expected better from
Showalter, but I can honestly say that I have never missed him from the day he
left the Yankees.
It’s hard to believe that
Opening Day is next week! I am so glad
that the season is finally upon us. Win
or lose, it should be a great year!
Well, new year but same old battles. With the first Yankees-Red Sox match-up scheduled for Friday, it’s time to begin my annual grudge match with Julia of Julia’s Rants. For the latest wager, the loser of Friday’s spring training game has to post a blog about the opposing team’s manager. For me, if the Yankees lose, I have to write a post about Boston manager Terry Francona. Conversely, if the Red Sox lose, Julia will be writing about Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
On the bright side, the Yankees are still in first place…
Despite the loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, the Yankees remain in first place, ½ game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays who also lost (2-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays). The team needs to relax, re-group and come back on Saturday with a vengeance.
In tonight’s 6-3 loss, the Red Sox scored three runs, thanks in large part to an error by Francisco Cervelli (he dropped a pop-up that he should have handled). Thanks to the extra out, the Red Sox were able to push across three runs before the last out of the inning. It turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit and with Clay Buchholz on the mound, the Yankees were never able to recover.
Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger
If there is one thing that stood out to me about Friday night’s game, it is the 12-pitch at-bat by Derek Jeter with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. He battled and battled hard before eventually drawing a walk. THAT exhibited the heart of a Lion. It went for naught when Nick Swisher flied out to end the game, but it was a tremendous at-bat by the Captain.
Somehow, the Yankees need to get Lance Berkman untracked. Lance went 0-for-4 and is now batting .105 since his arrival in the Bronx. Hopefully, he’ll have that defining moment with the Yankees and it will come sooner rather than later. He can play a huge part in the stretch run for the Yankees despite the overall down year for him.
It was good to hear that Andy Pettitte threw in the bullpen and is planning a late August return. He threw 35 to 40 pitches and felt good. He is planning to throw again on Sunday. That’s good news, and he’ll be a welcome sight for the rotation when he is able to return.
After Season 1 of Curtis Granderson (so far), I’d have to say that I would be a proponent for the Yankees to move Granderson in the off-season and pursue Tampa Bay free agent-to-be Carl Crawford and slide Brett Gardner back to center. Hopefully, Grandy can change opinions between now and the end of the season but he’s running out of time.
As for Derek Jeter, put me in the column that feels there is no way that the Yankees would let him leave. Using Cal Ripken as an example (or Carl Yastrzemski), it is great that those guys were able to go an entire career in one uniform. Watching the NFL’s Hall of Fame inductees, I still hate to think of Emmitt Smith, the Arizona Cardinal. It’s great that if you think of Troy Aikman or Michael Irvin, you can only associate them with one team. It’s bad enough when a great player puts on another uniform at the tail end of his career, but when they go to a bitter rival it’s worse. Case in point is long-time hockey star Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars who recently signed with the Detroit Red Wings. I realize that Detroit is home for Mike, but, still, the Red Wings are a bitter rival for the Stars. Mike has been one of my favorite players for so many years, yet for his final season, I won’t be a fan. I feel strongly that the Yankees will do whatever it takes to bring Jeter back for his final years. Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra are a few of the great franchise names and they wore only the pinstripes. DJ deserves the same…
Lance Berkman, an all-time great for the Houston Astros, won’t get the chance to wear an Astros uniform from beginning to end, but I’d hate to see him bounce around with several teams at the end of his career. I am pulling for him to hit well enough for the Yankees to re-negotiate his deal to ensure a return in 2011.
Now, if Cliff Lee wants to change uniforms this off-season and put on pinstripes, I am okay with that…
P.S. Hey Julia, tomorrow is a new day! Go Yankees!
A reunion victory for Andy…
In probably what will be Andy Pettitte’s only appearance against his former team, the Houston Astros, he emerged the victor tonight as interleague play got underway in the Bronx.
It was a tight game throughout thanks to a pitching duel between Andy and Astros starter (and former Philadelphia Phillie) Brett Myers. The Yanks scored first with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. A bases loaded walk by Nick Swisher and a two-run single by Francisco Cervelli gave Andy and the Yankees an early cushion.
The Astros quickly answered with two runs of their own in the top of the 2nd inning. With two outs, Astros shortstop Tommy Manzella doubled to deep left to score two runs.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, with the score still 3-2, Mark Teixeira hit a single to score Kevin Russo.
After settling down in the 2nd inning, Andy was breezing through the Astros lineup, allowing only one baserunner, until he got into trouble in the 8th. A hit and an error put two men on base. After a sacrifice moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd, Andy’s night was done. Enter Joba Chamberlain. Unfortunately, a sac fly by the next batter, second baseman Jeff Keppinger, scored Manzella, before Joba was able to end the inning by striking out first baseman Lance Berkman.
Enter the Sandman in the 9th, and it was game over. Mariano Rivera struck out the final two batters to pick up his 15th save, which gave Andy Pettitte the win and his 8th victory (8-1) of the season to match Phil Hughes for the team high.
The rumor mill has spun that Berkman is a potential trade target for the Yankees. He’d make a great DH at this stage of his career, and would be an excellent replacement for former DH Hideki Matsui. I know that Nick Johnson will be back later this year, but given his injury history, there’s no way that he can be counted on. At some point, Jorge Posada will be ready to start catching again so the DH will spot will return to a rotation. It would be tremendous, so long as the price tag is not too high and does not involve any blue-chippers, to have Berkman’s bat in the lineup every day.
I am sure that the win, Andy’s 200th as a Yankee, was bittersweet for him. I know that he missed the Yankees during his days in Houston, but on the same token, I am sure that he’ll always hold a soft spot for his hometown Astros. The game would have been harder on Andy if it would have been played in Houston. By the way, congratulations to Andy for the 200th Yankees win! How ironic that it would come against the only other team for which he has played.
The Yankees have a chance to close within a game of the AL East Leading Tampa Bay Rays. The “team that never loses” is trailing by 8 runs late in a game against the Florida Marlins. For any other team, I’d consider a deficit of 8 runs to be a loss. But with the Rays, if you told me that they just scored 9 runs in the 9th, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Wow, what a week for college football! I had not been following the USC story very closely, so I was stunned when the two year probation was announced. I also heard that their juniors and seniors can transfer to other schools without the standard one-year waiting period (unless it involves another Pac-10 school). Aside from the fact that this will remove USC from significance for the short term, I couldn’t help but think what goes around comes around for new head coach Lane Kiffin. I am sure that Raiders owner Al Davis and the great fans of the University of Tennessee are shedding no tears for Lane’s predicament. Yeah Lane, good luck with that…
Speaking of the Pac-10, I was equally shocked when the University of Colorado announced they were leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10. All week the talk had been about whether the University of Nebraska would leave to join the Big 10, a move which happened today, however, the Buffaloes drew first blood. There is no speculation that the University of Texas, and the other Texas schools, like Texas A&M and Texas Tech, may be joining the Pac-10 to become a ‘super-conference’. All the rivalries we have grown to love over the years, like Texas-OU and Nebraska-OU, will soon become memories. The expectation is that the Big 12 will collapse so it will be interesting to see what happens with the other schools. Plus, of course, there is always the speculation about what Notre Dame may do. Interesting times in the NCAA…
Another wager, another victory!…
Yet again, my friend, Julia of Julia’s Rants, came up on the short end of our latest wager. After starting last year 0-8 against Boston, I was starting to wonder if the Yankees would ever beat the Red Sox. Since then, the Yankees have dominated the series. Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game, the Yankees will have captured another series. Since the beginning of the season, the Yankees have only lost one series (versus the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim).
Saturday, in a nationally televised game, the Yankees beat the Red Sox 14-3. The game featured three home runs by first baseman Mark Teixeira (although I temper that somewhat by the fact that the last home run was off outfielder Jonathan Van Every who was brought in to save the arms in the pen).
CC Sabathia missed picking up the win by one out. While facing Victor Martinez, who could have been the third out of the inning, the game was interrupted by a rain delay that ended the night for CC. When the game resumed, Alfredo Aceves was on the mound and it was he who picked up the win.
The game marked several historic achievements. Teixeira is the first Yankee since Lou Gehrig in 1927 to hit at least three home runs in one game against the Red Sox. Also, catcher Francisco Cervelli, filling in for Jorge Posada, had 5 RBI’s, something that hasn’t been done by a Yankees catcher since the days of Yogi Berra.
Today, history was made in Oakland when pitcher Dallas Braden threw the first perfect game in A’s history since Jim “Catfish” Hunter did it in 1968. Given that I credit Catfish Hunter for being a Yankees fan (I rooted for the A’s as a child until Hunter signed with the Yankees as a free agent in 1974), it was rather bittersweet to see his A’s record matched by, of all people, Dallas Braden. Braden, president of the Anti A-Rod Club or so it seems, nearly walked the final batter as he worked a 3-1 count but a ground-out upheld the gem. The victory was especially sweet since it came against the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays. It was rather ironic that Braden would help the man he bitterly opposes. For the record, I was on Braden’s side of his beef with A-Rod, but Braden does need to let it go (as he made further comments about it this week). Nevertheless, congratulations to Braden for a very fine performance.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The San Jose Sharks finally overcame their nemesis and advanced to the Western Conference Finals with a 2-1 Game 5 victory against the Detroit Red Wings. First or second round failures have become commonplace for the Sharks in recent years so hopefully the team has shaken its demons and is a collision course with the Stanley Cup. The team now awaits the winner of the Chicago Blackhawks-Vancouver Canucks series (Chicago leads 3 games to 2).
Josie Lepe/Mercury News
Back to the Yankees, they weren’t so fortunate in Boston tonight as Jon Lester was on his game and A.J. Burnett wasn’t. A.J. gave up 9 runs in 4 1/3 innings (8 earned), meanwhile, Lester went 7 innings and only gave up 4 hits and 2 runs, while striking out 7.
Bill Greene/Globe Staff
So, congratulations to Julia for her victories today (the Celtics also won), and she was right, the Red Sox avoided the sweep. But still the wager victory is mine and the series win goes to the Yankees, so until we meet again Julia! By the way, don’t you have some shopping to do?….
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.
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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…