Results tagged ‘ Francisco Cervelli ’

Yes, it’s always fun beating Buck Showalter…


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
year. 


Yankees ace CC Sabathia picks up his first win of the season as Russell Martin (below) crushes two home runs. Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner also homered.

Gail Burton/AP


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…


–Scott

A Rotation Decided…


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). 


0915nova.JPG

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
season. 

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!

 

–Scott

I’m Not A Headline Guy vs Julia’s Rants!…


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.


Of course, I have my doubts about making wagers on meaningless baseball games but I recognize that there is still pride involved for the fans associated with both teams.  Alex Rodriguez may not care if the Yankees beat the Red Sox as he prepares for the season, but for the fans, it is important to win after a long off-season that saw Cliff Lee rebuff the Yanks to join the Philadelphia Phillies while the Red Sox were re-loading with the acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.  

So, best of luck…to me!  ;)

I was very pleased to hear today that A.J. Burnett‘s first outing was a successful one against the Houston Astros (he pitched two scoreless innings).  Burnett is one of the keys for the season and his success or failure will go a long way toward determining the Yankees’ October fate.  I really believe that new pitching coach Larry Rothschild will have a very positive influence on Burnett.  

As much as I want Jesus Montero to make the Yankees as back-up catcher to Russell Martin, I am concerned what that decision would mean for current back-up Francisco Cervelli. I really enjoyed Cervelli’s energy last season.  If Montero does make the Yankees, hopefully the Yankees can make a move that helps place Cervelli in his best-case scenario.

It’s been very reassuring to hear the strong impressions the young pitchers have made in camp (particularly Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, and Andrew Brackman).  While I do not expect any of the three pitchers to make the Opening Day roster, there’s no doubt that we’ll see one or more of the pitchers at some point during the season.  

I hear the San Francisco Giants are looking for a way to dump starting pitcher Barry Zito.  Of course, the Yankees get mentioned regarding the topic but I’d really hope that team avoids Zito at all costs.  I don’t see how the Giants can cut Zito with three years and over $50 million remaining on his contract.  Regardless of what amount of salary the Giants may be willing to absorb, Zito would not be worth the risk.  I’d rather see Andrew Brackman or Dellin Betances in the rotation.

Hey Julia, are you ready to absorb your first loss of the season?  You’re going down, my friend.  Can I get some information about Joe Girardi for you?…

–Scott

Game 1 To The Other Guys…

 

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. 

 

 

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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…

 

–Scott

 

P.S. Hey Julia, tomorrow is a new day!  Go Yankees! 

 

 

Nice To See Ya Again!…

 

A reunion victory for Andy…

 

 

AP/Eric Gay

 

 

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…

 

–Scott

And The Winner Is…Me!…

 

Another wager, another victory!…

 

 

I Win.JPG

 

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).

 

 

Mark Teixeira home run congratulations Yankees Red Sox

Matthew Cavanaugh/EPA

 

 

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. 

 

 

New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia drills Boston's Dustin Pedroia in the backside, sending the Red Sox a message on Saturday.

Sipkin/Daily News

 

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. 

 

 

Athletics Dallas Braden grandmother perfect game

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. 

 

 

The Red Sox needed a strong start from Jon Lester to stop the bleeding.

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?….

Joba and Phil and the rest of the Guys…

Who’s the frontrunner?

 

 


Frontrunner.JPG 

 

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.

 

 

Phil Hughes will be out of the Yankees' rotation until July.

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.

 

Yankees' Sergio Mitre fires scoreless 6 1/3 innings of one-hit ball before a shot off right forearm ends day (below).

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. 

 

 

AP

 

I gotta admit that it was nice to see Nick Johnson in the lineup again. ..

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

AP 

 

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.

 

 

AP

 

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!)

2.      Rays

3.      Red Sox (a disappointing year for the newcomers!  :D)

4.      Orioles

5.      Blue Jays

 

For some reason, I don’t think Julia will agree…

 

 


Red Sox Fan.JPG

 

 

 

The Title Defense Begins…

 

Now that CC is getting warmed up, Spring Training is officially underway…

 

 

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Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

 

So far, Camp has been very quiet for Team World Champions.  Of course, that figures to change when position players report next week.  But it has been great to see the guys arriving in Tampa as they begin defense of their World Series championship.

 

 

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Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

 

I always enjoy hearing about the players who re-committed themselves during the off-season, and arrive in camp in better shape than ever.  This year’s “Biggest Losers” are reliever Jonathan Albaladejo and right fielder Nick Swisher.  Both reported significantly lighter than we lost saw them in October.  I have been a bit concerned that Swisher will have difficulty matching last season’s success, but hopefully, the weight loss will help him build upon the success and we’ll continue to see the A’s version of Swisher and not the White Sox version.

 

 

After having his swing exposed during the postseason, Nick Swisher devotes offseason to rediscovering his hitting stroke.

Sipkin/News 

 

 

It’s evident the players have a great deal of respect for Andy Pettitte.  Andy could have had the perfect ending to a great career by riding off to the sunset after last year’s championship, but he decided that he is not ready to hang up the glove yet.  Obviously, I was disappointed when Andy admitted steroid use, however, throughout his career and including the time of the admission, Andy has handled himself with nothing but class and dignity.  CC Sabathia credited Pettitte for helping his transition, and I am sure that he’ll have a similar influence on Javier Vazquez as he re-adjusts to life with the Yankees.  I would have preferred if Andy had never left to play in Houston for three years, but conversely, the time away definitely gave Andy a different perspective and he clearly values his Yankees legacy now more than ever before. 

 

 

Andy Pettitte's outstanding season last year would have been a storybook ending. But, the New York Yankees ace isn't ready to hang up the glove just yet.

Antonelli/News

 

I saw the comment by Hideki Matsui on the Angels MLB.com website that although he feels physically strong, his knees aren’t 100%.  As tough as it was to see Godzilla leave, I think the Yankees made the right decision.  While I recognize that he may have a great 2010 season, sooner or later he’ll begin breaking down and missing more time.  Besides, there’s not much more that he could have done for a Yankees farewell than being named the World Series MVP. 

 

 

Yankees World Series MVP Hideki Matsui will wave goodbye to Big Apple.

Keivom/News

 

 

Speaking of ex-Yankees, Johnny Damon is now officially a member.  He signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers for $8 million.  Damon will definitely be the poster child for negotiating failures, at least for the short term.  With better strategy, he could have secured a longer term deal for more money from the Yankees, but Damon and agent Scott Boras overvalued the market.  Of course, the Yankees quickly moved on.  I do not find fault with the Yankees approach because had they waited, they risked getting nothing.  As it stands, the Yankees offense should be fine with Nick Johnson, Randy Winn and Marcus Thames on-board.  I am still puzzled by the Tigers since they moved Curtis Granderson because of money, and he would have made less this year than Damon will cost them.  I guess Damon is an $8 million insurance policy as a hedge to see if Austin Jackson is capable of making the leap to the major leagues. 

 

 

Johnny Damon (AP)

AP

 

Another former Yankee, Chien-Ming Wang, signed with the Washington Nationals.  I am surprised that he went with the Nats.  Nothing against them, but I really expected to see Wang go with Joe Torre and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  They have a clear need for a fifth starter, and if healthy, Wang could have potentially filled the void.  Whatever happens, I wish Wang the best of luck…and health.  I hope he has learned to run the bases now that he’ll be hitting in the National League. 

 

 

Chien Ming-Wang

Scott Miller/Reuters

 

Now that Jose Molina is in Toronto, it sounds like manager Joe Girardi is going to make sure that Jorge Posada and A.J. Burnett work as a team this spring.  Hopefully, they’ll be able to build a good rapport.  If not, I hope that Francisco Cervelli is up to the challenge of being A.J.’s personal caddy.

 

 

AP

 

 

The Yankees will definitely encounter more than a few former players (and manager) during the upcoming season. 

 

 

Torre

LA Times

 

Hopefully, the “pies” will belong to the current Yankees and not the former crowd.  It should be a fun season, and I am looking forward to the renewed battle with Julia.  I was hoping that we’d have a few “warm-ups” during the Spring, but the Yankees and Red Sox are not scheduled to face each other until Opening Day.  Oh well, I am looking forward to starting the season 1-0.  Right, Julia?  ;)

 

 

Nick Swisher pie Yankees

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

 

This is off-topic, but now that American Idol has reduced the field to 24, my early favorite is Janell Wheeler…

 

 

 

 

But then again, Ashley Rodriguez does have a great voice…

 

 

 

 

 It should be a great Season 9 on American Idol!  Music and Yankees baseball…sounds like it will be a great summer to me!  If Julia doesn’t agree, this video says it all…

 

 

Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of World Series!…

 

 

Mostly cloudy and 58 degrees…

 

 


Tampa.JPG 

 

So, that’s the forecast for the first workout scheduled on Thursday for pitchers and catchers.  It seems very appropriate that the Yankees would face cloudy skies on their first official workout.  The skies, during the upcoming season, are sure to be filled with dark clouds, thunderstorms, and hurricanes.  Nobody said it was going to be sunny skies on the road to a repeat World Series championship…

 

 


Easy Street.JPG 

 

 

The Yankees will attempt to repeat without World Series heroes Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, or regular season “Pie King” Melky Cabrera.  The team also said goodbye to Phil Coke, Jose Molina, Jerry Hairston, Jr., and Brian Bruney.

 

 

UPI

 

But newcomers Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez, Nick Johnson, Randy Winn, Jamie Hoffmann, Marcus Thames, and Boone Logan intend to give Yankees fans another summer to remember.  Curtis Granderson was penciled into centerfield, particularly after the trade of Cabrera to Atlanta for Vazquez.  However, talk in recent days has Grandy receptive to a potential move to left if Manager Joe Girardi decides to go that direction.  Somehow, I think Grandy will always say and do the things that exhibit a ‘team first’ approach.  Personally, I think Grandy should have gotten #28.  However, he stepped aside so that Girardi could upgrade his number from 27 to 28 as the Yankees pursue their 28th World Championship.  He’ll wear the number immortalized by Lou Piniella instead (#14).  Hopefully, Girardi will hold the number for just one season and then switch to #29! 

 

 

 

 

The presence of Javier Vazquez in the starting rotation should pay dividends.  At various points during last season, there were times when the Yankees didn’t know what they were going to get out of their starting pitching outside of CC Sabathia.  Vazquez should ensure no long losing streaks, and give consistency to the middle of the rotation.  With slots 1 through 4 secure in the rotation, the battle is for the 5th spot.  Best case scenario, in my mind, is Phil Hughes in the starting rotation, and Joba Chamberlain setting up Mariano Rivera.  The others (Sergio Mitre, Chad Gaudin, and Alfredo Aceves) can vie for long relief.

 

 

Winslow Townson/SI

 

 

While it is sad to see Jose Molina go, I am excited for Francisco Cervelli.  He proved last year that he is a capable backup, and I look forward to watching him in a more critical role this year as Posada will see more time at DH than years’ past.  Of course, Cervelli is just keeping the plate until Posada’s replacement, Jesus Montero is ready, but it will still be good to see his attitude and play during the upcoming season.  If the Yankees decide to carry three catchers, the most likely candidate is veteran Mike Rivera.

 

 

Nick Laham/Getty Images 

 

If the newcomers can quickly adapt to New York, and some of the younger guys can step up their play, the Yankees will be in good shape for another championship run.  I know, it’s not a given that they will win, but they should be in position to determine who will be.  For the upcoming season, I am most fearful of, in no particular order, the Boston Red Sox (don’t tell Julia!), the Seattle Mariners, the Tampa Bay Rays , and the Texas Rangers.  I think the Los Angeles Angels will contend once again, however, their off-season losses outweighed their gains.  I also think the Baltimore Orioles will be much improved and of course you can never count out the Minnesota Twins.  It should be a very challenging and competitive run to the American League Championship!

 

 

 

 

On the National League side, I don’t really see any team that will dethrone the current NL champs, the Philadelphia Phillies.  With Doc Halladay at the top of the rotation and starving for a championship, the Phillies will be in a league of their own.   I’d like to see Joe Torre and the Los Angeles Dodgers make it to the World Series, but they weren’t able to do enough this off-season to bridge the gap with the Phillies.  The Phillies do need to solve their bullpen woes, but I suspect they’ll make the necessary moves (with or without Brad Lidge).

 

 

Giving up Cliff Lee and trading for Roy Halladay were two big offseason moves made by the Phillies. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)

Steven M. Falk/philly.com

 

 

Best wishes and prayers to longtime Yankees head trainer Gene Monahan.  Monahan will  miss his first spring training since 1963 with a “significant illness”.  The Yankees also announced that he will most likely miss the first portion of the season as he undergoes treatment.  Here’s hoping Gene makes a successful recovery and is able to resume his normal duties in the not-too-distant future…

 

 

Yankees trainer Gene Monahan aids center fielder Brett Gardner, who hit his head on a plexiglass wall making a great catch in the eighth.

Frank Franklin II/AP

 

 

–Scott

 

 

No Time for Sleepless in Seattle…

A well deserved day off while the Yankees head to Seattle…

 

 

Speaking of Seattle, I am always appreciative of the fact that Tom Paciorek no longer plays baseball.  For my generation, he was the original Yankee killer.  I know that there were many before him and many since, however, he was the first player that I personally witnessed as a single-handed destruction force against anything pinstripe-related.

 

paciorektom81d.jpg image by worldwideed

 

It was an interesting week.  Monday saw the Yankees defeat their nemesis, the Los Angeles Angels, in a makeup of the May 3rd rainout.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP 

 

Tuesday was a mess.  A brawl left Jorge Posada and Shelley Duncan with three-game suspensions.  Posada, who had taken exception to an earlier pitch, threw an elbow at Jays pitcher Jesse Carlson, while scoring on a double by Brett Gardner.  There were several bench clearing moments, and the latter occurred following the elbow by Posada.  Hitting coach Kevin Long and pitcher Edwar Ramirez were also fined for their involvement in the fracas.  Any way you slice it, it was an ugly representation of baseball.  The Yankees dropped the game, 10-4.

 

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

Wednesday, the teams were more amenable to each other.  The Yankees fell behind the Jays early and trailed 4-2 in the 7th inning.  I had started to become concerned that the Yanks were on the verge of their second consecutive loss, but Hideki Matsui allayed my fears with a two-run homer in the 8th to tie the game.  At that point, I had confidence that the team would mount yet another walk-off win.  I was not denied, although I was a bit surprised by the source.  I will first start by saying I love watching Brett Gardner work the base paths.  Following a lead-off single in the 9th inning, he stole second.  Derek Jeter grounded out to short, but it advanced Gardner, the winning run, to 3rd.  That brought catcher Francisco Cervelli to the plate.  His single to left scored Gardner, and the Yankees had a new recipient for the pie of the day…

 

Yankees tangle in positive way thanks to Francisco Cervelli.

Ron Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

This morning, I was looking at the AL East standings, and was surprised to see that the Red Sox were only 5 games behind the Yanks in the loss column.  Boston has been playing very well lately as evidenced by the 7-game winning streak.  Julia is quick to note that this team reminds her of the 2004 and 2007 World Championship clubs, and the way they’ve been playing, I do not necessarily disagree.  Nevertheless, I have confidence in my guys and their ‘no-quit’ determination.   Given that the Texas Rangers have performed the baseball equivalent of hara-kiri, there is no much mystery left regarding whether the Yankees and Red Sox will make the play-offs.  The only question is who will take the AL East crown, and right now, the Yankees have the advantage.  The Yankees continue their quest for the best record in the AL, but they cannot lose sight of the team in their rearview mirror.  I learned long ago not to underestimate the Red Sox.

 

 

 

The Red Sox did see the end of their 7-game winning streak tonight, as they were clipped by the Angels, 4-3.  The Yankees magic number has been reduced to 10, although the Angels were able to pick up a ½ game on the Yanks.

 

Charles Krupa/AP 

The Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees were unable to defend their International League crown.  They were swept in the finals tonight by the Durham Bulls with a 3-2 loss in the third and final game.  The Yankees did pick up championships in two other minor leagues.  Class A Tampa won the Florida State League, while the Staten Island Yankees won the New York/Penn League.  I’m thinking “three’s company”, so let’s go big league Yanks!

In a somewhat shocking announcement, Peter Abraham of the Yankees LoHud Yankees Blog announced that he will be moving to Boston to work for the Boston Globe.  His blog has long been one of my personal favorites, and I will miss his Yankees insight.  I am sure that he’ll provide Red Sox fans with the same robust and reliable information that we Yankee fans have been accustomed to, not to mention the quick wit.   Pete Abe made a comment that some will call him a traitor, but I will not.  He is a class act, and his decision was made for family reasons, which is a very admirable trait.  I would like to thank him for his work over the years, and I wish him the very best in Boston.  Of course, he’ll miss out on writing about the 2009 World Series Champions…

 

 

My fantasy football team faces a huge dilemma this weekend.  My starting QB is Tom Brady, while my defense is the Jets D.  So, I have one player working against another since the Patriots face the Jets this weekend.  Who do I pull for?  Yikes!  As an 0-1 team (thanks to LaDainian Tomlinson’s ankle), I have to hope that best case scenario plays out.

 

 

 

I will close with a photo of my pride and joy.  She has been the master of self portraits since she was very small, and has developed a great sense of humor (despite her dad)…

 

 

–Scott

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