"Now, what is this site about, how Joe Torre ruined pitchers' arms? Is that it?"
-Michael Kay, August 18, 2009

Friday, February 29, 2008

Igawa not worried

Apparently Kei Igawa isn't too concerned about his awful outing this afternoon.

From Bryan Hoch:

"I'm not too worried at this point," Igawa said through an interpreter. "It is the first game. I'm able to realize what I need to work on. That is a positive, moving forward."

"He got himself in trouble with a walk and hit a guy," Girardi said. "He didn't finish off the slider, and he got in some bad counts, which hurt, but it's early. Your pitches aren't going to be as sharp now as they're going to be in a month."
Yes, it's the first spring game, but Igawa has been in camp for a while now and he apparently is very prepared. He is also part of a $46 million investment, so the Yankees expect more from him. Giving up a grand slam to a pinch hitter on a college team is inexcusable.

If I were in Igawa's position, I'd certainly be worried.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Igawa vs. USF

1 IP
1 H
4 R
4 ER
2 BB
2 K
1 HR (grand slam)

This is against a college team, mind you.

Why is he in America?

Game Preview and Liveblog: Yankees vs. USF

Here are the lineups:

South Florida Bulls
Mike Consolmagno RF
Ryan Lockwood CF
Addison Maruszak SS
Brian Hobbs DH
Trey Manz C
Chris Rey LF
Charles Cleveland 3B
Joey Angelberger 1B
Jon Kocsco 2B
Shawn Sanford RHP

New York Yankees
Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Shelley Duncan DH
Melky Cabrera CF
Joba Chamberlain RHP

Time: 1:15 p.m.
Radio: Audio of the game may or may not be found here.

Joba Chamberlain will pitch two innings, followed by Ian Kennedy also for two, Phil Hughes, Kei Igawa, Jeff Marquez, Alan Horne and Chase Wright.

The professional schedule begins tomorrow, as the Yankees take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Chien-Ming Wang will face Adam Eaton. Sunday's game, also against the Phillies, can be seen on YES at 1:15 p.m. Andy Pettitte will match up against Cole Hamels.


1:15 p.m.:
The game can indeed be heard on the above link in the "radio" section.

1:25 p.m.: I'm going to be around for the game, so I guess I'll liveblog until it gets boring. Goose Gossage threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Yankees last played USF in March of 1982.

Top of the First

Chamberlain retires the Bulls in order. There was a fly out to right, ground out to second and a fly out to left.

Bottom of the First

Damon flies out. Jeter gets hit by a pitch on his left thigh. Look for Chamberlain to retaliate. Abreu hits a single with Jeter running. First and third for Rodriguez with one out. Sac fly for Rodriguez, 1-0 Yankees. Abreu remains at first. Giambi flies out to center on the first pitch to end the inning.

Top of the Second

Chamberlain strikes out Hobbs swinging on three pitches. Manz pops out to Rodriguez for the second out. Rey strikes out on a full count and is thrown out at first after Posada dropped it. Two strikeouts for Chamberlain, and he is likely done for the afternoon. Kennedy is expected to come in for two innings.

Bottom of the Second

Zach Pietrzyk is now pitching for USF. Posada leads off with a stand-up double. Cano grounds out, moving Posada over to third. Duncan draws a walk. First and third, one out for Cabrera. Cabrera hits another sac fly for the Yankees, 2-0 Yankees.

Damon draws a walk. Jeter hits a ground ball that finds it way to left field, scoring Duncan. 3-0 Yankees. First and third for Abreu with two outs. Abreu walks, loading the bases for Rodriguez. Rodriguez hits a two-run single, giving him three RBI on the day. He really loves beating up on bad pitching, doesn't he? 5-0 Yankees.

Giambi flies out to center for the second time to end the inning.

Former buddy Tyler Clippard started for the Nationals. His progress was tracked by Nationals Journal. He gave up a solo home run in two innings of work.

Top of the Third

As expected, Kennedy has taken the mound. Cleveland lines out to Giambi on the first pitch. Kennedy strikes out Angelberger on an appeal. According to the announcers, the 3-1 pitch was outside, and Angelberger eventually struck out on the payoff pitch. Kocsco grounds out to Rodriguez. Nine up, nine down for the Bulls.

Bottom of the Third

Matt Stull is in for USF. Posada flies out to center to start the inning. Cano singles to left. Duncan flies out to left, two outs. Cabrera reaches on an infield single, first and second, two out for Damon. Damon lines out to left to end the inning.

Top of the Fourth

Consolmagno singles to center to break up the perfect game. The Bulls avoid the double play, as Consolmagno was in motion. Lockwood is out a first on a ground ball. Rodriguez throws out Maruszak and Consolmagno stays at second. Two out. Kennedy strikes out Hobbs swinging to end the inning and end Kennedy's afternoon. Hughes should be in next for one inning.

Bottom of the Fourth

Jeter grounds out to his counterpart on the first pitch. Abreu walks, bringing up Rodriguez. Rodriguez walks as well. Giambi chops one for a fielder's choice. First and third with two out for Posada. Posada hits a two-run triple, and now has two extra-base hits on the day. He hit the ball off the wall and the ball rolled for a while, explaining how Posada reached third. 7-0 Yankees.

Cano reaches on a Maruszak error, scoring Posada. 8-0 Yankees. Stull balks, allowing Cano to advance to second. Duncan drives Cano home on a single. 9-0 Yankees. Cabrera singles, bringing up Damon. This is the second time that the Yankees have batted around. Damon reaches on an infield single to load the bases. Alberto Gonzalez is pinch hitting for Jeter. He grounds out to second to end the inning.

Top of the Fifth

Hughes is set to come in. After his inning of work, I will stop liveblogging. The Yankees are starting to empty the bench and it is a 9-0 game.

Cody Ransom is in at third, Nick Green is at second, Austin Jackson is in center, Colin Curtis is in right, Justin Christian is playing left and Morgan Ensberg is at first.

Hughes has struck out the first two Bulls he has faced. Curtis makes a sliding catch in right to end the inning. 9-0 Yankees and I am done for the afternoon.

Quote of the moment

Enjoy the following from Hank Steinbrenner, from The New York Times via iYankees:

"Red Sox Nation?" Hank says. "What a bunch of [expletive] that is. That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans. Go anywhere in America and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order."
Oh, Hank.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Poll: Who will play the most games at first base this season?

A new poll has been added to the right-hand side of the page.

There is no clear candidate for the starting first base job. So I ask you: who do you think will play the most games at the position this season? Will it be Jason Giambi? How about blog favorite Wilson Betemit?

Discuss your choice here. The poll will close next Thursday at 8 p.m. EST.

Rivera will have limited work this spring

Peter Abraham is reporting that Mariano Rivera will not pitch until at least Wednesday. From there, he will only pitch 8-10 innings of spring ball.

Not bad for three years and $45 million.

Rivera usually has periods of the season where he struggles. However, he is older and had a down year overall, yet still got a huge pay raise. Hopefully he will return to his old form, even though we probably won't know coming out of Spring Training.

Murcer to undergo brain biopsy

Bobby Murcer is set to undergo a brain biopsy on Monday after an MRI result concerned his doctors.

From Bill Madden via RAB:

"Please pray that it will be determined to be necrosis (scar tissue from the radiation), and not another cancerous tumor,” Kay [Murcer] wrote in her e-mail. “It’s one of the two.”

“I’ve gotta go back to Houston on Monday for more tests, which means I’m going to have to miss the first two spring training games,” Murcer said. “I still hope to be in Tampa in time for the third game (on March 7) and I’m still planning on doing my full schedule of games for the regular season.”
My thoughts are with the Murcer family during this tough time.

Spring Training games on televison

The following Yankee Spring Training games are on television:

Sunday, Mar. 2 - Philadelphia Phillies, 1:15 p.m., YES
Wednesday, Mar. 5 - Minnesota Twins, 1:15 p.m., YES/ESPN
Friday, Mar. 7 - Houston Astros, 1:15 p.m. YES
Saturday, Mar. 8 - Tampa Bay Rays, 1:15 p.m., YES
Tuesday, Mar. 11 - Toronto Blue Jays, 1:15 p.m., YES
Thursday, Mar. 13 - Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:15 p.m., YES
Saturday, Mar. 15 - (SS) Detroit Tigers, 1:15 p.m., YES
Sunday, Mar. 16 - Cleveland Indians, 1:15 p.m., YES
Monday, Mar. 17 - Boston Red Sox, 1:15 p.m., YES
Tuesday, Mar. 18 - @ Virginia Tech, 3:00 p.m., YES
Thursday, Mar. 20 - @ Toronto Blue Jays, 1:05 p.m., YES/ESPN
Saturday, Mar. 22 - Tampa Bay Rays, 1:15 p.m., YES
Sunday, Mar. 23 - @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:05 p.m., YES
Tuesday, Mar. 25 - @ Cleveland Indians, 1:05 p.m., YES
Thursday, Mar. 27 - Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:15 p.m., YES

Lineup and pitching plan for tomorrow

The Yankees take on the University of South Florida tomorrow afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Here is the lineup and pitching plan for the game, from Peter Abraham:

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Shelley Duncan DH
Melky Cabrera CF

Joba Chamberlain (2 innings)
Ian Kennedy (2 innings)
Phil Hughes (1 inning)
Kei Igawa (1 inning)
Jefff Marquez (1 inning)
Alan Horne (1 inning)
Chase Wright (1 inning)

The starters will play four or five innings, according to Joe Girardi. First pitch is set for 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Individual game tickets to go on sale Friday

From Kat O'Brien:

Individual tickets for Yankees regular season home games go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, online only, at www.yankees.com and www.yankeesbeisbol.com. Tickets go on sale Monday at Yankee Stadium ticket windows, area Ticketmaster outlets, Yankees Clubhouse shops and via Ticketmaster by phone.

Individual ticket prices range from $14-325. There is a 12-ticket limit per person per game for non-premium games, and a four-ticket limit per person for "premium games," which are Opening Day, the Old-Timers' Day game, games against the Red Sox and Mets, and the final three scheduled regular season games at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees have some discount programs available, details of which can be found at www.yankees.com.
As first reported by Scott Proctor's Arm, this is the final year of the current Yankee Stadium, so get these tickets while they're available.

Ensberg's big day

Non-roster invitee Morgan Ensberg went 2-3 with the only extra-base hit in today's intrasquad game. He also walked and scored three runs.

The "Geese" beat the "Gators" 6-2 on a chilly, wet day in Tampa.

Mike Mussina gave up four hits and one earned run over two innings, while walking one and striking out one. Sean Henn didn't help himself out in the bullpen competition, as he walked three batters and gave up two earned runs in 2/3 innings of work.

More on Mussina the teacher

There were reports earlier this month that Mike Mussina has been tutoring Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

Kat O'Brien
has quotes from Mussina, Hughes and Kennedy about Mussina's new hat in today's Newsday.

"I think circumstances play out whatever your role's going to be," Mussina said. "This is just the way it has played out now. We've got some young kids on the pitching staff that people are expecting a lot from. I've been lucky enough to be doing this for a long time, and I've been doing it in New York for, this is my eighth year. So if I can tell them anything, show them anything, give them any help I can, that's what I should be doing."

The sharing of wisdom does not come through a 20-minute daily tutorial.

"That's not how it works," Mussina said. Instead, it's something more organic. A conversation that begins as a discussion of dinner the night before or a movie watched winds up morphing into baseball talk, and some little tidbit is shared.

"It's been good," Hughes said. "He's opened up a little bit more. If I have a question about something, I'll ask him."

"I can talk to these guys and try to be the big brother type of thing," Mussina said, "but there's also a time when you've got to focus and work on what you need to work on. At the time, I had no idea what was going on. I had forgotten how to pitch. I had to figure out how to straighten myself out first, so that was kind of what I was focusing on."

"You can be a little intimidated about asking for help at first," Kennedy said, but Mussina has countered that by making sure they know he is there for them.
Maybe Mussina has a coaching job in his future after he retires. It's good to know that the young guys have someone to look up to on the team. There have been stories about how Bernie Williams was tortured when he was a rookie. The Yankees' success this season depends on how the "Big Three" fares, so any advice and positive reinforcement they can get, the better.

Strickland scratched; Today's lineups

Non-roster invitee Scott Strickland has been scratched from his scheduled appearance on Friday due to tightness in his neck, according to Ed Price. Chase Wright will pitch an inning instead.

Meanwhile, here are the lineupsfor today's intrasquad game from Peter Abraham.

The Gooses
Melky Cabrera CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Shelley Duncan 1B
Morgan Ensberg DH
Wilkson Betemit 3B
Jason Lane LF
Jose Tabata RF
Jeff Karstens RHP

The Gators
Johnny Damon LF
Jose Molina C
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Cody Ransom DH
Nick Green 2B
Chris Woodward SS
Brett Gardner CF
Mike Mussina RHP

Bruney vs. Torre

Brian Bruney is in better shape and seems confident. He spoke to reporters yesterday, talking about his problems last year, especially with Joe Torre.

From Mark Feinsand:

"With Torre - and I'm not trying to bad-mouth anybody - sometimes you would go out there and try to be so good because you were scared of doing bad," Bruney said. "You can't pitch like that. (Joe) Girardi understands that you make mistakes - and I'm going to make them."
Bruney also said that he used to dread coming to the ballpark and that he never talked to Ron Guidry last year. He has formed a bond with new pitching coach Dave Eiland.

He is now "not scared to fail." Bruney has a good arm, but he ran into problems when he couldn't find the plate. Eiland has been successful with the young pitchers coming up through the organization, so hopefully he can get through to Bruney. The bullpen needs all the help it can get.

Intrasquad day

Today marks the first time that the 2008 New York Yankees take the field for a "real" game, as the annual intrasquad game is played. The game will begin at 1 p.m.

Here is the pitching schedule, from Peter Abraham:

Mike Mussina will pitch two innings for the “home” team in the intrasquad game today. He’ll be followed by Darrell Rasner, Dan McCutchen, Sean Henn, Jon Albaladejo, Mark Melancon for one inning each.

Jeff Karstens will go two innings for the “away” team with Scott Patterson, Steven Jackson, Billy Traber, Edwar Ramirez, Ross Ohlendorf to follow.
There has been a lot of talk about Mark Melancon making the team out of Spring Training, despite only pitching six innings of professional baseball. I doubt the Yankees will take that chance, but it should be interesting to see how he performs this spring.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Girardi is impressed by everyone

Add Jason Giambi to the list of players Joe Girardi has been impressed by in camp so far.

From Peter Abraham:

Watched Jason Giambi hit and he was going the other way or up the middle with everything. Joe Girardi said he has been impressed with how good Giambi has looked this spring. As he said, if Giambi proves he can play first base it gives the Yankees a lot more flexibility in terms of their roster and their lineup.
Giambi arrived in camp in great shape and is certainly trying to prove that he can handle being an everyday player.

If all of the first base candidates are playing up to their best, deciding who will start would be a good problem to have.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hank plans to talk deal with Cashman

Hank Steinbrenner said today the he plans to talk to Brian Cashman about a new contract during the season.

From the AP via ESPN.com:

"I want to concentrate on the season, and he does, too," Hank Steinbrenner said Monday. "But during the course of the season, we will talk. It will just happen. We'll be sitting together at the game, and we'll start talking about it. It's just that simple."

Cashman joined the Yankees as a 19-year-old intern in June 1986. He succeeded Bob Watson as general manager after the 1997 season.

"I've known Cash for a long time," Steinbrenner said. "He's been with our family for a long, long time. I think the big thing is with Brian is the organization he put in place. You know, it's not based on just one decision as far as do a trade or don't do a trade, or sign a free agent or don't."
Cashman has done a great job the last few seasons in rebuilding the farm system and straying away from throwing money at free agents. He has had a few blunders (Carl Pavano), but there were a lot of suitors for him anyway, so it's hard to blame Cashman on that.

Earlier this off-season, it seemed as if there was a power struggle between Steinbrenner and Cashman, but it looks like that has cooled since. It is important for Cashman to return to balance out Steinbrenner's irrational thoughts.

Recap of the day in Tampa

According to Peter Abraham, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes threw live batting practice today.

Although Pettitte has a great pickoff move, he was working on a slide step.

On the Hughes front, Abraham called him "terrific." It's tough to judge the pitchers against the hitters just yet, as the hitters have only been facing live pitching for four days. Hughes has been in Tampa for over a month.

However, it's great to see the Hughes is back on track. After coming back from injury last season, he struggled until September. I am expecting big things from Hughes this year. Hughes has said that he finally has his curveball back. It was devastating when he was healthy, so this is a great sign.

Looking ahead, the intrasquad game is on Wednesday and then they face the University of South Florida on Friday.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hawkins pitching to impress

Tyler Kepner, who just had a baby, arrived in Tampa yesterday and is reporting that LaTroy Hawkins has been impressing manager Joe Girardi in camp thus far, via iYankees.

"Hawkins threw great," Girardi said. "The thing that I’ve seen in all of his bullpens is everything is down. He has the sinker. He's a different guy than what we saw a couple years ago, where he was the power guy with a big hook. He was excellent today."

Hawkins said he smoothed his mechanics last season, and when he missed his location, he rarely did so in the middle of the plate. His fastball command was better, he said, which helped him meet the goal he sets every season.

"Guys are going to get their base hits, but you can sure keep from walking them," Hawkins said. "That’s the truth. You can't let guys get on ahead of those base hits.

"That's my goal: to walk less than 20 guys coming out of the bullpen. That's right where you want to be, 20 or less over the season."
I was happy about the Hawkins deal for the simple fact that it was only for one year. The Yankees usually threw multi-year deals at mediocre relievers (Steve Karsay, Kyle Farnsworth) and finally learned their lesson.

However, I like his attitude a lot and it seems like he's working really hard at camp. If he's successful, he could improve the bullpen that has been rather shaky over the last few years.

Back in December
, Brian Cashman said that Hawkins will be scheduled to pitch the sixth and seventh innings. I haven't seen anything that says differently, so it still looks as if Farnsworth and/or Joba Chamberlain (at least in the beginning of the season) will handle the eighth. If Farnsworth struggles after Chamberlain completes his transition back into the rotation, Hawkins would be next for the role.

ESPN: Red Sox sign Colon

According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Bartolo Colon has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Boston Red Sox.

Colon was hurt for much of last season, so it's not a given that he will produce. However, with Curt Schilling being hurt, the Sox felt that he could provide insurance for their starting rotation.

Lazy Sunday

The Yankees took the field at noon today, as players usually start the day late on Sunday. As a result, the reports on what happened today haven't been written yet.

According to Peter Abraham, Chien-Ming Wang is in line to start Opening Day, as he will start next Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Wang was scheduled to start Opening Day last season, but came down with a hamstring injury late in camp.

Ken Davidoff reports that Bob Sheppard recently signed a two-year extension. He should return two months into the season after coming down with pneumonia toward the end last year.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Practice canceled today

According to Peter Abraham, practice was canceled in Tampa today. The players have been working indoors but never took the field.

This is good news for me, as I'll be out all afternoon seeing some Quinnipiac basketball.

Friday, February 22, 2008

An interview with Hawkins

Eli from MLB Rumors sat down for a few minutes with LaTroy Hawkins.

The interview can be found here.

Recap of today in Tampa

Bryan Hoch gives us a good recap of what happened during the first day of live batting practice today.

The Yankees got through their first day of live hitting and pitching drills without incident. Joba Chamberlain was the guy getting the loudest cheers from the fans and he looked OK, but it's so hard to tell since the hitters know what's coming and spit on most of the pitches.

Chamberlain actually said that his changeup was his best pitch today -- that's good news for people wanting to see him evolve a deeper repertoire for the third and fourth times around the order. Mike Mussina was able to locate his pitches down, and Joe Girardi complimented Sean Henn's session. He also called Steven Jackson's sinker "exciting."
Good to see that Chamberlain was happy with his new pitch. If it is anywhere near as good as his slider and fastball, that is good news for Yankee fans. It is also good to see that Mussina has been performing well so far. Reading his quotes, he seems upbeat and confident.

Hoch continues, saying that prospect Jesus Montero hit Chien-Ming Wang relatively hard, taking him to the opposite field warning track.

In other news, in a move that he will likely end up regretting, Phil Hughes posted his email address on his blog.

There was also a George Steinbrenner sighting.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Live BP today

Today marks the first time that the hitters will face the pitchers, as live batting practice begins.

Kat O'Brien
gives us the list of pitchers who are scheduled to throw:

Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Sean Henn, Jeff Karstens, Steven Jackson, Scott Patterson, LaTroy Hawkins, Billy Traber, Edwar Ramirez, Jonathan Albaladejo, Darrell Rasner, Ross Ohlendorf, Daniel McCutchen, and Mark Melancon.
I'm sure one of the beat writers will have a recap of live batting practice, so when I see a recap, I'll post it here.

The pitchers are ahead of the hitters at this point of Spring Training, so the pitchers will probably look exceptionally good.

Jeter responds to A-Rod

Yesterday, Alex Rodriguez predicted that Derek Jeter would have an MVP season. Today, Jeter responded.

From Peter Abraham:

“I don’t even think about it. I have to be honest with you guys, man. I’d much rather win. That’s the bottom line. I’ve said time and time again, you play to win,” he said. “You always want to do well because the better you do, the better the team will be. But the bottom line from day one is whatever we can do to win.”
Oh, that Jeter. Always saying the right things to never stir the pot.

Abraham also gives us more quotes, regarding Jeter's off-season conditioning.
“I had done some different things this offseason to try and get better and try and improve. Did a lot of speed (work), lot of agility, lot of lateral movement, lot of explosive stuff to try and get quicker, faster and move around a little bit better,” he said.

“My issue has always been putting weight on. I have a real tough time gaining weight. In past offseasons I’d eat as much as I could to try and gain weight because I knew once spring training came I would lose weight. This year I basically just said this is the card I’ve been dealt, I might as well not try to gain too much weight and just work with what I have. Last year I had some problems with legs, so you do whatever you can to try and strengthen your legs.”
It's good to hear that many of the players have made a concerted effort to get into shape this winter.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A-Rod's crystal ball

Alex Rodriguez made a couple of predictions for the 2008 season today, including how he expects Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu to perform.

From Peter Abraham:

“I think Derek Jeter is going to have an MVP season. That’s my prediction for the year,” Rodriguez said. “And Bobby’s going to have a monster year.”
More on Jeter:
“I think he’s going to have an explosive, monster season. I think he’s in great shape. I think he did some great things this winter with his workouts. I’m very excited for his year.”
And Jeter and Rodriguez hate each other.

Is this just another case of the typical spring optimism, or is Rodriguez really a psychic? Only time will tell.

REUTERS/Scott Audette

Final game at the Stadium sold out

In shocking news, the final game at Yankee Stadium sold out yesterday in 11 minutes.

Scalpers are charging $17,000 for the best seats, according to the Daily News' Dave Goldiner.

Hopefully this won't be the real last game in the Stadium and the Yankees will go far in the playoffs.

I doubt I'll be at that game, so the last time I attend the Stadium in the summer will be rather emotional. I'm excited for the new Stadium, but it will still be sad when they open up 2009 in a different building.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A-Rod back in the spotlight

Alex Rodriguez spoke to the media today and managed to get himself into some trouble.

Peter Abraham explains:

During his meeting with reporters today, the subject of PEDs came up and Rodriguez said he was tested nine or 10 times last season.

While that sounds good, that many tests would indicate a problem. Players are usually tested twice: once during spring training and at some random time during the season. There are 600 additional random tests during the season spread out over 1,200 players or so.
Rodriguez later admitted that he was exaggerating to prove a point. Hopefully it wasn't a Freudian slip.

For someone who tries to be as media savvy as Rodriguez does, it's really amazing that he lets quotes like this come out.

A few words on commenting

For some reason, the comments section has become inundated with spam. To combat this, I have turned on word verification for leaving comments.

To leave a comment, you will have to type in a few letters and numbers. Sorry for the inconvenience, but this had to be done.

Jeter on running

Derek Jeter uttered a very telling remark this afternoon, regarding Joe Girardi's insistence on running.

From Bryan Hoch:

Derek Jeter was asked today if he missed Joe Torre. Pausing for a few beats before delivering an off-the cuff remark, Jeter said, "Yeah, I missed him ... when we were running."
Is this what Joe Torre was doing during his time as a manager? Hoch mentions that a pitcher said that Torre wasn't running a country club, but Girardi is having his players work hard this spring, and this will only be a good thing.

The Yankees had many a hamstring give out early last season, so the players need to be better conditioned. If this makes the players uncomfortable at the beginning of training, so be it.

Damon was ready to retire before last season

According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, Johnny Damon was ready to walk away from baseball last spring with three years and $39 million remaining on his contract.

"I was just exhausted .... Burnt out,'' Damon told SI.com Tuesday. "[Retirement] definitely crossed my mind."

After a few days, Damon decided to return. "I knew these guys needed me,'' Damon said with a smile. How true that was.
Damon is in much better shape this spring and is overly confident.

From Peter Abraham:
“I’m ready to go out there and prove to everyone that I’m still a pretty good player. I’ve been pretty consistent over my career. But when you talk about good players in the league my name hardly comes up and I don‘t think that’s right. I need to go out there and show them.”
I love this attitude from Damon, and hopefully he delivers. He can still provide a spark from the leadoff spot and he is a much better option in left field than Hideki Matsui is.

Sheffield misses the Yankees

Scott Proctor's Arm's whipping boy Gary Sheffield is missing the pinstripes.

From Kat O'Brien:

Gary Sheffield is no longer a Yankee, but that doesn't mean the Yankees are no longer on his mind. Sheffield, now with the Detroit Tigers, ran into a reporter while leaving the Cheesecake Factory in Tampa Monday night. Sheffield said, "I miss those guys," and also asked about Andy Pettitte.
Makes sense. Joe Torre isn't the manager anymore.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Very strange

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Position players reported today

The position players reported to camp and took their physicals today. The first full-squad workout will be tomorrow.

Johnny Damon was a subject of attention today. According to Bryan Hoch, Damon wants to prove that he is a still an elite leadoff man. He also has no problem with left field, and will play center field when Melky Cabrera needs a rest.

From Peter Abraham, Joe Girardi hopes that Damon will get at least 600 at-bats.

Giambi also "looks great" and would like to play beyond next year (the final year of his Yankee contract). I feel that even if he has a decent year, this will be his last as a Yankee. Giambi is a station-to-station guy on the bases, and the Yankees are trying to get younger and more athletic.

Mussina is throwing well. He needs to be on a mission to prove his worth, as he is also in the last year of his contract. He's been on the decline the last few years, so he doesn't want to fall out of favor with the higher-ups in the organization. It also helps that he has been mentoring Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

Hank Steinbrenner signed many autographs this afternoon, and there was also a Carl Pavano sighting (pictured here with Humberto Sanchez).

The news has been rather slow today, so I don't see anything happening for the rest of today. But if there is anything, I'll be here. Enjoy the rest of your day.

In the meantime, Hal Steinbrenner did an interview for GQ Magazine.

Photos by REUTERS/Scott Audette

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pettitte's news conference

Andy Pettitte did extremely well at his news conference this afternoon.

He openly apologized for using human growth hormone and said he wouldn't choose to go that route if he had another chance. He said he was desperate, as he thought this would help him recover from injury faster.

He doesn't consider himself a cheater - he was only trying to help his team win.

However, I can't buy that argument. While I applaud Pettitte for coming out and apologizing the way he did today, he did try to gain a competitive advantage by trying to recover faster. The HGH may not have made his pitches travel faster, but he was able to return to throw those pitches much sooner.

Also, the fact that Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada were there to support Pettitte shows that the team is behind him. Those three players and Pettitte are from the "old guard" and are the team's leaders.

Now that this is over, we can move on. This is a sad chapter in Pettitte's career, but hopefully he can put this behind him.

(Photo by Robert Browman/Getty Images)

Pettitte to arrive today

Andy Pettitte is set to report to Spring Training in Tampa today and will hold a 3 p.m. news conference this afternoon.

Those who are expecting him to say anything newsworthy will probably be left disappointed. I can see this news conference being similar to Jason Giambi's vague apology for doing "that stuff."

While we kind of know what Pettitte did (he claimed to only using HGH twice in 2002, which later turned out to be a lie), what else is there for Pettitte to say?

He definitely won't say that he's robbing the Yankees of $16 million by misleading them.

All he will say is that he's sorry and that he will be ready for the season.

Unfortunately, this is the big story today and this is what all the papers will have tomorrow. Hopefully this will be the last of the Mitchell Report fallout for now. With Spring Training getting underway, the distractions should be kept to a minimum.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why John Sterling is my favorite sportscaster

For my sports reporting class, we had to write about who our favorite sportscaster is, and why. I wrote about John Sterling, the radio voice of the New York Yankees. I'm aware that I wrote a post way back when chastising Sterling. Since then, I have seen the light:

When asked to write about who my favorite announcer is, I had to do some thinking. I’m an avid Yankee fan, but I hate Michael Kay with a passion. I love the Giants, but they don’t have local television announcers. From here, I had to turn my attention to the radio, and that is where I found my favorite announcer. My favorite announcer is John Sterling, the radio voice of the New York Yankees.

Now, before you judge, I think Sterling is a terrible broadcaster. But that is not the question at hand. The question is, “Who is my favorite sportscaster?”

Sterling is my favorite announcer because he is the only announcer that I get excited to listen to. I watch most of the games on television, so it is a treat when I have to listen to the game on the radio. When I am driving and the Yankees are on, I rush to tune to WCBS-AM 880 to listen to him call the game. I don’t listen to him for his broadcasting prowess. I don’t listen to him to increase my baseball knowledge. I listen to him to be entertained, and he is the only person that can hold that honor. When I put him on, there is always a chance that his partner, Suzyn Waldman, and he will say something that will make me scratch my head and wonder what they are talking about.

Sterling paints a horrible picture of the game. He will say that a ball is high and far, only to be caught at the warning track. I wonder how many car accidents have been caused by Sterling blunders. While he is frustrating to listen to on the radio, it doesn’t change the fact that he is a showman. Sterling is a comedian on the air, but I doubt he is trying to be funny most of the time. He is also probably the biggest goofball to ever broadcast. He is extremely fun to imitate while playing pickup Wiffleball games or even watching the game on television.

For all of his faults, Sterling loves his job. He never misses a game and obviously has a great time doing what he does for a living. The YouTube video of him doing his famous “Yankees win, the-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e Yankees win!” call is absolutely hilarious and even more fun to mimic.

As I am writing this, Game 4 of the 2001 World Series is airing on the YES Network with Sterling calling the game. Sterling reminds me of baseball and my beloved Yankees. That is why he is my favorite sportscaster.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Clemens' jersey removed from Yogi Museum

The Yogi Berra Museum's director David Kaplan announced that museum has taken down Roger Clemens' jersey from a display honoring the Yankees teams of the late 1990s.

From the AP via Yankees.com:

Kaplan said the decision to remove the jersey was not made to generate publicity, but was done in response to allegations of steroid use by Clemens that resulted in Wednesday's Congressional hearing where the seven-time Cy Young Award winner testified.

"It was the fact that there are a lot of unresolved issues involving Roger and it was difficult for us to give answers to the kids coming through the museum," Kaplan said.

This makes sense. It's always about the kids.

Day 2 at Steinbrenner Field

Mike Mussina is starting to lighten up, as he is mentoring young pitchers Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, according to Mark Feinsand.

Feinsand says that Mussina requested to have Hughes' locker moved next to Mussina and Kennedy. From Feinsand: “If I’m going to sit there and talk to Kennedy about pitching, it makes sense to have Hughes there, too,” Mussina said.

Good to see Mussina talking to the young pitchers. He has struggled in the last few years of his career, but he can still offer valuable advice to the young pitchers, especially Kennedy - he has been compared to Mussina in the past.

According to Peter Abraham, Jason Giambi has been working out since November. He has dropped a lot of weight and has been hitting nearly everyday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Giambi is in the final year of his seven-year, $120 million deal, and he is in a competition for the first base/designated hitter job.

In other news, your favorite Yankee blog (this one) was mentioned in the Riverside (Ca.) Press-Enterprise. Diamond Leung did a feature on the namesake (Scott Proctor) and mentioned Scott Proctor's Arm in the lead. Thanks to Bubbafan for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pettitte to throw tomorrow

Despite being allowed to report on Monday, Andy Pettitte will throw a bullpen session tomorrow in Houston, according to Ronald Blum.

Here are some Yankees' reactions on the Pettitte situation:

"I think to be a little bit concerned is natural, but my instinct is that he will handle it well," Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said.

"As soon as he gets on the baseball field, I think he's able to forget it real quick and concentrate on baseball," catcher Jorge Posada said. "We've got a lot of guys here that are going to support him and give him everything, all the support that he needs."

"He's doing good. Obviously, he's been through a pretty traumatic offseason," [Joe] Girardi said. "You'll take his temperature to see where he's at, but I expect Andy to be Andy and ready to go and to come out and do his work and be prepared when the season starts. I don't have any reason to think he won't be prepared March 31."

Good to see that Pettitte is trying to prepare. The Yankees have been concerned about Pettitte since he was named in the Mitchell Report, so this shows that Pettitte is still committed.

Yankees win Wang's arbitration case

Peter Abraham is reporting that the Yankees have won the arbitration case against Chien-Ming Wang.

Wang will receive $4 million this season, and will have to go through this process again next off-season.

Wang had wanted a long-term deal, but the Yankees were hesitant to oblige, saying that it's difficult for pitchers to stay healthy.

The Yankees and Wang were only $600,000 apart, so I don't know why they didn't settle on $4.3 million and not go to a hearing. That has to be a miserable experience for both sides.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Steinbrenner Day petition

The Yankee GM Blog created an online petition to hold a George M. Steinbrenner Day at Yankee Stadium this year.

The petition can be found here.

This isn't a bad idea. The Yankees have already renamed Legends Field after Steinbrenner, so holding a day in honor of Steinbrenner in the final year of the Stadium shouldn't be that hard.

Happy P&C Day!

Yes, today is Feb. 14 - Valentine's Day - but more importantly, it's the day that pitchers and catchers (sans Andy Pettitte) are scheduled to report!

This is the day we have all been counting down to since the Yankees were eliminated by the Cleveland Indians on Oct. 8 at Yankee Stadium.

It's a day of fresh starts for everyone, and that's probably what is most exciting. We can all begin to forget what happened last year and look to this season.

There are some items of news out there today: Legends Field in Tampa is being renamed to honor George Steinbrenner. It will now be known as George M. Steinbrenner Field. Also, for some reason, Morgan Ensberg is wearing No. 21. The Yankees haven't assigned this number since Paul O'Neill retired after the 2001, so it's curious for them to assign it to a non-roster invitee.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pettitte to report late

According to Peter Abraham, Andy Pettitte was given permission to report to Spring Training on Monday, instead of tomorrow with the rest of the pitchers and catchers.

The Yankees are concerned about Pettitte's preparation, as reported by Buster Olney yesterday. Hopefully him missing some time during Spring Training won't hurt him more.

Pettitte admits to more HGH use

In December, I wrote that Andy Pettitte had "come clean." He admitted to using HGH in 2002 for two days to recover from an elbow injury. Well, we learned today that Pettitte wasn't being entirely truthful.

From a statement released by Pettitte's lawyers, via the AP:

"In that affidavit, Andy informed the committee that in addition to the two shots a day of HGH he took for two days in 2002, he also took HGH for a one-day period in 2004, shortly preceding season-ending elbow surgery," Pettitte's lawyers, Jay Reisinger, Thomas Farrell and James Sharp, said in the statement.

"Andy had not previously mentioned this usage because he acquired the substance from his father, who had obtained it without Andy's knowledge in an effort to overcome his very serious health problems, which have included serious cardiac conditions.

"Andy did not want his father, whom he deeply respects and loves, to be brought into this matter and sought to shield him from publicity. In both cases, Andy used HGH in a misguided effort to recover from injury."

I don't know what to believe anymore. Pettitte received credit for admitting what he had done in the past, and then this comes out.

The Congressional hearing today was also a disgrace. Either Roger Clemens or Brian McNamee were lying through their teeth. The more I hear from Clemens, the more I believe he's lying.

This whole thing is a mess. Good thing pitchers and catchers report tomorrow so we can get back to baseball.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mench signs with Rangers

Last week, there was a report out there that the Yankees were interested in Kevin Mench.

According to The Dallas Morning News (via MLB Trade Rumors), Mench has signed a minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers.

Wang wants long-term deal, Yankees disagree

The reason why Chien-Ming Wang may be headed to an arbitration hearing is years.

From Anthony DiComo:

"I want to [work out a long-term contract]," Wang said after working out at the team's Minor League complex in Tampa, before admitting that the Yankees have led him to dismiss that hope.

The team's reasoning, according to Wang, was that it's difficult for pitchers to stay healthy, so there's little incentive to sign a young starter to a long-term deal.

Especially not one like Wang, who won't be a free agent until 2011. With no competition for his services for another four seasons, the Yankees don't have much reason to lock him up with a long-term deal. Waiting may cost them some money if Wang continues to improve, but it also effectively voids the risk of injury.

Robinson Cano signed a four-year deal earlier, effectively taking away his arbitration years, so I could see why Wang wants a long-term deal. However, pitchers are much more different from second basemen.

I guess it's better to pay him more money while he is playing than to pay him guaranteed money if he's hurt.

Yankees concerned about Pettitte's preparation

Andy Pettitte's name appearing in the Mitchell Report has the Yankees worried about his off-season preparation, according to Buster Olney.

Pettitte was recently deposed by Congress and asked out of testifying yesterday.

Olney says that Pettitte usually began throwing in January, sometimes with Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee. Since both Clemens and McNamee were implicated, the Yankees don't know where Pettitte stands in training. As a result, the Yankees will assume that Pettitte is behind the Yankees' other starters in terms of conditioning.

Hopefully this doesn't affect Pettitte during the season. The Yankees will have a very young pitching rotation, and will need the veteran leadership of Pettitte. Also, with the young starters likely having innings caps, Pettitte's 200+ innings will be crucial.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts

I realize I haven't posted since Wednesday, and I apologize. Scott Proctor's Arm's headquarters (my laptop) has not been functioning to the best of its ability, and that has affected my ability to keep up with Yankees news.

One of the major stories this week was that Chien-Ming Wang is probably headed to an arbitration hearing on Feb. 14, the same day that pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report. Via Peter Abraham, general manager Brian Cashman says, "There have been talks but they haven't been productive."

The Yankees haven't gone to a hearing since 2000 with Mariano Rivera.

Wang submitted a bid of $4.6 million, while the Yankees offered $4 million. The two sides aren't too far apart, so I don't know what's keeping them from reaching an agreement.

That is pretty much it for on-field news. Once pitchers and catchers report, there will be much more news to report on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tino returns to the Yankees as a special instructor

Tino Martinez is rejoining the Yankees as a special instructor this season, according to the AP.

He joined the team today and worked one-on-one with Shelley Duncan.

Some quotes from Martinez:

"It's awesome," Martinez said. "I really enjoy this, the opportunity to come out and coach and help these guys get better, especially the young guys."

"I'm used to coming in here geared up for spring training, trying to find my swing," Martinez said. "It's nice to come out here and really enjoy the part of being a coach and helping the players get better, and not worrying so much about what I have to do to get ready for spring training."
On managing some day:
"Probably, eventually, down the line," Martinez said. "I didn't know how much I would enjoy coaching in college last year, and I really enjoyed it. Right now, I'm just very content with the role I have."
Martinez was always a class act, and it's great to see him back in pinstripes.

Bruney signs, Wang close

There was some baseball news yesterday, but I was at the Giants Super Bowl parade and was too exhausted to do anything.

From Peter Abraham:

The Yankees signed Brian Bruney for one year and $725,000, avoiding arbitration.

Bruney had been seeking $845,000 and the Yankees were offering $640,000. The only unsigned Yankees is now Chien-Ming Wang. His arbitration hearing is reportedly scheduled for Feb. 15 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

It’s likely the Yankees willcome to some sort of agreement with Wang before then. They are only $600,000 apart.

Bruney's getting a lot of money, so he has to perform a lot better than he did last season. That means cutting down on the walks.

It's good to see that the Yankees and Wang aren't that far apart. Going to arbitration sounds like horrible process. The player has to listen while their employer gives reasons why they shouldn't make more money.

Wang submitted $4.6 million, while the Yankees submitted a $4 million offer.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tim Brown previews the AL East

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports previewed the AL East tonight.

The portion on the Yankees doesn't really tell us anything we don't know already. There will be a competition at first base and the bullpen is still a problem.

One interesting thing I read was that Mariano Rivera hasn't had a postseason save since 2005 - something I hadn't realized (or chose to ignore). As happy as I am from the Super Bowl victory last night, that is rather depressing.

Hughes to wear No. 34

Last week, Phil Hughes wrote that he was planning on changing his number.

Today, he let us know that he will be taking Sean Henn's No. 34 jersey. Hughes agreed to take Henn out for dinner at Fleming's in Tampa.

Hughes explained in the comments section that No. 7 (3 + 4) is his mom's favorite number and Nolan Ryan, his favorite pitcher, also wore that number.

I would've liked to see him wear No. 22, but I can't complain with No. 34. That's a pretty good number as well.

Duncan is healthy and ready for 2008

After being diagnosed with a blood clot earlier this off-season, Shelley Duncan is fully healthy and ready to battle for the starting first baseman job this season.

From the AP:

"It was a roller coaster," Duncan said Monday. "Any time you have health problems that are not the norm with playing baseball, it's something to worry about, Especially when you get to the point you don't know what's wrong with you. It's pretty scary. Fortunately, the doctors that we have took care of me, and I'm able to do what I'm doing now."

"Fortunately, all the little health problems I had to deal with, they were timed perfectly enough where it didn't affect what I normally do in the offseason," Duncan said. "So I got to get on my normal offseason regiment. I'm just happy to be down here now so I can get focused."
Good to hear. Duncan was a great story last season and hopefully he performs well, but his health is the most important thing.

Ledger: Yankees interested in Mench

According to Ed Price of The Star-Ledger, the Yankees have an interest in outfielder Kevin Mench. He was non-tendered by the Brewers after last season. He hit .267 with eight home runs in 288 at-bats.

Price believes it would be a minor-league deal, so it can't hurt if he's terrible during Spring Training.

However, is it really worth all the Michael Kay jokes about the size of Mench's head? Didn't think so.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


I'm well aware that this is a Yankee blog, but what has happened these last four games has been the most improbable thing I have witnessed in my 19 years. The New York Giants, the New York Giants, have defeated the 18-0 New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII. If you told me in September that this would happen, I would've laughed in your face.

I have come on here, every Sunday in January, posting pictures of Eli Manning in a rather sarcastic manner. I never expected this man to lead us anywhere, but he came through.

The reporting date of pitchers and catchers is less than two weeks away, but I couldn't care less right now. I have witnessed four World Series titles in my life (even though I was rather young to fully appreciate what they meant), but I always thought a Super Bowl would be more special. I started crying, something I always imagined I would do if I somehow witnessed a championship.

My school is located roughly between New York City and Boston, so the split in team allegiances is quite evident. However, after the game, two of my roommates and I ran outside to join a huge celebration that was going out right outside our building. This is one of the most surreal experiences of my life and I'm still waiting for someone to pinch me to wake me up from this crazy dream.

Yankee fans should know this more than anyone else: Arizona is where dynasties go to die.

And, for one final time, bELIeve!


Friday, February 1, 2008

Mets, Santana agree to contract extension

Our long, national nightmare is over: Johan Santana has finally, officially found a home.

According to John Heyman of SI, the Mets and Santana agreed to a six-year, $137.5 million extension to go along with the $13.25 he was scheduled to make this season. The deal is pending a physical, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow.

This makes him the highest-paid pitcher in the game, surpassing Barry Zito's seven-year, $126 million contract that was signed last off-season.

Both the Yankees and Red Sox could have had Santana if they were willing to pay the price. However, the Mets were the only team who really needed him. Yes, it would have been nice to see Santana in pinstripes, but it's even nicer seeing the young starters develop at a fraction of the price.

Law's farm system rankings

Yesterday, I posted Keith Law's list of the top 100 prospects of 2008.

Today, he's at it again, this time ranking the farm systems overall.

On his personal blog, he ranked the Yankees as having the fifth-best farm system in baseball, behind Tampa Bay, Texas, Boston and Cincinnati.

He didn't give any other information on the Yankees, but it's really amazing how far the Yankees' farm system has come in recent years.