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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Just a quick thought

Much has been made about how the Yankees are not closing the regular season at home. Today's postponement could have been a great opportunity to reschedule this game at the very end of the regular season, thus allowing the Yankees to play the final game of the regular season at Yankee Stadium.

Of course, this is all moot if the Yankees make the playoffs.

Proctor in the game

With runners on first and second and two out, Scott Proctor induced a fly ball to get out of the inning to preserve the Dodgers' 5-0 lead in the seventh inning.

Much has been made about Proctor's reunion with Joe Torre, so he's getting an early start this season.

Liveblog: Blue Jays at Yankees

It's raining and the tarp is out on the field. The Yankees have announced that the start of the game will be delayed, but the weather will supposedly improve.

If the game does start, I will have updates in this post.

Update - 1:00 p.m.: Rain delay programming is currently airing on the YES Network. It is not known when first pitch will occur.

Update - 1:30 p.m.: The ESPN announcers just said that there is a window of good weather in the 2:00 hour. As of now, the tarp is still on the field and no one is warming up.

Update - 2:30 p.m.: The game has been called. It will be made up tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m., weather permitting, of course.

(Photo by Jeffrey Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Game 1: Blue Jays at Yankees

Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
David Eckstein SS Johnny Damon LF
Shannon Stewart LF Derek Jeter SS
Alex Rios RF Bobby Abreu RF
Vernon Wells CF Alex Rodriguez 3B
Frank Thomas DH Jason Giambi 1B
Lyle Overbay 1B Robinson Cano 2B
Aaron Hill 2B Jorge Posada C
Marco Scutaro 3B Hideki Matsui DH
Gregg Zaun C Melky Cabrera CF

Roy Halladay vs. Chien-Ming Wang

Time: 1:05 p.m.
TV: YES, ESPN
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns
  • Wang was 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA against Toronto last season.
  • Hill went 5-8 against Wang with one RBI last season.
  • Wells went 4-5 against Wang with three RBI last season.
  • Zaun had four RBI against Wang last season.
  • Halladay was 1-0 with a 2.38 ERA against New York last season.
  • Cano went 4-9 with two home runs and three RBI against Halladay last season.
  • Rodriguez went 3-7 with two RBI against Halladay last season.

The start of a new era

Today is the day we've all (figuratively) circled on our calendars: Opening Day.

Hearing those two words conjures up thoughts of summer, past successes and new beginnings. Today marks a new beginning.

Joe Torre, the man who managed the last 12 Opening Days is 3,000 miles west. While I'm happy he is where he is, something just doesn't seem right about that. For the first few games, it will be strange seeing Joe Girardi in his place.

The lineup has the same players, but the starting rotation has gotten much younger. This is what many Yankee fans are most excited about. Sure, they will have their struggles this year. But knowing that the future is promising puts a smile on everyone's faces.

Hopefully the rain will hold off and hopefully Chien-Ming Wang has forgotten about what happened last October.

I'll have the game preview up soon and a liveblog will follow that, so stay tuned.

Let's go Yankees!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Welcome home

Here are some of the first shots of the Yankees in New York:


(AP Photos/Seth Wenig)

Pettitte and Kennedy in Tampa

Andy Pettitte and Ian Kennedy both threw in a minor-league intrasquad game this afternoon, according to Peter Abraham.

Pettitte threw 77 pitches, allowing only one hit and one walk while striking out six in six innings.

Kennedy gave up four hits and one walk over five innings. He struck out five.

Pettitte seemed pleased with his day:

“I threw 77 pitches, and that’s what I needed,” Pettitte said. “It’s exactly what I wanted to do. I feel great. Everything felt good today. Got a lot of work in. Did I have to get to 77 pitches today because I’m a little short and behind everybody? Yeah. I’m ready for my start and just looking forward to continuing to build my strength up.”
This is great news. Pettitte is scheduled to start on Saturday.

This is probably all there is in terms of news today. I'll be around tomorrow to liveblog the game for those who couldn't skip work to watch Opening Day. See you all then.

Yankees conclude spring training with a victory

Phil Hughes was solid the Yankees' final spring training game on 2008, allowing only one earned run over five innings, in their 4-2 victory of the Florida Marlins Saturday night at Dolphin Stadium.

Hughes struck out four and walked only one. He threw 69 pitches for 44 strikes and is on target to start Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays and Dustin McGowan.

Melky Cabrera hit a home run and Chad Moeller hit a go-ahead inside-the-park home run in the ninth inning. Marlins outfield Alejandro De Aza sprained his ankle on the play and was carted off the field.

The Yankees bullpen was solid, allowing only two combined hits over the final four innings. Mariano Rivera pitched 1-3 of an inning and Joba Chamberlain pitched 2-3 of an inning, striking out one batter.

Derek Jeter sprained his pinky in batting practice and only had two at-bats. It's not expected to be serious and Jeter should be in the lineup come Monday.

So that does it for spring training. The Yankees will open up at the current Yankee Stadium for the final time Monday afternoon. Chien-Ming Wang gets the honor of starting this game for New York. Toronto's Roy Halladay will oppose.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Roster set, as Pettitte heads to DL

After tonight's 5-3 loss to the Florida Marlins, the Yankees finalized the roster.

Nick Green, Scott Patterson, Darrell Rasner, Kei Igawa, Edwar Ramirez and Jose Veras were all either reassigned or optioned. Due to Green's reassignment, Wilson Betemit will be the only backup middle infielder on the 25-man roster.

The biggest news is that Andy Pettitte was retroactively placed on the 15-day disabled list. As a result, he will be eligible to return next Saturday.

The bullpen will consist of Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, Kyle Farnsworth, LaTroy Hawkins, Billy Traber, Ross Ohlendorf, Jonathan Albaladejo and Brian Bruney.

Someone will have to be demoted once Pettitte returns and Joe Girardi stressed that they will have a long reliever on the roster eventually. It didn't help that Jeff Karstens was also placed on the disabled list.

So here is where the 25-man roster stands:

Starting Lineup

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

Bench

C: Jose Molina
1B: Morgan Ensberg
1B/OF: Shelley Duncan
INF: Wilson Betemit

Starting Pitchers

RHP: Chien-Ming Wang
RHP Mike Mussina
RHP: Phil Hughes
RHP: Ian Kennedy

Bullpen

RHP Mariano Rivera
RHP Joba Chamberlain
RHP Kyle Farnsworth
RHP LaTroy Hawkins
LHP Billy Traber
RHP Ross Ohlendorf
RHP Jonathan Albaladejo
RHP Brian Bruney

A-Rod returns home, Yankees lose

Alex Rodriguez played in his hometown of Miami, Fla. for the first time and even hit a home run. It wasn't enough, however, as the Yankees lost 5-3 to the Florida Marlins at Dolphin Stadium.

Rodriguez went 2-3 with two RBI and a walk, including that home run in the fourth inning. Through tonight's game, he has a .452 spring batting average.

Johnny Damon, recovering from the flu, went 2-3 with two doubles from the left field spot. He was later replaced by newlywed Hideki Matsui, who went 0-2. Derek Jeter was 2-4 with a double and Jason Giambi also went 2-4.

Mike Mussina started for New York, and lasted 5 1-3 innings. Over that span, he gave up five earned runs, including two home runs to Mike Jacobs. He struck out two and walked one. He got up to 73 pitches in his final spring start before regular season play begins.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched 2-3 of an inning and only allowed one hit. He has not been scored upon in Grapefruit League play. Jonathan Albaladejo and Edwar Ramirez each struck out one batter and gave up one hit in their innings.

The Yankees conclude Grapefruit League play tomorrow with another game at Dolphin Stadium. Phil Hughes will match up against Chris Volstad with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 p.m.

(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

On to Miami

The Yankees have finally left Tampa and will play two exhibition games at Dolphin Stadium against the Florida Marlins before flying north for Opening Day on Monday. Both games, tonight and tomorrow night, will be broadcast by WCBS-AM 880.

Joe Girardi is returning to place where he won the 2006 National League Manager of the Year award but was fired anyway. The Yankees are playing the team that defeated them in the 2003 World Series. While it is an exhibition series and the teams are much different than they were, this trip could still be meaningful for some.

Opening Day is three days away. This is the day we've been waiting for since Jorge Posada struck out to end the Division Series in October.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Woodward released, Henn DL'd

Chris Woodward was released after today's game, cutting the total number of players left in camp to 42, according to Peter Abraham.

This leaves the Yankees with Wilson Betemit as the only utility infielder on the Major League roster, which is a rather scary thought.

Sean Henn was also put on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis. He is out of options and Billy Traber has pretty much won the left-handed specialist job, so it'll be interesting to see what happens with Henn when he recovers. If Traber is successful, I would guess that the Yankees would put Henn through waivers.

Game Preview: Yankees at Phillies

New York Yankees

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Jorge Posada C
Wilson Betemit SS
Jason Lane LF
Chien-Ming Wang P

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Pregame concerns: Yup, Wang has to bat. Thanks, Phillies.

I had a busy day yesterday, so I wasn't around to recap yesterday's game.

Ian Kennedy pitched 4 2-3 innings against the Cleveland Indians yesterday afternoon. He struggled with his control at times, as he walked four and struck out three. He gave up four unearned runs (0 earned) thanks to a Melky Cabrera error that led to four first-inning runs. The Yankees eventually lost 7-5.

Robinson Cano added to his hot spring, going 3-4 with two RBI. He is hitting .464 this spring and has 19 RBI. He needs to save this for the regular season. Jason Giambi went 2-4 from first base, and Hideki Matsui started in left field.

Darrell Rasner gave up three unearned runs in two innings, including the go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning. Kyle Farnsworth gave up one hit in his scoreless inning.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Yankees defeat Phillies 13-4

The Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 13-4 Monday night.

Notable performances:

  • Phil Hughes: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 86 pitches for 54 strikes.
  • Robinson Cano: 3-4, 1 HR, 1 3B, 5 RBI
  • Derek Jeter: 3-4, 1 2B
  • Shelley Duncan: 3-4, 1 RBI
  • Melky Cabrera: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Jason Giambi: 2-2, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Mariano Rivera: 1 IP, 1 BB, 3 K
  • LaTroy Hawkins pitched his eighth scoreless inning of the spring.
  • The Yankees had 19 hits.
Hughes certainly improved after his previous two starts. He apparently looked sharp and displayed good command, which is a great sign.

Ian Kennedy will face Paul Byrd tomorrow afternoon, as the Yankees travel to Winter Haven, Fla. to face the Cleveland Indians at 1:05 p.m.

Game Preview: Phillies at Yankees

Philadelphia Phillies
New York Yankees
Jimmy Rollins SS Melky Cabrera CF
Shane Victorino CF Derek Jeter SS
Greg Dobbs RF Bobby Abreu RF
Ryan Howard 1B Alex Rodriguez 3B
Pat Burrell LF Jason Giambi DH
Chris Snelling DH Jorge Posada C
Pedro Feliz 3B Robinson Cano 2B
Chris Coste C Shelley Duncan LF
Eric Bruntlett 2B Morgan Ensberg 1B


Jamie Moyer Phil Hughes
Tom Gordon Mariano Rivera
Vic Darensbourg LaTroy Hawkins

Time: 7:15 p.m.
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Johnny Damon has the flu and was sent home. ... Legends Field will officially be renamed after George Steinbrenner on Thursday.

Britton sent to minor-league camp

Chris Britton was reassigned to the minor-league camp today, according to Peter Abraham. Dan Giese and Heath Phillips were also sent across the street.

Britton never seemed to get a chance under Joe Torre last season and had decent numbers this spring (1 ER in 5 IP). This season, there are simply not enough spots. If someone struggles, I wouldn't mind giving him another shot.

In that same Abraham post, there is some news on Andy Pettitte. He played catch but still felt stiff and doesn't want to return to the mound until he feels no pain. Pettitte is still scheduled to start on April 2, but anything can change from now until then.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Betemit refuses to give up No. 14

As if I needed more of a reason to dislike Wilson Betemit, he would not give his No. 14 uniform to Morgan Ensberg - not even for $5,000, according to Jack Curry.

The newest member for the 40-man roster does not want to wear Paul O'Neill's old No. 21, so he's in the market for a new number. No. 14 is special to Ensberg, as it was retired by his high school.

In other news, the Yankees gave up six runs in the first inning and the game was canceled due to rain after 1 1-2 innings. Jonathan Albaladejo gave up six runs (all unearned) on five hits in 1-3 of an inning. Kyle Farnsworth gave up a hit and a walk in the second inning before the game was finally called.

Game Preview: Blue Jays at Yankees

New York Yankees

Johnny Damon CF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Jorge Posada C
Hideki Matsui DH
Shelley Duncan LF
Chris Woodward 2B

Jonathan Albaldejo RHP

Time: 1:15 p.m.
TV: YES
Radio: WCBS-AM 880

Pregame concerns: Kei Igawa isn't injured. Because there is a threat of rain, the relievers will start the beginning of the game. ... Robinson Cano was scratched with "general body stiffness."

Pettitte scratched again

Andy Pettitte, scheduled to pitch in a minor-league game today, was scratched due to back spasms, according to Peter Abraham.

Pettitte was forced to miss a start earlier this spring because of arm irritation. Abraham says the Yankees are hopeful Pettitte will make his start on Apr. 2 against Toronto.

Kei Igawa will also not make this afternoon's start in the Grapefruit League game.

Yankees win despite lack of offense

There were three combined runs and nine combined hits in Friday night's spring training game between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. Luckily for those who care about spring training records, the Yankees were able to squeak out a 2-1 victory.

Because the Yankees don't want their starters starting against divisional opponents so close to the start of the regular season, the Yankees opted to start Darrell Rasner in place of Chien-Ming Wang, the newly-named Opening Day starter.

Rasner was solid, allowing only two hits and a walk in four scoreless innings. He struck out four batters and threw 68 pitches for 49 strikes.

Wang pitched against Class-A minor leaguers this afternoon. He gave up six hits and five runs (four earned) over 5 2-3 innings, striking out three and walking one.

Mariano Rivera gave up an infield hit in his one inning of work. Edwar Ramirez, Brian Bruney and Ross Ohlendorf pitched one hitless inning each. Jose Veras gave up one hit, one earned run and one walk in his inning.

The Yankees scored their two runs in the eighth inning, on RBIs from Greg Porter and Bernie Castro. Bobby Abreu had a double and drew two walks. Melky Cabrera singled and drew two walks as well.

The Yankees will face the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:15 p.m. later this afternoon. Kei Igawa will start for New York, facing John Parrish. The game can be seen on YES and heard on WCBS-AM 880. Andy Pettitte is scheduled to pitch in a minor-league game.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Ensberg added to 40-man roster

Morgan Ensberg was added to the 40-man roster, according to Peter Abraham. His contract will be worth $1.75 million. Because he is out of options, he will likely be on the Opening Day roster when the team heads north.

He will also switch his uniform number, opting not to wear No. 21. "I can't wear Paul O'Neill's number," he said.

To make room for Ensberg, Carl Pavano was placed on the 60-day disabled list for the fourth consecutive year.

According to Kat O'Brien, he plans to make Wilson Betemit an offer for No. 14.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wang named opening day starter

The Yankees are just coming out with more surprises.

On Wednesday, the Yankees announced that Joba Chamberlain will begin the season in the bullpen.

Today, it was announced that Chien-Ming Wang will be the Opening Day starter on March 31.

This obviously isn't a big shock, as he is probably the only likely candidate.

Stadium special to air tomorrow night

The Legacy of the Stadium, a special on Yankee Stadium, will air tomorrow evening on WNBC, according to the New York Daily News.

This is probably only the beginning of Yankee Stadium specials. I know ESPN is having a special per day leading up to Opening Day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kennedy, Chamberlain lead Yankees to victory

Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain were both impressive in the Yankees' 7-2 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday afternoon in Dunedin, Fla.

Kennedy went 4 1-3 innings, allowing only six hits and one earned run, while striking out four and walking none. Kennedy threw 76 pitches for 43 strikes.

Chamberlain struck out the side on 11 pitches in his inning of work in his first appearance since being placed in the bullpen. He faced three minor leaguers, so it's not time to crown him just yet.

Robinson Cano went 2-4 with an RBI. He is batting .452 in the spring thus far. Wilson Betemit, starting at first base, went 2-4 with a home run and three RBI. The home run was his third of the spring. Johnny Damon went 2-3 as the leadoff left fielder.

The bullpen was solid for the Yankees today. Kyle Farnsworth was the only reliever to surrender a run, as he gave up two hits in his one inning of work. Chris Britton pitched a perfect inning and Jonathan Albaladejo only gave up one hit in his inning of work.

The Yankees return to Tampa tomorrow evening to take on the Tampa Bay Rays. Darrell Rasner will match up against Andy Sonnanstine, with first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Chien-Ming Wang, originally scheduled to start, will pitch a minor-league game instead.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hughes has another bad outing

For the second outing in a row, Phil Hughes struggled. Against the Cincinnati Reds last Friday, Hughes gave up four runs over 2 2-3 innings, while recording two strikeouts. Against the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight, Hughes gave up seven runs (six earned) and seven hits over four innings. He struck out three, walked two and allowed three home runs in the Yankees' 12-9 victory. He checked in at 77 pitches for 48 strikes.

The wind was acting up, with gusts reaching over 40 m.p.h. After a solid start to the spring, however, Hughes has come back with two stinkers.

Here is Hughes' reaction via Peter Abraham:

He said that he was overstriding on the mound because he was trying to throw too hard. “Even though it didn’t look it, the last few innings were better,” he said.

Hughes said he typically does not pitch well in spring training. “I wish that wasn’t the case but it seems to be,” he said.

At least Hughes recognizes what caused him trouble, so hopefully he can work on this with pitching coach Dave Eiland.

As for the offense, the Yankees scored 12 runs. Jorge Posada hit a two-run home run in the second inning. He finished the day going 3-4 with three RBI. Bobby Abreu went 2-4 with two RBI. Alex Rodriguez went 2-4 with a double and an RBI. Hideki Matsui went 2-3 with a double while playing left field.

Billy Traber gave up two unearned runs in his one inning of work. He also allowed a hit and a walk. LaTroy Hawkins worked a perfect inning, and Kei Igawa pitched a scoreless inning despite allowing two hits and a walk.

The Yankees, behind Ian Kennedy, will travel to Dunedin, Fla. to take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Brett Cecil will get the start for Toronto.

Joba to begin in bullpen

According to Peter Abraham, Joba Chamberlain will begin the season in the bullpen.

[Joe Girardi] left open the possibility that Chamberlain will move into the rotation later this season. “His future will be as a starter,” Girardi said.

Chamberlain will pitch in relief against Toronto tomorrow and again on Saturday. Ian Kennedy will start against the Blue Jays, a sign that he has nailed down the No. 5 starter job.

Girardi did not define Chamberlain’s role in the bullpen other than to say that he will be used in the “back end of games.”

There will be no Joba Rules. Chamberlain can be used for multiple innings and on consecutive days. “It will be common sense,” Girardi said.

I had a feeling that the Yankees would end up going this route, so this isn't so surprising. The Yankees want to limit The 3 Amigos' innings this season, so it would have been hard to depend on all three to be starters the whole season but still be under some sort of limit.

Chamberlain will likely spend the first half of the season in the bullpen before transitioning back into the rotation. It should be interesting to see what happens if all five current starters are performing up to their ability.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mussina and Rivera pitch against minor leaguers

Mariano Rivera pitched against the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats this afternoon. He struck out four in two innings of work.

“I felt good,” Rivera said after his first two-inning outing of the spring. “All of my pitches were in the strike zone. Everything is fine.”
Mike Mussina also pitched this afternoon, facing the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. In six innings, he gave up seven hits and three earned runs, while striking out two and walking none. He threw 72 pitches for 53 strikes. Two of the runs and three of the hits were in his final inning, as he started to tire.
“I threw a couple of bad pitches that makes it looks worse than it was,” he said.
Mussina still has two starts left before the season starts, so he is right where he should be in terms of preparation.

Hideki Matsui went 1-3, playing three innings in left field. Abraham says that Matsui expects to be ready for Opening Day. With Melky Cabrera likely serving his suspension, Matsui will likely need to play left.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Game Preview: Yankees at Hokies

New York Yankees

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

Jeff Karstens
Chris Britton
Edwar Ramirez
Scott Patterson

Time: 3:05 p.m.
TV: YES, MLB.tv for free

Pregame concerns: The Yankees visited the shooting memorial earlier today. ... LHP Andrew Wells is starting for Va. Tech. ... Mike Mussina is starting in a minor-league game against the Syracuse Chiefs.

(AP Photo/Don Petersen)

Va. Tech game available everywhere

Today's game at Virginia Tech is very special and poignant to those involved in the tragedy of last April.

Because of this, the game will be available on YES and MLB.tv for free this afternoon.

First pitch is scheduled for a little after 3:00 p.m. with Jeff Karstens starting for New York.

The Yankees are doing a great thing by making this trip, and it means a lot to the people of Blacksburg, Va.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Yankees defeat Red Sox 8-4

The Yankees scored early and often, while Andy Pettitte was solid, in their 8-4 victory of the Boston Red Sox Monday afternoon.

The Yankees scored four runs in the first off of Bartolo Colon, as Hideki Matsui hit a two-run double with the bases loaded and Robinson Cano hit a two-run single. The rally started when Derek Jeter singled and Bobby Abreu and Jorge Posada walked to load the bases. Colon would only retire two batters before being taken out.

They added three more in the second. After Jeter was hit by a pitch, Abreu hit a two-run home run off of Julian Tavarez. Jason Giambi doubled and Matsui eventually drove him home for his third RBI of the afternoon.

Pettitte went 3 1-3 innings, allowing three runs and three hits. He also struck out three batters and walked two. Pettitte gave up two runs in the third inning after Johnny Damon lost a ball in the sun. He allowed a leadoff home run in the fourth inning to Kevin Youkilis and induced a deep fly out off the bat of Mike Lowell before being removed.

Heath Phillips relieved Pettitte and gave up a run on three hits in 2-3 of an inning. The rest of the bullpen, Jonathan Albaladejo, Billy Traber, Brian Bruney and Scott Strickland, held the Red Sox scoreless over the final five innings.

Traber surrendered the only two hits over the span, but also struck out two batters in his 1 2-3 innings of work. He was recently placed on the 40-man roster and is the primed to be the lefty specialist come opening day.

The Yankees will travel to play Virginia Tech in Blackburg, Va. tomorrow afternoon. Jeff Karstens will get the start for New York. They will also bring every position player on the 40-man roster on the trip except Hideki Matsui. The game will be on YES at 3:00 p.m.

Liveblog: Red Sox at Yankees

The game is on television, so I'll give some updates for those sitting in offices:

First Inning

Andy Pettitte retired the Red Sox in order, including striking out David Ortiz to end the inning. He looked very good and didn't show any signs of arm problems.

Bartolo Colon struck out Johnny Damon to strike out looking for the first out. Derek Jeter grounded a pitch up the middle for a one-out single. Bobby Abreu made Colon work, as he threw nine pitches, eventually drawing a walk. Jason Giambi struck out looking on a breaking ball. Jorge Posada walks on five pitches to load the bases. Despite having control issues, Colon has been throwing at 93 m.p.h. consistently. Hideki Matsui hit a two-run ground-rule double to left field. 2-0 Yankees. Robinson Cano followed with a two-run single to the left side. 4-0 Yankees.

Colon is out of the game after throwing 42 pitches. Julian Tavarez gets Melky Cabrera to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Second Inning

Wilson Betemit, playing third base, made a wild throw to first, but Giambi was there to tag out a running Mike Lowell. Good thing they still have Alex Rodriguez. Pettitte walked Jason Varitek with two outs. Pettitte has been around 90 m.p.h. with his fastball so far. He retired Jacoby Ellsbury to end the inning.

Tavarez hit Jeter in the elbow, prompting boos from Legends Field. Abreu got his revenge by hitting a two-run home run over the right field wall. 6-0 Yankees. Giambi hit a ball over the shift for a one-out double down the right field line. Matsui hit a two-out single up the middle to score Giambi. 7-0 Yankees. Betemit strikes out looking to end the inning.

Third Inning

Damon lost a ball in the sun. There are no second and third decks in spring training fields, so it's much easier to lose a ball in the sun during this time. It is second and third for the Red Sox with no outs and Julio Lugo up. Jeter somehow ranged over to his left to get a grounder up the middle. A run scored on the play. 7-1 Yankees, with a runner at third and one out. Pettitte's pitch went right through Posada's legs, scoring the runner from third. 7-2 Yankees. Pedroia walked, as Pettitte is at 55 pitches on the afternoon. Pettitte went up and in to David Ortiz. Is this possible retaliation for Jeter's hit by pitch? Anyway, Pedroia got picked off first base.

The Yankees went quietly in the bottom half of the inning.

Fourth Inning

Kevin Youkilis
led off with a solo home run over the left field wall. 7-3 Yankees. Lowell powered a pitch to nearly the same spot, but this one was caught by Damon. Pettitte's afternoon is done after 3 1-3 innings pitched. Heath Phillips came in and gave up a run. 7-4 Yankees.

Abreu led off with a double, followed by a single by Giambi. The run at third eventually scored. 8-4 Yankees

Fifth Inning

Game Preview: Red Sox at Yankees

Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Julio Lugo SS Johnny Damon LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B Derek Jeter SS
David Ortiz DH Bobby Abreu RF
Kevin Youkilis 1B Jason Giambi 1B
Mike Lowell 3B Jorge Posada C
Jason Varitek C Hideki Matsui DH
Jacoby Ellsbury CF Robinson Cano 2B
Chris Carter LF Wilson Betemit 3B
Brandon Moss LF Melky Cabrera CF
Bartolo Colon Andy Pettitte
Juilian Tavarez Jonathan Albaladejo
Javier Lopez Billy Traber
Craig Hansen Heath Phillips

Time: 1:15 p.m.
TV: YES

Pregame concerns: Pettitte is making his first start since being scratched with arm irritation last Wednesday. He threw a bullpen on Friday and reported no concerns.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Duncan decides to appeal suspension

Shelley Duncan will appeal his three-game suspension, according to Tyler Kepner.

“The one thing I’d really like to do is I’d like to speak to Bob Watson and really tell him what happened, through my eyes,” Duncan said after speaking with his agent, Barry Meister.

“I feel like that’s been neglected in this process. It’s not like I did something that just came out of nowhere. People who know me and people I’ve played with know how I play, and they’re going to understand that.”

The appeal will most likely be held before the season starts, so Duncan would still miss regular season time even if the suspension is lowered.

Melky Cabrera will most likely appeal as well.

The next quote of the moment

On Feb. 29, Hank Steinbrenner ranted about Red Sox Nation. Today, he responded to Jonathan Papelbon's criticism.

"Being insulted by Papelbon is like being attacked by a mouse," Steinbrenner told The Post.

"John Henry and I traded a couple of jabs good-naturedly," he added. "So now, all of a sudden, this player, this 20-something kid who really doesn't know his way in the world, comes out with a personal insult. There's no excuse for that."
Hilarious, just hilarious.

Picture from NoMaas.org

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hughes struggles against Reds

The game wasn't on television, so I'll just jump right into the notable performances of the afternoon.

Phil Hughes
gave up his first hits of the spring, nine to be exact, against the Cincinnati Reds in Friday's 7-7 tie. In 2 2-3 innings, Hughes also gave up four runs and struck out two batters.

Jonathan Albaladejo struck out two batters in 1 1-3 innings. Heath Phillips struggled again, giving up two more runs in 1-3 of an inning. Edwar Ramirez struck out four batters in 1 2-3 scoreless innings.

Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run home run in the first inning. It was his third homer of the spring. He finished the day going 1-3.

Derek Jeter went 2-3 with a double. Johnny Damon, starting in center, went 1-4 with his fifth double of the spring. Brett Gardner stole two bases, giving him five for the spring. He certainly has to be opening up eyes with his speed.

The Yankees have a split-squad day tomorrow. Kei Igawa will face Jeff Niemann of the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa. Shelley Duncan will be a part of the group facing the Rays. The other group of Yankees will travel to Lakeland, Fla. to face the Tigers. Joba Chamberlain will match up against 2006 American League Rookie of the Year Justin Verlander.

Thoughts on the suspensions

If you missed the updates on the earlier post, Shelley Duncan and Melky Cabrera were suspended for three games, and Jonny Gomes was suspended for two. All three players were also fined undisclosed amounts.

In the press release announcing the suspensions, Duncan's actions were called "violent and reckless" and they "incited the bench-clearing incident."

In comparison, they said Gomes' actions escalated the brawl.

There wouldn't have been a brawl if Gomes didn't run in from right field to plow into Duncan. The Rays would have been upset that Duncan spiked Akinori Iwamura, but the benches weren't ready to empty until after Duncan was run into.

How Gomes only received two games is ridiculous.

Cabrera received the same amount of games as Duncan for throwing a punch at Evan Longoria. Cabrera wasn't even ejected from the game, but the Rays had evidence of the punch. Even if he did throw a punch at Longoria, he shouldn't have gotten more games than Gomes did.

Manager Joe Girardi will only be fined. Since managers cannot appeal suspensions, he would have had to miss his first game as Yankee manager. Coaches Kevin Long and Bobby Meacham also received fines.

Because of Gomes' actions, the Yankees will be without their starting center fielder and will have to use Hideki Matsui in left for at least the first couple of games of the season.

Yes, Duncan's play was dirty. But Gomes caused the brawl.

Game Preview: Reds at Yankees

New York Yankees
Cincinnati Reds
Johnny Damon CF
Corey Patterson CF
Derek Jeter SS
Juan Castro SS
Hideki Matsui DH
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Adam Dunn LF
Jorge Posada C
Joey Votto 1B
Shelley Duncan 1B
Jolbert Cabrera 2B
Jason Lane RF
Javier Valentin C
Cody Ransom 2B
Andy Green 3B
Brett Gardner LF
Jerry Hairston Jr. DH
Phil Hughes RHP
Matt Belisle RHP

Time: 1:15 p.m.

Rodriguez hit a three-run home run in the first inning to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Jeter singled and Matsui walked.

Hughes isn't doing so well. He has given up two doubles and single (his first hits allowed this spring). 3-2 Yankees, no outs.

I'll be back later with a recap.

Pettitte pain-free after bullpen session

Andy Pettitte threw 47 pitches in a bullpen session Friday morning and does not feel the irritation in his arm that forced him to be scratched on Wednesday.

"I was able to stretch it out in the long toss," Pettitte said. "For me to back up my long toss like I did, I knew I wasn't going to have any problems, so I didn't even concern myself with when I was on the mound."
Pettitte is scheduled to pitch against the Boston Red Sox on Monday

Duncan and Gomes to be suspended

Shelley Duncan and Jonny Gomes will be suspended two or three games for their actions in Wednesday's brawl.

Joe Girardi will only be fined, and coaches Bobby Meachan and Kevin Long are also expected to be fine.

The suspensions will be served during the regular season, so it would've been strange for Girardi to be suspended for his first game as Yankee manager.

Update - 1:00 p.m.: According to Peter Abraham, Melky Cabrera will likely be suspended as well. The Rays claimed he threw a punch and MLB found evidence.

Update - 1:30 p.m.: MLB released a press release. Duncan and Cabrera got three games each and Gomes got two games.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Keeping up with some players

The AP recap of this afternoon's game gives us updates on a couple of Yankees:

Andy Pettitte will throw a bullpen session tomorrow and should start on Monday. Pettitte, scratched from yesterday's start with irritation in his pitching arm, believes he'll feel fine.

Kei Igawa hit his interpreter with a pitch during his bullpen session today. He wanted someone to stand in the box to be a batter. That is good news. Igawa is scheduled to start against Tampa Bay in a split-squad game.

In other news, Hideki Matsui was in the field for the first time this spring, playing left field. He had to run a decent distance after a fly ball and looked fine in doing so. Johnny Damon, who has a bruised toe, is scheduled to be in left field tomorrow.

Full lineup to travel to Va. Tech

When the Yankees travel to Blacksburg, Va. next Tuesday, they'll take their entire starting lineup.

Joe Girardi and Derek Jeter seem excited about the game, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday. Jeff Karstens is the probable starter.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for our players to see that you don't take life for granted," Girardi said.
...

"You look at what we do, and it's entertainment," Jeter said. "If we can at least raise some awareness and make people smile and enjoy themselves for a few hours, that's all that we really can do."
...

"It's something that I've realized," Jeter said. "I really had a new appreciation for life after [9/11]. I think it brings attention to how precious life is. You realize it's going to be a special trip and you can't take anything for granted. This really puts things in perspective for us."
This is a great thing for the Yankees to do. With the Tampa Bay Rays questioning the "Yankee way," this is a good way to show that the Yankees still the same old Yankees in terms of helping others and being generous.

Mussina perfect in Yankees loss

Mike Mussina threw five perfect innings in the Yankees' 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday afternoon.

The veteran right-hander threw 64 pitches for 41 strikes in his longest spring outing to date. He struck out two batters and walked none in what should be a confidence booster.

Mariano Rivera followed Mussina, and gave up his first two hits of the spring. He didn't give up a run due to a nicely executed play by Shelley Duncan with runners on second and third with one out. Duncan fielded the ball and checked the runner back to third. When he went to step on the bag, the runner took off and Duncan threw a strike to Jose Molina, who started the rundown.

Jeff Karstens, the leading candidate for the long reliever spot, was in next. In 1 1-3 innings, he gave up seven hits, five earned runs and two walks. Three of those runs scored when Billy Traber was in.

Cody Ransom and Robinson Cano hit home runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Karstens and Traber teamed up to give the Pirates the 5-3 lead, which was the eventual final score.

The hits off of Traber came off righty bats, so I'd say that he is still the leading candidate for lefty specialist.

Billy Crystal got much of the early attention. He was the leadoff batter for New York in the designated hitter spot. He struck out in his only at-bat and was replaced by Johnny Damon who went 0-3.

The Yankees will travel to Sarasota, Fla. tomorrow to face the Cincinnati Reds at 1:05 p.m. Phil Hughes will match up against Matt Belisle.

(Photos by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Liveblog: Pirates at Yankees

First Inning

Mike Mussina got Nyjer Morgan to strike out looking on a curveball. Mussina was hitting 85 m.p.h. with his fastball in this at-bat. Mussina retires the side in order. He induced a pop up to right and a fly out to center. His fastball didn't reach past 86 m.p.h.

Billy Crystal walked up to the plate to "Birthday" by The Beatles. He made contact, fouling a pitch to the right side, and the fans screamed. He worked the count to 3-1 but swung and missed at the last two pitches to strike out. The real Yankees, Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu, go down in order to end the inning.

Second Inning

Mussina gets Jason Bay to fly out to Abreu on an 88 m.p.h. fastball. That's good to see. Hideki Matsui catches an easy fly ball in left for his first putout of the spring. It was a little harder for Matsui this time. He had to run towards the foul line to catch Ryan Doumit's fly ball. Mussina is perfect through two.

The Yankees also get set down in order. Through two full innings, there hasn't be a baserunner. It's all Crystal's fault.

Third Inning

Mussina has looked very good so far. Through two outs in the third, he has thrown 33 pitches for 21 strikes. Shelley Duncan made a nice grab towards the line at first and flipped it to Mussina for the final out of the inning.

Jose Molina singles with one out to break up the overall perfect game. Johnny Damon is pinch hitting for Crystal (I never thought I'd ever have to write that). Damon grounds out to end the inning.

Fourth Inning

Mussina worked back from a 3-1 count to get Jack Wilson to fly out. Aside from this at-bat, Mussina has been throwing strikes and has been getting ahead of hitters. As I say that, he got ahead of Nate McLouth 0-2, but started to nibble. McLouth grounded out to first on a full count, keeping Mussina's perfect game in tact.

Alex Rodriguez almost hit Robin Williams will a foul ball. Abreu and Rodriguez struck out looking, while Jeter hit a line drive that was caught by a diving McLouth.

Fifth Inning

Mussina, at 52 pitches for 32 strikes, is out for a fifth inning of work. Bay grounded out to Jeter for the first out of the inning. Mussina got Adam LaRoche looking for the second out. The pitch looked a tad inside, but Mussina still got the call. Doumit worked the count to 3-1 before swinging and popping a pitch up to Jeter for the third out. Mussina is past 60 pitches and has retired all 15 batters he has faced.

Old friend Jaret Wright follows Paul Maholm. Matsui hit a leadoff double and was taken out for pinch runner Justin Christian. Robinson Cano hit a chopper to short that was slow enough to advance Christian to third with one out. Duncan hit a medium fly ball to left that wasn't far enough to score Christian. Molina broke his bat on a grounder to the right side to end the inning. I see the Yankees are still afraid to score on sacrifice flies, even in the spring.

Sixth Inning

Mussina came out of the game after throwing 64 pitches for 39 strikes. Figures Mariano Rivera gave up a single to the first batter he faced. He then gave up another single. These were the Pirates' first two batters of the game and the first two batters to reach base against Rivera this spring. The Pirates put on a sacrifice bunt play, and it was successful. Second and third, one out against Rivera. Morgan hit a hard grounder to Duncan. He checked Jose Bautista at third and tagged the bag for the second out. Bautista started running and turned back. Duncan threw home and had him caught in a run down and was eventually tagged out. Rivera escaped unharmed.

After Melky Cabrera singled, the rest of the Yankees went quietly. The game is still scoreless.

Seventh Inning

Jeff Karstens
followed Rivera. McLouth hit a one-out double down the right field line. Bay followed and hit a single to left, scoring McLouth. 1-0 Pirates. Former buddy Doug Mientkiewicz hit a single, the third consecutive hit for the Pirates. Doumit was up next and hit another single to center. Brett Gardner made a strong throw in from center to cut down Bay, as Chad Moeller blocked the plate. Karstens is not making a good case to be the long reliever. He just walked Bautista to load the bases with two outs. Chris Gomez grounds out to end the inning.

I'll end the liveblog here. Most of the regulars have come out. I'll be back with a recap afterwards.

Game Preview: Pirates at Yankees

Pittsburgh Pirates
New York Yankees
Nyjer Morgan CF
Billy Crystal DH
Jack Wilson SS
Derek Jeter SS
Nate McLouth RF
Bobby Abreu RF
Jason Bay LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Hideki Matsui LF
Ryan Doumit C
Robinson Cano 2B
Jose Bautista 3B
Shelley Duncan 1B
Chris Gomez DH
Jose Molina C
Luis Cruz 2B Melky Cabrera CF


Paul Maholm
Mike Mussina
Jaret Wright
Mariano Rivera
Damaso Marte
Jeff Karstens
Byung-Hyun Kim
Jose Veras
John Grabow
Hector Corrasco


Time: 1:15 p.m.
TV: YES

Pregame concerns: Yes, Billy Crystal is leading off at designated hitter. Too bad he won't be in the field. ... This is Matsui's first apperance in the field this spring.

I'll be around with game updates, so stay tuned.

REUTERS/Scott Audette

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

There was a game played today

Aside from the brawl, which I detailed quite nicely, the Yankees did play a game today. They ended up losing 7-6 to the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon.

The Yankees took at 6-4 lead in the eighth inning after Brett Gardner hit a two-run single.

The Rays took a 7-6 lead in the bottom half of the inning, scoring all three runs off of Jonathan Albaladejo. All three runs were earned, and he also gave up three hits and walked a batter. This probably ruined any chance of him making the Opening Day roster.

The Yankees pitching was somewhat disorganized, as Andy Pettitte was a morning scratch with tendinitis in his throwing arm. Heath Phillips started but was ejected in the first inning for hitting Evan Longoria. He gave up two runs in 2-3 of an inning.

Scott Patterson (1 1-3 IP, 1 H, 2 K), LaTroy Hawkins (2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 K), Ross Ohlendorf (1 IP, 0 H, 1 K) and Sean Henn (1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K) followed, holding the Rays scoreless.

The Rays scored five runs in the final two innings off of Dan Giese and Albaladejo.

At the plate, Jorge Posada went 1-3 with a three-run double and Robinson Cano went 2-3. Gardner also stole two bases, second and third, in the same inning.

The Yankees return to Tampa tomorrow afternoon to face the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:15 p.m. Mike Mussina will face Pat Maholm. Billy Crystal will also make his much-anticipated appearance in the field. The game will be televised on YES.

------------

Before the game, spring training instructor Stump Merrill was hit in the mouth by a ball and was taken to the hospital, leaving the field on a stretcher.

Brawl in pictures

I can't condone Shelley Duncan going in spikes high. Duncan claimed he was playing hard and that there was no malicious intent. However, he supposedly was out by at least five feet and still went in hard. He wasn't trying to break up a double play here. Everyone knows there was intent to make a statement.

Duncan was trying to stand up for his fallen teammate, but he went about it the wrong way. While I like that the team is showing heart, you don't try to intentionally injure someone.

Akinori Iwamura has a cut on his thigh from Duncan's spikes. Jonny Gomes returned the favor by running in from right field to tackle Duncan.

Quotes from Bryan Hoch:

Jorge Posada:"If [Phillips] wanted to hit [Longoria], he would have hit him. You don't throw at somebody with runners on first and third."

Gomes: "I just think [Duncan] tried to inflict pain on Aki. That just comes second nature. I was taught all the way from T-ball to have a teammate's back. It's a baseball field. There's fans and kids watching. I had to let [Duncan] know that's not going to fly."

Duncan: "I made a hard slide into [Iwamura's] glove. When I'm out there playing, I like to play hard. In my head, I wasn't thinking about a message. They see me playing hard every day."

I don't think we've heard the last from this. The Yankees play the Rays twice more in the spring, and 18 times during the regular season.

Gomes' explanation is a little shady too. It's a baseball field and there are kids watching, so you tackle him?

(AP Photos/Gene J. Puskar)

Bench-clearing brawl

Outspoken Shelley Duncan just caused a brawl.

From Lisa Kennelly:

All hell has pretty much broken loose here. Shelley Duncan hit a liner off the third baseman's glove and started running to second. The ball beat him there by a good 10 feet but he slid hard into second baseman Akinori Iwamura. Then Rays right fielder Jonny Gomes sprinted in from the outfield and barreled into Duncan. That cleared the benches and turned the infield into a bit of a mob scene.

Finally back to playing now. Duncan and Gomes have both been ejected, as have Yanks third base coach Bobby Meachum and hitting coach Kevin Long.

At least the Yankees got their money's worth this time. Hopefully this finally puts this story to bed.

Phillips ejected for "retaliating"

The Yankees are playing the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time since the Francisco Cervelli incident on Saturday. Many people expected some sort of retaliation from the Yankees today.

Heath Phillips, starting in place of Andy Pettitte, had already given up two runs and had two runners on before nicking Evan Longoria with a pitch. He was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild.

The pitch "barely brushed across the chest," according to Peter Abraham on the scene.

Game Preview: Yankees at Rays

New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Melky Cabrera CF
Akinori Iwamura 2B
Robinson Cano 2B
Carl Crawford LF
Bobby Abreu RF
Carlos Pena 1B
Shelley Duncan 1B
B.J. Upton CF
Jorge Posada C
Cliff Floyd DH
Hideki Matsui DH
Jonny Gomes RF
Morgan Ensberg 3B
Evan Longoria 3B
Wilson Betemit SS
Mike DiFelice C
Greg Porter LF
Jason Bartlett SS
Heath Phillips
Andy Sonnanstine
Chris Britton
Brian Anderson
LaTroy Hawkins
Gary Glover
Jose Veras
Troy Percival
Dan Wheeler

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Pregame concerns: With Andy Pettitte being a late scratch, it looks like the Yankees will just piece innings together with their relievers. ... Johnny Damon hopes to play tomorrow. ... Jason Giambi has a lower back "issue," which isn't supposed to be serious.

Crystal is in the building

Billy Crystal was scheduled to work out with the team today and will play in tomorrow's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The game will also be on YES, so we'll all get to hear Michael Kay and friends gush about this.

In other news, Moshe Mandel of The Bronx Block is hosting a contest to name "The Big 3." If your name is chosen, you can win a DVD set and a Yankees Century Book.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Pettitte scratched

Andy Pettitte, scheduled to start today's spring game against Tampa Bay, was scratched this morning with inflammation in his left elbow. The team is airing on the side of caution, and feels that this isn't a serious injury.

"They're extremely cautious here," Pettitte said. "I guess it's good. Obviously I want to pitch but I understand. They don't want me to aggravate it more and it's Spring Training."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the injury is so minor, Pettitte was not happy with the decision to knock out his start. If it were the regular season, Girardi said, Pettitte would have been able to pitch.

"A pitcher is used to pitching with aches and pains, but now is not the time to have them," Girardi said. "I told him not to pick up a baseball."

Pettitte getting mad about not pitching is a good sign. There is no sense in further hurting yourself during the spring if you can prevent it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Forget "The Big 3"

Phil Hughes is apparently bored. Aside from being bored, he tells us that "The Big 3," the accepted nickname of the group of Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, is out. The trio has decided to call themselves "The Three Amigos."

Cervelli to have surgery on broken wrist

Francisco Cervelli will have surgery on his broken right wrist tomorrow. The timetable for recovery still stands at eight to 10 weeks.

Ironically enough, the Yankees face the Tampa Bay Rays tomorrow afternoon. Will the Yankees retaliate? Only time will tell.

Wang bounces back

After giving up six runs in 2-3 of an inning last time out against Cincinnati, Chien-Ming Wang rebounded with a solid outing Tuesday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays. Wang gave up two hits in 3 2-3 innings in the Yankees' 6-1 victory. He also struck out a batter and walked no one.

The Yankees started their scoring early, as they were able to push across four runs in the first inning off of Toronto starter Gustavo Chacin. Melky Cabrera led off with a drag bunt single and Derek Jeter walked. Bobby Abreu was up next and drilled a pitch to center field for a two-run double. Alex Rodriguez drove home Abreu on a long two-run home run over the right-center field wall. It was his second home run and third and fourth RBI of the spring.

Jason Lane homered in the sixth inning, as he is battling for a reserve spot. This too was his second home run of the spring.

Backup catcher Jose Molina went 2-2 from the nine-hole. Newest Yankee Chad Moeller went 0-2 after Molina. He is scheduled to be Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's starting catcher.

Cabrera finished the day going 2-3, as did Abreu and Lane. The Yankees had 11 total hits.

The only Yankee pitcher to allow a run was Darrell Rasner. He pitched 2 1-3 innings, allowing the only run of the game, as well as two hits and one walk, while striking out two.

Kyle Farnsworth walked a batter and allowed a double in his one inning of work. Brian Bruney gave up a hit in 1 2-3 innings, but also struck out two batters.

The biggest positive of the game is Wang's performance. Fans are down on him after his awful ALDS performance and he struggled in his last start, so this was a big game for him. Hopefully he can continue to put his past behind him and win another 19 games this season.

Tomorrow, Andy battles Andy, as Andy Pettitte will face Tampa Bay Ray's Andy Sonnanstine at 1:05 p.m. Chris Britton, LaTroy Hawkins, Billy Traber, Edwar Ramirez, Brian Bruney and Jose Veras are also scheduled to pitch for New York.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Liveblog: Blue Jays at Yankees

The game is on television, so I guess I'll give some updates.

Top of the First

Chien-Ming Wang
hit 95 m.p.h. with his fastball and only allowed a two-out single to Vernon Wells, who was caught trying to steal second base to end the inning. He threw two hanging sliders to Wells, eventually singling on the second one. He will need to get that pitch down. He threw 16 pitches for eight strikes.

Bottom of the First

Melky Cabrera led off with a drag bunt single to third base. Nice to see that from Cabrera, who will be the leadoff hitter when Johnny Damon isn't playing. Derek Jeter worked a walk to bring up Bobby Abreu with runners on first and second with no outs. Abreu lined a pitch to the right-center field gap for a double, driving in both Cabrera and Jeter. 2-0 Yankees. Alex Rodriguez drilled a pitch to the same area, except about 30 feet further, for a two-run home run. 4-0 Yankees.

Top of the Second

Wang walked Scott Rolen on five pitches to lead off the inning. Not a good start when your team gives you four runs. Wang was able to get Frank Thomas to ground into a double play. It was hit slowly, but Thomas was running, so Rodriguez and Jeter were able to turn it. Wang is still throwing pitches high for the most part.

Bottom of the Second

Jose Molina
singled and tried to score on an Abreu single to center. There was a close play at the plate and it looked like Molina got the hand in before the tag, but the home plate umpire thought differently. It is still 4-0 Yankees.

Top of the Third

There was a quirky play to end the inning. Matt Stairs hit a ball down the first base line. It was rolling foul and then kicked back into fair territory. Shelley Duncan was alert and picked it up and tagged the bag. Stairs was running down the line carrying his bat, obviously not expecting it to roll fair. Wang has passed 50 pitches through three innings.

Top of the Fourth

Wang is done after 3 2-3 innings. He struck out his final batter of the day. He gave up two hits and didn't allow any runs, so this is a major improvement from his last time out.

Bottom of the Fourth

Cabrera just doubled in Jason Lane. 5-0 Yankees. There are runners on second and third with no outs for Jeter. Jeter hit a medium fly ball to right that wasn't able to score the runner from third.

Top of the Fifth

Kyle Farnsworth gave up a walk and a hit but didn't allow a run to score. He still has a long way to go to regain my trust.

Game Preview: Blue Jays at Yankees

Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
David Eckstein SS
Melky Cabrera CF
Matt Stairs RF
Derek Jeter SS
Vernon Wells CF
Bobby Abreu RF
Scott Rolen 3B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Frank Thomas DH
Jason Giambi DH
Lyle Overbay 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Shannon Stewart LF
Shelley Duncan 1B
Aaron Hill 2B
Jason Lane LF
Gregg Zaun C
Jose Molina C


Gustavo Chacin
Chien-Ming Wang (3-4 IP)
David Purcey
Darrell Rasner
Kane Davis
Kyle Farnsworth
Jesse Carlson
Heath Phillips
Randy Wells
Jonathan Albaladejo

Ross Ohlendorf

Time: 1:15 p.m.
TV: YES

Pregame concerns: Wang got torched in his previous start. Against the Cincinnati Reds, he gave up six runs before being pulled in the first inning.

Roster moves and Damon update

According to Peter Abraham, Juan Miranda was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. There are also minor-league camp reassignments: Austin Jackson, Colin Curtis, Jose Tabata and P.J. Pilittere.

They join Alan Horne, Chase Wright, Jeff Marquez, Daniel McCutchen, Steven White, Scott Stickland, Mark Melancon, Eric Duncan, Jesus Montero, Marcos Vechionacchi and Austin Romine.

On the Johnny Damon front, he is not in today's lineup and will not be traveling with the team tomorrow. He fouled a pitch off his foot and left the game. There are no tests scheduled, so this seems to be strictly a precautionary move.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Joba learning from Wang

Joba Chamberlain, known for his blazing fastball and devastating slider, is learning a new pitch, courtesy of Chien-Ming Wang.

Chamberlain seems likely to open the season in the bullpen, but he’s trying to widen his repertory as the Yankees stretch him out as a starter in spring training. He has been playing catch every day with Chien-Ming Wang, and he said Wang had taught him the sinker, which he used for three ground-ball outs on Monday.

Last year, it was not an effective pitch for him. “It kind of stayed straight or got hit real far,” Chamberlain said. But now the pitch could come in handy to get grounders and to keep his pitch count down.

“I actually feel pretty comfortable with it, which is surprising,” he said. “It’s not a swing-and-miss pitch, but it’s a pitch that’s going to get ground balls when you need them.”

Chamberlain threw 14 pitches to Edwin Encarnacion, eventually striking him out on a curveball. If he could get first-pitch grounders, that would be extremely helpful in letting him go deeper into games.

If he could harness this pitch, it would make him even more dangerous.

Yankees defeat Reds 4-0

The Yankees, behind Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, defeated the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 Monday night.

Chamberlain was supposed to pitch 3-4 innings, but only ended up going 2 1-3 because he threw 49 pitches (32 strikes). Chamberlain faced control problems in his first spring appearance, so this is an improvement. He threw too many pitches per at-bat, and even had a 14-pitch at-bat.

Ian Kennedy pitched four innings later in the game, striking out two, walking one and allowing two hits.

Mariano Rivera pitched his second inning of the spring. He set down the Reds in order, throwing 13 pitches for eight strikes while recording one strikeout.

Alex Rodriguez, playing in the field for the first time in a few days, went 2-3 with an RBI double. Hideki Matsui went 2-3 with an RBI in his second spring game.

Billy Traber got the win. He relieved Chamberlain in the third inning to record the final two outs. He struck out a batter and allowed a hit, and is on the fast track to make the team as the lefty specialist.

The Yankees face the Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow afternoon at Legends Field. Chien-Ming Wang and Gustavo Chacin are set to start. Darrell Rasner, Kyle Farnsworth, Heath Phillips, Jonathan Albaladejo and Ross Ohlendorf are also set to appear for New York. The game will be on YES, with first pitch scheduled at 1:15 p.m.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Yankees add another player to their crowded camp

The Yankees signed Billy Crystal to a one-day contract with an invitation to spring training tonight. He will work out with the team on Wednesday and play in Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Commissioner Bud Selig had to sign off on this deal.

“I’ve been waiting 50 years for this call,” Crystal exclaimed. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of the Yankees and Commissioner Selig. I know this’ll be tougher than the Broadway Softball League, but I’m looking forward to helping the younger players…which, by the way, is all of them. Oops, I have to go, Scott Boras is on the phone.”
...

“The Yankees are excited to welcome the newest member of our team known for his humor and wit as well as his undying love for the Yankees,” said Lonn Trost, Yankees Chief Operating Officer. “The Yankees are very grateful to the Commissioner’s office for allowing us to extend this special invitation to Mr. Crystal.”
Stranger things have happened, I guess. Crystal, who will turn 60 on March 14, will wear No. 60.

Crystal hit .348 as a senior for his high school baseball team in Long Beach, N.Y. I bet Crystal at age 59 is a better hitter than Wil Nieves is.