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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yankees lose 7-3

The Twins are Yankee killers. For the second straight day, the Yankees lost to the Twins.

I was unable to watch the game, so here is Bryan Hoch's recap.

The Yankees will face the Reds tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Alfredo Aceves will start.

Posada sratched due to shoulder soreness

Here comes one of the first negatives of spring training. Jorge Posada was removed from today's lineup due to shoulder soreness. From Peter Abraham:

Spoke to Posada and Girardi. Posada felt some pain while stretching on Thursday and has been playing since. He didn’t think it was a big deal, But when he woke up with it again today, he said something to the trainer and was checked out by the doctor.

He won’t throw until Tuesday at the earliest. They’re describing it as the first setback he has had in his rehab but nothing to be too concerned about. But obviously there are concerns. To me, this illustrates that while the Yankees are a stronger team than they were last season, Posada and Mariano Rivera remain major concerns.
Uh oh. Shelley Duncan was put in at DH instead.

If I hear anything else, I'll post an update.

ST Game 4: Twins at Yankees

The Yankees and Twins are playing each other for the second straight day today. This time it's in Tampa and will be broadcast on the YES Network and WCBS-AM 880 at 1:15 p.m.

Here are the lineups, courtesy of Bryan Hoch.

Minnesota Twins
Denard Span RF
Nick Punto SS
Delmon Young LF
Jason Kubel DH
Brian Buscher 1B
Luke Hughes 3B
Matt Tolbert 2B
Drew Butera C
Carlos Gomez CF

Francisco Liriano LHP

New York Yankees
Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jose Molina C
Melky Cabrera RF

Joba Chamberlain RHP, followed by Michael Dunn, Jose Veras, Dan Giese, Kei Igawa, Dave Robertson, Steven Jackson and Kanekoa Texeira (no relation)

I will be unable to watch the game live; I am covering the men's and women's basketball games against Central Connecticut today. Thus, there will be no live commentary.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bradley Suttle has a blog

Yankees prospect Bradley Suttle has a blog, and posted for the first time this afternoon.

The 23-year-old third baseman batted .271 in 96 games for Class-A Charleston last season, hitting 11 home runs and driving in 44. He was drafted by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2007 draft.

His blog is aptly named "A lesson in Suttle-ty." I hope he keeps it going throughout the season. The link to it has been added to the Yankees blogroll on the right-hand side of the page.

Yankees lose 5-4

The Yankees' bullpen gave up four runs over the final three innings, blowing a 3-1 lead, to fall to the Twins 5-4 in Fort Myers.

Ian Kennedy gave up one hit over two innings, striking out three and walking one. Brett Gardner (CF), Nick Swisher (1B) and Jorge Posada (DH) each had two hits - Gardner hit a double. Justin Leone also added a home run.

Andrew Brackman gave up a home run to Jason Kubel in the sixth inning.

The Yankees will face the Twins tomorrow in Tampa. The game is set to begin at 1:15 p.m. and it will be broadcast on YES and WCBS-AM 880.

ST Game 3: Yankees at Twins

The Yankees (2-0) are taking on the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers this afternoon. The game will not be televised.

New York Yankees

Brett Gardner CF
Cody Ransom 2B
Nick Swisher 1B
Jorge Posada DH
Xavier Nady RF
Melky Cabrera LF
Angel Berroa SS
Justin Leone 3B
Francisco Cervelli C

Ian Kennedy RHP, followed by Eric Hacker, Andrew Brackman, Wilikin De La Rosa, Anthony Claggett and Michael Dunn.

I'm intrigued by Brackman. Too bad we can't watch him pitch today.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A-Rod told to keep Sucart away from ballpark

After homering in yesterday's game against the Blue Jays, Alex Rodriguez hopped into an SUV driven by Yuri Sucart, Rodriguez's cousin who supplied him with steroids.

According to the AP's Ronald Blum, Rodriguez has been told to keep Sucart away from ballparks.

The message was given to the star third baseman on Thursday, said a person familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team did not make an announcement. The message applied both to spring training and the regular season, the person said.

Speaking at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., general manager Brian Cashman said only that matter of Rodriguez being picked up from his spring training opener Wednesday by his cousin “has been handled.”
Good news. It didn't make sense for Rodriguez to have the guy around after he was identified in the first place.

Yankees win 5-1

The Yankees are 2-0 and have outscored their opponents 11-2. Too bad it's only February.

Phil Hughes started today, and pitched two shutout innings, despite hitting two batters. He threw 33 pitches for 22 strikes and struck out one batter. Hughes was consistently reaching 92 mph with his fastballs. The two hit batters are a concern, but he was able to work out of trouble in the first inning.

Phil Coke also pitched two shutout innings, so did Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Mark Melancon and Jonathan Albaladejo. J.B. Cox gave up one run on three hits in his one inning of work.

At the plate, the Yankees hit two home runs, including a solo home run by Jorge Posada in the third inning. He also drove in a run on a ground-rule double to center in the fifth. Shelley Duncan followed with a three-run home run of his own in the seventh.

Mark Teixeira also hit a single in his first game as a Yankee.

The Yankees travel to Fort Myers tomorrow to face the Twins at 1:05 p.m. Ian Kennedy will go for the Yankees.

ST Game 2 live updates

3:34 p.m.: He shuts the door in the ninth. Yankees win 5-1 to improve to 2-0 in Spring Training. Yay.

3:30 p.m.:
Jonathan Albaladejo in to close.

3:20 p.m.:
1-2-3 for Melancon. Bottom of the eighth now.

3:16 p.m.:
Mark Melancon is in. He's the reason why I'm still watching this game.

3:09 p.m.:
Duncan three-run home run. 5-1 Yankees.

2:58 p.m.:
Gardner runs down a ball in center. He had a chance for a double play at second base, but couldn't make a good throw. Somewhere Melky silently cheered.

Cox gets out of the inning without allowing any more runs.

2:57 p.m.:
Cox isn't fooling anyone. Three straight singles for the Rays.

2:53 p.m.:
Jon Weber hits a single off the glove of new shortstop Eduardo Nunez to drive in a run. 2-1 Yankees.

2:47 p.m.: J.B. Cox
is now pitching.

2:44 p.m.:
Yankees go down in order.

2:39 p.m.:
Quick inning. Ensberg hit a single but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

2:36 p.m.:
Damaso Marte in the game. Cody Ransom at first, Angel Berroa at second, Doug Bernier at third, Colin Curtis in left, Brett Gardner in center, Shelley Duncan in right, Francisco Cervelli behind the plate. Jeter is still in the game.

2:33 p.m.:
Cabrera chops out to short to end the inning. This game is flying by.

2:30 p.m.:
Posada hit a ground-rule double to center. Kapler got turned around a few times and the ball bounced on the track and over the wall. Nady scores. 2-0 Yankees.

2:29 p.m.:
Xavier Nady hits a ground-rule double with one out in the fifth.

2:26 p.m.:
Quick inning for Bruney.

2:20 p.m.:
Brian Bruney is in the game.

2:16 p.m.:
A-Rod grounds into a double play to end the inning.

2:15 p.m.:
Teixeira hits a one-out single to right. More boos for A-Rod.

2:10 p.m.:
Coke allows a single but nothing else. 1-0 Yankees heading to the bottom of the fourth.

1:59 p.m.:
The next three Yankees go down in order. Heading to the top of the fourth.

1:55 p.m.:
Jorge Posada hits the first pitch he sees from Chad Orvella over the right field wall. 1-0 Yankees.

1:53 p.m.:
Cano makes a pretty play, fielding the ball in the outfield grass and firing to Teixeira. 1-2-3 for Coke in the third.

1:49 p.m.:
Phil Coke is in the game. The other Phil, Hughes, is done for the day.

1:46 p.m.:
The Yankees go down 1-2-3 again. Robinson Cano struck out.

1:43 p.m.:
Strikes out swinging. More boos and applause (most likely for the fact that he struck out).

1:42 p.m.:
Audible boos, but mostly applause, for Rodriguez.

1:40 p.m.:
Hughes walks a batter, but gets out of the inning unscathed. Rodriguez to lead off.

1:34 p.m.:
Alex Rodriguez fields a broken-bat grounder, and Teixeira makes a nice stretch to nab Gabe Kapler at first. It's exciting having a defender of Teixeira's ability at first base.

1:31 p.m.:
The Yankees go quietly in the first. Damon popped out to a leaping Ensberg, and Jeter grounded out weakly. Teixeira got a nice hand, but struck out swinging on a pitch out of the strike zone.

1:27 p.m.:
Hughes survives the first inning, getting Morgan Ensberg to fly out to right and Ben Zobrist to pop out to short. Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira due up.

1:21 p.m.:
Hughes has hit two batters this inning. Yikes.

1:20 p.m.: Phil Hughes
is consistently throwing 92 mph in the first inning, and just struck out Carl Crawford swinging on one of those fastballs

I will post updates during today's game in this post. The newest updates will be at the top.

Yankees to wear special hat this season

Bryan Hoch relays this release from the Yankees, stating the Yankees will wear a special commemorative cap for the 2009 season.

The New York Yankees will wear a new cap for the entirety of the 2009 season featuring a patch on the back commemorating the opening of the new Yankee Stadium. The patch is the first of its kind to appear on the back of an official MLB Authentic Collection cap, incorporating the MLB logo in its standard location to maintain the traditional Yankees cap design.

The caps will debut officially on Opening Day. Designed by MLB and the Yankees and manufactured by New Era, the caps will be available for purchase beginning March 1 through MLB.com and at Yankee Clubhouse stores, Modell's, Champs and the Sports Authority. All MLB Authentic Collection products for sale are exactly the same as those worn by the players.
Yikes. That hat is ridiculous. They're already wearing a patch on their uniform; this is a little too much.

On a happier, more relevant note, Bernie Williams just threw out the first pitch. It's time for televised baseball!!!

ST Game 2: Rays at Yankees

The Yankees open up their Grapefruit League home schedule this afternoon when they face the defending American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the YES Network.

Lineups

Tampa Bay Rays
Adam Kennedy 2B
Carl Crawford CF
Willy Aybar DH
Old friend Morgan Ensberg 3B
Ben Zobrist SS
Gabe Kapler CF
Chris Richard 1B
Shawn Riggans C
Justin Ruggiano RF

Wade Davis RHP

New York Yankees
Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Xavier Nady RF
Jorge Posada DH
Jose Molina C
Melky Cabrera CF

Phil Hughes RHP (followed by Phil Coke, Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Jonathan Albaladejo (remember him?) and Mark Melancon).

Should be a fun one. I'll be here all afternoon and will have some in-game updates and analysis for those of you who cannot be near a television set.

Teixeira spring training quick cut

Mark Teixeira spoke to the YES Network (hat-tip to Greg) about his excitement playing for the Yankees and the weight of his contract.



Greg also posted the videos of others in YES' "Quick Cuts" series.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New road BP jerseys

Thoughts?

The silver lettering and numbering is throwing me off a little bit.

AP Photos

Yankees win 6-1

Hopefully this is a phrase I'll be able to write 100 times this year: "Yankees win."

The Yankees won 6-1 this afternoon
behind home runs from Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez. Brett Tomko pitched two shutout innings from the starting role.

The Yankees return home to Tampa for a 1:15 game tomorrow. The game will be on YES, with Phil Hughes starting.

Here is the final box score from today.

Obstructed bleacher seats to sell for less

Much has been made of the restaurant in center field obstructing the views of half the field in the left field and right field bleachers.

Well, Yankees COO Lonn Trost was on WFAN today and said those obstructed seats (600 of them to be exact) will sell for $5, not the normal $12 for the rest of the bleachers (via Neil Best).

How nice of the Yankees!

A-Rod homers

Alex Rodriguez just homered, and now heard more cheers than boos.

I love Twitter.

Gardner homers, A-Rod booed

Brett Gardner led off this afternoon's exhibition opener with a home run off lefty Brett Cecil.

Alex Rodriguez, on the other hand, was booed. Pete Caldera said the reaction was 50-50, while Peter Abraham said he was booed "loudly."

Brett Tomko retired the side in order in the bottom of the first. Abraham said he has a chance to make the team as a long reliever. We'll see.

All very fascinating, but at least they're on the field playing baseball now.

I have a paper to write, so you can follow the game here. Also, apparently Melky Cabrera switched numbers. He will wear No. 53, while Tomko is now wearing Cabrera's old No. 28.

And once again, I laugh at anyone who ever bought the "Got Melky?" T-shirts.

ST Game 1: Yankees at Blue Jays

Yankees lineup

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Nick Swisher RF
Shelley Duncan DH
Juan Miranda 1B
Todd Linden LF
Kevin Cash C

Brett Tomko is starting, with Kei Igawa, Christian Garcia, Mike Dunn, Dave Robertson, Dan Giese and Jose Veras following.

Peter Abraham relays information from Joe Girardi regarding the starting rotation. It is: CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain should get about 30 starts is all goes to play.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Edwar update; traveling roster

According to Newsday's Roderick Boone, an MRI done on Edwar Ramirez revealed mild bursitis in his right shoulder.  As a result, he will be shut down until at least Friday because he was told to rest a minimum three days.


Meanwhile, click the above link for the traveling roster for tomorrow's game in Dunedin, Fla., against the Blue Jays.  I'm writing this from the student newspaper office on a Mac and the computer won't let me copy the text from the article.

The big names include Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.  Brett Tomko is scheduled to start.

Mo, Po improving with each day

After yesterday's R&R at a pool hall yesterday, the Yankees are back to work today, preparing for tomorrow's first exhibition game.

But it's hard to forget about Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, both rehabbing from surgery. Luckily, both seem optimistic. First, Rivera:

"It's feeling strong and now I am building muscle," Rivera said of the shoulder, which was operated on after last season. "I have been throwing, playing long toss and it's getting better every day."

The next step for Rivera is to get on a bullpen mound, but he isn't sure when that will occur.

"I don't want to push it," said Rivera, who vowed on the first day of spring training he would be ready by Opening Day, April 6.
And Posada:
"To tell you the truth," Posada said yesterday, "when I came down here and started throwing, it felt like I was throwing a ping-pong ball against the air. The ball wasn't getting there. It felt weird. I wasn't feeling the ball. It's just a different feeling to not be able to throw the ball and feel the weight of the ball. So now I'm able to extend."

Posada couldn't be more pleased with his progress and lack of pain after Sunday's workout. He threw about 15 times from 220 feet before firing away from roughly 120 feet. He wasn't squatting, but after playing only 51 games last year before having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder, he's just happy to be regaining some of his form.

"The ball was coming [out] good," he said. "I wasn't really forcing. I only forced the last three. I'll tell you what, I feel good today. There's no pain today, and every day I'm able to bounce back from all that throwing - 500-and-something throws - I'm just progressing. We haven't started games yet, so I'm really happy."

As is Joe Girardi.

"He threw great," the manager said. "It's substantially different than what I saw four or five days ago. The velocity on it was really good."
Good news all around.

Tomorrow's game begins at 1:05 against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees will then play in Tampa on Thursday at 1:15, a game which will be televised on YES.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Team-building exercises

According to Peter Abraham, Joe Girardi has called off workouts and the entire team and coaching staff is out shooting pool and eating lunch.

It's great to see that Girardi is trying to build up team chemistry like this. With the new well-paid players on the team, it's nice to take everyone off the field and have each player interact with one another in a social setting other than the clubhouse.

Well done, Joe.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The injuries have begun

There are two injuries to report, according to the AP.

First, Derek Jeter has a sore right hamstring and should resume running tomorrow.

Also, Edwar Ramirez shut down his bullpen session today due to right shoulder tendinitis. He will be examined by a doctor tomorrow.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jason Johnson diagnosed with cancer of the retina

George King is reporting that pitcher Jason Johnson has been diagnosed with cancer of the retina.

"I went to the eye doctor to get a new pair of contacts and they found it,'' said Johnson, who is in camp on a minor league deal. "They sent me to the Wills Eye Institute in Philly. It's supposed to be the best in the world. Only 2,000 people a year get it. They put a radiation plaque on my eye for four days. They told me it has a 98 percent success rate. I can't pitch outside for two weeks. I can see but not real well.''
Scary stuff. My thoughts are with him and his family.

CC Sabathia's stomach

CC Sabathia's stomach is acting up, according to Dave Eiland (via Peter Abraham).

I know I wouldn't want to come across the big guy when he has a stomach ache.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Crazy guys

We're going to like Nick Swisher. I guarantee it.

Reuters

Veras, Ramirez drop out of WBC

According to Bryan Hoch, Edwar Ramirez and Jose Veras have decided against participating in the World Baseball Classic.

"I don't think it's a good idea to go over there right now," Ramirez said. "I've got to stay here. I've got my mind-set here with the Yankees."
Ramirez and Veras are both Dominican nationals. Another Dominican, Damaso Marte is undecided on playing, mainly due to stiffness in his legs. Although he would like to play, he said he would need time to determine if he could actually pitch.

Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Francisco Cervelli are the only four Yankees on the active roster who are already committed.

Rodriguez has close ties to banned trainer

Uh oh.

Alex Rodriguez reportedly has close ties to a trainer who's been banned from MLB clubhouses, according to four Daily News sources.

Angel Presinal, who was banned from private areas of every MLB ballpark after an October 2001 incident involving an unmarked gym bag full of steroids, has been tight with the Yankee slugger dating back to his time with the Texas Rangers, several sources said.

A former New York-area scout says Presinal, whose named surfaced in the Mitchell Report, was with Rodriguez in New York and Miami as recently as this past fall.
...

Another source said Presinal accompanied A-Rod for the entire 2007 season, staying in the same hotel as the A.L. MVP, but in a separate room with the "cousin" Rodriguez pegged three days ago as his steroid source from 2001-03.
...

"He was around Alex in 2007," the source said of Presinal. "Every hotel they went to, he stayed in the same room with Yuri. You would never see Alex with [Presinal]. They would meet in one of their rooms."
...

In addition to A-Rod, Presinal has worked with some of the game's biggest stars: Juan Gonzalez, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero, Bartolo Colon, Miguel Tejada, Adrian Beltre, Moises Alou, Jose Guillen, Ervin Santana, Ruben Sierra, Francisco Cordero, Jose Mesa and Juan Guzman, among others.
Wow...that is all I have to say. It's way too early to know exactly how true this is, but it would be another bombshell dropped on Rodriguez if it is.

And to be honest, I'd love to see David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez go down. Most of the players targeted so far have been New York guys due to the Mitchell Report's two main sources. It would be nice to see others named as well.

More on this as it - hopefully - develops.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Steinbrenner, Bernie arrive in Tampa

Thanks to Jeremy for bringing this article to my attention.

Bernie Williams and George Steinbrenner arrived in Tampa this morning. Williams was in uniform and began working out, as evidenced by this picture snapped by Peter Abraham.

The cousin is identified

ESPN tracked down Alex Rodriguez's infamous drug-providing cousin. Yuri Sucart is his name.

When an ESPN Deportes producer knocked on the Sucarts' door in Miami, Fla., no one answered. The producer then called the Sucarts' house on the telephone and reached a woman who later identified herself as Yuri Sucart's wife. When the producer asked if Rodriguez had referred to her husband at Tuesday's news conference, she said yes.

Carmen Sucart said Rodriguez had given enough details about her husband at the news conference.

"I told you my husband has nothing to say," she said. "What A-Rod said at the press conference is what happened and that is all. And if you want to talk to my husband, why don't you talk to his lawyer?"
Good thing reporters weren't looking for the (at least) 279 people named Rodriguez in Miami.

I hope this is the last of A-Rod's drug talk, I really do.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lineup solidifcation

Actual baseball talk!

Peter Abraham has word from Joe Girardi, who said Mark Teixeira will likely bat third and Alex Rodriguez will bat fourth, with Hideki Matsui the leading candidate to bat fifth.

No complaints here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wrapping up Rodriguez's press conference

Alex Rodriguez, starting 20 minutes late, just finished up.

He went into some detail, saying his cousin injected him. He called it "amateur hour" and said it was just between them and they weren't exactly sure what they were doing (Ed. Note: I don't believe that for a second. He took a substance for three years and didn't know what it did? How can you buy that?). He said he was injected twice a month, but refused to give his cousin's name.

He also admitted to taking Ripped Fuel while in Seattle, a substance which has since been banned.

"Young and stupid" (thanks Jeremy) was the theme of Rodriguez's speech and subsequent answers to questions.

There were no follow-up questions from reporters, which made this press conference an easier experience for Rodriguez.

Rodriguez brought in Dan Hooton, a father whose son committed suicide after taking steroids, to essentially save face and donate to his foundation.

Rodriguez was visibly nervous and there was a poignant pause for about 30 seconds or more at the end of his prepared statement when he dropped his script and said "thank you" to his teammates for their support.

All of that said, I don't think Rodriguez accomplished much. It's extremely hard to believe Rodriguez didn't know what he was doing at the time. I also would've liked to have seen follow-up questions to put Rodriguez off-kilter. Questions are still out there, unfortunately.

A-Rod live blog on Big League Stew

As I mentioned in the post below, I'm taking part in Big League Stew's Alex Rodriguez press conference live blog.

So if you have the time, please stop by!

Update - 1:50 p.m.: They are having some technical difficulties with the software. Jason Zillo has just taken the podium.

The circus comes to town

Jane Heller has a hilarious write-up of what today could be like, calling it a circus. Of course, I'm referring to Alex Rodriguez's press conference.

ESPN, ESPNEWS, YES and SNY will all carry it live. I'm sure WFAN will too, so if you're at work and it's not blocked, you should be able to stream it.

Numerous sites will cover it live, and I've been invited to take part in Big League Stew's live blog of the game.

Rodriguez's teammates will be there, standing by their man. Hopefully Rodriguez is truthful and candid, though we know that's hard for him. We all want to see him answer the hardest of questions.

All less than stellar performance today will not give Rodriguez the free-pass with fans that many are expecting. To receive anything even close to that in my eyes, he needs to tell us the definitive truth.

Remember, the press conference will start at 1:30 p.m. ET. I'll hopefully be back with reaction soon after.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Welcome

Mark Teixeira is in the house.

Meanwhile, Teixeira spoke about PEDs in the Texas clubhouse (via Peter Abraham):

“When I was a rookie, I had a one-track mind and that was to learn the big leagues. I didn’t really see anything else going on and nobody really talked about any kind of steroids. It was definitely kept quiet. I had no idea that anybody was taking anything,” he said.

Teixeira is the son of a former Navy pilot and a schoolteacher. John and Margie Teixeira ran a tight ship, he said.

“I grew up in a family (where) there was zero tolerance. There were no drugs; there was no alcohol. That kind of stuff just didn’t fly,” Teixeira said.
Hopefully he's telling the truth.

AP Photo

A-Rod to speak tomorrow

Bryan Hoch has the news: Alex Rodriguez will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow in the same tent in which Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte addressed the media.

Compelling television right there, folks.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rodriguez apologizes to Roberts

Via The Final Score comes a transcript from CNN's "Reliable Sources" show hosted by Howard Kurtz in which it was reported that Alex Rodriguez apologized to SI's Selena Roberts.

KURTZ: Well, you know, Selena Roberts, who's a former "New York Times" reporter, I am told -- and I can report this exclusively -- that after that interview Alex Rodriguez called her to apologize.
Rodriguez attacked Roberts during his interview with Peter Gammons, saying Roberts trespassed and stalked the Yankees third baseman.

It's always something with Rodriguez. Can't wait until he reports tomorrow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 2 shots

(Photos by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Pettitte discusses last season, contract

Mark Feinsand spoke to Andy Pettitte yesterday on everything from how badly injured he was at the end of last season to the contract he recently signed.

Pettitte also disclosed just how bad his shoulder hurt him in the final month or two of 2008, saying he had to take cortisone injections just to get through some of his starts. Given the way his season finished, he knew he was going to have to take a pay cut from the $16 million he made last year, so why didn't Pettitte just take the $10 million offer?

"I feel like I'm going to throw over 200 innings and win hopefully 15-20 games for this team, so I felt like I should make over $10 (million)," Pettitte said. "I didn't care how I had to get to it, and I would bet on me being healthy to do that. That's why I did the contract that I did. If I'm not healthy, if I don't pitch well and get to the innings I need to get, then I don't feel like I need to make the money."

Pettitte said the rumors that he was going to join Joe Torre in Los Angeles were not true, and that while he did talk to Torre - something he does quite often each year - he never considered playing for any team other than the Yankees. In fact, he said his friends had a running joke all winter that by the time spring training rolled around, Pettitte would be paying the Yankees to let him pitch for them.

Pettitte said he was a little puzzled as the negotiations went on, having watched the Yankees shell out $243.5 million for CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, but he also understood and respected the fact that Brian Cashman and the front office had to make hard decisions.

"You don't throw a pity party for yourself," Pettitte said. "They're an organization, this is business and they have to make decisions," he said. "I understand that. These guys are young, they had unbelievable years and they're committing years to these guys. For me, it's a one-year deal. … This organization has paid me well. I appreciate this organization."
It's good to hear Pettitte come out and say these things about the contract. During the course of the winter, we got the idea that Pettitte was just out for the money. But who knows: maybe he was, and he's just trying to save face as spring training commences.

It's interested to hear how badly he was hurting. He is traditionally a second-half pitcher, but his ERA ballooned to 5.35 post-All-Star break last season. If he stays healthy, look for him to rebound nicely.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Yankees ink Tomko to minor-league deal

The Yankees signed 35-year-old Brett Tomko to a minor-league deal today.

The right-hander pitched 70 innings last year for the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres last season, amassing a 6.30 ERA (67 ERA+).

Not much else to say here. Basically, if he has to pitch with the big club in real games, the Yankees are in trouble.

Some shots of Day 1

A couple of observations: CC Sabathia seems like a friendly fellow, and A.J. Burnett has a lot of tats.

AP Photos

It's here!

Pitchers and catchers will finally report today. Oh, what a glorious day!

This thought and the above picture (from StadiumPage via Greg) should warm you up on this windy morning.

Is anyone headed down to Tampa this spring?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yankees still think they have Giambi

This reminds me of the Braves thinking they still have Mark Teixeira.

Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow!

AP Photo

Selig wouldn't rule out punishment for A-Rod

From Nathaniel Vinton and Christian Red:

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig came out roaring Wednesday, putting Alex Rodriguez on notice that the Yankee third baseman's admitted performance-enhancing drug use may not go unpunished.

In an interview with USA Today, Selig was asked if he would consider suspending the three-time American League MVP after Rodriguez told ESPN on Monday that he had juiced from 2001 through 2003 when he played for the Rangers.

"It was against the law, so I would have to think about that," Selig told the paper. "It's very hard. I've got to think about all that kind of stuff."

But Selig's remarks may be more bark than bite. Baseball conducted survey testing during 2003 - when Rodriguez won his first MVP award - but there were no punishments for players who tested positive. In 2001 and 2002, there was no drug-testing program in place. It was during 2004 when players were first subject to possible penalties if they tested positive for banned substances.

"He's open to everything. That doesn't mean he can do everything. He's keeping all options open," MLB spokesman Rich Levin told the Daily News, referring to Selig.
Well this is just a little ridiculous, isn't it? Jason Giambi wasn't suspended.

It appears as if Selig is trying to cover himself for this era. He has blood on his hands and he knows it. For all the good he's brought to the game during his tenure, he's also responsible for the steroid era.

There were also 103 names on the list that implicated Rodriguez. If Selig really wanted to make a difference, suspending A-Rod wouldn't be the answer. Releasing the entire list of names would. The players need to be accountable for their actions. Rodriguez partly was, now it's time for the other to be.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Numbers update

Peter Abraham has all the numbers news we love.

Nick Swisher has 33. Brian Bruney has 38. Angel Berroa has 14. 19 for Kevin Cash. Phil Hughes went back to 65.
I wonder what Swisher traded Bruney for No. 33.

Angels sign Abreu

SI.com's Jon Heyman is reporting the Angels have signed Bobby Abreu to a one-year deal. The contract is worth a little more than $5 million and also includes incentives.

Abreu hit .296 with 20 home runs and 100 RBI last season while making $16 million. This is quite a drop off in salary for someone who had that type of production.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wang is ready, healthy

Peter Abraham arrived in Tampa yesterday, and brings along some good news regarding Chien-Ming Wang.

The Wanger looked good. He got to Arizona in mid January and worked out for several weeks with a trainer before coming here. He has thrown off the mound twice and will again tomorrow.

Wang said his foot has totally healed and he is ready to go. I asked him about the Yankees adding CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.

“Great for us,” he said. “We have a good rotation. I was glad.”
Nice to hear some good baseball news today.

The many faces of a bright orange A-Rod

The Fack Youk blog has various screenshots of Alex Rodriguez making strange faces during Peter Gammons' interview on ESPN. Check it out.

I wish we could stop talking about Alex, but this is really all that's out there until at least the end of the week.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Yankees release a statement about A-Rod

From Yankees.com:

"We strongly believe there is no place in baseball for performance enhancing drugs of any type, and we support the efforts of the Commissioner to continually improve the testing process.

"We urged Alex to be completely open, honest and forthcoming in addressing his use of performance enhancing drugs. We take him at his word that he was. Although we are disappointed in the mistake he spoke to today, we realize that Alex -- like all of us -- is a human being not immune to fault.

"We speak often about the members of this organization being part of a family, and that is never more true than in times of adversity. Alex took a big step by admitting his mistake, and while there is no condoning the use of performance enhancing drugs, we respect his decision to take accountability for his actions. We support Alex, and we will do everything we can to help him deal with this challenge and prepare for the upcoming season."

Rodriguez video

Here is the video of Alex Rodriguez's interview with Peter Gammons:





Thanks to Jeremy for bringing this to my attention.

Quotes from Rodriguez's interview

ESPN has a write-up of some things Alex Rodriguez told Peter Gammons.

"When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day," Rodriguez told ESPN's Peter Gammons in an interview in Miami Beach, Fla. "Back then, [baseball] was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. I wanted to prove to everyone I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.

"I did take a banned substance. For that, I'm very sorry and deeply regretful."
...

"Overall, I felt a tremendous pressure to play, and play really well" in Texas, the New York Yankees third baseman said. "I had just signed this enormous contract I felt like I needed something, a push, without over-investigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level.

"I am sorry for my Texas years. I apologize to the fans of Texas."
...

"The more honest we can all be, the quicker we can get baseball [back] to where it needs to be," he said.
...

"It wasn't a real dramatic day. I started experimenting with things that, today, are not legal," he said, "that today are not accepted ... ever since that incident happened, I realized that I don't need any of it."
...

He said the culture earlier this decade of taking performance-enhancing substances was "prevalent." "There were a lot of people doing a lot of different things," Rodriguez said, noting that he wasn't specifically pointing out the Rangers.
...

"I had never heard anything since," he said. "Whatever I was experimenting with in Texas might have been OK."
Have at it. Does this absolve him of any wrongdoing?

A-Rod to make a statement on ESPN

Derek Jeter wanted Alex Rodriguez to respond. Now he will.

According to Bob Raissman, Rodriguez will sit down with ESPN's Peter Gammons, admitting that he used steroids. More on this as it develops.

My initial reaction: I'm glad he came out relatively soon to admit guilt. I'm obviously disappointed he resorted to using drugs.

Jeter speaks

Anthony Rieber is in Tampa and got to speak with Derek Jeter.

"My intitial reaction is let him respond," Jeter said. "Give him the respect to respond to it before you pass judgment."

Jeter said he was shocked when he first heard the reports, "Just like everybody was shocked."

Of the test results becoming public knowledge when players were assured they would remain confidential, Jeter said: "It's a learning process for me. You'd have to say an anonymous test is supposed to be anonymous."

Knowing there are still 103 players from 2003 who failed tests and are on that list, does Jeter worry his name might be on it?

"Why would I worry about me being on the list?" he said.
I wonder if Jeter was doing backflips and cartwheels when the word came out that Alex Rodriguez failed a drug test.

'Yankee Years' quote of the night

This is priceless. From pages 118-119 of "The Yankee Years":

George Steinbrenner would shovel debris out of six inches of gunky, green water while dressed in loafers and slacks if it meant winning a World Series, which is exactly what he was doing in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the 2000 World Series at Shea Stadium. A fire had started in a third-deck trash container at Shea. When firefights opened one standpipe to extinguish the fire, pressure built in another standpipe located over the Yankees' clubhouse. The pipe burst, spewing torrents of dirty water and eventually causing the clubhouse ceiling to collapse. Great waves of fetid water cascaded over the clubhouse, and headed in the direction of the Yankees' principal owner.
...

As firefighters arrived to shut off the standpipe and clean up the mess, Steinbrenner jumped in to help them. After they did the best they could to move the water out and shovel away the pieces of the demolished ceiling, Steinbrenner, soaked himself, took a wad of bills from his pocked and peeled off fifties and hundreds to give to the firefighters in appreciation of their effort.
Wow. That is all I have to say about that.

This book is fantastic so far.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'll take 5

Via BBTF comes this shirt from SawxHeads.

Sunday reading addendum: Dan Graziano

Dan Graziano has been an independent blogger since taking a buyout from The Star-Ledger at the end of 2008. Today, he wrote about Alex Rodriguez. I agree with every word, and hopefully you will too.

So when you're done reading Jane's tarot piece, please read, and support, Dan.

Sunday reading: Yankee tarot reading

Friend of Scott Proctor's Arm Jane Heller recently went to a tarot card reading with Patricia Diorio and asked questions concerning the New York Yankees.

She wrote about what transpired in The New York Times. You can read the whole thing here.

Some of what Patricia reads is very encouraging.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

On A-Rod

Now that I'm done writing about more basketball than I'd care to admit, I'm ready to tackle the Alex Rodriguez news.

Here is a very telling quote from the same SI article I quoted in the previous post:

When approached by an SI reporter on Thursday at a gym in Miami, Rodriguez declined to discuss his 2003 test results. "You'll have to talk to the union," said Rodriguez, the Yankees' third baseman since his trade to New York in February 2004. When asked if there was an explanation for his positive test, he said, "I'm not saying anything."
This "no comment" comment does more harm than good. I know if I were accused of taking steroids but knew I was innocent, I'd flat-out deny it and tell my side of the story, not tell someone to contact someone else.

Am I surprised of this news? No. After growing up watching baseball in the 90s, nothing regarding steroids surprises me anymore. Jose Canseco mentioned Rodriguez in one of his books, bringing Rodriguez's alleged drug use to the forefront.

Do I hope this is not true? Yes. I want what's best for the Yankees, and dealing with questions while trying to win baseball games could be extremely detrimental.

I can't wait to see how this plays out. Hopefully he will disclose all of the pertinent information as quickly as possible to stop the questions from being asked.

I will conclude with this bit of information from SI: Two sources familiar with Rodriguez's contract told SI that there is no language about steroids in the contract that would put Rodriguez at risk of losing money.

SI: A-Rod tested positive for steroids in 2003

SI is reporting Alex Rodriguez tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2003, according to four sources.

Rodriguez's name appears on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball's '03 survey testing, SI's sources say. As part of a joint agreement with the MLB Players Association, the testing was conducted to determine if it was necessary to impose mandatory random drug testing across the major leagues in 2004.
Just what the Yankees need: another Rodriguez-related distraction prior to the start of spring training.

I'm sitting courtside at our women's and men's basketball games today, so I'm busy right now. I'll have more on this later.

Yankees bloggers survey

Steve from Was Watching reached out to a bunch of Yankees bloggers and writers, asking how old we were when the Yankees last won the World Series in 2000 and how we would describe the state of the Yankees over the last five years.

Some of my favorites also responded: Rebecca, Patrick, Greg, Jane and El Duque.

Below is what I wrote. I was 12 in 2000.

The Yankees of the last five years has, unfortunately, been different from the teams I grew up watching at the end of the 90s. Unlike the older teams these teams have not seen much success via the free agency and trade markets. Where to begin? Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright. The list goes on and on.

Then while the team realized its mistakes and tried to develop within, we get the early failures of Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes. You can’t fault the Yankees for trying. They have just hit patches of bad luck, which are magnified due to the high payroll and the Boston Red Sox winning two recent titles.

What’s different about this offseason is that the Yankees have signed free agents who are in their respective primes. It’s easy to argue that A.J. Burnett could blow up in the team’s face, but we should all expect big things from CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.

A championship this season could wash away most, if not all, of the hurt we received in 2001, 2003 and 2004. And it’ll be hard to expect anything less than a World Series title. Not after the offseason this team had.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Jeterian question

Derek Jeter has become a hot topic in the papers and Yankosphere the last couple of days. With his age getting up there (he will turn 35 in June) and free agency looming (his contract expires in 2010), it makes sense.

In 2008, Jeter had a drop-off in every major category from the previous year. He's been running and walking less. While he's never had much power to begin with, he's become even less of a force. But his defense has been what most of the talk has been about. He can't get to balls to his left, and you have to figure this problem will only get worse.

So, what do the Yankees do? The Yankees can't possibly let Jeter walk, right? I doubt they will, but it makes for an interesting discussion.

The better question to ask is: should he change positions?

Joel Sherman offers his opinion:

Don't dismiss Jeter's pride. Jeter has done a marvelous job in his career of masking emotions. But when critical questions have been asked about his defense during the years, Jeter clearly gets more biting and protective. This is a man who first imagined himself as the Yankee shortstop as a boy, and he is not giving up the position easily. Jeter's self-confidence is supreme and, I believe, he will always think he can handle the position.
I think his pride is one of the reasons why he would switch positions. If Jeter realizes that he's embarrassing himself at shortstop, he would probably want to explore a switch. One of the arguments Sherman uses to suggest not moving Jeter to center field is that he's never played there. Well, Jeter has never played anywhere else. The better argument, which he also uses, is that he'll probably exhibit the same decline in center as well.

I think if Jeter were to change positions, his best bet would be at third base. He still has a strong arm and won't have as much ground to cover. Jeter is the second-best shortstop on the team as it is, but he would have to swallow a bitter pill in giving up short to Alex Rodriguez.

One thing is for sure: It will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next two years.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Kay doesn't know where he'll do radio show

Thanks to Jeremy Schilling for bringing this to my attention.

According to Neil Best, Michael Kay has "no idea" where he will broadcast his radio show on game days.

In recent years, Michael Kay's 1050 ESPN show has originated from a trailer outside the stadium because CBS Radio will not permit him to set up inside. It owns both the Yankees' radio rights and WFAN, 1050's competitor, and has the power to bar other stations' shows from the building.

Kay said logistics at the new stadium won't allow for a trailer, so he is not sure where he will be until 6, when he leaves for the YES booth.

"They've always said we're not a threat to them and they don't worry about us," Kay said. "There is nothing I gain from doing the show in the stadium other than for me personally, it's easier ... They've been petty and vindictive about it from the beginning."

ESPN bars its personalities from being guests on WFAN. Three industry sources said WFAN offered to lift the stadium ban if ESPN lifted its guest restriction. ESPN declined.
Never a dull moment around Yankees Universe.

'You've got 7 days, Seinfeld. That is one week'



Yup, seven days (one week) until pitchers and catchers report.

I could have used a picture of Mickey Mantle to celebrate this occasion, but I figured this rather obscure "Seinfeld" reference would be better.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Yankee randomness

Tyler Kepner has a great read up on The New York Times' Bats blog (via RAB), in which he lists 25 random facts about 25 random Yankees. The namesake is even mentioned.

Scott Proctor - Named his first son Camden after Camden Yards in Baltimore. Named his second son Cooper, but not after Cooper Stadium, then the Yankees’ rundown Class AAA ballpark in Columbus.
Read the entire list - it's very entertaining. Who knew Chris Hammond knew what e-mail was?

Yankees tried to get Jones

SI.com's Jon Heyman is reporting that the Yankees tried to sign Andruw Jones to a minor-league deal, but were turned down. Jones, who was released by the Dodgers after hitting .158 in 209 at-bats last season, still thinks he can get a guaranteed deal, it seems.

Heyman says Texas could be a better fit than the Yankees, but lists the Phillies, Braves and Mets as other teams that have also shown interest.

Meanwhile, Heyman also has an update on the trade front.

The Yankees seem to think they're more likely to find a taker for Nick Swisher than Xavier Nady. But the $21 million over three years left on Swisher's deal will probably make things tricky in this ever-tightening market. The Braves, Nationals and Mariners are among teams seeking a corner outfielder, and there are plenty of choices with Garret Anderson and Hall-bound Ken Griffey Jr. out there, as well as Abreu and Dunn.
As each day passes, I believe a trade gets less likely. The teams Heyman mentioned could sign any of those free agents for a contract that's worth less than Swisher's. Nady, who will make over $6.5 million this season, is also not an extremely cheap option.

Jeter to play against Yankees

The Yankees will play Team USA at George M. Steinbrenner Field on March 3. Derek Jeter, as you know, will be on Team USA for the World Baseball Classic. Thus brings up this interesting dilemma:

The New York captain will play for the United States against his Yankees in a warmup for the World Baseball Classic.

“Hopefully, I won’t see any pitches inside,” Jeter joked Thursday. “It will be funny. It will be fun.”
This is compelling television.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wright traded to Milwaukee

Chase Wright, who was recently designated for assignment, was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers today for LF Eric Fryer.

Fryer, 23, batted .335/.407/.506 with 10 home runs and 63 RBI in 385 at-bats with the Class-A West Virginia Power last season.

Meanwhile, the Brewers also signed old friend Ramiro Mendoza to a minor-league deal.