Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hughes Joins DL Party

Joining Posada and A-Rod, Phil Hughes was placed on the disabled list tonight with a strained oblique muscle and/or ribcage.

No corresponding announcement of Sunday's starter against the Mariners has been announced though Darrell Rasner appears to be the obvious choice as he has an ERA under 1.00 at AAA in 2008:
The Yankees just announced that Phil Hughes has gone on the disabled list with a right oblique strain. Oblique muscles are near the rib cage.
Guess the Yankees can sidestep the debate of whether or not Hughes should be sent down to AAA. The conspiracy theorists have their hands full with this one, right?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A-Rod To Disabled List

Are we into ridiculous territory yet? Alex Rodriguez has been placed on the disabled list with a grade 2 quadriceps strain - which essentially means a tear - and will be out of the lineup for at least two weeks.

The bad news keeps coming for the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez has been placed on the disabled list. He has a Grade 2 quadriceps strain.

“We have to get him right,” GM Brian Cashman said.

So much for the sunny prediction before the game that Rodriguez would be out only a day or two It appears at first glance that the Yankees made a mistake in bringing him back as quickly as they did.

How does the Yankees training staff allow the most dominant regular player on their roster not only back into the lineup but also play the field if he is obviously still healing from an injury? Maybe Hank Steinbrenner should focus his energies on that question instead of putting on his pitching-guru cap.

Source: Posada Will Play In 2008

Early word from Ed Price's blog:

Catcher Jorge Posada, on the disabled list with a strained shoulder, Monday was examined by specialist James Andrews. A person briefed on the exam, who asked not to be identified because the team said it would not discuss the matter before Tuesday, said said the early indications are that the damage in Posada's shoulder is not season-threatening, but cautioned that the complete diagnosis wouldn't be known for a few more days.

Posada, 36, first felt something on Opening Day and tried to recover by not catching for two weeks. But he regressed over the weekend.

"If he has a strain," manager Joe Girardi said, "surgery's really not an option. It's rest and strengthening. I don't know what's going to come from (Andrews), but I expect they're going to see pretty much the same. We're just going to have to rest him, probably a little bit longer."

Monday, April 28, 2008

More A-Quad Aggravation

According to LoHud, Alex Rodriguez left Monday night's game in Cleveland because he aggravated the quadriceps injury he had been recovering from.

With the gametime temperature somewhere around the mid-40s, it begs the question to why Joe Girardi would allow the invaluable A-Rod to brave such wintry conditions coming off a muscle pull.

Alex Rodriguez left the game tonight after aggravating the quadriceps strain in his right leg. He said there was “no way” that he would play tomorrow night against the Tigers.

“If I had to guess, I would probably guess more than one day,” he said.

The $126 Million Reliever

One of the most unbelievable stories in Major League Baseball is Barry Zito's complete regression into a Jamie Moyer-like starter, except he is 29 and not collecting Social Security checks.

The story took another ugly turn as Zito has been moved to the Giants bullpen until they can fake his death further notice:

Barry Zito was demoted to the bullpen Monday by the San Francisco Giants, who hope the former ace can correct his problems by working in relief.

Zito, who only 16 months ago signed a $126 million, seven-year contract with the Giants to lead their rotation, was informed of the move in a meeting with manager Bruce Bochy.

The left-hander has lost his first six starts this season and has a 7.53 ERA that jumped considerably after Zito was tagged for eight earned runs in a 10-1 loss Sunday to Cincinnati.

Report: Clemens Had 10 Year Affair

According to this morning's Daily News edition, Roger Clemens held a ten year affair with then 15 year-old country singer Mindy McCready. Clemens was 28, married and a father at the time of the alleged affair.

Is this the worst calendar year of all time for an athlete? Rocket's getting into hall of shame territory:

Roger Clemens carried on a decade-long affair with country star Mindy McCready, a romance that began when McCready was a 15-year-old aspiring singer performing in a karaoke bar and Clemens was a 28-year-old Red Sox ace and married father of two, several sources have told the Daily News.

The revelations could torpedo claims of an unsullied character that are central to the defamation suit Clemens filed Jan. 6 against his former personal trainer Brian McNamee. Vivid details of the affair could surface in several media projects that McCready is involved with - including a documentary that begins filming today in Nashville, a new album and a reality show.

...Contacted by the Daily News Sunday through his lawyer Rusty Hardin, Clemens confirmed a long-term relationship but denied that it was of a sexual nature.

“He flatly denies having had any kind of an inappropriate relationship with her,” Hardin said. “He’s considered her a close family friend. ... He has never had a sexual relationship with her.”

What's the statute of limitations on statutory rape, I wonder.

The Joba Replacement Program
Candidate #1 - Dave Robertson

From The Thunder Blog comes a look at Dave Robertson's outpitch. A filthy power curveball:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Posada Out With Shoulder Tear

Bad news for Jorge Posada and another injury notch is added to the Yankees tally for 2008 as the starting backstop is likely headed to the disabled list with a tear in his right shoulder:
The Yankees’ injury troubles took another discouraging turn Sunday when Jorge Posada was a late scratch from the lineup with a recurrence of the shoulder problem that bothered him early this month. This time, the injury seems serious.

The Yankees said there would be no announcement until after the game, but Posada, who has a tear in his subscapularis muscle, is expected to visit Dr. James Andrews and will most likely be placed on the disabled list.

Posada has already shared his magnetic resonance imaging results with Andrews, and Posada has said that surgery would not be necessary. But the problem has not improved as Posada hoped, again raising the specter of an operation.

Chad Moeller could be claimed by other teams in the very near future and the Yankees will need to reacquire the 33 year-old journeyman catcher as they have zero depth in the minor leagues to call up as a backup to Jose Molina.

Reed All About It

Sherman: Scouts: Joba Is A Starter
No *Bleep*

Today's Joel Sherman space in the NY Post cites several scouts who, like most of have been screaming from the get-go, believe Joba Chamberlain is a #1 type starting pitcher in the big leagues.

Scout A says:
The times I saw him, he was an easy-identification No. 1 starter. He was powerful and resilient. He went deep into games and used all four of his pitches. That is what impressed me most about him. He would strike out 2-3 guys in a row with a fastball, then go 2-2 and throw a plus-potential change.

I will tell you what I think on this kid. You put him in a playoff game, and when he leaves it is going to be 1-0 or 2-1. The score is going to be low for the other side. He was a dominant No. 1 guy in the minors. I left the stadium and said, "What else do you want in a starting pitcher?" I saw (Jonathan) Papelbon in the minors....Chamberlain as a starter was better than Papelbon. He had more options. He threw harder. Papelbon was 92-94 (mph) as a starter. His second pitches were all average.
Scout B says:
I thought he was the best player in the Yankees organization, the No. 1 prospect. He was lights out. He had a plus-fastball, nasty slider and a good curve, and a pitchable change. He held his stuff for seven innings. The thing that concerned me is there is a lot of effort in that delivery.
AA Reading Phillies Pitching Coach, Tom Filer says:
I was very impressed. The first couple of innings he was 94-96 (mph). By the fifth inning, he was 97-99. His slider was very impressive. I liked the action on his breaking ball. I only saw those two pitches, the fastball and slider. On this given day, we had no shot (against him). This guy can do anything. He might not be as refined as (Josh) Beckett the first time I saw him at 19 or 20 years old. But with Joba Chamberlain, I saw more power."
Scout C Says:
For me, he was a top-of-the-rotation guy. I have had a long-running debate in my head between Chamberlain and (Phil) Hughes. As far as stuff, I think I wrote him up as a No. 3 with upside. He pitched at 94-96 (mph). But the one thing is he threw seven innings and he maintained velocity. I saw him throw 98 in the seventh inning. He could step it up when he needed. I remember one time he was pitching at 94 and it was either the sixth or seventh inning and two guys got on with one out, and he did not throw another pitch at less than 97. [Chamberlain and Hughes] were both in my mind top-of-rotation guys without hesitation.

For me, he is a starter. There are a lot of guys who can do that set-up role.

Oswalt Says No To Yanks

What began as a muttered comment from Peter Gammons earlier this week on ESPN's Baseball Tonight made its way into the Houston locker room via the local media. During the nightly baseball fix, Gammons mentioned that the Yankees could be the frontrunner for Roy Oswalt's services should the Astros ace find himself on the trading block.

Oswalt's response?
"I don't know where that came from," Oswalt said, referring to Peter Gammons' comments on ESPN that created the furor. "I don't know where he's getting that from. That came out of left field somewhere. I don't know if he just brought it up or if he heard it from somewhere. I don't know where he got it."
Oswalt said if the Astros approached him with a trade proposal, he'd consider it. He didn't specify which teams he'd go to, but it's unlikely the Yankees would be on the short list. The Red Sox, Braves and Cardinals would probably interest him.

"If management came to you and asked you if you'd approve a trade, well, that just goes to show that a team doesn't want you," Oswalt said on Thursday. "So, why wouldn't you? If a team doesn't want you to play there, why wouldn't you approve a trade?"
Astros GM Ed Wade shrugged off the trade buzz, claiming "anything about a trade, it's all news to me."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bruney Likely Out For Season

From MLB.com:
Yankees right-handed reliever Brian Bruney could miss the remainder of the season with an injury to the Lisfranc joint of his right foot that is likely to require surgery.

Bruney slipped and fell while attempting to cover first base in the seventh inning of the Yankees' 9-5 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday. The results of an MRI taken in Chicago were sent to physicians in New York, who have recommended that the reliever have surgery. Bruney was examined by Dr. William Hamilton at Roosevelt Hospital in New York on Friday.

In a remarkable run of bad luck, Bruney also had a family member hospitalized in Oregon due to a heart attack on Thursday. That same day, the 18-wheeler hauling his personal truck to New York was involved in an accident, damaging Bruney's car badly.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Did Joba Diss Erin Andrews?

A conspiracy theory is making the email rounds today in which Joba Chamberlain is rumored to have muttered something to ESPN's Erin Andrews that resulted in an awkward gasface from the sideline siren.

To me, there is nothing to this, but you be the judge:



Andrews already responded to the controversy, explaining "I was looking over at my producer at the end, asking him what we needed to get next from him because I had to do another interview with him." Guess that solves Joba-gate, though it does make Ms. Andrews look pretty snobbish if her explanation is indeed correct.

Blogging: "The Blowfish" Ensberg

Over at Phil Hughes' weblog comes news of a guest column.
Just got into the hotel in Cleveland. Guest blog tomorrow by Morgan “The Blowfish” Ensberg. Should be a good one.
I'd like to see Kyle Farnsworth have a guest appearance in the blogosphere. It would read something like this:
Threw fastball to hitter. Tried to throw one harder but I had no idea where it would end up. Turns out it ended up over the leftfield fence. But it's ok because I look great in these coke bottles.

Dukes & His Comeuppance

This is just too sweet to ignore.

The former Devil Ray and admitted crack-cocaine advocate himself is on poop scooper duty in order to get his probation reduced. You missed a spot, Eli:

To get his misdemeanor probation cut short by five months, former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Elijah Dukes spent 25 hours during the past week cleaning out cages and mopping at Lowry Park Zoo.

Attorney Grady Irvin and a team official for the Nationals, who traded for Dukes in December, said the ballplayer also passed weekly drug tests for six months.

Dukes, 23, removed large diamond stud earrings and tucked his silver chain under his T-shirt before standing before the judge. The former Hillsborough High standout kept his head down throughout the hearing, looking up and smiling only after the judge granted his request.

“You are in a wonderful position to be such a positive influence on so many young people that these are the kinds of things that prevent you from being that example,” Conrad said. “With great gifts I think you have great responsibilities as well. I’m hoping this experience, albeit for six months … will at least set a positive turn for your future.”

The words responsibility and Elijah Dukes mix like V8 and Hershey syrup.

Trenton Report: George Kontos

I made the trip to Trenton last night and was able to see George Kontos pitch for the first time. Kontos had started the year poorly, walking more men than he struck out, but Thursday night was the best start of his AA campaign.

The line: 6.1 innings, four hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO.

I had heard his stuff was electric, and though his velocity was a tick or two lower than I had expected, his stuff is certainly overpowering. Kontos showed that last night against a tough New Britain offense. I spent the first four innings in the pressbox, but finally made my way down behind homeplate before the fifth frame. ESPN baseball analyst Keith Law sat a few rows in front of me.
Scouting Report:
Fastball: Topping out at 93 mph but mostly 90-92. Good boring action in on righties and strong late life when thrown belt high or below. At times he commanded it very well on the corners. His velocity may have been better in the earlier innings, very possibly hitting 94 or 95, but it is his tendency to overthrow which has hurt Kontos most.

Slider: Ranged from 83-87 mph with strong movement both downward and laterally. Not Joba's two-plane slidepiece, but it is an electric pitch which at times has a slurve's movement at hard slider velocity. Was especially effective away from right handed hitters.

Changeup: 81-83 mph with average fade. Kontos threw the changeup 10+ times - mostly to lefties - and commanded it decently throughout the start. If Kontos is to move forward as a starter it will be the development of this pitch that gets him there. Konto's admitted as much after the game.

Curveball: Thrown at 72-74 mph. Only threw about 3 or 4 curves, but the pitch has some projection. Probably major league average right now, but may develop into a plus pitch if Kontos is able to use it enough from start to start. Control was average but his command could use some work as one hung in the zone. Consistently good tight spin and downward break.
Thursday's start was Kontos' first major step toward becoming comfortable at the AA level. If last night's performance is any indication, Kontos gives the Yankees another effective power arm on the cusp of the majors.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A-Rod Out Until Weekend

It comes as no surprise, but Alex Rodriguez is not expected to play tonight's series finale against Chicago though he may return this weekend versus Cleveland.
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez probably won't play until this weekend's series at Cleveland, even though he's scheduled to rejoin the team in Chicago on Thursday.

A-Rod missed his second straight game Wednesday because of a strained quadriceps, and manager Joe Girardi said he would be "shocked" if Rodriguez played in the series finale against the White Sox, although he didn't completely rule out the possibility.

"If he comes in and says he's ready to play, I'm putting him in there," said Girardi, adding his "hope" is Rodriguez will be ready to play sometime this weekend.

BA Likes McCutchen, Robertson

Baseball America's John Manuel likes Trenton pitchers Daniel McCutchen and Dave Robertson to contribute toward the Yankees late-inning bullpen spot vacated when Joba Chamberlain moves to the rotation this summer.

From Wednesday's ESPN chat:
Matt (PA): Melancon, Cox, Sanchez or Horne.. Who gets that call up first for the Yankees once Joba hits the rotation? So I guess around the all-star break.

SportsNation John Manuel: Good question, but there are many other options--David Robertson is a sleeper who could be a factor, he's dealing at Trenton right now. Also Dan McCutcheon, who is a starter but could slide into a relief role with his stuff and aggressive approach. I actually like both those guys better for a middle relief role this year than those you mentioned except for Melancon. If Melancon is at full strength, he's the guy. Sanchez and Cox won't help the Yankees in New York this year, IMO.
Now serving as Trenton's closer, the 23 year-old David Robertson has already thrown 14 innings compiling a 0.64 ERA and 21 K’s. In 2007, his first year of pro ball, he went 8-3 flashing an 0.96 ERA over 84 innings with 113 strikeouts and only 32 walks.

As the closer for Alabama it was said Robertson possessed a 95-96 mph blazing fastball, but in the minor leagues scouts soon realized his fastball was really 89-92. However, the explosive late-movement on his fastball is so dramatic that it seems to be 3 to 4 ticks higher. Hitters simply cannot catch up with his fastball which, at its best, runs 90-93 mph. He compliments his riding fastball with a hammer curve which is his outpitch.

Also, don't forget about Scott Patterson who has struggled a bit at AAA after being robbed of a major league roster spot out of Spring training. Jose Veras and his mid-90s fastball also remain in Scranton Wilkes-Barre where over 9 innings he has struck out 15, walked 3, notched 5 saves with a 2.00 ERA.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Big Hurt Maybe Goin' Back To Cali

The Mariners must not have been keen on signing Frank Thomas to help infuse some power into an anemic offense. Further, Jason Giambi will not be threatened by another aging DH, as Thomas has an offer to sign with Oakland and another team:
Frank Thomas was close to signing with the Oakland A’s on Wednesday until another team made an offer at the last minute, according to a baseball source. The second offer, from an undisclosed team, at least temporarily put the brakes on the A’s deal, which would reunite the aging slugger with the team he hit 39 home runs for in 2006.

Ortiz Jersey Fetching Over $80k

The biggest non-story of the year keeps generating more dough for the Jimmy Fund. Although the idea of a cursed David Ortiz jersey is rather forgettable, the fact that the eBay item has currently fetched some $82,600 for charity is not.

Some strange people have too much money on their hands.

Here's the eBay item's page in case you want to raise the pot.

[hat tip to WasWatching]

Racism At Fenway? Nawww

Torii Hunter tells the Boston Globe of the racial epithets slung at him during games at Fenway Park. The chanting of the n-word was confirmed by Fenway security via David Ortiz. Of course it's less shocking when you consider Fenway has about as diverse a crowd as the Aryan Brotherhood membership:

Hunter told the Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., that until the last couple of years, he regularly heard racist taunts when visiting Fenway as a member of the Minnesota Twins.

“I’ve been called whatever they call me - a lot - since I was a kid,” Hunter told the newspaper. “My first five or six (years), I was ‘That N-word.’ Some people would chant that out, some people would throw beer or whatever . . . batteries.”

...He had, however, informed Red Sox slugger and close friend David Ortiz - with whom Hunter spent six seasons as a teammate in Minnesota - of the racist comments he’d encountered. Ortiz remains dismayed that such behavior occurred in his home ballpark.

“(But) he heard some stuff that I’m surprised at. One of the security guys told me it was true. They were screaming that kind of stuff at him. That’s not right.”

From a Press-Enterprise story comes Gary Mathews Jr's take:

Last season, Gary Matthews Jr. described Red Sox fans as "loud, they can be obnoxious" and added, "It's one of the few places you hear racial comments every once in a while."

And Garret Anderson:

"I like playing there from the standpoint that for an old park, it's got some history," Anderson said. "That's the only thing that I like as far as playing there."

Joe Morgan, Pearl Of Wisdom

First of all, Joe Morgan now has a weekly chat on ESPN.com?

Can you imagine Joe sitting behind a computer screen, a jar full of baseball cliches and a lovable David Ortiz reference awaiting somewhere nearby? What a concept.

Inexplicably, I scanned yesterday's Morgan Chat and immediately caught hold of this gem:
MJ (Edmonton): Joe is this the year the Blue Jays can catch the Yankees or the Red Sox and make the playoffs?

SportsNation Joe Morgan: They will not catch the Sox, but they could battle the Yankees. But I think the Red Sox are still the best team in the AL, and it will be hard for the Blue Jays to beat them. The Yankees still have questions, especially with that young pitching so they could battle New York.
So, according to Mr. Big Red Machine, the Yankees have young pitching question marks. No doubt the beginning of the season has not been kind to Hughes or Kennedy, but did Joe ever take a look at the Red Sox starting rotation? If he had, he'd notice two unproven young starters named Buchholz and Lester.

Eh. The Sox are off to a hot start so there's no reason to address the fact that Lester has piled up more walks than strikeouts, more hits than innings-pitched and has an ERA over 5.00. Right, no question mark there. Buchholz, who is two years older than Phil Hughes, has a 4.79 ERA and one more win than Ian Kennedy.

Make no mistake, I believe all four of these budding pitchers will eventually become solid, reliable starters in the majors. However, the idea that Boston's twosome is now a lock over New York's youngsters is simply inaccurate in that it is without any particular basis. This being a Joe Morgan chat, there is little reason to expect accuracy, basis or much in the way of facts.

Wanger Makes History,
Remains Oblivious

Chien-Ming Wang battled through six innings and, aided by a timely Bobby Abreu grand slam, was able to improve to 4-0 on the season. The win was a milestone for Wang, the 50th of his career, and put him in good company.

It took Wang a mere 85 starts to gather 50 wins. The last starter to win 50 so quickly was Doc Gooden and the last Yankee was Ron Guidry - both of whom did so in 82 starts.

When asked for his reaction after the game, Wang was his aloof and accidentally hilarious self:

Wang had no idea about the milestone until I mentioned it to him. “Dwight Gooden?” he said. "Who’s that?”

“He pitched for the Mets,” I said.

“You mean Doc Gooden,” he said. “Same guy?”

Joba Chamberlain, who was listening to our conversation, was laughing hysterically.

You've got to hand it to the guy. He makes Tim Duncan look like Conan O'Brien.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cashman's Escape From New York
Rosenthal Says Hank's To Blame

Ken Rosenthal thinks Hank Steinbrenner and his idiotic statements may result in a Brian Cashman exodus from Yankeeland:
This time, Brian Cashman should just bolt.

Cashman agreed to remain Yankees general manager when he was promised full autonomy after the 2005 season. But the disruptive influence of Hank Steinbrenner, the team's new co-chairman, is rapidly turning that guarantee into an empty pledge.

Who needs the aggravation? If Steinbrenner wants to hold Cashman responsible for failing to acquire Johan Santana and other perceived transgressions, so be it. Cashman, the Yanks GM since Feb. 1998, can go find another job.

Let Steinbrenner hire a puppet GM, order Chamberlain to pitch 300 innings and trade for his new favorite junkballer, Jamie Moyer. Cashman, whose contract expires at the end of the season, would not lack for opportunities.

If Cashman wished to stay east, he could replace Phillies GM Pat Gillick, who is expected to retire. Or, Cashman could return to D.C., where he attended Georgetown Prep and Catholic University, if the Nationals chose to replace Jim Bowden. Why, Cashman could even stay in the AL East if the Blue Jays dismissed J.P. Ricciardi, who has two years left on his contract.

People seem to forget the Voice of Reason - aka Hal Steinbrenner - has equal say in the Yankees universe and, as was the case with Santana, can protest or challenge every Hankism.

Is Mad Dog Russo Serious?

Mike and the Mad Dog used to be able to fill their 5.5 hours of sports radio time with engaging interviews, great rumor buzz and intelligent baseball talk. Their style became the benchmark which all other sports talk shows were measured.

Somewhere over the past few years, the show became a transparent, mindless marathon without any end in sight. No longer does Russo's savant-like photographic memory charm his listeners as the Long Island native constantly speaks before thinking. Similarly, Mike Francesa's smooth, debonair oratory can no longer mask his lack of Yankees prospect knowledge.

Francesa believes Joba Chamberlain should not become a starter because he is already "unhittable" in the 8th inning role. Forget the fact that every lights-out closer was at one point in his career a failed starter [see: Rivera, K-Rod, Hoffman, etc.]. Instead of finding out once and for-all whether or not the Yankees have a Justin Verlander on their hands, Mikey thinks he should remain Rivera's heir apparent for the next 2 or 3 years.

The setup man loses his value when the starting pitcher doesn't hand him a lead to work with... hence the value of Chamberlain pitching the first six innings as opposed to the seventh and/or eighth.

As for Russo's opinion on the Chamberlain conundrum, the Mad Dog believes a bad start against Manhattan while in college proves he is not a dominant starter. Russo then opines Joba never dominated while in the minor leagues. Hm, that's news to every coherent baseball fan. Talk about not doing your homework, Chris. For future reference, here are Chamberlain's 2007 minor league statistics - as a starter.

It has become so obvious that the New York radio giants are no longer able to efficiently fill their time slot, that they are now saying things like this:

Horne Shut Down For 14 Days

Yankees top pitching prospect Alan Horne was DLed on April 10 with what was described as a bicep strain. According to Nardi Contreras, Horne was shut down for a full two weeks and not the seven day layoff which was originally reported:
Contreras said that the Yankees decided to keep Alan Horne inactive for 14 days starting the day after his injury. After two weeks of not throwing, he'll begin a program to build back his strength. "We are very conservative," Contreras said.

Badboy Bronson Sardinha?

Bronson Sardinha, everybody's favorite former Yankees farmhand with the interminable middle name, may be in baseball hot water according to Chad Jennings:
Baseball America's latest transactions list Bronson Sardinha as having been placed on the suspended list and then released by the Mariners. I emailed the media relations guy in Tacoma who said, "That's all I know at this point as well." No clue what's going on there, but it doesn't sound good.
Come on now, Kiheimahanaomauiakeo.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Prior To The Popes Stadium Visit
Comes UFC #84

What a great reason to go to a game.

Talking smack to a rival fan is expected. Middle-aged men throwing haymakers is excessive. Both taking place during a baseball game is ex-convict.

[Warning: NSFW]

A-Rod With Mild Quad Strain,
Will Rejoin Club Tomorrow

It is yet to be determined whether Alex Rodriguez will be playing in tomorrow's game against the ChiSox, but the level of his quad injury appears to be less serious than the one which kept Jeter out of commission for six games.
Alex Rodriguez has a mild strain of his right quadriceps and will rejoin the New York Yankees on Tuesday in Chicago.

Rodriguez will be evaluated again Tuesday, according to Zillo, who was unsure whether A-Rod would be available to play in the series opener.
With his pop-psychology wife Cynthia due to give birth with their second child at any moment, why doesn't A-Quad simply hop onto his private jet, induce labor and miss the next few days of work welcoming his new addition into the world. He'll likely miss a few days anyhow. Never take sides against the family, Alex, never.

Hank Wants Joba Starting Now

From the NY Times comes word Hank Steinbrenner wants Joba Chamberlain in the starting rotation now. Calm it down Hanky:
With the Yankees off to a 10-10 start, and two of their young starters struggling, the Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner said there was one thing in particular he would like to change: He wants Joba Chamberlain, the Yankees’ hard-throwing setup man, to move into the rotation.

“I want him as a starter and so does everyone else, including him, and that is what we are working toward and we need him there now,” Steinbrenner said Sunday by telephone. “There is no question about it, you don’t have a guy with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and keep him as a setup guy. You just don’t do that. You have to be an idiot to do that.”

“I think once Hughes and Kennedy get plenty of starts and get Joba back, and with Wang and Pettitte, we will be fine,” Steinbrenner said.

Steinbrenner said the Yankees were working on easing Chamberlain into the rotation, but he would not be specific on a timetable. The Yankees’ brain trust wanted to limit Chamberlan’s innings by having him spend at least part of the season in the bullpen. “The mistake was already made last year switching him to the bullpen out of panic or whatever,” Steinbrenner said. “I had no say in it last year and I wouldn’t have allowed it. That was done last year, so now we have to catch up. It has to be done on a schedule so we don’t rush him.”
Does Hankenstein realize the Yankees would not have made the playoffs last season had Chamberlain not sured up the 8th inning. Also, the Yankees were able to expertly limit Chamberlain's innings by using him in the reduced role of a late-inning reliever.

Relax Hank, you don't know nearly as much about baseball as you think - though you're right Joba will and should soon join the starting five.

An Injury To A-Quad

A-Quad left Sunday's game with a...quad injury and is day-to-day. After 20 straight games, the Yankees *gasp* actually have today off. How A-Rod feels this morning and afternoon may determine if he misses a couple days or like Derek Jeter needs about a week to recover from the quadriceps strain.

So far Rodriguez appears optimistic the injury is more of a cramp than a pull.. As Joe Girardi would say "I don't want to get into semantics, OK?":

Alex Rodriguez left Camden Yards with his leg wrapped with a heat pad. It appears he will be out at least a few days.

“It’s a little sore, a little tight,” he said. “I have some concern about it. Anytime you have any type of feeling like that you have some concern.”

“Maybe,” Rodriguez said when asked whether he could miss a few games. “We’ll see how I wake up in the morning."

Weekend Odds & Ends:
The Young Guns

It was another tough turn of the rotation for Hughes and Kennedy, though the former breezed through five innings Friday night before becoming undone in the sixth. During the first third of the game, Phil Hughes showed an uncanny ability to throw strike-one, but was unable to survive the sixth frame thanks in large part to a costly error from Alex Rodriguez.

Omitting the third baseman's miscue may have very well resulted in a pitching like of 6 innings and 3 earned runs, however the actual statistics were 5.1 innings-pitched of 5-run ball. Did he pitch that poorly? Certainly not, [LaTroy Hawkins' horrid relief performance emblazoned Hughes' statline] but Hughes did not pitch great either.

The youngster's inability to consistently mix in his changeup and slider has become the 500 pound gorilla in the room, and every opposing batter knows it. In turn, hitters simply take the curveball and sit on the fastball, knowing at some point they will get one they can handle.

On Saturday, Ian Kennedy followed up an impressive six-inning performance against Tampa Bay with 2.1 innings of an 80 pitch nightmare. Nibbling would be an understatement in summarizing Kennedy's outing as the 23 year-old simply refused to trust his stuff and attack the strikezone. The result was a bounty of earned runs, a bevy of full-counts and a bloated pitchcount.

Though Hughes' pitching line may read otherwise, the righthander seemingly took a step forward in his progression. Though Hughes is a notorious slow-starter, and neither Friday or Saturday's game witnessed much run-support from the Yankees offense, there will soon come a time when reasons become excuses and major league learning curves become minor league stints.

The Silver Lining:
  • Hughes consistently threw his fastball 92-93 mph throughout his Friday start, hitting 94 on a handful of pitches. His slider, usually thrown 79-81 mph, made a few appearances during the game as a strike-one pitch. The changeup, which I believe Hughes used once, has become a jilted pitch, collecting dust next to the righty's two-seam fastball. Should Hughes ever command the changeup down and away to lefties or the slider down and away to righthanded hitters, Phil would likely take off.
  • Even while observing Saturday's poor performance, Jim Palmer described Ian Kennedy as having "lights-out stuff." Palmer, unlike many broadcasters, actually does some homework and is not afraid of criticizing his pitching fraternity brothers. Therefore, the statement has more meaning than when Joe Morgan cluelessly praises a young pitcher he's never laid eyes on before. [BTW, Orel Hershiser, while very good on BBTN, is an exceptional example of a broadcaster doing his homework]

Rotation Tinkering

Joe Girardi and his coaching staff made the correct decision to modify the current starting rotation by separating Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy in the hopes of giving the bullpen a breather.

This week's projected rotation:
Tuesday - Wang
Wednesday - Mussina
Thursday - Hughes
Friday - Pettitte
Saturday - Kennedy
The next pitching modifier should include Ross Ohlendorf contributing in the later innings and not wasting his arm in the longman/mop-up role.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Probably A Bad Idea Anyway

A Kansas City minor league team canceled an upcoming promotional night which would take the form of a Michael Vick Welcome Home party.

No dogs allowed:

The Kansas City T-Bones of the Northern League had planned to have a Michael Vick "Welcome to the Neighborhood" night May 28, complete with prison uniforms, spotlights and escape sirens. Other events promoting caring for animals also were planned.

Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, is serving a 23-month sentence at the U.S. Penitentiary in nearby Leavenworth after pleading guilty to federal charges related to dogfighting.

I love the excuse the general manager gives for the event:
"It was not our intent to be culturally insensitive," T-Bones general manager Rick Muntean said. "We simply wanted to raise awareness for what we think are great causes."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gammons & His Sawx Pom-Poms



I mean please, Mr. Diamond Notes, please.
How could Kyle Farnsworth have the gall to throw a wild up-and-in fastball on Manny Ramirez? What a travesty. [ed. note, Gammons does not remember Pedro Martinez hitting Jeter, Soriano, etc 1000 times] I was at the game last night, and Farnsworth's chin-music was probably the most enjoyable moment of the night - aside from the two runs off Papelbon.
And please recall Wednesday night's game in which Alex Rodriguez was hit, not buzzed, by a Aardsma fastball. Where was Gammons on that one? Ah, life through rose-colored glasses, eh Pete.

Joba To Miss Another Game

Harlan Chamberlain is feeling better and is now breathing on his own without the assistance of a ventilator. Along with this great piece of news, Joba Chamberlain revealed he would miss another game tonight:

Joba Chamberlain's father is breathing on his own and feeling better, no longer needing a ventilator but still in critical condition and awaiting more tests.

Chamberlain was to miss his fifth consecutive game Friday night while attending to his stricken father in Nebraska. The hard-throwing reliever left the New York Yankees on Monday and was placed on the bereavement list, a day after Harlan Chamberlain collapsed at home.

"After several difficult days, my father is feeling much better," Chamberlain said in a statement issued by the team from Baltimore, where the Yankees were to play the Orioles Friday night. "He is still in the critical care unit of the hospital and more tests await him, but he is off the ventilator and breathing on his own. Each day he's acting more and more like himself, and he's even giving people grief -- myself included -- because the hospital doesn't carry Yankees games on television."

The Yankees aren't sure when their setup man will rejoin the team.

Ed Wade: Worst GM Ever?

Ed Wade not only had the gall to acquire PED suspect Miguel Tejada a day before his name was inked within the damning pages of the Mitchell Report. According to multiple reports, Wade has now just learned Tejada is two years older than when the GM originally traded for him this offseason.
The Houston Astros shortstop told the Oakland Athletics when he was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 1993 that he was 17. But he was actually 19, meaning he is now 33, two years older than his listed age in the Astros' media guide and other baseball records.
Kind of like the time Texas traded Alex Rodriguez for Alfonso Soriano only to find he was 28 years old, two years older than his listed birthdate. Then again, Soriano wasn't a juicer and was still five years younger than Tejada was when Wade brilliantly pulled the trigger. Genius.

Pavano Is A #1 Starter . . .

. . that is, if you believe his agent Tom O'Connell:
"Carl’s a 1-2 starter,” O’Connell said. “Those guys don’t grow on trees. Those guys are very rare, 200-inning guys are very rare in this game, and they’re the ones that make the money. And he did it two years in a row, before he got hurt, and I’m sure he’s going to do it again."
By "do it again," did O'Connell mean get hurt or make the money. I would have to assume he meant both.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Trenton Report: The Untouchables

I covered yesterday's Trenton Thunder vs. Altoona Curve game for an online magazine in order to sit down with starting pitcher Daniel McCutchen. Though he pitched Tuesday night - 7 scoreless innings - and carried his team to a 4-0 victory, I was able to closely observe two of the Yankees top three prospects in action.

Pardon the pun.

During this particular game, the plate discipline that Austin Jackson and Jose Tabata exhibited was far more advanced than I had expected. Remember the twosome are 21 and 19 years old respectively. And Jackson's speed may not be elite, but there is an ease and grace to his steps that make him look even faster than he already is - which is pretty damn fast.

Tabata looked incredibly comfortable in the box, and though he wasn't facing Clayton Kershaw or Rick Porcello, his ability to take a pitch on the outside corner and mash it into rightfield is a skillset which will carry over into the big leagues. [As will the apparent clutchness Tabata's shown throughout the minor leagues.]

Two out of the three times A-Jax got aboard [2-4 with a walk] in yesterday's game, Tabata followed him up by taking the outside pitch and lacing it deep into the right field corner. Both times, Jackson scored standing up all the way from first base.

In a mere two different at-bats, both Tabata's and Jackson's strengths were highlighted. Tabata's brute strength with the stick [those doubles could become homers as his body matures] met with Jackson's on-base ability and stealth around the base paths.

In the field, there was little to be determined as the only balls Jackson fielded were either can-o-corn high flies or basehits which could not have possibly been caught. Tabata was not tested very much either, though he did show a bout of a laziness on an Altoona double triple down the line. While in pursuit of the baseball in the right field corner, Tabata was noticeably slow to recover and get the ball back into the infield. As a result, Yankees scouts cringed and a double became a triple.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Inside The Mind of the Wanger

SI.com had a very entertaining feature on Chien-Ming Wang published yesterday - the piece is more human interest than baseball analytic - which chronicles the meteoric rise from Yankee starter to national phenomenon in his native Taiwan.

Stories of his adoptive parents and humble beginnings are somewhat well-known, but here are some more intriguing bits:
After his rookie season Wang returned home to a hero's welcome, receiving an invitation to meet President Chen Shui-Bian. By the time Wang returned home after the 2006 season, in which he went 19-6 with a 3.63 ERA and finished second in American League Cy Young voting, he was more popular than the president. "There's no question that he has more impact than anyone else in our country," says Shao. "The way we look at it, a president is in office for no more than eight years, then someone else comes along. Wang, he's everlasting."

Now Taiwan's major newspapers charge a higher advertising rate for issues published on a day that Wang pitches, as well as the day after each start. The country's largest circulation daily, Apple Daily, estimates that it sells as many as 300,000 extra papers on days that carry reports of another Wang victory. Endorsements that have come Wang's way include McDonald's, Ford, E Sun Bank (one of the largest in Taiwan) and computer-maker Acer, which claims that Wang's name alone has increased its product sales by 10% and lowered the average age of its consumer by almost four years.
Last year a study in a Taiwanese business journal, Money Weekly, found a correlation between Wang's pitching performances and the fluctuations of the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The report attributed a 25% index rise last summer to Wang's strong June and July. "We absolutely believe it to be true," Shao says of the relationship between Wang's performance and last summer's bull market. "Psychologically, how [Wang] does has a huge effect on the Taiwanese people. If he does well, people are in a good mood, and they go out and spend money. If he doesn't, you walk around and you can see people depressed. It's a very personal matter to the Taiwanese people." (For the record, the country's stock index was up roughly 6%, through Monday, since Wang's first start this season, on April 1.)
In their coverage of pop stars and politicians, the Taiwanese papers can be as cruel as the New York tabloids; when it comes to [Wang], they generally do not pry into his personal life.
"The [Taiwanese] media, they know about this image. They could write about the expensive jewelry he buys, but they don't. They don't want to hurt the image."
And you thought Britney and Paris had to deal with scrutiny. Wang's pitching habits may impact Taiwan's national economy, but our "celebrities" can drink, fornicate, rehab and spiral downward like none other.

Hawkins Surrenders #21, Dignity

I am Paul O'Neill's smirking revenge.

LaTroy Hawkins
has come to his senses:

Tired of receiving flak for wearing a number last used by Paul O’Neill, the Yankees’ LaTroy Hawkins has decided to surrender his No. 21 before the club opens a two-game series against the Red Sox on Wednesday.

...Hawkins wore No. 22 with the Yankees during Spring Training, but switched to No. 21 when infielder Morgan Ensberg decided he no longer wanted to wear it. Ensberg was randomly assigned the number upon reporting to camp as a non-roster invitee and later revealed that he received numerous vulgar comments from Yankees fans during the Grapefruit League campaign.

Hawkins eagerly accepted No. 21 as a tribute to Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente but quickly learned that a pinstriped No. 21 has other meanings for Yankees fans. Unaware he was donning a number that had not been worn since O’Neill retired following the 2001 World Series, Hawkins was booed when introduced on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. Fans chanted “Paul O’Neill” during one of his appearances in the Bronx.

According to CBSSports.com, Hawkins made the decision after discussions with Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and other Yankees veterans, who told Hawkins that the number is not worth the headache it’s causing.

“I figure if it’s important enough for Jeter and Mariano and some other veterans to ask me about it, it’s not worth it to keep wearing the number,” Hawkins told the Web site.

Mets Fan Dead After Falling From Stands

It's amazing this doesn't happen more often:

A man attending a New York Mets game with his family lost his balance on an escalator and fell two stories to his death, police said.

Antonio Nararainsami, 36, and several relatives, including his two young daughters, were leaving the stadium at the end of Tuesday night’s game against the Washington Nationals when he fell in a section below the left field stands and landed on a concrete floor. Nararainsami, a Guyanese native who lived in Brooklyn, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead half an hour later.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Schilling: Doc 'Misremembers'

Mr. Schilling is in scrambling, damage-control mode and has taken the Roger Clemens approach. This, of course, is an approach which worked so well for the Rocket during the confession at Capitol Hill.

"He's at a distance. And, again, Craig is a friend, a very close friend, always will be," Schilling said. "But I've talked to him probably 3-4 times since January. So I'm not sure he's been kept abreast of the facts, and the conversation that, I'm not really sure what conversation he's referring to with regards to a couple of different comments that he made, but the Yankee piece, there's some misinformation going on, and I can remember us having a conversation and laughing about coming back and pitching next year ..."

"The first word that popped into my head, is a word that I think is new to the English language, but everybody understands what it means is 'misrember'. I talked to doc probably within the last week. He's called me a couple of times during my rehab, but I'm not really sure how he got to some of the conclusions he got to."

Maybe the good doctor was sick of hearing you whine about Boston's gameplan and dropped a dime on dat @$$.

Schilling Fed Up With Sox,
Would Sign With Yanks

That is, if the Yankees had an iota of interest in a 40 year-old starting pitcher whose shoulder is being held together by a few strands of spaghetti. Maybe he meant signing with the Scranton Yanks, that would be poetic.

This latest Curt Schilling cry for attention comes thanks to the pitcher's physician who spoke to a Philadelphia radio station.

Q: "Is it your opinion that he will not be back pitching for the Red Sox this year?"

A: "Correct. ... Not only that, it's my opinion that he's angry enough that it's entirely conceivable, even though he's 40 years old, its entirely conceivable that he will have the operation, rehab and pitch for the Yankees next year. That's what he wants to do. I'm telling you."

No response from Red Light himself as it remains all quiet on the 38 pitches front. Then again, it's hard to believe the doctor was not simply speaking on his behalf. Classy move.

Jeter Gave Joba A Lift To Nebraska

... Well sort of.

Tyler Kepner says it was a classy move for Derek Jeter to hook up Joba Chamberlain with the use of the Captain's private jet so the young fireballer could get to his ailing father ASAP.
When Harlan Chamberlain was hospitalized Sunday night in Lincoln, Neb., the Yankees players knew just how deeply Joba Chamberlain must have been affected. Chamberlain, the star rookie reliever, flew here with the Yankees, then flew home on a private plane arranged by Derek Jeter.

Before he left, he prayed with Andy Pettitte, who left the team during the 1998 World Series after his father had triple-bypass surgery.

Pettitte's father, like Joba's, has battled through life while dealing with countless health problems.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Kennedy OK After Scare

Ian Kennedy left the game in the seventh inning after a Jason Bartlett line drive struck him on the hip.

The fact that Kennedy and trainer Gene Monahan were laughing their way off the mound was encouraging. However, nothing was confirmed until nearly midnight Monday night when multiple outlets explained Kennedy was fine and will most likely only come away with a bruise and an anecdote.

In all likelihood, the most painful residue from Monday night's Yankees victory comes when Kennedy reads tomorrow's box score only to find Brian Bruney as the winning pitcher of record.

From The Star Ledger:
Joe Girardi seemed confident that Kennedy wouldn't miss a start.

But Kennedy was a bit more cautious. He said it felt like someone had given him a "dead leg" -- you know, like when your older sibling punches you in the arm or leg joint and your limb goes numb. He lifted up his shirt to show us the red mark from the seam of the baseball where it hit him.

"It kind of sent a little shock toward my calf," Kennedy said. "It's fine. A little sensitive."

He said he'd wait to see how he feels tomorrow.

Included in the same blog post came news of Robinson Cano's new slumpbuster: "napping on the bench." In the innings before being beckoned by manager Joe Girardi to pinch-hit for Alberto Gonzales, Cano was sleeping in the dugout. I know the kid is nonchalant, but this is ridiculous.

Sherman's First Hughes Ripping

Joel Sherman put together his first rip job of Phil Hughes in today's NY Post. Some portions are reasonable while others have the shock journalism vibe the rag is now famous for pushing. Some quotes below.

A little much:
The thought on Hughes was that he was precocious. At 21, the majors' youngest pitcher has a maturity about him to go along with a fine blend of pitches. Nevertheless, maybe he is just a kid who needs more seasoning in the minors.
Makes more sense:
For Hughes, though, the majors are "the best forum" to solve his command issues. He said the minors would just be deceiving at this point, allowing him to thrive without his best stuff. No, Hughes insists, he needs to remedy himself here. He says this is all about him losing fastball control, which is forcing him to work from behind way too much.
Tough but fair:
We keep wondering what would motivate the Yanks to transfer Joba Chamberlain out of the pen, where he is dominating. Now we might see the condition that forces the maneuver: His Generation Trey partners being unable to handle these responsibilities.

What If: The Best Yankees Teams
In A Battle Royale

From USA Today:
Imagine what it would be like if all the great teams that have played at Yankee Stadium throughout its history could face off against each other …

How would the Murderers' Row squad of 1927 fare against Ron Guidry in his Louisiana Lightnin' prime? Could they scratch out a run against Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth? How would Reggie Jackson do against Whitey Ford?

We posed those questions to the makers of APBA Baseball and asked them to run a simulated 162-game season pitting each of the 26 World Series champion Yankee teams against each other (using their APBA Baseball for Windows software) to find out which was the greatest team in Yankee Stadium history. The result may come as a surprise.

Harlan Chamberlain Collapses

From The Daily News:
More bad news came after the game as Joba Chamberlain learned that his father was in critical condition in a Nebraska hospital after collapsing at home. A team official said Chamberlain would not join the team on the charter flight to Tampa, as he was likely headed home to tend to his father.

Molina Left With Strained Hammy

So much for my beef with Joe Girardi's eighth inning decision to pinchrun for Jose Molina. According to LoHud, Molina strained his hamstring in the fourth inning, but toughed it out until the second to last frame.

Not sure as to the severity, but Molina does not strike you as one of the most physically resilient athlete in the bigs. As a result, Chad Moeller will most likely be called up with a corresponding adjustment to the 40 man roster in order to make room. Looks like the Girardi boot camp did little to correct last April's infusion of muscle injuries as Molina joins Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada as early victims to the injury bug.

The Star Ledger's assessment is a bit more optimisic:
With Derek Jeter close to being able to return to action at shortstop -- "He might be in there (Monday)," manager Joe Girardi said -- Alberto Gonzalez could be optioned back to Triple A. Or Molina could go on the disabled list.

"It's a little bit tight, that's all," said Molina, who hurt himself in Sunday's fourth inning on an awkward slide while scoring on a sacrifice fly. "Hopefully a couple days' rest, it should be all right."

Hughes Finds Velocity, Loses Command

Well, all the Phil Hughes detractors who became obsessed with his velocity must have been happy to see him throwing consistently 93-94 mph fastballs. Unfortunately, Hughes had no idea where they were headed.

Reaching back for 94-95 mph on an 0-2 elevated fastball is great, but his command has been much better at 90-91. His characteristically impressive command suffered, as did his overall performance to the tune of six hits and three walks over two innings.

Realizing the ESPN gun can be a bit juiced up at times, I confirmed Hughes' radar readings on MLB gameday which also had him consistently 93-94 and Daisuke Matsuzaka at 89-91.

Sure, Hughes has yet to pitch in a game with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees, and it was his first foray into the pressure cooker which is Fenway Park. However, if the youngest pitcher in baseball is unable to give a solid outing Friday at Baltimore, the NY media's trumpets will begin blowing Johan Santana tunes as impatient fans eat it up.

Matsuzaka and Hughes were both awful in the command department last night. And where Matsuzaka has been battle-tested [in Japan and at home], Hughes is still finding his way with six less years on his driver's license. Poor clutch hitting for New York and some timely baseknocks for Boston determined the outcome of this particular contest.

My big gripe is pinch-running Wilson Betemit for Jose Molina in the eighth inning. I - like many of you - first guessed this move as wacky and was supported in the bottom half of the inning as Jorge Posada moved behind the plate. Posada's shoulder is obviously still healing as the Red Sox appropriately ran wild on him without even so much as a throw to second base. The result was an insurance run, pushing the lead from 2 runs to 3 and giving inconsistent relievers like Javier Lopez and Manny DelCarmen that much more cushion.

Joe Girardi
will out-think the opposing manager with much greater frequency, but this particular move - like the decision to have Mike Mussina pitch to Manny Ramirez on Saturday - can be chocked up as another example of Girardi out-dueling himself. As it stands, neither team left Boston with a sweep, and another Yankees-Red Sox series is wasted in a season's early going.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dominant

Chien-Ming Wang's complete game two-hitter may have been a Bobby Abreu wallphobia misplay away from history - and the wormkiller's first no-hitter. Regardless, 9 innings, 2 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts and 93 pitches means Wanger is 3-0 to start the season with a 1.23 ERA. The Boston bash brothers - Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz - were a collective 0-for-6 with three strikeouts on the night.

Plain and simple, this season has seen Wang pitch inside like never before. The results are encouraging for the Yankees as well as Dave Eiland's agent.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Horne DLed With Bicep Tear

Alan Horne injury update from SWB Blog:
The MRI showed a slight tear of his right biceps and he's going back to Tampa to rehab the injury. Horne said he wasn't sure how long he would be out, but the damage isn't to a ligament, which seems like good news.

For now, the team has put Horne on the seven-day disabled list and activated Scott Strickland from the Staten Island roster -- or the Gulf Coast roster, whichever one he was on -- but they will likely have to make another move before Horne's scheduled start on Tuesday. Could be Dan McCutchen. Could be Chase Wright. I can't imagine it being anyone but those two.

Personally, I am rooting for Cutch, who is an actual prospect. Chase is more filler than a prospective major leaguer.

UPDATE: Tyler Kepner spoke with farm system director Mark Newman who downgraded the diagnosis to a muscle strain in place of the initial partial tear report:
“It’s not a rotator cuff, not a labrum, not a medial collateral ligament – it’s none of the stuff that concerns you as a long-term issue,” said Mark Newman, the senior vice president for player personnel. “It’s a pulled muscle – not connective tissue, not the stuff that causes problems.”

Rosenthal: Joba's Knee, Shoulder
May Fall Apart

According to Ken Rosenthal and those good ol' anonymous sources, Joba Chamberlain's surgerically repaired knee will soon be "torn to shreds," which is why he dropped to the Yankees in the draft:

Teams passed on Chamberlain in the draft because of health concerns, not because they feared he would be too expensive to sign. Chamberlain underwent surgery on his left knee during his sophomore year at Nebraska and missed time with triceps tendinitis in the spring of his junior year. Some consider his physical demise inevitable.

Chamberlain is a large slab of beef, 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, and he puts pressure on his left knee pushing off the mound. That knee, one rival scout predicts, will “eventually be torn to shreds.” A rival general manager says, “His shoulder or knee might not hold up in either role.”

Thus, the Yankees should get the most out of Chamberlain while they can. As a dominant setup man, he represents insurance for Rivera, who is 38 and signed through 2010. Few teams, if any, possess such a potent late-inning combination in their bullpen.

Sometimes doing the right thing means doing nothing at all.

It's old news that teams worried about Chamberlain's health and consequently allowed him to drop to the sandwich round. It's no secret that Brian Cashman and Damon Oppenheimer have instituted a draft strategy which covets high-risk high-reward athletes. Enter, Joba Chamberlain, Andrew Brackman, etc. However, teams suddenly proclaiming Chamberlain's knee and shoulder as time bombs seems to be exaggerated wishful thinking and is news to me.

Sour grapes or a tough injury pill to swallow? So far it appears to be the former, though time will always tell.

Debunked: Cone's 'Jerk Off' Statement

I know this is old news, but I have yet to see a correct explanation for Dave Cone's NC-17 description of Ian Kennedy's bullpen practices Wednesday night.

When a relief pitcher warms up and "gets hot" [begins throwing at full effort] in the bullpen, said reliever is under the mindset that he will soon enter the current game. If Dave Eiland drops a line to the bullpen phone and tells that reliever to sit back down, it's commonly referred to as a "dry hump." In more vulgar baseball parlance, the same action is known as "getting jerked off."

In the case of Kennedy, the young starter warmed up in the bullpen before the start of Wednesday's game, believing he would start said contest. When Joe Girardi decided to begin the game with Brian Bruney, Kennedy was told to halt his pregame preparation and was consequently "jerked off" in Cone's mind. I'm not sure what Ike and his new bride do in their own time, but I would venture to think she isn't taking care of her Trojan during bullpen warmups.

Here's the video via NYSI:


Turn Your Sound Up . . .

If you dare:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Alan Horne Update:

This does not sound good, though Horne said it was "not a Tommy John type" injury:
Basically, even he's not sure what's going on but he's getting an MRI tomorrow morning. On the pitch before the injury he threw a slider and felt something in his arm, but didn't think much of it.

"I just thought it was one of those weird quips," he said.

The final pitch was a fastball, and his arm knotted up so badly, "it pulled my whole side down." The tightness ran up and down his arm and even his fingers were tingling. He went to the trainer's room where he said his arm loosened and by the end of the night it was kind of pulsating, getting tight and then getting loose. He said that the trainer and team doctor told him that the tendons seem to be intact, but they won't know much for sure until tomorrow's tests.

I'm no James Andrews, but I'm gonna assume a pulsating arm cannot be good for a pitcher.

Uh Oh Alan

Alan Horne left his start today for AAA Scranton with some sort of bicep injury:
It's not much, but all I know for now is that Alan Horne has a right biceps injury. He's apparently still in the trainer's room.
For a kid who's come all the way back from Tommy John surgery, amongst other maladies, it would be tough for Horne to go down for an extended period of time considering his close proximity to the big leagues. Along with Jeff Marquez and Kei Igawa, Horne is amongst the top candidates who'd be called up from Scranton.

Guess They're Not Trading For

This guy. There were rumors recently that the Yankees may become very interested in acquiring Rich Harden from Oakland once the trading deadline approaches. However, the extremely talented Harden has one major weakness: an inability to stay healthy due to a right shoulder which has become a ticking time bomb:
For the sixth time in less than four seasons Athletics starting pitcher Rich Harden has landed on the disabled list.

Oakland placed the hard-throwing right-hander on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 3 with a mild subscapularis strain in his right shoulder.

The subscapularis muscle is located underneath the shoulder blade and connects to the front of the upper arm. It works in conjunction with a group of muscles that are used to move the rotator cuff and when injured the subscapularis can cause pain while going through a typical throwing motion.
In his two outings thus far this season, Harden is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 15 strikeouts.

In other injury news, Mike Lowell has been placed on the DL due to a sprained thumb. This is certainly nothing major for the Red Sox third baseman and I'm sure he did his best to convince Terry Francona of keeping him off the disabled list. Solid SS prospect [offensively more than defensively] Jed Lowrie has been called up in Lowell's place.

Posada With 'Strained' Shoulder

According to AP, Jorge Posada's MRI revealed a strained shoulder which requires the catcher to take four or five days off. Apparently Posada's impressive streak of keeping his name off the disabled list will continue:
Jorge Posada may avoid a trip to the disabled list after an MRI taken Wednesday revealed a strained right shoulder.

Posada said prior to Wednesday's contest against the Kansas City Royals that he expects to be sidelined for three or four days but does not think he will have to go on the DL.

"The good news is that it's not something worse," he said. "I'm really happy the MRI didn't show more. It's not bad."

The situaton will be re-evaluated following his hiatus.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A-Gone Called Up,
Jeter To DL?

Alberto Gonzalez was called up from Scranton Wilkes-Barre which may be an indication that Derek Jeter is headed to the disabled list. More details to come...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Posada May Hit DL Soon

It would appear Jorge Posada has suffered an injury worse than a "stiff shoulder" and may be heading to the disabled list. Posada described his shoulder as "dead" and it seems the Yankees coaches and training staff are mystified as to what it could be. An MRI is in Posada's near future with Chad Moeller probably moving up the depth chart to back up Jose Molina.

Molina is not Yogi Berra, but he is a rock solid backup catcher. Can you imagine if Wil Nieves were the contingency plan? Yikes. Kudos goes to Brian Cashman for securing a solid replacement should Posada ever hit the DL for his first time. With an arduous, travel-happy upcoming schedule on the horizon, the 2008 Yankees face their first difficult test.

Mark Wegner Holds Game Hostage

Possibly the worst homeplate umpiring in the history of organized baseball took place today as Ed Wegner decided on a sub zero day to take the strikezone captive. Much to the chagrin of Phil Hughes and Brian Bannister, Wegner's obtuse and inconsistent K-zone yielded eight walks and skyrocketing pitchcounts.

Ed Price, who is at the game, had this to say about Wegner:
[]

That's the size of Mark Wegner's strike zone today.

Through three innings, there have been eight walks. Pitch counts: for Brian Bannister, 39 strikes and 32 balls; for Phil Hughes, 43 strikes and 36 balls.

Hughes was far from sharp, but the 3-2 slider to Tony Pena Jr. was a perfect pitch that somehow became ball four and not called strike three. As a result, Hughes threw 20 some-odd pitches more than he should have and it became a turning point as the Yankee starter was gassed afterward. Wilson Betemit dropping a strike that should have ended the inning on a caught stealing did not aid Hughes either.

Regardless of the final score, this is a game to be shrugged off for Hughes and, for Wegner, investigated by Major League Baseball. If not an optometrist.

Could A-Rod Replace DJ At SS?

It's an idea which had always been discarded before even digesting its repercussions. The thought of Derek Jeter being replaced by Alex Rodriguez during an extended absence has always been taboo which Joe Torre refused to dignify.

Names like Wilson Betemit, Miguel Cairo, Felix Escalona, Andy Cannizaro and Alberto Gonzalez have spelled Jeter during A-Rod's Yankees tenure. Soon after A-Rod was acquired, the question was posed whether he would ever move over a few feet should the Captain end up on the disabled list. This potential scenario was quickly defused and every baseball fan knew for a fact Rodriguez would play out his days at the hot corner.

Until now...

Joe Girardi would not reject the possibility of Rodriguez manning shortstop should Jeter be placed on the DL. Expressing his prerogative to sort out all possible solutions, the new skipper reminded fans of how much better talent Rodriguez could show in Jeter's stead. Instead of playing Betemit at shortstop [or Morgan Ensberg at first] and becoming a major question mark, he would be moved to his natural position - third base - as A-Rod returned to his natural spot in the infield.

Should Jeter recover in the next handful of days, such speculation becomes fruitless chatter, but it is an interesting topic and already a signal of the difference between Girardi and Torre. From the Yahoo! article:
Joe Girardi didn’t say no. Joe Torre would have.

Now, this is not to compare Girardi and Torre, not in a mano-a-mano fashion at least, but one that deals with today’s reality in the New York Yankees universe: Suggestions that Alex Rodriguez move to shortstop if the strained left quadriceps that forced Derek Jeter out of a game Monday lingers.

“There’s a lot of different scenarios we’ll talk about as a club and decide what we’re going to do,” Girardi said, and even though there was little substance to his words, it felt frighteningly candid – and, considering the other options, a rather sensible idea. Because under Torre’s watch, no matter how damaging to the Yankees in the short or long term, he wouldn’t dare place someone of consequence at Jeter’s position for fear of upsetting the captain’s chi.

Jeter first felt a twinge in his quad during the Yankees’ Sunday game and iced it before Monday’s game. That didn’t help, and Jeter ended up in an MRI tube to rule out extensive damage. Doctors found a low-level strain, nothing like in 2001, when Jeter missed Opening Day because of his right quad.

“That was worse,” Jeter said. “This is a mild strain, from what I was told. The other one was a lot worse than that. It was something you could feel moving your leg, period. This one is more when I put for a little effort. I really start running before I feel it.”

Aside from Betemit and A-Rod, there’s not another person on the Yankees’ active roster who can play shortstop. They could call up rookie Alberto Gonzalez, who is on the team’s 40-man roster, or Cody Ransom, who would require a roster move but bring more experience. Or, of course, they could put A-Rod at short and use Morgan Ensberg, a natural third baseman, to fill in.

Like Girardi said, plenty of scenarios.

Mark Teixeira missed approximately five weeks of last season with a quad injury, leading one to believe they are an unpredictable health woe to forecast. The two major question marks remain: would Jeter yet feel secure enough for Rodriguez to man his position and is the 2007 MVP still physically capable of playing quarterback of the infield. Updates on Jeter's condition should begin to emerge today.

Shaky Weather In KC

The forecast for today's 4pm start in Kansas City looked bleak as late as yesterday evening with showers and thunderstorms expected. However, this morning the weather prediction seems more mild, with a few showers expected around game time clearing up by 6pm. There is always the possibility the Royals decide to push the game back a few hours to accommodate.

Today's starting matchup is Phil Hughes vs. Brian Bannister.