Spring Training Game Thread: Yanks vs. Phillies


This afternoon’s game is on YES, so we’re going to throw up a game thread. Hopefully some of you get to watch Joba rock the start. Phil Coke, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez and Jon Albaladejo will follow, so it looks like Joba’s maxing out at four innings. That’s fine, given the news Girardi broke this morning. PeteAbe’s got it.

The news isn’t that CC Sabathia will start on Opening Day, because we knew that pretty much from the moment he signed. What we’ve been wondering, though, is how the team will handle Joba Chamberlain in April. Girardi said that he’ll start the sixth game, meaning that the first pass through the rotation will go CC-Wang-Burnett-Pettitte-CC-Joba. This lines up CC to start the home opener against Cleveland on April 16. This won’t really allow Joba to skip a start, as the off-day on the 23rd comes one day after he’s scheduled to start against the A’s. If all goes well he’ll get four April starts to Sabathia’s five.

In fact, after staring at the schedule for 10 minutes, it appears that the only reason Joba would start the sixth game rather than the fifth is so Sabathia can start the home opener. Otherwise, if the Yankees went with a straight one through five, Joba would have that honor. Don’t get me wrong, I love CC and all, but I think it would be rather cool if they let Joba start the home opener.

Now for my favorite part. JOE GIRARDI READS RAB!!!!111!! Okay, so maybe not. You’ll know what I mean, though, after you read this post on the Yankees lineup and then look what Girardi has for today:

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Hideki Matsui, DH
5. Nick Swisher, RF
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Cody Ransom, 3B
8. Jose Molina, C
9. Melky Cabrera, CF

Of course, flipping Jeter and Damon in the lineup could just be to get Jeter a couple more hypothetical at bats.

Side Note: MLB.TV is giving a free preview of it’s fancy new HD media player during the game today. So if you’re thinking about upgrading to the premium package, or are just going to be away from a TV during the game, make sure you check it out at (h/t Maury Brown)


  1. mko says:

    Why is Joba only going 4 innings today? Because he doesn’t have to be ready as soon as the others?

  2. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    From Pete Abe: They’re also toying with Jeter hitting leadoff with Damon second.

    Also, a guy in my office said he heard it mentioned on WFAN.

    So maybe it’s not just to get Jeter a few more ABs.

  3. J.R. says:

    Is the audio fucked on yes, or just online?

  4. A.D. says:

    t appears that the only reason Joba would start the sixth game rather than the fifth is so Sabathia can start the home opener.

    The reason is that Wang would have to come back on short rest for his second start.

    6th: CC
    7th: OFF
    8th: Wang
    9th: Burnett
    10th: Pettitte
    11th: CC
    12th: Joba OR Wang on his 4th day, instead of the normal 5th.

  5. RollingWave says:

    This Japanese guy’s got a half decent swing

  6. Yankeegirl49 says:

    I love working at home during baseball season.

  7. RollingWave says:

    Carrasco’s actually doing pretty well in terms of hitting his spots.. but he’s getting annihilated.

  8. GG says:

    Hit-Deki will have a much better season than Ortiz or Burrell. Btw, now that Ortiz sucks again is he gonna lose his stupid nickname of Big Papi or did he have that before he got to Boston anyway?

  9. mko says:

    I got two general baseball questions, not related to this game at all. (I’m only a huge baseball fan since 2004 – when I visited New York – I’m from Austria.)

    1. Why are hitters sometimes running down the line on obvious foul balls? Is it only because they’re not sure if it’s going to be foul?

    2. If a fly ball bounces off a fielder in foul territory and bounces into fair ground, is it a fair or a foul ball? I suspect foul.

    • Joe B. says:

      1. When you’re actually playing, “obvious” foul balls aren’t necessarily so obvious. It’s much better to run down to first and have the ball go foul 99 times out of 100 than look like a goon when you stand at home and watch a ball drop in fair.

      2. You’re correct, that would be a foul ball.

  10. steve (different one) says:

    re: Jeter/Damon – i admit that i was in the camp of people who thought that it would probably never happen/not a big deal, but i have to say that i am pretty impressed that Girardi is doing this.

    he is putting (in theory) the ability to score a few more runs ahead of the comfort and egos of two superstars. i am sure that Damon prides himself on being a “leadoff hitter”, and Jeter has been mostly hitting second for over a decade.

    to me, it says a lot about Girardi.

    it should also calm the masses who worry that Nady is going to play over Swisher no matter what. ain’t going to happen. if Swisher performs, he’s going to get the job.

    think about it like this: would Torre have taken “Proven Leadoff Guy” and batted him second?

  11. Yankeegirl49 says:

    oh boy…not good for Joba. Back to back by Utley & Ryan

  12. RollingWave says:

    dang, Ryan Howard got a stick

  13. UWS says:

    Uh oh. Back-to-back homers given up by Joba. Cue the B-Jobbers!

  14. Mike says:

    According to Newsday, the 1-2 switch is a done deal.

  15. Ed says:

    In fact, after staring at the schedule for 10 minutes, it appears that the only reason Joba would start the sixth game rather than the fifth is so Sabathia can start the home opener.

    If you follow out the schedule, using Joba like that keeps everyone else pitching on normal rest. If you have Joba pitch game 5, CC comes back on 6 days rest instead of 5. If you skip Joba, everyone but CC is on short rest the second time through the rotation.

    Considering CC’s the ace and Joba’s on an innings cap, you gotta do this sort of thing when you have the chance.

  16. MikeyNYC says:

    Oh no, Joba is getting rocked. Well at least it is only spring training.Right?

  17. Mattingly's Love Child says:

    Anyone watching on getting a very inconsistent picture?

  18. Mike says:

    This is the first time I am seeing Joba pitch since last season and he seems like he lost weight and also lost velocity. Anybody have any thoughts on this.

    • steve (different one) says:

      he’s pitched well his last 3 times out, so this could just be that “dead arm” period pitcher’s tend to have. he’s been slowly building velocity over the spring, but i don’t know.

  19. Jim says:

    The top of the Yankee batting order is going to look a bit different going forward. According to Kat O’Brien, Derek Jeter is set to replace Johnny Damon as the leadoff hitter. Damon will now bat second:

    Manager Joe Girardi said the reason for the switch is because the team likes how Damon has looked batting second in spring training games. As long as the Yankees like what they see over the final week of spring training games, the team will bring this lineup into the regular season.
    The new look at the top of the batting order also is an indication that the Yankees will use Brett Gardner as their everyday centerfielder. Gardner figures to be the ninth hitter, and if Damon was batting leadoff opponents would likely bring a lefthanded specialist to face both hitters. Putting Jeter first splits the two lefthanded hitters. (source)

    Despite his fast decline, Jeter still got on base at a .363 clip in 2008 and will be fine at the top of the order. I have a feeling (as does O’Brien) that this move is an indication that Brett Gardner will make the team, and will be the starting center fielder come opening day.

    • Jim says:

      Bye bye Melkman

    • Reggie C. says:

      A .360 OBP clip is fine for a lead-off hitter.


      Seriously, though:

      Step 1: Get Jeter to accept relinquishing the #2 hole and start hitting leadoff
      Step 2: Get Jeter to accept not being the Yankee shortstop anymore and move to LF
      Step 3: Get Jeter to accept not making 20M a year anymore and sign a 3yr/50M deal
      Step 4: Get Jeter to stop being a dick and accept ARod as a teammate

      I’m excited.

      • Sweet Dick Willie says:

        I think Jeter has accepted Alex as a teammate.

        I just don’t think he wants anything to do with him off the diamond.

        Which is fine.

        As far as 3yr/50M, as per my comment yesterday, in 2 years, that could wind up being a horrible contract for the Yanks (which is why Jeter’s agent should be pressing for a contract extention now, instead of waiting until after the 2010 season. And also why the Yankees shouldn’t do anything until after the 2010 season).

  20. Mike says:

    Joba’s change up and other secondary pitches are looking much improbed from last year though. It is amazing how guys can change so much from year to year.

  21. Reggie C. says:

    i like the mlb media player. there’s no sound but the visual is pretty decent on my work pc.

  22. Reggie C. says:

    is that joba’s 2 seamer that only hit 88?

    • Joe R says:

      Dont know how well you can trust the YES radar gun. They had Burnetts fastball slower than Wakefields knuckler the other day.

    • Mike says:

      Joba better start eating food again … I’m not even trying to be funny. He lost a lot of velocity. I dont think he is just going to magically regain that in a couple weeks

      • Mattingly's Love Child says:

        There is no evidence of losing weight resulting in losing velocity. More often it works the other way, pitcher loses weight and gains 1-2mph. There are a million other possibilities that make sense:
        -dead arm
        -pacing self
        -YES gun is WAY off
        -trying to work on his mechanics or something that would be easier throwing at 80% vs 100%
        -he’s hurt
        -he was on steroids in the past and now is clean

  23. marc resnick says:

    im pretty sure there is cause for concern. he doesnt seem healthy or hes afraid to hurt himself again

    • Reggie C. says:

      Hey … Joba is a 4/5 anyway in this rotation. If it takes another month or 2 for him to recover a couple more MPH on the FB, then so be it. Don’t think he’s hurt as the super-cautious Yanks probably MRI him every other week secretly. I wonder about the diet though … is he generating enough power in the lower body?

  24. marc resnick says:

    Isnt it important to note that in college Joba threw 91-95 not 93-98 and that spikes in velocity usually end up going away and injury is more likely to occur….

    • Mike says:

      That is an interesting piece of information if it is accurate

    • steve (different one) says:

      is that a “spike” or is it just that we saw the 98′s when he was relieving?

      • UWS says:

        I was just going to type that.

        • Mike says:

          Even as a starter he was usually at 93-96. He rarely hit 90-91. Now he is consistantly 91.

          • UWS says:

            Could it be, oh I don’t know, him working on a 2-seam fastball, for instance?

            • Mattingly's Love Child says:

              He’s thrown a TON of changeups today. Definitely could be trying to keep the arm speed the same for the fastball and changeup….

              All of this panic is annoying. He know Joba is important, but if the team isn’t worried, then we shouldn’t be.

          • Chip says:

            Really, do we have to have this discussion every time a guy throttles back on his fastball to try to spot it better? He said from the beginning that all the veteran power pitchers told him to hold back on the fastball at the beginning of games and during spring training. If he wanted to reach back for 100 mph, it’ll be there during the season. He’ll be sitting at 93-96 when the season starts

      • Yankee1010 says:

        Thank you.

        Check out this link –

        Jimenez had the highest average fastball velocity last year and it was 94.9, among qualifiers. If you search all pitchers, Joba came in with an AVERAGE fastball velocity of 94.9. That’s also when his arm strength was built up during the year. It’s not the same on March 26th.

        Folks, Joba is never going to sit 98, well, because nobody is going to as a starter (at least in the non-Strasburg, reality-radar gun division). The sooner everyone moves past that, the better.

        Has he looked completely dominant so far this spring? No, but there have been plenty of starters who look dominant in the spring and then get shellacked during the year. Plus, it’s windy as Hell in Clearwater today those 2 HRs, in the first inning, were the only hits he’s allowed. How about everybody steps away from the ledge.

        This is the time of year for him to work on things. He has recently talked about listening to advice from Burnett about becoming more of a pitcher rather than a thrower. It’s better for him to try things out during a meaningless March 26th game against the Phillies in Clearwater than during the year in Boston.

        • Mike says:

          I hope you guys are right

        • Joseph P. says:

          “How about everybody steps away from the ledge.”

          Really, it’s two people, one of whom has never commented before today’s thread (or at least from his current IP address).

          • Yankee1010 says:

            Well, that was hyperbole.

            And without getting into semantics, there were more than 2 questioning radar gun readings, but it’s not a big deal.

            It’s just frustrating (and yes, I’m letting the “Spring Training performance is Gospel” crowd the B-Jobbers get to me). I just wonder when some people would prefer Joba works on different pitches, things in his delivery, etc.

          • Mike says:

            I’m not trying to stir anything up but all you guys assume that he is not putting in 100% effort. That may be true, but I really can’t be sure of that. It also seems like you are sick of hearing about this topic, but I havent heard anything about it, I’m so sorry if I am late to the party. Are CC and AJ doing the same thing? Are their velocities also down?

    • Ed says:

      Keep in mind that Joba’s mechanics were different in college. The Yankees altered his mechanics immediately after signing him, which lead to the velocity increase.

  25. Mattingly's Love Child says:

    I think we should all panic.

  26. UWS says:

    Handsome Cody Ransom delivers.

  27. Reggie C. says:

    Crappy media player. Freaking closed on me. Ah well. Off to lunch.

  28. Yankeegirl49 says:

    4-2 now…double for Jeter, Damon singles him in, went to 2nd on the throw.

  29. nyy7 says:

    I’m a big Swisher fan but that was an odd play. Who was he call off in the deep right field corner?

  30. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:


  31. Cor Shep says:

    So the link for is what I’d watch if I bought the mlb premium with is 20 a month?? That’s so much better than the 15 a month detail. What does it mean when it’s trying out a new beta thing?

    • mko says:

      The flash player that you’re watching the game in is new this season – they’re still trying to work out all the kinks.

  32. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    Over at they have a poll on who should bat lead-off.

    Unfortunately, Damon leads, 60-39.

    • mko says:

      Probably the same people who say that Joba should be in the ‘pen…

      • Yankee1010 says:

        In fairness, I don’t this decision is anywhere near as clear as the Joba issue. Do I think that this is worth a shot? Absolutely. However, there’s no debate when it comes to Joba.

    • andrew© says:

      It’s know Damon – 54%, Jeter 46%. RAB faithful, get over there and vote!

      • andrew© says:

        I lied, and had a typo. Forgive me.
        It’s now* Damon 52% to Jeter’s 48%.
        Still, get over there and vote. I expect Jeter to have the lead by the time i finish dinner later.

  33. A.D. says:

    Coke & Edwar looking solid…at least according to the box score.

  34. Chip says:

    Wow, great AB by Pena. I like the kid’s bat control

  35. Mattingly's Love Child says:

    No Klaw chat today….damnit!

  36. A.D. says:

    Thank you Brian Bruney for not imploding today

  37. Yankeegirl49 says:

    I think Melky wants to stay.

  38. Chip says:

    The Melkman goes deep! You can tell he was just loading up on the fastball, this is getting rediculous

  39. Chip says:

    So with both Melky and Gardner in, the announcers start talking about how Gardner has a better bat but Melky is better at defense. Guess who Girardi put in centerfield?

  40. GG says:

    Melky woulda had to play that off the wall

  41. marc resnick says:

    Hey, I comment here from time to time. Im entitled to an opinion that I think he may be “hurt” based on evidence that he’s not throwing as hard now. You can say dead arm, or only ST, BUT, Its a little late for that. I mean 90-91 just doesnt seem right. Unless he’s working on a riding fastball. He’s definitely opening up early. His slider is at 81-82. Maybe he is pacing himself but i personally doubt it… This is a huge drop off (6 or 7 mph) especially considering he is so young. And as for the velocity spike leading to injury, here’s a comment by Klaw about it,
    ” If there’s a concern on Strasburg, it’s that a handful of guys who saw sudden spikes in their velocities have broken down soon afterward — Boston prospect Nick Hagadone blew out his elbow inside of a year, while Joel Zumaya got about four years in before his arm went haywire — the theory being that their arms weren’t physically able to handle the increases in arm speed.”

    Thats as recent as early this week. Maybe that isn’t the case for Joba but considering his “spike” and his injury, i believe it to be relevant.

    • K.B.D. says:

      Via PeteAbe:

      “Joe Girardi was pleased with Joba Chamberlain. Asked about Joba’s velocity, Girardi said it’s about what it was at this point last season and they would expect it to get better as he builds arm strength.”

    • andrew© says:

      I think if he were hurting, he’d be shut down, and they wouldn’t keep trotting him out there every couple days to pitch hurt in ST. Chances are he’s either working on the 2 seamer, or, it’s spring training and he’s not gunning it every time. If he is throwing 90-91 consistently, then it is not a drop off of 6-7 MPH like you say, its closer to 3-5. Joba as a starter was sitting 93-94, in midseason. My guess is he will gain those 3 MPH by the time we reach May. No need to panic.

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