Spring Training Game Thread: A Look At A.J.

2011 Season Preview: Brett Gardner
The Top Storylines of 2011
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Just about every Yankees starting pitcher has pitched in a game already, except for one guy: A.J. Burnett. He pops his 2011 cherry against the Astros today, and will hopefully show off some of the things he worked on with new pitching coach Larry Rothschild over the winter. I remember reading somewhere that they focused on driving his front leg towards the plate, rather than swinging it around, so I guess we can keep an eye out for that. I’m hardly an expert on pitching mechanics, so I doubt I’ll pick anything up.

On the offensive side of the ball, Robbie Cano is hitting second between Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira, which probably has more to do with it being Spring Training and wanting to get him as many at-bats as possible before being lifted. It’ll still be interesting to watch though; I made the case that Robbie should hit second full-time in 2011 earlier this winter. Here’s the full starting nine…

Derek Jeter, SS
Robbie Cano, 2B
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Jorge Posada, DH
Andruw Jones, LF
Frankie Cervelli, C
Colin Curtis, RF
Justin Maxwell, CF

Available to Pitch: A.J. Burnett, Sergio Mitre, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, David Phelps, Hector Noesi, Luis Ayala, D.J. Mitchell, Robert Fish, Daniel Turpen, and Adam Warren. Obviously all of them won’t get into the game, but they’re available if needed.

Also Scheduled to Play: Austin Romine (C), Bradley Suttle (1B), Kevin Russo (2B), Eduardo Nunez (SS), Brandon Laird (3B), Dan Brewer (LF), Melky Mesa (CF), Jordan Parraz (RF), and Russell Martin (DH).

At some point today, Jordan Lyles will pitch for Houston. He’s their top prospect and one of the better pitching prospects in the game overall. The kid (deservedly) reached Triple-A as a 19-year-old last year (3.86 FIP in 31.2 IP). Today’s game will be aired live on both YES and MLB Network, and begins at 1:05pm ET. Talk about the game here, enjoy.

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2011 Season Preview: Brett Gardner
The Top Storylines of 2011
  • ManBan Bet Montero

    Houston has a good player?

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    Yeah, A.J.’s delivery is different.

    • gc

      I’m not watching, but I hope it’s a more repeatable delivery. That may portend good things if it means he can physically repeat the mechanics easier than he used to.

      • Tank the Frank

        It looks like he’s not swaying side-to-side as much and instead driving more directly towards home plate. I’m not sure if that hurts the movement on his fastball, but it looks like his fastball is a bit straighter.

        Amature analysis warning.

  • Cy Pettitte

    Good 1st inning for AJ

  • JerseyDutch

    AJ looking sharp so far.

  • Mickey Scheister

    ….good AJ…..? Okay, I’ll stop. He did grab at his elbow after that breaking pitch, I gulped.

  • Cy Pettitte

    every AB I have seen from Jeter in ST has been a GB to the left side, lol

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      That one was even weaker than usual.

    • JerseyDutch

      Paging Mr. Gardner. Your lead-off spot is waiting…

    • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

      With any luck it’s an early season thing. Hopefully he can pick it up by May.

      • RL

        It’s, what, 7 ABs now? Yeah, let’s write him off. He’ll never amount to anything …

        • JerseyDutch

          Okay, but after 8 ABs he’s gone…

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Cano doesn’t have a single hit in ST and somehow no one is worried about him. (Myself included. Because worrying in ST is silly.)

      • fire levine

        Cano isn’t 37 and coming off a career worst season. He’s also not signed to a 4 year contract at what is right now (before further decline) almost %200 market value. So yeah, no one is worried about cano. Can’t say jeter is finnished after 7 AB but you can’t fault anyone for being worried

  • Tank the Frank

    Yankees go down 1-2-3 against the lowly Astros, one day after being shut out by the Pirates, and are in danger of starting spring training 1-4.

    /WallaceMatthews

    • Mickey Scheister

      ZOMG…call up all the killer B’s and Montero ASAP!!

      /SomeYankFans

  • mike_h

    AJ looking very solid.

  • Mykey

    Time to see how he does from the stretch. Yikes.

  • pat

    Same exact spot as the first bloop.

  • Mykey

    I’ll never get tired of seeing Robby flip it to Jeet for 2.

  • Tank the Frank

    I first noticed this on “Getting to Know Cano” on YES, but Cano is pretty jacked. He’s in great shape.

    • Mykey

      Yeah, he’s deceptively big.

      • ShuutoHeat

        *looks around…*

        TWSS!

  • JerseyDutch

    Good to see AJ work out of trouble there.

  • James A

    You wouldn’t expect Burnett’s curve to be at its best on March 2nd (though he had one very nice one for his strikeout), but I thought he looked pretty solid command wise and it was nice to see him touch 94. A solid first appearance

  • Cy Pettitte

    Arod crushed that, wow

  • Mykey

    Hip Hip!

  • A Rod

    Can we start the season tomorrow?

    • NJ_Andy

      If only, eh? Our boy looks good this spring. Let’s hope it stays through October.

  • Tank the Frank

    Posada career as a DH: .223/.336/.358! in 351 PA. Does this concern anyone else? Because it concerns me. I’ve always heard him say he’s more comfortable as a hitter when he’s catching.

    • NJ_Andy

      Nah. He’ll adjust. That’s a misleading sample because it’s from scattered days as DH, not a whole season. Jorge is a pro.

    • pat

      Usually he’d be DH’ing when he’s not healthy enough to catch. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. As long as he’s healthy he’ll hit.

    • Mike Myers

      Not really. He always DHs when he looks tired or needs a half day. He should be much better with healthy legs.

    • JerseyDutch

      Yes, but he’s never been a fulltime DH. He’ll find a rhythm.

    • bonestock94

      I don’t see how being worn down from catching will make you a better hitter.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      It’s 351 PA spread over 16 years. Only twice in his career has he played more than 10 games at DH in a single season.

    • Tank the Frank

      All good points. The fact that the numbers are so spread out puts it in better context. We’ll see how he does in a full season.

    • Big Apple

      I’m going to say that Posada will be more comfortable hitting this year when he’s not hurt or suffering from concussion symptoms!

      not worried about jorge!

  • Cy Pettitte

    Frankie looks hurt…..put in Jesus

  • JerseyDutch

    And our fifth starter takes the mound…

    • Mike Myers

      Bum Bum Bummmm

    • Cy Pettitte

      if Mitre takes the 5th starter spot, who do you guys think the long man out of the pen will be?

      • JerseyDutch

        Good question. Can we get Chad Gaudin back?

      • Chops

        Garcia probably, assuming Nova wins the 4th spot

  • Mickey Scheister

    Meat-tray in mid-season form.

  • Cy Pettitte

    nice piece of hitting by Maxwell

  • JerseyDutch

    Jeter hits one out of the infield!!!!!

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    Look at that, Jeter can still sting a ball on occasion.

    • Mike Myers

      Think he will make the 40 man now?

      • NJ_Andy

        Yea. After we trade Pena for Liriano, the bench will have an open slot.

        • Mike Myers

          you mean Pena for Liriano plus cash.

  • Cy Pettitte

    Romine behind the plate, nice

  • pat

    Romine. w00t.

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    Mike:

    What is your impression of Justin Maxwell? Looks like he can swing the bat. Is he a better option than Golson?

    • Mike Myers

      Yes.

      Oh wait, did u mean the other mike? ha.

    • Mike HC

      He looked pretty good there to me too. If he is ever going to figure it out, it would happen right around now, age 27, so maybe he can contribute.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Yes, definitely better than Golson. Golson’s just speed and defense, Maxwell is speed plus defense plus power plus some walks. Glad to have both, though.

      • Big Apple

        maxwell is a phsyical specimen…he’s our Mike Cameron!

  • Mike HC

    I’m always excited to see Joba pitch. Even in Spring Training. Something exciting about the guy

    • Mike HC

      I still think he will be an all star level pitcher one day, either as a starter, or reliever. Or maybe even both.

      • Mike Myers

        Both? Could he relieve his own games? ZING!

        J/K, I really want him to start, Just to shut Mike Fransesca up.

        • Mike HC

          ha, yes, he is that good. Nah, I meant an all star reliever for the Yanks, and then maybe an all star starter for another team, but hopefully the Yanks too, in another year.

          • The Big City of Dreams

            He has a better chance at being a run way model than starting for the Yankees again.

        • http://www.blogs.thetenthinningstretch.com the tenth inning stretch

          That’d be Casey Kelly.

    • Big Apple

      me too. i got to meet him last spring at Mom’s restaurant. it was pretty exciting. we’re sitting there eating and i look up at the mirror on the wall and Joba walks in. A pretty neat experience and my kids thought it was so cool. I hope he turns the corner this year.

  • Tank the Frank

    Damn, that hook almost looks like the kind of third pitch a starter would use.

    • Tank the Frank

      And that swing-and-miss change looks like a usable fourth pitch. Whodathunkit.

  • MattG

    This is real interesting and all, but I don;t think Teixeira’s slow starts have to do with a lack of hitting. I think it’s weather, getting used to travel again, and so forth. FWIW, I seem to recall Teixeira doing fine in March, down in balmy FL.

    • Tank the Frank

      I’m pretty sure he’s admitted to having trouble with getting both of his swings down, being a switch hitter. Not all switch hitters get off to slow starts, but he does for some reason. It’s just one of those things.

    • Mike Myers

      They should put him on a plane every day in spring training. Just circle the town then send him out to hit.

  • NJ_Andy

    “I thought it was rubbish myself”

    You know, he’s a pain sometimes, but I love having Burnett on this team.

  • bills

    MLB Gameday still tuning up during spring training. Keeps saying every AB is one pitch. Fastest game ever.

  • pat

    PLEASE DON’T BE HURT

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Who?

      • pat

        Robbie. Took a knee to the shoulder. Looks Ok tho.

  • Cy Pettitte

    Logan….not so good

  • Cy Pettitte

    Romine is putting on a show behind the plate

  • ManBan Bet Montero

    That side by side of A-Rod and Maxwell was creepy.

    Jeter first hit, no longer should anyone be worried.

    • NJ_Andy

      If Maxwell can get half the results I’d be thrilled.

    • JerseyDutch

      I can’t give up my worry. It’s like a warm blanket on a cold wintry night.

  • pat

    Warren. w00t.

    • pat

      OOps, Phelps.

      • pat

        Great IP

        • Chris V.

          that last slider looked great. Also looked like he was throwing both a 2 seam fb and a 4 seam fb.

          • Raza

            How did his velo look? I’d honestly rather have either him, Noesi or Brackman with a roster spot than Garcia/Colon.

            • pat

              88-89 with the 2 seam and 92-93 with the 4 seam

  • PhillyMatt

    Good inning from Phelps.

  • Raza

    So I’m assuming Romine is looking good behind the plate? (Can’t watch the game). A small scouting report on how he’s doing? Like his fluidity, arm, how he frames pitches, etc…

    • NJ_Andy

      He’s certainly blocked a lot of innings in the dirt. I can’t really judge fluidity, and haven’t seen any tests of his arm.

      • NJ_Andy

        Errr…pitches. Not innings.

  • Cy Pettitte

    Wow, Martin saying Banuelos > Kershaw. Hype around him this ST is unreal, hope he lives up to it

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      wow really? That’s high praise.

      • Tank the Frank

        Well, he said Banuelos is more “polished” at 19-20 than Kershaw was at that age.

        • The Real JobaWockeeZ

          That makes more sense though is it an apt comparison?

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Am I gonna get destroyed if I say that’s a little ridiculous? If something like that happened with Casey Kelly we’d all laugh uproariously.

      (Then again, it is just a player, not the media)

  • Cy Pettitte

    brutal inning for Phelps

    • Big Apple

      4 runs…none earned…2 errors.

      • Cy Pettitte

        I didn’t mean he was necessarily bad, just that it’s been dragging on

  • Big Apple

    Scott Proctor sighting in the braves/red sox game…thought his arm fell off.

  • Cy Pettitte

    time for an epic come back

  • Cy Pettitte

    the Melk man delivers

    I guess I’m the only one still watching, lol

    • http://www.blogs.thetenthinningstretch.com the tenth inning stretch

      Dang, beat me to it.

    • http://www.blogs.thetenthinningstretch.com the tenth inning stretch

      Anyone else have Soriano flashbacks watching Mesa’s stance at the plate?

  • pat

    Gritty gutty AB from the melkman.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    And the Melkman delivers.

  • mike_h

    I smell walkoff!! come on Russo

  • mike_h

    bases loaded Russel Martin up!!!

    • PhillyMatt

      Lance Pendleton pitching.

  • pat

    One ball away from the W!!!!!

  • Cy Pettitte

    everyone isn’t gonna run out to celebrate on the field? that’s disappointing, lol

  • JerseyDutch

    That was nutty.

  • mike_h

    ball game over! Yankees win DDDDAAAAAAAAAAAA Yankees win!!!!! Walk off Russel Martin walked in bottom of 9th with bases loaded, come from behind victory!!!