Thoughts following the off-day

Romine hurt in Scranton win
Jeter scales back rehab work in Tampa

This Yankees were off on Monday and will open their first interleague series of the season tonight, as the Diamondbacks come to town for a three-game set. Counting the currently injured Derek Jeter, only five players from the 2001 World Series remain active in the big leagues: Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Randy Choate, and Alfonso Soriano. That’s it. Doesn’t that series seem like it was just yesterday? Where does the time go…

1. The Blue Jays designated Casper Wells for assignment yesterday, the second time the right-handed hitting outfielder has been cut loose in the last two weeks or so. He’s a useful player — career 132 wRC+ against lefties (in limited time) with solid defensive numbers — who has gotten overrated the last year or two, which tends to happen when part-timers have some success. That said, I think he’s an obvious upgrade over Ben Francisco and someone the Yankees should try to acquire given their general vulnerability against left-handed pitchers. At least four teams claimed Wells off waivers from the Mariners according to Jason Churchill, so the Bombers aren’t going to be able to acquire him that way. They’ll have to go out and make a trade with a division rival to make it happen. Tough to see it getting done.

2. Speaking of that vulnerability against southpaws, the Yankees lucked out quite a bit with their early season schedule. After seeing Jon Lester on Opening Day, they saw nine straight right-handed starters before the Orioles threw Wei-Yin Chen on Sunday. It would have been eleven straight right-handed starters if not for the two rainouts in Cleveland. That won’t happen very often and the Yankees are lucky it did so early in the season. Things will change though, they’re scheduled to see two lefties during the D’backs series (Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin) and a total of five lefties in the next eight games (Mark Buehrle, Matt Moore, and David Price are the others). I won’t call any stretch of games in April a “defining stretch,” but these next eight days will play a big role in how well the Yankees can stay in the hunt before their players start to get healthy.

3. I’m not going to lie, Andy Pettitte’s back trouble has me pretty worried. The combination of his age and the fact that he hasn’t had a full season in four years has me thinking nagging injuries could be the norm this summer. I mean, it took two whole starts before something started barking. Maybe the back will be a one-time thing or maybe he’ll have to have starts pushed back due to aches and pains all year, but I feel like carrying two long-ish men in the bullpen (Adam Warren and David Phelps) is more of a necessity than a luxury right now. Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova certainly contribute to need that as well.

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Romine hurt in Scranton win
Jeter scales back rehab work in Tampa
  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    Any Romine update?

  • CountryClub

    I’d love to see him get 30+ starts, but I’m not sure that Andy missing a game here or there is a bad thing. Might make him stronger over the 20 – 30 starts that he does get.

  • Pat D

    Doesn’t that series seem like it was just yesterday?

    Uh, no. No, it does not.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but there’s been plenty of shit that’s happened in my life in the last 11 1/2 years that makes that series seem like a distant memory.

    That, and the fact that I’ve had most memories of that series surgically removed. Unfortunately, some of the images are too powerful and cannot be removed without causing serious brain damage. Even so, I’m still considering taking that step…

    • CountryClub

      Probably not for the same reasons, but it seems like a long time ago to me too.

      • CountryClub

        To be honest, the series vs Phil seems like a long time ago too.

    • Jim Is Bored

      There’s only one memory that I’ve had to surgically remove from that series. Up until that certain memory, it was one of the best World Series I can remember watching, with the circumstances probably being one of the main reasons.

    • jjyank

      It seems like forever ago for me too, but that’s probably because I was in 8th grade at the time.

      • trr

        sadly, the older you get, the faster time passes

        • Pseudoyanks

          True Dat…I remember making the statement about 3 or 4 years ago on this site that it’s scientifically based…. when a year goes by for a 10 year old, that’s 10% of their life and so it feels like it, but when a year goes by for a 50 year old that’s only two percent of their known life and so it “feels” much shorter. Another poster (I think an earler/previous “name” of same person who is today’s Dalek Jeter) posted scientific evidence of this phenomena.

          • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

            I’d like to see that, because it sure feels that way. Hell I’m surprised we are in the middle of april already.

            Waking up january 1st with a masive hang over in Cali feels like happened yesterday.

          • hogsmog

            And here is that trend for visualization purposes:

            http://www.wolframalpha.com/in.....m+10+to+75

            “How long each year seems compared to a year when you were 10″, or, “Well shit, what I wouldn’t give to be 10 again.”

            • Pseudoyanks

              And if you start from 1 Year old the slope really jumps out. Remember how a few months felt like an eternity when you were 4 years old?

              • hogsmog

                Oh yeah, and it spike to infinity when you’re 0 ;)

                I just just chose 10 because I think I can honestly remember a lot from when I was 10 and have a good idea of how long things seemed, but only have blips and flashes for ages much younger.

    • The Tenth Inning Stretch

      I just pretend that that series ended with the late-inning HR heroics.

  • Eddard

    1. I wouldn’t trade one player in the farm system for Casper Wells. We have enough backup outfielders.

    2. Hafner should DH vs LHP, not Fransisco. Boesch should play more in RF instead of Ichiro. Nuney returning will help as well. Not much else you can do until the injured players return.

    3. I’m not worried because it’s Andy. People always doubt Andy and he always comes through. Back spasms are not broken bones. He has looked brilliant this year even with a bad back.

    • mitch

      I’d also prefer Hafner over Francisco vs LHP, but I think he needs a day off here and there to stay healthy.

    • Slugger27

      1. luke murton?

      2. hafner should only DH against RHP.

      3. agree with you here.

    • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

      The problem, if there is one, with Andy is not his performance, he in fact has been very, very good when on the mound lately, the problem is that he hasn’t been able to take the ball every 5 days for the whole season (Last year’s was a fluke injury, granted) since 09′.

      I’d put the over/under for Andy’s starts at 25, and take the under, slightly but under (hope I’m wrong obviously).

      What do you guys think?
      O/U 25 starts for Andy this year;

      • trr

        I’d say under.

      • Slugger27

        id take the over, but barely. he could have a 15 day DL stint and still hit 25, even with some starts on extra rest. its close though, good number.

      • hornblower

        Back spasms are not age related. This little setback should not worry anyone. They are waiting for indoors in Toronto use him. Last year he got hit by a ball and broke his leg. Not age related.
        If he has elbow problems or shoulder issues then you should worry because that can be related to years of use.

  • Daniel

    Mike,

    Ted Lilly is still active, though currently rehabbing in the minors.

    • jsbrendog

      ted lilly did not pitch in the playoffs or world series in 2001

  • Pseudoyanks

    I understand the concern over Andy based on his age, but it seems like all through his career, it never took a whole lot of time/games for something to bark (often the elbow) and short rest has always been the remedy. Let’s hope the fact that ’twas always thus’ is the best predictor of the future and not his advanced age.

  • Monterowasdinero

    Speaking of Casper Wells (we can’t go to the Wells too often (haha), what about Brandon Snyder who was released by Texas at the end of ST? Know anything about him Mike? 1B, 3B, corner OF. Righty bat with some pop.

    • Pseudoyanks

      I laughed.

    • MannyGeee

      I am convinced you don’t give a shit about Brandon Snyder, but you needed an entrance that could be tied to Casper Wells so you could use your “going back to the Wells” joke here. Also, not enough attention has been paid to Vernon on RAB, so you saw your opportunity and capitalized…

      And for this I applaud you. Well played Mauer…

  • LarryM Fl

    I’m hoping that Andy’s back spasms are related to pitching in cold weather. They will go away and become non existent in the warm weather.

    Romine injury is a question?

  • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

    I’m much more worried about Price and Moore than an of the other lefties mentioned, although the lineup against lefties is still a bit of a concern. I’d like to see Hafner get a couple games DH’ing against lefties. I know he isn’t generally great against LHP but he could still run into one and drive some runs in, whereas Ben Fransisco is absolutely useless vs. RHP or LHP.

    I’m not too worried about Pettitte yet.

    • jjyank

      I pretty much agree. Also with Price, he’d be a daunting assignment even if he was a righty. His left-handedness isn’t what worries me so much there.

      I think I’d also stick with Hafner even against lefties. I just cringe every I see “Ben Francisco” and “DH” in the same sentence. I hope the Yanks can find an upgrade there. And if not, hopefully that upgrade is Vernon Wells when Granderson comes back.

      • LK

        I actually think the best lineup against lefties right now is probably Wells/Gardner/Francisco in the OF and Hafner at DH. However, I think playing Hafner every day is playing with fire.

  • mustang

    Don’t really have comments 1 and 2.

    3- This is the nature of the beast. If not Andy it would be some other pitcher that’s why they can never have enough pitching. They got Wang on the back burner, but if any of the front three are lost for an extended period of time then this thing is truly done.

    • Jim Is Bored

      “if any of the front three are lost for an extended period of time then this thing is truly done.”

      I can’t agree with that. It would certainly really hurt our chances, but it would also give us a chance to see what Nuno has, give Phelps a chance to shine, maybe give Warren a shot in the rotation, and you never know what could happen in those circumstances.

      Basically, I’m really hoping that we don’t have to find out, but I’m not throwing in the towel if we do.

      • mustang

        I could maybe see your point for Andy and Kuroda maybe. But if CC goes down we best start looking at movie listings.

        Like you I hope that we don’t have to find out.

  • Jersey Joe

    1. Casper Wells seems like a dime-a-dozen. Not spectacular at any facet of the game; maybe he would help in the future in a platoon with Boesch next year, but I’d rather use Mesa in the spot for Casper Wells if Ben Francisco is a failure in 4th OF role.

    2. Definitely agree about the gravity of the situation over the next few games. I hope Ben Francisco gets some opportunities against lefties, and also that Vernon and Youkilis keep mashing against them.

    3. I like the direction we’re headed in right now, but I don’t really like where we are. We need Pettitte – that’s the bottom line. If he’s out for more than 5-6 starts, there should be trouble. But doesn’t seem to be the case right now.

  • dkidd

    i’m worried about andy
    i’m worried about jeter
    i’m worried about romine
    i’m worried about campos (thanks, keith law)

    i’m worried

    • Worried

      Get off my lawn, kid.

    • Jim Is Bored

      You’re always worried.

      Nothing new here.

  • Mouse

    We need a more reliable back up shortstop more than another back up outfielder. Nix is not a long term solution.

    • FEED.ME.MORE!

      The backup SS is Nunez once Jeter comes back.

      I’m not a Nix fan, but tell me where the plethora of starting caliber SS reside? Most teams barely have adequate starting SS, and we are crying about the third stringer?

      • The Doctor

        Generally speaking, teams at least have a guy with Nix’s bar and a great glove. Nix can’t play short adequately or hit a lick. He’s been worth -0.2 fWAR and was worth a whopping 0.3 fWAR all of last year.

        • cid

          Name some. They don’t.

  • RetroRob

    Not worried about Andy since back spasms happen. Maybe he will be more prone to issues like this than his younger self, which makes sense, yet I pretty much had him targeted for 25-27 starts this year fully expecting he will miss some games over the course of the year.

  • FEED.ME.MORE!

    This may border on heresy, but maybe we could use Melky Mesa or Ronnie M for a few weeks as the 5th OF until Grandy comes back?

    Mesa Gardy Wells or Mesa Gardy Ichiro with Wells as the DH versus LHP.

    • Havok9120

      Ronnie’s hurt and Mesa….meh. I’m really not sure if it’s enough of an improvement (at all an improvement?) to justify losing the depth.

      • Travis L.

        Have we had any updates on Mustelier yet? I’d think a damn bruise would have cleared up by now. Or was is something more serious and I missed that?

  • JFish

    Anyone else think its weird that the Yankees had a scheduled off day on Jackie Robinson Day? After all, everyone is making such a big deal (rightfully so) that Mariano is the last player to wear 42, and he didn’t even play yesterday…

  • http://stevearts.com SteveH

    C’mon really – Casper Wells? Is this where we’ve gotten to? Every scrap-heap player available – you want to pick them up. We already have a boat load of those. Lets give Mesa and or Mustlier their shot. Just as good. Might as well get Jack Cust, at least he’s got a swing for The Stadium and he’s a local.

    Pitching my friend is everything. How about we go get a crafty lefty like say Randy Wolf from Milwaukee and get rid of Hughes or Nova. Sick of babying both of them.

    And prayers to Boston.