One of the most common Spring Training cliches is “[insert player here] worked all hard all summer and is in the best shape of his life,” but how often is it true? Not often. Well, Nick Swisher reportedly lost sixteen pounds this offseason, ironically by incorporated chocolate milk into his post-workout regiment. Based on the photo in the linked article, it looks to be legit (here’s last year’s slightly thicker version of Swish). Reliever Brian Bruney also reportedly shed sixteen pounds off his frame this winter, which supposedly puts him under 220 lbs for the first time since high school. There’s no picture to verify Bruney’s new physique, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt after all the weight he lost last offseason. I’m sure Joe Girardi will be pleased.
How many of you were around in the days of Friday Randomness? That’s old school right there baby. Remember your roots.
On to the links:
- Rob Neyer chimes in on Derek Jeter’s contract situation. Rob makes a good point, do the Steinbrenners want to win so badly that they’re willing to do it without Jeter, who will be 37 when his current contract expires?
- Sweeny Murti has some recent pictures of the New Stadium. Shea, meanwhile, is freakin’ gone. (h/t Matt Cerrone)
- Ex-Yankee Tom Gordon signed on with the D-Backs. By my count, Arizona now has four relievers in their pen capable of closing (Gordon, Rauch, Qualls, Pena).
- PeteAbe posted his Spring Training preview. I wish I could go, I really do.
- If you subscribe to Baseball America, then you already know they started pumping out their Early Draft Preview yesterday. Just about everything is subscriber only, but I’ll tell you that based on their early rankings, the Yanks would be drafting California HS shortstop Jiovanni Miller with their first pick, who they say projects a stud defensive player (no word on his bat).
- Speaking of the draft, NoMaas fired up their Draft Blog the other day, and Project Prospect took a look at the top college bats from 2006-2008.
- ESPN’s gang wrapped up their Battle of the Budgets today (the teams are listed on the right). I think Neyer’s team would take first place in a 162-game season (by a not small margin, either), but since they’re doing 7-game series who knows what will happen. It definitely won’t tell us who built the best teams.
- Did you hear about the Padres DFA’ing 2004 first overall pick Matt Bush? Turns out it wasn’t just to make room for Cliff Floyd. “I’m Matt (expletive) Bush” … hysterical.
- If you missed any of Joe Torre’s interview with Bob Costas, you can check it all out here.
- When I first saw this picture, I thought it was Brett Gardner. Thankfully, it isn’t. Go here and here for more cheap laughs.
- Eddie Vedder is such a badass. (h/t Deadspin)
Boy does that bring back memories. I wish I had done this earlier in the offseason, it could have been a weekly thing. Anyway here’s your open thread for the evening. The Rangers are in Dallas (hopefully they won’t come back with Sean Avery), the Devils are in Atlanta, and the Knicks get a visit from the Celtics. Venezuela will look to remain undefeated in the Caribbean World Series tonight when they take on Mexico. Anything goes, just be nice.
The start of the 2008 season was an exciting time for us Yankees fans. The team had two young and talented pitchers in the rotation for the first time in a long time, and a third in the bullpen that was slated to join the other two in the rotation later in the summer. Of course things didn’t go as planned, as Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy struggled before getting hurt, then Joba Chamberlain joined them in the infirmary after successfully making the transition to the rotation. Other than being young and being Yankees, those three guys don’t have much in common. They’re three different kinds of pitchers with three different body types and three different development tracks, yet they all got hurt, albeit in different ways. Why is this?
Enter former A’s and Mets’ pitching coach Rick Peterson. Peterson and Gary Armida, author of Full Count Pitch, sat down and talked about the epidemic of young pitchers getting hurt (h/t BBTF). The article starts with Peterson stating the industry in general has been slow to react to all the injuries, and that the focus needs to be shifted from “rehab to prehab.” Amateur coaches (going all the way back to little league) don’t have enough information about the proper way to develop young pitchers, which has been a major contributor to the explosion of pitching injuries.
Aside: While I agree that amateur coaches don’t have enough info, we also have to remember that their job isn’t to develop players, it’s too win. Why should Tony Gwynn (coach at San Diego State) take it easy on Steven Strasburg, the likely first overall pick in the 2009 draft? The team that drafts Strasburg isn’t paying Gywnn, the school is, and that’s who he has an obligation to. It’s his job to do what’s right for the university, not what’s in the best interest of Major League teams. It’s a grey area, and we have to remember that the vast majority of college pitchers will never throw a professional pitch, let alone a big league pitch, so is it right to treat the true prospects differently than everyone else?
The article then goes on to list the three root causes of arm injuries. I’m going to quote at length, so let’s add a jump to keep from overflowing the front page.
The RAB Open Thread gods blessed us this evening, sending down this gem of a post from the Times’ Tyler Kepner about 25 random facts about 25 random Yankees. Here’s my favorites, with worthless commentary added:
Enrique Wilson – Used to love the science fiction anime DragonBall Z. He had these little characters he’d put up on the shelf of his locker at home and on the road.
And people say A-Rod does weird stuff.
Matt Smith – Was physically unable to straighten his pitching elbow.
That’s pretty crazy.
Rondell White – Had a great sense of humor about himself, admitting that he was injured so often his nickname should be “Ron-D.L.”
That’s great. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re not trying.
Chris Hammond – One of the first guys to give out his email address. One night in Oakland he was warming up in the bullpen and a colleague in the press box noted that Hammond was also on Instant Messenger at the same time. I’m sure it was a family member, but still pretty funny.
I love it.
So how’s that for some good ol’ open threadiness? The Islanders are the only local team in action tonight, and Mexico is taking on Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series at 9pm on the MLB Network. The games have been exciting, very low scoring for the most part. Best of all, none of the players have any plate disciple, so everyone swings at the first pitch and the innings just fly by. Talk about whatever you like, just be nice.
Oh, and for you video game aficionados, the demo for The Show 09 came out today. Give that shizz a download.
Via Adam McCalvy & TR Sullivan, free agent righty Ben Sheet may need surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his throwing elbow, which is different from Tommy John surgery. Apparently the Rangers and Sheets had agreed to a two year deal last week, but the elbow issue popped up and prevented the deal from being finalized. In a somewhat ironic twist, the Brewers may be on the hook for the medical costs of the surgery, which Sheets is contemplating. Sometimes life just isn’t fair. Roy Firestone of Orioles Hangout beat everyone to the story this morning.
We’re a little stretched for podcast content today because it’s the slow time of year (unless you count that Chase Wright blockbuster), so the more questions the better. Email in your question to Joe or myself via the links on the left.
Oh, and FYI, we’re not going to talk about the Torre book, so don’t even bother asking. Thanks.