Breaking: Clemens set to rejoin Yanks

With a recent injury to Chien-Ming Wang and a scare concerning Andy Pettitte‘s back, the Yankees acted quickly to shore up their rotation this weekend. On the eve of Opening Night, the Yanks landed future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens. Clemens, who will rejoin the Yanks at the end of April, will help solidify the Yanks’ rotation and should push either Carl Pavano or Kei Igawa off the team.

The move comes as a surprise to those of us following the mundane ins and outs of Spring Training for the last month. In fact, as recently as Thursday, Clemens said he would not decide on his pitching fate until the end of April. But, according to reports, the Yanks overwhelmed Clemens with their multi-million-dollar offer, and the Rocket will once again try to end his career with a World Series victory on the game’s brightest and grandest stage.

While this move seemingly flies in the face of what Brian Cashman has done over the last few months, Spring Training showed us that Phil Hughes was still a few AAA outings away from reaching the Majors, and the Yanks just aren’t confident that Carl Pavano who hasn’t pitched regularly in over two years, and Kei Igawa can stump hitters for 162 games. With Clemens in the rotation, the Yanks will be able to go arm-to-arm with any competitor in the league. And since Clemens is only sticking around for one year, the Yankees don’t need to overextend themselves to win now.

So with Clemens on board, all eyes are turning now to Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Just two hours away from New York City, you can bet that the Yanks’ new AAA with see some record-breaking crowds with Clemens arrives in Pennsylvania for his tune up in a few weeks. And now with Clemens on board, the Yanks are the clear front-runners for the AL East crown. With Opening Day just 33 hours away, the news could not be better for Yankee fans.

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Roster set: I am happy

Okay, so there weren’t a lot of truly pressing roster decisions to make. However, there were some issues still out there yesterday that could have in some way adversely affected the roster. Yes, Mike, backup catcher and backup first basemen aren’t of grave concern. However, it’s not a great idea to go wasting a roster spot.

Anyway, here’s what’s going down, as reported by Pete Abraham:

Henn in, Villone out. Phelps in, Phillips out (though that was reported yesterday). Nieves in, Pratt out. Karstens to the DL.

Rotation: Pavano, Pettitte, Mussina, Igawa.

That makes me especially happy, because I’m going to the second game of the season (and I’ve seen Moose pitch roughly 8 times over the last two years). All in all, though, given the choices the Yankees had, these all seem like the right moves.

Steve, you’re out of the family

George Steinbrenner‘s daughter filed divorce papers this week against husband Steve Swindal, a move that appears to end his chance to take over as head of the New York Yankees.

Jennifer Swindal filed the papers Tuesday in Hillsborough County Circuit Court’s family law department, Yankees spokesman Howard Rubenstein said Wednesday. Rubenstein said the papers cited “irreconcilable differences.”

Reached by telephone, Swindal said he didn’t want to comment beyond the statement or address his role with the team.

In honor of every man that’s been screwed over in a divorce, I say he should ask for half of Yankee Stadium in the distribution of assets.

Asked whether he still viewed himself as Steinbrenner’s successor, Swindal replied: “I can’t answer that other than it would be speculation.”

He’s out. Just can’t see it happening.

(hat tip to Pinto, with an honorbale mention to YF vs SF)

Catching up with some Yanks news

There’s nothing to really talk about today that hasn’t been beaten to death (non-prospect related, of course). But that doesn’t mean other people didn’t do it. Let’s see what’s going down in Yankeeland:

Don Amore thinks that Kei Igawa was effective yesterday against the Phillies. Then again, Amore also thinks that “Igawa didn’t walk a batter.” I’ll hold back on Amore’s criticism of Kei’s performance, even though I didn’t see it that way. But to say that he didn’t walk a batter when, in fact, he walked two is despicable. Meanwhile, Peter Abraham compares the spring numbers of Dice-K and Igawa. I like Pete and all, but this is an exercise in futility.

Tests found no damage in Jeff Karstens’s elbow. While there is no timetable for his return, this places him back in the battle for the fifth starter spot, which will appear just once in the early going. Darrell Rasner will make his case tomorrow.

Both could actually make their way into the rotation for the first week of the season, but Andy Pettite doesn’t want that to happen. He threw 25 pitches yesterday, and I suppose we’ll get word later as to how his back is feeling today.

Keeping up to date

I’m not one for linking to mainstream media stories and then turning the other way. If you wanted that, you’d look straight into the horse’s mouth, right? I’d rather dig into questions regarding the state of the team, even if much of it is well-reasoned speculation at this point. However, I’m not finished with my current project (you should see my Farnsworth piece tonight or tomorrow morning), and there are a few loose ends to tie up:

Damon is back in camp. He says it has nothing to do with his daughter or father. From the quotes in the story, it sounds like something Damon just needed to clear his conscience. Glad to hear that it was, in fact, a non-story.

Also contained in the above link is the result of Pavano’s MRI. A bone bruise they say. I’m not sure how long that will keep him out, but it doesn’t seem like it will shelf him past Tuesday’s intrasquad game.

Villone turned down offers to accept Yanks minor-league deal. This is kind of troubling, because his acceptance of a guaranteed contract elsewhere would have meant a sandwich pick for the Yanks. Looks like Villone didn’t give the Yankees much choice in the matter.

And really, that’s all that’s newsworthy. The analysis will return to its regular schedule later tonight.