It was an offensive day down in Florida today as the Yanks and Reds hammered out 33 hits and 24 runs. While three home runs paced the Yanks’ offensive, two unearned runs emerged as the difference as Cincinnati eked out a sloppy 13-11 win over New York in Sarasota.
For the Yanks, the game had two story lines: bad pitching and good hitting. Staked to a 2-0 lead, Al Aceves gave up three runs in the first. Jonathan Albaladejo, J.B. Cox, Damaso Marte, Brian Bruney, Christian Garcia and Mark Melancon followed, and every pitcher gave up at least a run. Melancon’s was unearned, and the darkhorse candidate for the ever-important 8th inning role racked up another two spring K’s.
Offensively, the Yanks blasted four doubles and three home runs as the team’s 19-hit onslaught led to 11 runs. Brett Gardner homered for the second time this Spring. He really wants that center field job. Robinson Cano, who had a hot spring in 2008 also, added four RBI on a double, a home run and a single. A-Rod also doubled twice, and Jeter had a three-single day.
In the end though, players who, Mo willing, won’t see the Bronx this year decided this game. An error by Eduardo Nuñez led to one earned run and a passed ball by Jesus Montero led to another. At this early point in the Spring, the Yanks’ bats are doing all we hoped, and while Damaso Marte’s surrendering two home runs isn’t a good sign, I like the results I’m seeing from Melancon.
Mike will have updates on some minor injuries to Albaladejo and Jesus Montero later this evening. The Yanks’ next game is set for tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 p.m., and the Yanks will now be sans A-Rod, Jeter and Cano as those three are off to the WBC. We’ll keep an eye on their Classic results.
There exists a chasm between Yankees fans when discussing Ian Patrick Kennedy. There are those who saw his performance — and attitude — last year and took it as a sign that he’s finished in the Bronx. He doesn’t have what it takes, both physically and mentally, and the Yanks should trade him for whatever they can get. Then there are those of us (and I say us because I clearly fall into this camp) who think that he still has the potential to help the Yankees in the future. We base this on his potential, which really hasn’t changed, and the knowledge that some pitchers get shelled early in their careers.
This year is quite different for the former USC star, and he knows it. The biggest difference, of course, is his presumed spot on the team.
“I came to spring training thinking I had that job,” he said. “I was more content, where this spring training I’m hungry to beat out anybody I can. It’s go-time. It’s a little different.”
Mark Feinsand gave Kennedy a positive review on his first start of the spring — one hit, one walk, three strikeouts, and no runs in two innings. He might get one more opportunity to start a game before the real starting five take over the games. Then he’ll probably head across the street to minor league camp so he can get the proper work in.
None of this changes the fact that Kennedy has plenty to prove once the games count in 09. It is a positive sign, though, and we’ve been looking for anything positive from Kennedy since last season. The best case scenario for him is to pitch the entire season in AAA and get some major league innings in September. Some success there could put him in the conversation for a 2010 rotation spot, or make him a valuable trade chip for the Yanks.
Mother Nature got in the way of CC Sabathia’s simulated game which was scheduled for this morning, so instead he’ll go tomorrow according to Pete Caldera. His first start of the spring is scheduled for March 6th, and this isn’t going to threaten that date at all. Caldera also notes that Jorge Posada’s shoulder feels better and he could DH tomorrow if the team lets him, which they won’t. Aaaaaaand exhale. · (19) ·
Probably the best part of the trip was getting to talk to a lot of children and teens who hope to one day be major leaguers. We happened upon a bunch of kids practicing in San Pedro de Macoris, Robinson Cano’s hometown. They were all wearing jerseys with Cano on the back, and a coach told me Cano had bought uniforms for the entire league – about 6,000 kids. He also bought two ambulances for the town. So he is really beloved there, the coach said even more so than fellow natives Sammy Sosa and Alfonso Soriano. What people like best is that Cano still comes back in winter, often sitting and watching kids play baseball on Saturdays.
Awesome, you gotta love it when these megarish athletes give something back, whether it be providing an entire league with jerseys or taking a family on a Disney vacation. It’s amazing how little play stories like this get in the MSM. (h/t Jason)
In the post-game wrap-up today, Peter Abraham has an interesting quote from Joe Girardi. The Yankee skipper, it seems, is worried that A-Rod may still be suspended. “I think you have to be a little bit concerned any time you go in front of Major League Baseball,” Girardi said. “The precedent has been set with how they’ve dealt with players but there’s still always a concern. I’m hoping it’s a fact-finding mission and that he’s set to go on April 6.”
Major League Baseball has never suspended anyone for past PED use, and the Players Association would throw a fit, legitimately, of epic proportions if they did so. The Yanks have every right to be worried about a suspension, but one will not come down for A-Rod on Sunday. I’d bet money on that. · (34) ·
There was a little bit of panic when Joba was only throwing 88-89 in his start today, but it was clear that he wasn’t throwing with full effort. Turns out that yeah, the Yanks will be taking it easy on their ace-in-training during camp. “For Joba, he doesn’t have the same experience the other guys have,” said Joe Girardi. “We think it’s important to get him on the mound and build him up because he had the (shoulder) issue last year.” Also keep in mind that the regular members of the starting rotation won’t begin throwing in games until next week, and Joba’s scheduled to make two starts before then (including today), putting him that much ahead of the pace. Like we were saying earlier: relax, it’s February. · (37) ·
I wanted the Yanks to sign Juan Cruz back in early January, but alas, they never showed serious interest in him and Cruz ended up with the Royals. The terms: 2 years, $6M guaranteed with a $4M option for a third year. The Diamondbacks received Kansas City’s second round pick (because the Royals’ first rounder is protected) and a sandwich rounder as compensation, giving them 5 of the first 44 picks and 7 of the first 62. They can do some serious damage this year. You can see the up-to-the-minute draft order at our 2009 Draft Order Tracker.
To make room for Cruz on the 40-man roster the Royals designated utility man Esteban German for assignment, and I hope the Yanks at least kick the tires on him. German has been outrighted before (by the A’s back in 2004) and has plenty of service time, so if he clears waivers he’ll have the ability to refuse an assignment to Triple-A and become a free agent. Obviously, that’s when the Yanks should look at him, and on a minor league deal only. There’s no way you give him a Major League deal or claim him on waivers (putting him on the 40-man).
Basically, all German offers is versatility and a replacement level bat, although in 2006 and 2007 he was a 1-1.5 win player off the bench. He’s only played 36 innings at short the last three years, but he’s seen plenty of time at second and third. Offensively, about the best you can hope for at this point is .260-.310-.340 with maybe a dozen doubles and a rare homer, but hey, if he’s willing to come in and compete for a job, why wouldn’t you do it? The more competition the better, I say.
Anyway, here’s your open thread for the night. The Devils already won today, and both the Islanders and Rangers are in action tonight. The Knicks are also playing down in Miami. Oh, and here’s the box score of today’s game if you’re interested. Have fun.
Photo Credit: Dick Whipple, AP
As you probably already know, Jorge Posada was scratched from today’s game because of some discomfort in his shoulder, which according to Kat O’Brien occured when he was doing pregame stretches on Thursday. Posada played through the soreness the past two days – going 4-for-5 with a double and a homer – but the Yanks took him out of the lineup as a precaution after he told them about the pain today. Both Posada and Joe Girardi said they weren’t concerned and that was a normal part of rehab, but still. You have to be a little worried, right? · (25) ·
Joba Chamberlain will make his first appearance of the spring this afternoon, and luckily for all of us the game will be on YES. He’ll be opposed by some guy named Liriano, and according to LEN3 ex-Yank Sean Henn is scheduled to make an appearance.
Chad Jennings notes that Brett Gardner and Phil Coke will be presented with the 2008 Kevin Lawn Awards before the game, given to the organization’s Minor League Player and Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Back in September I gave those awards to Jesus Montero and Zach McAllister, respectively, but Gardner and Coke are certainly deserving.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:15. Here’s the lineup, courtesy of Bryan Hoch:
Posada, DH Swisher, RF
Swisher, RF Molina, C
Molina, C Duncan, DH
Scheduled Pitchers: Joba Chamberlain, Mike Dunn, Jose Veras, Dan Giese, Kei Igawa, David Robertson, Steven Jackson, Kanekoa Teixeira
Based on my highly scientific system of counting the number of pitchers scheduled to pitch and comparing that to the number of innings typically played in a game, I’m guessing we’ll get two innings out of Joba.
If you won’t be around to catch the live broadcast, MLB Network will be replaying it at 5pm, as will YES at 7pm. I might watch all three.
Update (1:01pm): Posada’s been scratched with shoulder discomfort. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. No word on the lineup change yet.
Update (1:07pm): Shelley Duncan’s the new DH.
Photo Credit: Reuters Pictures
For shame. Mark Newman (not that Mark Newman) of MLBlogs confirmed that CC Sabathia’s Twitter account is a fake. Nick Swisher’s account has been verified and is legit. It’s too bad, but it was fun while it lasted.
Oh, and third base prospect Bradley Suttle launched a blog yesterday. In his first (and only) post, he reveals that he had shoulder surgery at the end of 2008 and is currently rehabbing. That was news to me. Make sure you check it out. (h/t Patrick)
Update (11:57am): Paulie points out that CC’s official site links to his Twitter page, so maybe Newman’s report is wrong. Hmmm… · (16) ·