In mid-July, McFarlane Toys, designers of the popular MLB figurines, announced that Melky Cabrera would be included in their 2009 set. The Yanks’ former center fielder was to be a part of a showcase of young players that will include Dustin Pedroia and Justin Upton. But a funny thing happened on the way to February: Melky Cabrera found himself bound for AAA Scranton after a terrible four months.
Now, as Jim Baumbach reports, McFarlane Toys has scratched their plans to include Melky Cabrera in the next line of figurines. The company offers up no explicit reason for this change in plans, but I’m sure Melky’s demotion had everything to do with it. There’s nothing like kicking a man while he’s down, eh? · (16) ·
When I arrived home this afternoon, I found waiting for me in the mail the latest in a long line of Yankee Stadium tribute books. This new arrival — Remembering Yankee Stadium: An Oral and Narrative History of “The House That Ruth Built” — is by Harvey Frommer, a prolific baseball scribe who once wrote for Yankees Magazine.
The introduction to Frommer’s tome is penned by none other than the Voice of God himself. That’s right; Bob Sheppard, with a picture of the soon-to-be 98-year-old in his younger, dapper days, introduces the oral history of the building in which he has probably spent more time than anyone else alive. It is a fitting way for a book of this magnitude to begin.
While I’ll put together a more formal review of Frommer’s offering over the next few weeks, just seeing Bob’s name on the cover of the book and his image on the first few pages triggered a few Yankee Stadium-related thoughts. Mostly, I realized we have heard neither hide nor hair of Bob Sheppard since he announced that he wasn’t healthy enough to announce the All Star Game. Since then, nothing. No word on his recovery; no word on his potential return. No word on anything.
Right now, the Yankees have just 16 home games left at Yankee Stadium, and with the Yanks on the outside of the playoff picture looking in right now, there’s no guarantee that Yankee Stadium will see baseball in October this year. Meanwhile, Sheppard has been out for over 11 months now, and I have to wonder if Bob won’t make it for a single game of announcing duties during the final season of the Stadium.
If indeed Mr. Sheppard doesn’t make it back this year, the Yankees’ venerable announcer will have gone out unexpectedly last September when, one day, he was too sick to make it to work. He will have missed his opportunity to send off Yankee Stadium in grand fashion, and I’m sure he’s just as disappointed about it as any of the team’s fans are.
But I’m not quite yet ready to count Bob out yet. He may be out of the public eye right now; he may still be convalescing from what sounds like a very serious illness. But when all is said and done, I wouldn’t be surprised to find Bob Sheppard in his proper place when the evening of September 21st rolls around. The Baseball Gods hopefully wouldn’t have it any other way.
Chase Weems was promoted to Charleston. He didn’t play much for the GCL Yanks after Kyle Higashioka showed up, and I can’t imagine he’ll get much playing time with Montero & Romine on the team.
Victor Zambrano was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. Hah.
Triple-A Scranton (7-2 win over Buffalo) 16 of their 20 hits came off of one pitcher … yikes
Justin Christian & Matt Carson: 2 for 5, 1 R – Carson drove in a run & K’ed
Melky: 3 for 5 – on base 17 times in 8 games since being send down
Juan Miranda: 0 for 0 – left the game in the bottom of the first with dizziness says Chad Jennings
Shelley: 1 for 5, 1 R, 2 K – got struck out by an old friend
Ben Broussard: 2 for 4, 1 R, 2 K
Nick Green: 4 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI – seriously?
Eric Duncan: 2 for 4
Chris Stewart: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Bernie Castro: 1 for 4
IPK: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 5-4 GB/FB – 64 of 106 pitches were strikes (60.4%) … remember, he’s there working his two-seamer and curveball, which CJ says he’s doing
Steven Jackson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K – 12 of 22 pitches were strikes (54.5%) … 11 K in his last 7 IP
Phil Coke: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1-2 GB/FB – only 6 of 13 pitches were strikes (46.2%)
Scott Patterson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0-2 GB/FB
A week from today, 25-man rosters will be eligible for expansion. Anyone on the 40-man roster can be called up and played just like they were on the 25-man. It’s one of the more exciting times of year for prospect nuts, who can get a chance to see some players who are close to seeing big league playing time.
The Yankees cannot afford such a luxury this year. They’ll call up players, for sure, likely after the minor league playoffs conclude. From these additions, however, the Yanks will be looking for production. They can’t afford to stroll out scrubs during the final month of the season, where they’ll hopefully be scratching their way to a 14th consecutive playoff berth. If you can’t help, there’s a seat for you on the bench, in other words.
The question is, who do you think will have the best chance of helping the team down the stretch? Can we get some useful relief innings out of Scott Patterson? Will Al Aceves make his way onto the 40-man? Can Phil Hughes right the ship in time for prime time?
Can we start using “to Joe Torre” a pitcher as a verb? Damaso Marte says he’s no longer hurting after a 42-pitch outing on Aug. 4 left him with a sore elbow. Marte, a disappointment so far in his short Yankee career but showing some signs of life lately, was overworked the night the Yanks lost Joba Chamberlain and hasn’t been effective since then. I hope Joe Girardi takes this as a lesson Joe Torre never learned about the arms of relievers. These pitchers can only handle so much stress before they break down. · (26) ·
Not much, says Newsday’s Jim Baumbach. The media these days really loves to doubt Pavano, but I’m not ready to hop on that bandwagon. Perhaps the oft-injured Carl can do some good for the Yankees over the next five weeks. He is, after all, pitching for a contract. · (67) ·
This year marked the final hurrah of baseball as an Olympic sport. In 2012, baseball will no longer be considered an Olympic sport, the first since Polo in 1936 to lose that exclusive label. Now, with the Beijing games over, the IOC is telling Major League Baseball that their game can regain its international cache if they included big names like A-Rod in international competition. I can’t really support this move. I could care less if A-Rod and other superstars are playing in the Olympics, and if it means a two-week absence from the Yanks in the middle of summer, I’d have to issue a very definite no to this call. Keep on promoting rowing and gymnastics. We’ll enjoy our baseball right here. · (42) ·
It looks like today’s off-day will not be used to skip one of the current starters. The Yanks will trot out Mike Mussina on Tuesday, Sidney Ponson on Wednesday, and Andy Pettitte on Thursday to face the Red Sox. Sure, they could tell Sidney to take a day off, slide Pettitte into his spot, and pitch Pavano on Thursday. But is that any better? After all, Sidney tends to do well in his start after being blown out.
The real rotation issues actually begin on Saturday. This will be Darrell Rasner’s next start. He’s faced Toronto twice this year, each time coming up with at least acceptable results. So do you give him another shot? Or do you turn to Phil Hughes or Alfredo Aceves?
It’s not an easy question to answer. Aceves might seem attractive after last night’s performance, but is he ready for The Show? Hughes has been uninspiring his past two times out, but could eight days of rest cure what ails him? These are questions the Yanks will ask over the course of the week. The results against the Red Sox could play a large role in that decision.
Let’s toss this one up to the comments. Do you take a risk with Hughes and Aceves, hoping that they can piece together a few good starts in September? Or do you give Rasner the ball again and give those two another start in AAA?
“The game of baseball is challenging,” [Melancon] said. “It’s really the game, it’s not the opponents. It’s getting strike one. It’s getting the first out. It’s throwing to the glove. Obviously I’m giving respect to the hitters but at the same time, if you locate the ball it really does not matter who’s up there. You know, sometimes guys are going to get a good pitch and hit it far, but you can’t worry about that. You have to worry about what you can control, and that’s throwing my pitches well.”
I mean, wow. Could he have said it any better?
We’ve been hearing how great Melancon’s makeup is since he was drafted, and that quote shows it. The 23-yr old from Colorado has come back from Tommy John surgery better than anyone could have expected, and has put himself in a position to be a factor out of the Yanks’ pen as soon as next April. He’ll be a fan favorite rather quickly.