Mike Mussina headed to Orioles Hall of Fame

Via Steve Melewski, Mike Mussina has been elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame. We all think of Moose as a Yankee, but the man did his best work while with Baltimore. During his nine full seasons with the Orioles, Mussina finished in the top five of Cy Young voting five times plus two other sixth place finishes. He’s among the franchise’s all-time leaders in bWAR (second), strikeouts (second), K/BB ratio (second), WPA (second), ERA+ (third), wins (third), starts (fifth), and innings (seventh). Congrats to Moose on a great career and well-deserved honor.

Kei Igawa headed back to Japan

Via NPB Tracker (translated article), Kei Igawa has signed a two-year contract worth ¥200M with the Orix Blue Wave Buffaloes. That’s roughly $2.5M in American dollars. He spent the first part of his career with the Hanshin Tigers, so he’s joining a new team.

Igawa, 32, will go down as one of the most spectacular busts in Yankees history. They invested $46M in him — $26M posting fee plus $20M contract — only to receive a 6.66 ERA in 71.2 IP. Igawa spent the final three years of his five-year deal pitching exclusively in the minors. The Yankees admitted they didn’t do their homework before signing him. Igawa declined two opportunities to return to Japan in recent years, saying he wanted to see his time in the U.S. through.

Open Thread: 3/28 Camp Notes

The Yankees and Braves played to a 5-5 tie today. Hiroki Kuroda was fantastic yet again, allowing two runs in seven super-efficient innings. George Kontos surrendered the game-tying, two-run homer to Jason Heyward in the bottom of the ninth, the only runs he allowed in his two innings of work.

Eduardo Nunez (two hits) and Eric Chavez (three hits) drove the offense (one double each). Jayson Nix had a pair of hits off the bench. Raul Ibanez went for 1-for-3 with a bloop single but it should have been 2-for-3 with a bloop single and a homer. Heyward climbed the wall in right and took the dinger away from him (video). Poor Raul can’t catch a break. Here’s the box score and here’s the latest from Tampa…

  • Nick Swisher (groin) got ten at-bats against Manny Banuelos and Brett Marshall in minor league camp today. They went single to center, ground out, swinging strikeout, ground out, fly out to right, single to right, double down the left field line, walk, homer, walk. Swisher reported no soreness or pain afterwards. Give Conor Foley a follow on Twitter, he provided the play-by-play.
  • Ivan Nova will pitch in a minor league game tomorrow to keep the Orioles from seeing him. D.J. Mitchell will start in his place with David Phelps picking up the slack out of the bullpen. Freddy Garcia is likely to pitch in a minor league game on Friday. [Chad Jennings]
  • We known CC Sabathia and Kuroda will start the first two games of the season, but Girardi said today that the rest of the rotation will be decided within “three or four days.” I’m putting my money on Nova, Michael Pineda, and Phil Hughes following Sabathia and Kuroda, in that order. [Erik Boland]
  • In case you were sleeping like a normal person and missed it this morning, the 2012 MLB season officially started in Japan. The Mariners beat the Athletics 3-1 in ten innings (box score). Jesus Montero went 0-for-4 with three ground outs and a fly out, so clearly the Yankees have won the trade.

Here is your open thread for the evening. The Rangers, Knicks, and Nets are all playing tonight, but talk about whatever you like here. Go nuts.

Austin Romine suffered setback of back injury

Via Mark Feinsand and Chad Jennings, Austin Romine has suffered a setback while attempting to recover from the back inflammation that has sidelined him for most of spring. He had resumed workouts not too long ago, but felt a “little pinch” at some point recently. The setback led to the Craig Tatum waiver claim. Romine dealt with a similar problem last season, so this is an obvious concern. Back problems are scary, and recurring back problems are even scarier.

Manny Banuelos’ new toy

Via Conor Foley, Manny Banuelos broke out a new cutter during his minor league start today. He’s been working on the pitch on the side, but today was the first time he used it in a game situation.

Guys like Andy Pettitte, Mark Buehrle, Kenny Rogers, Cliff Lee, Ted Lilly, John Danks, and Jamie Moyer are what I pathetically call Four-C lefties, meaning they rely on a cutter, changeup, curveball, and command. Those types of pitchers traditionally have a lot of success in the bigs and remain effective for as long as they stay healthy. If the cutter sticks, Banuelos is going to be cut from the same cloth, and that’s exciting.

Yankees claim Craig Tatum

The Yankees have claimed catcher Craig Tatum off waivers from the Diamondbacks, the team announced. The 29-year-old is a no-hit, defense-first backstop. He’s produced a .256 wOBA in 299 big league plate appearances, most coming with the Orioles. He’s thrown attempted basestealers out at a 21% rate in the show and a 35% rate in the minors, but that doesn’t do his glovework justice. Tatum figures to be just a depth pickup given Austin Romine‘s persistent back trouble, but he is out of options and will have to pass through waivers to go to the minors. No corresponding 40-man roster move is needed.

Report: Astros, Orioles have interest in Maxwell

Via George King, both the Astros and Orioles have interest in Justin Maxwell. They have yet to call Brian Cashman about the right-handed hitting outfielder, however. Maxwell is out of options and can’t be sent to the minors without first clearing waivers, so the Yankees will have to decide what to do with him relatively soon. With Curtis Granderson (elbow) and Nick Swisher (knee) banged up, I’m sure they’re going to hold onto him for just a little bit longer.