For the baseball history buffs among us, here’s a good story for you: A dentist interested in both dental history and baseball lore researched Babe Ruth’s medical history and discovered that the Yankee slugger did not die of throat cancer as legend has it. Rather, Dr. William Maloney believes Ruth died of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, an exceedingly rare form of cancer. According to Maloney, Ruth participated in medical trials that eventually paved the way toward modern cancer treatments. Interesting stuff. · (2) ·
In the seminal 1980 film Airplane!, Steve McCroskey, played by Lloyd Bridges, bemoans his current predicament. “I picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue,” he says, later noting that he also quite amphetamines, drinking and smoking that week as well. Tonight’s Yankee game felt a bit like that.
Disaster struck for the Yanks in the fifth. Clinging to a 4-2 lead, Joba Chamberlain allowed a three-run home run to Michael Young. Josh Hamilton struck out, and Marlon Byrd singled. A few pitches later, Joba shook out his arm, and Joe Girardi and Gene Monahan came sprinting out of the dugout. Monahan would return with Joba in a tow, and the rest of the game unfolded as though through a fog as Yankee fans everywhere awaited the post-game interviews with baited breath.
Following the game, both Girardi and Chamberlain expressed optimism. While Chamberlain will head back to New York later today for an MRI and various other tests on the youngster’s arm, neither believed the injury to be serious. This doesn’t appear to be a labrum or a rotator cuff injury. It doesn’t seem as though Joba’s elbow was impacted either.
But right now, we don’t really know anything outside of the fact that right shoulder stiffness sent Joba packing tonight. We know Joba will probably not make his next scheduled start on Saturday, but beyond that, who knows? The Yanks tend to be cautious with their young guns, and considering what Joba can do and what a healthy Joba means to the Yanks, they are going to tread lightly with the righty. When the Yanks release more information, we’ll know what the short-term ramifications of this dismaying development mean for the Yanks.
Meanwhile, back in the game, the Yanks managed to stick around until the ninth inning when Joe Girardi once again left a reliever in the game for far too long. After falling behind 5-4, the Yanks tied the game on Xavier Nady‘s third pinstripe home run. But the loss would fall squarely on the shoulders of his partner in trade, Damaso Marte.
After throwing an effective eighth inning, Marte allowed three walks and a walk-off grand slam to Marlon Byrd in the ninth. Marte now finds himself 0-1 on the Yanks with an 11.57 ERA. He’s doing a great job replacing Kyle Farnsworth.
But the fault hardly lies only with Marte. The grand slam came on Marte’s 42nd pitch of the night. The last time he reached such a lofty pitch count was on August 16, 2006 when the Pirates and Brewers played an extra-inning affair and Marte couldn’t buy a strike. Before that, he hadn’t thrown so many pitches since 2002. At some point, Joe Girardi has to go to the pen. I realize that Dan Giese is in pitching staff limbo and Mariano Rivera isn’t available, but to overtax relievers as Joe did tonight to Marte harkens back to the days of Joe Torre, Steve Karsay and Paul Quantrill.
In the end, tonight, the Yanks lost a chance to gain a game on both Tampa Bay and Boston. They may have lost their right-handed pitching stud too. This is indeed shaping up to be a bad week to stop sniffing glue.
George Kontos was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week, so congrats to him. Jim Callis at Baseball America answered a question about two-sport eligiblity in this week’s Ask BA, which applies to the Yanks’ 29th round pick Mike Jones, who’s also a senior wideout for Arizona State.
Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Pawtucket, walk-off style)
Brett Gardner & Chris Stewart: 1 for 3 – Gardner drew a pair of walks … Stewart walked & K’ed
Bernie Castro: 1 for 4, 1 RBI – walk-off single
Matt Carson & Ben Broussard: both 0 for 3, 1 BB
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 1 R
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – well I guess the shoulder’s fine
Cody Ransom: 0 for 2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 1 for 4, 1 2B
Chase Wright: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HB, 10-5 GB/FB – 63 of 89 pitches were strikes (70.8%)
Phil Coke: 1.2 IP, zeroes, 3 K – 15 of 22 pitches strikes (68.2%)
Steven Jackson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
The Yankees have just announced that stud youngster Joba Chamberlain left tonight’s Yankees/Rangers game with a “stiff right shoulder.” Joba left the game accompanied by Yanks’ trainer Gene Monahan with two outs in the five. Right now, no one has anymore information than this, and we’ll keep everyone posted as this story develops. Hopefully, this is nothing serious, but shoulder stiffness is never a good sign.
Update 10:45 p.m.: Before you all jump off a collective bridge, remember that the last time a promising young Yankee pitcher had a “stiff right shoulder,” the Yanks simply shut that pitcher down for two months to prevent anything serious from developing. That pitcher ended up being fine. His name? Chien-Ming Wang. While the Yanks could shut Joba down for the season as a precaution, don’t start the collective panicking until we know more. · (65) ·
The weatherman says it feels like 103° in Arlington, which by my estimation is really freakin’ hot. Luckily for the players it’s supposed to cool down to 99° by game time. That’s why God made air conditioning.
The Rangers are flying under the radar as one of baseball’s hottest teams (no pun intended), having gone 47-36 since May 1st, good for a .566 winning percentage. The messed-up part is that they’ve gone from 6.5 GB in the division to 11.5 GB because the Angels are just that damn good. It’s the same story, different year with them: They have scored the most runs in baseball by a significant amount. Yet they’ve also allowed the most runs in baseball, again by a significant amount. Luckily Milton Bradley (aka the man with highest OPS in the AL) has been bothered by a quad injury of late. So he may not be his usual self this series.
They love them some Alex Rodriguez in Texas; he should feel right at home with all the boos.
And on the mound, Joba “lower ERA as a starter than as a reliever despite three times as many IP” Chamberlain.
Notes: Melky is “hitting” .229-.278-.287 over his last 76 games, giving him the 4th worst OBP & the worstest SLG in the game over that time … That’s right, I said the worstest … Let’s stop beating around the bush and just say it: Melky Cabrera is the worst every day player in Major League Baseball … On the bright side, X. Nady shared AL Player of the Week honors, he’s been the anti-Melky since the trade …
Just a heads up, tonight’s SI Yanks-Brooklyn Cyclones game will be airing on Snigh, first pitch is set for 7:00. Luke Greinke should be taking the mound for SI, but Pat Venditte will likely get the day off after tossing 3 scoreless frames yesterday. Ike Davis, the Mets’ first pick in this year’s draft (#18 overall), should be in the lineup for Brooklyn. (h/t MetsBlog) · (11) ·
Per Tyler Kepner, both Phil Hughes and Shelley Duncan will make their triumphant return to Triple-A Scranton this week follow short rehab stints in the lower minors. Hughes will slot into the rotation sometime this weeked, likely taking the spot currently occupied by Billy Traber. Shelley should return to the lineup in the next day or so. You may remember that he separated his shoulder making a diving catch in the outfield a few weeks back. (h/t to loyal reader Gurpreet for the email) · (56) ·
As reports of Manny Ramirez’s exploits in Los Angeles filter through the Boston/New York East Coast media bias sieve that we know and loathe, we’ve seen photos of Manny wearing not his customary 24 but rather the slightly absurd 99 on his back. Turk Wendell he is not. Scott Miller, writing for CBS Sports, tells us why: The Dodgers have retired 24, and while Manny requested 34, the Dodgers will not reissue Fernando Valenzuela’s old number. “It’s been retired in our hearts,” Mitch Poole, the team’s clubhouse manager, said to Miller.
I, for one, am glad to see the Yanks aren’t the only team retiring people’s numbers in their hearts but not in reality. As Shysterball opines, perhaps some standard for retired numbers and unissued but non-retired numbers should be put forth. It’s all just a little silly. · (19) ·
As we’ve discussed before, the one thing the Yanks didn’t nail down at the non-waiver trade deadline was another starting pitcher. They’re not looking for much…just an upgrade over Ponson and Rasner. Ian Kennedy might be the remedy for the latter, since their starts line up. In fact, if I were a betting man I might place a few dollars on Kennedy getting the start against the Angels Friday night.
Still, can we trust Ponson to stay effective in the rotation? For every start like he had against the Angels on Friday night, he’ll have one or two like he had against the Rangers earlier, or against the Red Sox on that gloomy Sunday night. If you can find a more stable piece, you have to make the move.
Where would we find one? Tim at MLB Trade Rumors takes a look at the American League waiver trade candidates. Clearly, there are no guarantees here; it’s just another place to look for scrap heap options. Tomorrow he’ll have the NL up, and we’ll take a look in that direction.
Unfortunately, there are slim pickings in the AL. Kevin Millwood’s contract makes him a bit prohibitive. He has a guaranteed $11 million coming his way next year, and a conditional $12 million for 2010. He has to pitch 540 innings from 2007 through 2009, 360 innings from 2008 through 2009, or 180 innings in 2009. Clearly, he could just hit that 180 mark next year and it’ll vest. He’s got 281 innings between last year and this year, and 108.1 this year. He’s been on the DL since June 26, retroactive to the 24th, with a groin injury. Given all this, I think we can put a resounding NO stamp on Millwood.
The Rangers also have Vicente Padilla, though he’s got $12 million guaranteed for next year, plus a $1.75 million buyout of his $12 million club option for 2010. He’s pitching to a 4.52 ERA over 127.1 IP this year, and really hasn’t been good since the 2003 season. There’s no reason to waste nearly $17 million on this guy.
Then there’s Jarrod Washburn, but it appears that ship has sailed. Miguel Batista also makes Tim’s list, but he’s rather horrible. Hey, Carlos Silva would probably clear waivers, too, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to make a deal for him.
While we haven’t seen the NL list of waiver trade candidates, it looks like this cupboard will be bare. It’s best that the Yanks make the best of what they’ve got.