Game 49: The Great Northwest

Yep. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Boo the west coast. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I have no problem with the Pacific Time Zone, I just hate it when the Yankees are out there and don’t start playing until late at night. I’m getting old and don’t late staying up exorbitantly late, so sue me. Anyway, here’s the lineup that will face rookie right-hander Michael Pineda

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Russell Martin, C
Jorge Posada, DH
Nick Swisher, RF
Brett Gardner, LF

A.J. Burnett, SP

Tonight’s game starts a little after 10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy, if you’re awake.

Phil Hughes throws off mound

Via Sweeny Murti, Phil Hughes threw 20 fastballs off a mound today, his first time throwing off something other than flat ground since being shut down and going for a battery of tests earlier this month. Hughes felt fine and said he’ll probably throw off a mound again in two or three days, but there’s nothing is set in stone beyond that. Good news all around, though this is going to be a long process.

Open Thread: Building Narratives

I’m sure most of you a) read xkcd, and/or b) have already seen that today, but I figured I’d post it here for those of you that haven’t. There’s really nothing to add, it’s the history of sports analysis in a one pane comic.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The Yankees and Mariners start their game a little after 10pm ET, at which point we’ll have a regular game thread. This is to just hold you over. The Mets are playing the Phillies (Capuano vs. Oswalt), and MLB Network will also carry a game. The teams depend on where you live though. The Lightning and Bruins will play Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals as well (8pm ET on Versus), winner moves on to face the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals. Nothing better than a Game Seven, I say. Talk about anything here as you wait for the game.

Minors Notes: Anderson, Sanchez, Injuries, More

Got a bunch of minor league notes today, so let’s round them all up in one post. Everything comes from Mike Ashmore or Chad Jennings

  • Right-hander Brian Anderson has been released. He had been on the Double-A Trenton disabled list with a biceps issue, though his performance when he did pitch was pretty good: nine strikeouts and just one walk in 7.1 IP.
  • Mark Newman again said that Gary Sanchez is out with a “stiff lower back,” though he’s playing in Extended Spring Training. He is on the Low-A Charleston disabled list at the moment, and he’ll return there when healthy.
  • Both Slade Heathcott (.376 wOBA) and J.R. Murphy (.385) will “probably” move up to High-A Tampa this summer. That’s a yes, though I was wondering if Heathcott’s brawl would slow down his schedule somewhat.
  • Mark Prior is not throwing off a mound and is dealing with some kind of oblique/hip issue. Alan Horne (remember him?) is throwing in ExST, as is Brad Halsey. Graham Stoneburner, Jeremy Bleich, and Steve Garrison aren’t close to returning yet.
  • David Adams is still having leg issues. It might be related to last year’s broken ankle, but the leg started bothering him after his one game played this year.
  • When asked about who’s impressed in ExST, Newman responded with personal fave Bryan Mitchell. “He’s got electric stuff,” said Newman. “He’s got the stuff to be the next Banuelos, Betances. The high-end guy. That’s Mitchell.”
  • Carlos Silva can opt out of his minor league deal in mid-June, so he could probably make another two or three or maybe even four starts for Triple-A Scranton before the Yankees have to make a decision about whether or not to call him up.

2011 Draft: Blake Swihart

The draft is just ten days away, so between now and then I’m going to highlight some players individually rather than lump a few together in one post.

(Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn, ESPN)

Blake Swihart | C

Background
After helping Rio Rancho High School to the New Mexico state championship as a sophomore, Swihart transferred to the nearby and brand-new Cleveland High School, where he supposedly has a 4.0 GPA. His showcase performances with Team USA, the Area Code Games, and the AFLAC All-American Game are the stuff of legend, as he’s routinely wowed onlookers over the last few summers. He is committed to Texas.

Scouting Report
Swihart is a rare breed. He’s a true switch-hitter with the potential to have power and be above-average from both sides of the plate. He spent the spring focusing on his development by alternating sides of the plate from at-bat to at-bat regardless of the pitcher’s handedness. The 6-foot-0, 170 lb. Swihart is a very good athlete that spent most of his high school career bouncing around the infield before moving behind the plate in earnest just last year. His arm is strong and his footwork is good, but he’s raw defensively and just needs more experience. If catching doesn’t work out for whatever reason, third base and right field are legitimate fallback options. Here’s some video.

Miscellany
In yesterday’s chat, Keith Law said that Swihart “keeps telling teams he has no interest in signing this year,” which is probably just a way of manufacturing leverage as one of the draft’s best high school prospects. KLaw and Baseball America rated him as the 17th and 19th best draft prospect in their latest rankings, respectively. Swihart has significant upside but still has a lot of work to do, and some team will surely offer him life changing money to see that he does that work under professional instruction and not some college coaching staff. The Yankees would have to hope that those bonus demands scare some teams into looking elsewhere if they hope to land Swihart with the 51st overall pick.