I’ll recap this afternoon’s snoozer later on. First, some rumors! Troy Renck in the Denver Post speculates that the Rockies, if the situation is right, could be interested in LaTroy Hawkins (Scroll to the Footnotes section). I say, “Sounds good to me.” Get Dan O’Dowd on the phone.
In C.C. Sabathia news, Ken Rosenthal speculated on TV (video link) that the Indians, if they slip out of contention, could look to deal Sabathia. They would expect a Dan Haren-type package, and the Yanks and Dodgers are expected to be interested. My problem with this is the same issue I had with the Santana deal: I don’t want to see the Yankees give up a bunch of young kids for what amounts to half a season of Sabathia and the exclusive rights to sign him to a long-term deal. The Yanks can land him in November if they want, and there’s no reason now to sell the farm for him. · (41) ·
Chad Jennings notes that Dan McCutchen has been suspended for three games and will miss his next start. Apparently he threw two pitches behind a batter against Pawtucket after SWB’s #3 & 4 hitters were each plunked twice in the series. Jennings also noted that Alan Horne will make what should be his final rehab start in Extended Spring Training tomorrow.
Triple-A Scranton (8-7 loss to Rochester)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 BB – threw a runner out at third from CF … 10 walks, 9 strikes out in his last 10 games
Bernie Castro: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 K, 1 CS
Jason Lane: 1 for 5, 1 R, 2 K
Ben Broussard: 3 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 E (fielding) - 8 for 23 with 5 doubles since signing
Cody Ransom: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Eric Duncan: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI – 4 doubles, 3 homers & 12 RBI in his last 8 games
Greg Porter & JD Closser: both 0 for 3 – Porter K’ed … Closser scored a run & walked
Dan Giese: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1-1 GB/FB – 12 of 17 pitches were strikes … he’s on his way up to serve as a long-man
Steven White: 3 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HB – 45 of 70 pitches were strikes (64.3%)
Billy Traber: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3-3 GB/FB – 27 of 42 pitches were strikes (also 64.3%)
JB Cox: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
So the Yanks ended May on a strong note and begin June with a slew of roster moves, both rumored and confirmed. We’ll start with the confirmed.
Morgan Ensberg has been DFA’d to make way for none other than Scott Patterson. After the Yanks’ last few games, the team decided they’d had enough of the ineffective Ensberg and needed some bullpen relief. In 80 plate appearances, Ensberg hit .203/.263/.243, and his term on the Yanks is over.
Meanwhile, as Mark Feinsand notes, Patterson may be up for only a few days. The plan seems to be to move Dan Giese into the long relief role to shadow Joba Chamberlain‘s first few starts. The Yanks were going to opt for Jeff Karstens, but the oft-injured pitcher hurt his groin last night.
Finally, Jorge Posada will be back on the active roster on Wednesday it seems, and the Yanks plan to keep both Jose Molina and Chad Moeller around for a little while. The bench therefore is going to look a little weak for a few days with Molina, Moeller, Wilson Betemit and Shelley Duncan, increasingly looking overmatched in the Majors, filling out the final sports. The Yanks will have to do something soon to beef up that bench, and I don’t think replacing anyone with Alberto Gonzalez is the answer.
Darrell Rasner faces Nick Blackburn this afternoon in a 2 p.m. game. Let’s start June on a winning note.
Last year I represented the Yankees in John Sickel’s mock draft over at Minor League Ball, but this year I decided against it because it was just way too time consuming. Mock drafts are still fun however, so I kept track of who I would have taken in each of the Yanks’ spots. Here’s a little breakdown of my mock mock draft, as well as the picks that were actually made.
Round 1, Pick 28
Mike’s Pick: Robbie Ross, LHP, Lexington Christian Academy (Ky.)
Actual Pick: Zach Collier, OF, Chino Hills HS (Ca.)
Gerrit Cole was off the board, having gone to the Cubbies with the 19th pick. Collier has a ton of helium right now as a toolsy, Austin Jackson type player, and is a very good pick at 28. I went with Ross because, well, I felt he was the best player left on the board. He’s a power lefty with a very good slider and lots of polish. I was really hoping for Illinois prep RHP Jake Ordorizzi, but he went to the Padres at 23. (Ross eventually went to the Royals at #36, and I took him in the sandwich round of the UBBMD)
…and Derek’s too. After another bad start by Chien-Ming Wang — are we allowed to be officially worried after a month of subpar pitching? — the Yanks had to lean heavily on the bullpen, and the arms delivered. Meanwhile, shortly before midnight in New York, with Ross Ohlendorf pitching two good innings, Derek Jeter delivered a huge base hit in his sixth at bat, and Bobby Abreu delivered the go-ahead run. Mr. Automatic needed a whopping 10 pitches to seal the deal, and the Yanks end May on that good note, one huge game above .500. · (66) ·
Mike Ashmore sat down for an interview with Mark Melancon. Don’t miss it.
Triple-A Scranton (5-2 win over Rochester in 10 innings) you may have heard of the opposing pitcher
Brett Gardner & Ben Broussard: both 0 for 4 – Gardner K’ed … Broussard was hit by a pitch
Alberto Gonzalez, Jason LAne & Justin Christian: all 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 K – Gonzalez drew walk & was caught stealing … Lane hit a 2-run, go ahead homer in the 10th & walked
Nick Green, Eric Duncan & Chris Stewart: all 2 for 4 – Green doubled, scored a run & K’ed … Duncan drove in a run … Stewart doubled
Jeff Karstens: 4 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 3-6 GB/FB – pulled after 4 IP and only 66 pitches … the thought was that he was coming up for long relief duty, but nope, Chad Jennings says he hurt his groin
Heath Phillips: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 6-4 GB/FB
David Robertson: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 2-0 GB/FB – 47 K in 34.2 IP
The Yanks came into May after a sub-par April. They were 14-15 to start the month and were facing questions about the team. Phil Hughes had gone down; A-Rod had gone down; Jorge Posada had gone down. Things were not looking good.
With all of that baggage, May was a bit of a rocky month for the Yankees, and as recently as nine days ago, the Yanks were facing a very bad month. They were 20-25, and the season was on the precipice of slipping away. But the tide has seemingly turned, and the Yanks find themselves 7-2 over their last nine games.
So here we are on the last day of May, and the Yanks are looking to improve on their April record. They sit at 27-27 and, obviously, need a win tonight to move over .500 for the first time since the end of play on May 5.
The man on the mound is the one you want pitching in search of that win. Chien-Ming Wang, 6-2 with a 3.82 ERA, gets the ball today. He is winless since May 2 and could really use a solid start today. In his career on artificial turf, Wang is 7-3 with a 4.52 ERA. He’s allowed 90 hits in 75.2 innings, a product of his extreme ground ball tendencies. Opponents slug .059 higher off Wang on turf than on grass.
Game Notes: I hate Saturday evening games. They should be outlawed. What’s wrong with playing a regular afternoon game?…The Yanks will call up a long reliever on Tuesday to shadow Joba’s first few starts. As PeteAbe speculates, Jeff Karstens will probably get the call because he’s on the 40-man roster and is a better option than Kei Igawa.
Barring any setback, Jorge Posada will return to the Yankees either on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. In his rehab in extended spring training this afternoon, Posada made two throws to second and said he felt good, just like he knew that he would. With the Yanks on a current streak, getting back their All Star catcher will be an even bigger boost. · (7) ·
When the Dodgers moved out of Brooklyn in 1957 and the city tore down Ebbets Field on February 23, 1960, a borough last a piece of its heart. In the ensuing 48 years, historians and Brooklyn baseball fans have spilled a lot of ink bemoaning the end of the stadium and the Walter O’Malley decision to move west.
A few weeks ago, I finished reading Bob McGee’s The Greatest Ballpark Ever: Ebbets Field And The Story Of The Brooklyn Dodgers. As Brooklyn Dodger histories go, it’s an appropriate companion piece to Michael Shapiro’s The Last Good Season: Brooklyn, the Dodgers, and Their Final Pennant Race Together.
In one book — McGee’s — O’Malley is the clear villain in moving the Dodgers; in the other, O’Malley tried to keep the team in New York, but Robert Moses was the man responsible for pushing them out of town. O’Malley wanted to build a new stadium near the current Atlantic Yards site in Brooklyn, but Moses didn’t want to use his Title I powers to build a baseball stadium. While McGee villianizes O’Malley and Shapiro gives him something of a pass, the truth is, of course, in the middle. Both men were responsible for the Dodgers’ flight to Los Angeles.
But for the sake of the Yankees, New York City stadium history is neither here nor there. McGee’s book though is relevant for another reason. When Ebbets Field was torn down, Brooklynites were visibly upset, but the team had just seen a long period of lagging attendance. They were playing in a ballpark that many — particularly the media — had deemed old and decrepit. It would have needed extensive renovations and space for parking, something not readily available in the Crown Heights/Prospect Heights parts of Brooklyn.
One of McGee’s main points is regret. Dodger fans regretted not saving the stadium; they regretted not supporting the team sooner; they regretted not doing anything about it. Fifty years after the Dodgers went west, Brooklynites — my older neighbors and my grandfather — will still speak with bitterness about the Dodgers and wistfulness about Ebbets Field.
Today, as we’re facing a Yankee Stadium whose days are numbered, I have to wonder if Yankee fans will one day in the not-so-distant future look back at the House that Ruth Built with the same sort of regrets. Sure, the Yankees are moving about 50 feet away and not 3000 miles, and sure, Yankee Stadium lost a lot of its history and charm during the renovations in the 1970s. But it’s still the iconic Yankee Stadium. It’s still seen its World Series, its Perfect Games, its parade of baseball legends.
Don’t get me wrong; the new stadium looks great from the outside and will be the standard of luxury inside. But I can’t help thinking that we don’t need this new stadium as badly as we think, and perhaps, when we all have time to dwell on what we’ve torn down and what we’ve lost, Yankee fans will come to regret not putting up more of a fight for their beloved old stadium too.