Spring Training Game Thread: Johnny comes back

Johnny Damon is back in Tampa today, for what I believe is the first time since he signed with the Tigers. I’m sure that he’ll get a nice round of applause when he comes to the plate as the second batter of the first inning, which about sums up the excitement of an otherwise meaningless Sunday afternoon game in March.

Detroit brought the heat today; their scheduled pitchers include Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya, and Jose Valverde. Phil Coke’s mullet is on the travel roster as well. Here’s the lineup that’ll have to deal with that nonsense…

Jeter, SS
Johnson, 1B
Posada, C
A-Rod, 3B
Cano, 2B
Swisher, RF
Granderson, CF
Winn, LF
Cervelli, DH

Scheduled Pitchers: A.J. Burnett, Mariano Rivera, and Phil Hughes. Zack Segovia, Amaury Sanit, and Josh Schmidt are also available if needed.

Also scheduled to play: Reegie Corona, Greg Golson, Brandon Laird, Juan Miranda, Ramiro Pena, Austin Romine, Jon Weber, and David Winfree.

First pitch is scheduled to 1pm ET, and the game can be seen on YES. The weather in Tampa isn’t great, so there’s a chance of a rain delay or a straight up cancellation of this one. I hope not.

Update: So much for that, the game’s been cancelled. I guess go ahead and treat this sucker as open thread.

Photo Credit: Charlie Riedel, AP

Yanks send Moseley to minor league camp (UPDATE: Hirsh too)

11:28am: Jason Hirsh too.

10:41am: Via Bryan Hoch, the Yankees have assigned righty Dustin Moseley to minor league camp, which comes as a surprise to no one. He allowed eleven hits and seven runs in 6.1 innings this spring, but I don’t think he would have been able to make the team even with a phenomenal spring. They probably just would have traded him while his value was high.

Moseley may have some kind of out clause in his contract, but I suspect he’ll fill a middle relief/swingman role for Triple-A Scranton. You always need guys like that in the minors, just to soak up inning when the kids take a beating or the weather makes thing messy.

Open Thread: It’s too nice to play inside

What a wonderful Saturday we got. It felt totally refreshing to walk around Queens today, seeing everyone outside. The summer heat might be a drag in the city, but at this time of year it can’t be beat.

Just in case you were too busy to check, the Yanks dropped a game to the Astros this afternoon. The team did pick up 16 hits, including Robinson Cano‘s first spring home run and a Brett Gardner triple. Al Aceves got knocked around, though, allowing five runs in 4.1 innings. This will surely cause a new round of headlines tomorrow declaring that Aceves’s ascendancy to the fifth starter role is in jeopardy.

(Though, not really. It appears Aceves is the darling of this race and people will gloss over this poor outing, while they’ll continue to scrutinize Joba. So it goes.)

If you’re in this evening, have at it with the open thread.

A bedroom fit for a Yankee fan

A long-term RAB reader e-mailed me this week with a note about his son’s bedroom. Craig had just redone his 14-year-old son’s bedroom, and the family went with a Yankee theme. So as we await the two weeks until Opening Day to pass us by, check out these photos. The only better room would be one that replicates the Yankees’ locker room.

And then go outside. It’s far too nice out in the New York area to spend Saturday indoors, March Madness be damned.

MLB.com’s Draft Reports

MLB.com has started to post some reports for this year’s top draft prospects, which includes the player’s bio, a scouting report, and video. Among the three dozen or so players featured are personal fave Brandon Workman (who I’ve discussed here several times), top high school arm Jameson Taillon, and top college bat Zack Cox. There’s still no video for Bryce Harper (you can see him here), but they’ll be adding videos all spring long, so he’ll be there soon enough.

I can’t think of a better way to spend my Saturday morning.

Winning the battle to get traded

New York Yankees’ Sergio Mitre delivers a warm up pitch in the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, in Port Charlotte, Fla., Friday, March 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

On a spring-like Friday, Joel Sherman dropped the not-so-breaking news that the Yankees will probably trade either Sergio Mitre or Chad Gaudin before Spring Training is out. Both of these vets have bounced around the league, and neither figures to be too high up on the Yanks’ depth charts. The team can’t send either to AAA, and instead of wasting roster spots, the Yankees will try to turn their surplus into something at all.

But who will go? In writing about it here yesterday, Mike voiced the prevalent opinion that Gaudin will stay. The soon-to-be 27-year-old has a better career track record than Mitre and has posted league-average numbers in the American League over 463 innings. Mitre, meanwhile, is 29 and with no real record of success. He wasn’t a highly-touted prospect while with the Cubs, and he hasn’t been very effective at getting outs as a Major Leaguer.

Yet the allure of Spring Training stats is strong with this one. Last night, in the Yanks’ 6-2 loss to the Rays, Mitre started and was stellar. Facing Major Leaguers who will make up most of Tampa’s Opening Day lineup, he threw 5 innings and gave up two runs on a pair of hits and a walk. He struck out seven. Gaudin relieved him and wasn’t effective. In 2.1 innings, Chad allowed three earned runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out just one and walked away with his third loss on the spring. The appearance effectively ended Gaudin’s hopes of landing the fifth starting spot.

On the spring, these two pitchers spot opposite numbers. Mitre has been the Yanks’ best starter. In 14 innings, he has allowed five runs on nine hits. He has walked three while striking out 14. Gaudin, meanwhile, has thrown 9.1 innings and has given up nine earned runs on 16 hits and five walks. He has struck out just five. Despite Mitre’s tradeability due to his lower salary, one might be tempted to say it is a no-brainer.

But the real question concerns Mitre. With a career K/9 IP of 5.5, he’s never been a strike out pitcher, and he’s having a Spring Training that makes one think of a flash in the pan. It’s true he’s another winter of strengthening away from Tommy John surgery, but nothing in his pre-surgical record suggests he will keep up this pitching success. Gaudin, at least, can rest on his AL laurels.

In the end, the Yanks don’t need to make a decision yet. They don’t need a fifth starter until late April and could juggle the rotation to keep both around until the right offer comes. When it’s time to trade one of them, though, I’d be far less sad to see Mitre vanish into the ether of the NL. He may be the Yanks’ Grapefruit League Cy Young, but history is littered with those pitchers who are Spring Training All Stars and revert to form come the regular season.

Spring Training Game Thread: Let’s play two

The Yankees already won one game today, beating the Tigers at home in Tampa by some score that doesn’t matter. What is important is that CC Sabathia was the man on the mound, throwing his breaking balls for strikes and his fastballs by hitters. He tired once he approached his limit of 75-80 pitches, but that’s to be expected. Mariano Rivera threw ten pitches in a flawless inning, and Alex Rodriguez hit a ball that cleared the George M. Steinbrenner Field sign in left-center, making Jesus Montero‘s blast off the M look rather pedestrian.

As for tonight’s game, the half of the team that didn’t play this afternoon will take on the Rays on the road. Trade bait Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre will give it another guy as they try to stake their claim to the fifth starter’s job. Exciting stuff.

Here’s the lineup…

Gardner, CF
Granderson, LF
Swisher, DH
Posada, C
Winn, RF
Miranda, 1B
Pena, 2B
Laird, 3B
Nunez, SS

Scheduled Pitchers: Sergio Mitre, Chad Gaudin, Jason Hirsh, Amaury Sanit, and Zach Segovia.

Also scheduled to play: Reegie Corona, Colin Curtis, Reid Gorecki, Edwar Gonzalez, Jesus Montero, and Austin Romine.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET, and MLB Network lifted the blackout in the Yanks’ market, so the game is viewable by all. Enjoy.

Photo Credit: Mike Carlson, AP