Out just about a month with a hamstring issue, Marcus Thames returns from the disabled list today to give the Yankees a little bit of pop off the bench and in the designated hitters spot. Unsurprisingly, Chad Huffman was optioned to Triple-A to make room on the roster since he’s basically a lesser version of Thames. Hopefully Marcus hits like he did in April and not like he did in May and June.
Seriously, who saw that coming from Brett Gardner? So awesome, 2010 really is The Year of the Grand Slam. That makes eight now. Eight! On July 3rd! It was like a big offensive weight lifted off everyone’s shoulders too. The Yankees had just a two run lead at the time, which is far from a sure thing give how many innings were left and how the bullpen has performed. So yeah, it was good to have a comfortable lead for once.
Some other random thoughts and notes…
- Moment that is sure to be forgotten: Chad Huffman’s diving/flopping catch in the 1st. If that drops in, two runs score and the Yankees are suddenly looking at a four run deficit before they even come to bat. The game would have had a very different feel then.
- Derek Jeter drew three walks (in the first three innings, no less), giving him 11 walks in his last 11 games and 22 in the team’s last 40 games. He has just nine walks in their first 40 games.
- Alex Rodriguez sure is good at getting the opposition to drop routine pop ups, eh? In all seriousness, that’s what Cito Gaston gets for playing John McDonald, a career infielder, in leftfield. The guy had his flip-down shades on, but didn’t flip them down!
- I only saw Dustin Moseley’s first inning of work, but it was hard not to be impressed. Five total pitches, one strikeout, two broken bat ground outs.
- Apparently Jorge Posada played an inning at first, and wasn’t tested at all. Chad Huffman has played a ton of first in the minors, but I guess Joe Girardi really wanted to give Curtis Granderson that inning of rest. That’s fine, I just wish I could have seen Posada at first.
Sorry folks, going to take the quick way out of this one tonight…
- Triple-A Scranton won. Jesus Montero had the day off, but Eduardo Nunez went hitless while Juan Miranda and Jorge Vazquez picked up one and two hits, respectively. Eric Bruntlett and Chad Moeller went deep. Zach McAllister gave up three runs in six innings, and Jon Albaladejo closed it out with a four out save.
- Double-A Trenton won. Austin Romine hit a solo bomb, his first of the year at home. Brandon Laird singled, but Luis Nunez, Dan Brewer, and Jose Gil each went deep. D.J. Mitchell was blah in six innings, but Tim Norton nailed down the win with two perfect innings.
- High-A Tampa was rained out.
- Low-A Charleston lost. Slade Heathcott and J.R. Murphy each picked up a pairs of hit, and no one on the pitching staff did anything noteworthy.
- Short Season Staten Island won. Eduardo Sosa and Kevin Mahoney each had two hits, Francisco Arcia three. Shane Greene threw six scoreless.
- Rookie GCL Yankees loss. Gary Sanchez singled three times, Ramon Flores twice. Evan DeLuca gave up four runs in four innings.
I was at the SI Yanks game, so here’s some observations…
- Sosa was the best player on the field. He’s a bit of a hacker, but he can really run. Beat out two infield singles, one to the second baseman. Also, dude’s a total ballhawk in center, caught everything hit in his general direction and then some.
- Kelvin DeLeon hasn’t met a pitch he won’t swing at, but the ball made a different sound off his bat, as cliche as it sounds. He didn’t pick up a hit, but he just missed a homer right down the leftfield line.
- Kyle Roller is a big boy. Hit a ball off the top of the right-centerfield wall and it bounced away from the outfielders for a triple. That’s the only way that guy is getting three bases on one hit.
- Kevin Mahoney reminds me of Nick Johnson, just super calm, very managed at-bats. He ripped a pair of doubles.
- Jeff Farnham got an error when he threw a ball into center on a stolen base attempt. Of course, neither the second baseman or shortstop bothered to cover. Seriously, there was no one at the base except the runner. Gotta love A-ball defense.
- If Luis Parache gets above A-ball, I’ll be surprised. He doesn’t swing, he just kind of flicks the bat at the ball, almost as if he’s got two strikes and is just trying to protect, except all the time.
- Shane Greene was very good, took a perfect game into the third and no-hitter into I think the fourth. Lots of ugly swings at whatever the hell kind of offspeed pitch he was throwing, maybe a changeup.
- Chase Whitley loaded the bases with no outs in the 9th, then struck out side. He must have thrown 90% sliders, no joke.
- The seats at MCU Park in Coney Island are a good three or four inches wider than the ones at the New Stadium. How the hell does that happen?
- The Beach Bums are a nice touch. Nothing wrong with scantily clad women dancing on top of the dugouts between at-bats and innings. More teams should embrace the concept.
Here are the stat lines for two players (doesn’t include today’s games), which one is better?
Player A: 284 PA, 48 R, 67 H, 6 2B, 6 3B, 3 HR, 26 SB, 5 CS, 26 BB, 40 K, 3 GIDP, 3 HBP
Player B: 282 PA, 49 R, 76 H, 6 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 24 SB, 5 CS, 31 BB, 40 K, 3 GIDP, 3 HBP
The identities are revealed after the jump, but seriously, which player would you prefer?
Anyway, here’s tonight’s open thread for those of you who aren’t going out and enjoying this fine evening. There’s a game on MLB Network, but who you see depends on where you live. Talk about whatever, just be cool.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been reduced to getting exciting about Marcus Thames returning, but that’s where we sit. The righty bat will play nine innings in the field during his third rehab game with Triple-A Scranton tonight, and if all goes well he could rejoin the team as soon as tomorrow. Given the current DH situation, that’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, Sergio Mitre made his first rehab appearance after an oblique strain last night, throwing just one inning for High-A Tampa before throwing some more in the bullpen. He’ll throw two innings on Monday, and right now isn’t expected to rejoin the team until after the All Star break. Al Aceves is going to throw 40 or so pitches off a full mound early next week, a rather significant step in his return from back issues. The Yanks are going to take is slow and be very cautious with him given the nature of his injury, so Ace is probably still a few weeks away.
Finally, we have Nick Johnson, who is actually going to swing a bat today. Granted, it’ll just be a fungo, but it’s progress. Assuming all goes well – not a safe assumption, of course – he’ll head down to Tampa and continue baseball activities there. NJ is still a ways off from rehab games and rejoining the team, but any news is good news at this point.
Can the Yankees score a run? What about more than one? Can Andy Pettitte throw nine innings with a shaky bullpen behind him and Mariano Rivera having pitched in each of the last two days? Can a Yankee catcher stop a ball in the dirt, maybe even throw a baserunner out? This, and more, will be answered on this beautiful New York afternoon.
Here’s the starting nine…
And on the mound: Pettitte, Andrew Eugene.
Even though it’s Saturday, this one’s not a FOX game, thankfully. First pitch is set for 1:05pm ET, and can be seen on YES. Try not to pull your hair out.
Via Marc Carig, the Yankees primary goal at the moment is to improve their pathetically weak bench, which explains the Ty Wigginton rumors. “The bench is the area of priority as of right now,” said GM Brian Cashman. “That doesn’t mean we’re not open to anything else. But if you ask me what’s the priority? What’s the area of weakness? It’s the bench.” Colin Curtis and Chad Huffman were great in that comeback win against the Dodgers, but are otherwise unspectacular. Ramiro Pena is an automatic out, and Kevin Russo seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth. So yeah, having some decent reserves would be nice.
Hopefully the bullpen will be fixed shortly thereafter.