Fun With ESPN Player Headshots

The Yankees were rained out tonight, and I don’t think anyone is the mood for in-depth analysis and what not at this hour of the night/early in the morning, so instead I give you this: The 25 Most Terribly Awesome ESPN Head Shots. That one of Henry Blanco is called the “your wife just filed for divorce and wants half your sh!t.” Fitting, ain’t it?

It’s not exactly the most politically correct or safe for work link, so click at your own risk. All 25 are equally hilarious though, just in case you need a laugh on this Yankees baseball-less night.

(h/t BtB)

It’s the Jesus & Jorge show in Scranton

Triple-A Scranton (5-3 win over Rochester)
Greg Golson, RF: 0 for 3, 2 BB – on base 13 times in five games
Chris Dickerson, CF: 1 for 5, 1 R
Jesus Montero, C: 3 for 5, 2 R, 2 2B –11 for his last 21 (.529)
Jorge Vazquez, 1B: 4 for 5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K – couldn’t make it three straight games with a homer, but this will do
Brandon Laird, 3B: 0 for 5, 1 K – just 3 for 22 (.136) on the season
Jordan Parraz, DH: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K – can you quietly hit .455?
Justin Maxwell, LF: 1 for 4, 1 3B, , 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K – threw a runner out at the plate
Kevin Russo, 2B: 1 for 5, 1 K
Ramiro Pena, SS: 1 for 5, 1 E (fielding) – dude’s hitting .348
Andrew Brackman, RHP: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 6-2 GB/FB – 46 of 80 pitches were strikes (57.5%) … another underwhelming start from one of the Triple-A guys … George King reported in Baseball America that Brackman is making $1M this season as part of his ML deal (subs. req’d) … with Kei Igawa in AA, does this make Brackman the highest paid pitcher in Triple-A?
Lance Pendleton, RHP: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 1-2 GB/FB – 26 of 41 pitches were strikes (63.4%) … sadly, this was the best pitching performance of the night
Kevin Whelan, RHP: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 1-1 GB/FB – 15 of 18 pitches were strikes (83.3%)

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Feliciano has setback, Ayala to disabled list

Via Jon Heyman and Marc Carig, Pedro Feliciano suffered a setback to his strained rotator cuff during today’s throwing session and will have an MRI tomorrow. I wouldn’t wait around for him, there’s a decent chance he won’t be pitching for the Yankees anytime soon. For shame. In other news, Luis Ayala is hurt as well, and he’s headed to the disabled list with a strained lat. Not sure who will be replacing him on the roster, but it’s unlikely to be Andrew Brackman, Steve Garrison, or Ryan Pope. The first two are making minor league starts tonight, and Pope’s on the minor league DL himself. Could it be … Mark Prior time?

Game Ten: Through the rain (Update: Game postponed)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It’s raining in New York, on and off like it has been pretty much all day, and already the Yankee game has been delayed. It’s expected to stay that way well into the night as well. Whether or not they’re able to get this game in remains to be seen, but it’ll be interesting to see how quickly they call it (if they do). They had a quick hook against the Twins last week (maybe 45 minutes), which was odd since they don’t come back to New York again this season. The Orioles will be back numerous times, so there will be plenty of chances to make this game up if it does get called.

Here’s the lineup, Joe Girardi‘s standard arrangement…

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

A.J. Burnett, SP

It’s the first My9 game of the season, and first pitch had been scheduled for 7:07pm ET. The Yankees, though, have already announced a delay. We’ll update this post as we receive more information. Enjoy the game, if and when it happens.

Pedro Feliciano Update: For the first time since being shut down with a strained rotator cuff, Feliciano played catch today, an obvious step forward in his rehab. Hopefully he’s no more than two weeks away from rejoining the big league team.

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UPDATE: The game has been called. That was quick. No word on a makeup date just yet, but I’m sure we’ll find out eventually. Go ahead and use this sucker as your open thread instead.

The Rafael Soriano edition of ‘Stalking The Yankees’

The beginning of the season is always a fun time for New York City real estate watchers. The Yanks and Mets bring in a brand new crop of transient millionaires who need places to live, and The Post’s Page 6 and the city’s real estate gossip blogs work overtime to find the latest and greatest pads for baseball players. We know that Derek Jeter recently took out a new apartment in his Trump building so that he could get a better night’s sleep, and this week we learn where Rafael Soriano is dropping his new-found millions.

The Yanks’ 8th Inning-only pitcher set-up man has set up shop at the RiversEdge in Weehawken, New Jersey. The luxury building is a 25-minute drive away from Yankee Stadium, and Soriano is dropping $15,000 a month on not one but four apartments. One of them is for him; another for his assistant; the third is for his trainer and chef; and the fourth is for his sister, who according to The Real Deal, often travels from the Dominican to see Soriano pitch.

Soriano, whose RiversEdge neighbors include one Boone Logan, has taken up shop in a 1500-square foot two-bedroom unit with views of the Manhattan skyline. My favorite part of the report though is the quote from Gershon Adjaye, Soriano’s broker. “Rafael was looking for a place with proximity to the stadium without being in the city,” Adjaye said, “and he wanted to be able to have enough space where his chef and assistant were nearby, but not living with him.” It must be nice to be paid that well, eh?

Link Dump: Prior, Obliques, Projected Standings

Some random linkage on a rainy afternoon in the Tri-State…

Prior's still in Tampa, working his way back. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A brief Mark Prior scouting report

Right-hander Mark Prior was the feel good story of Spring Training this year, striking out a dozen batters and allowing just one run in 8.2 innings. He was clearly a shell of his former self, but his stuff was good enough to get guys out. Baseball America’s Jim Callis passed along an updated scouting report on the former phenom in this week’s Ask BA: “Prior’s fastball usually ran from 87-91 mph, his breaking ball and changeup were nothing special, and neither was his control (five walks) … Prior will need more fastball and a quality second pitch if he’s going to help New York in a relief role later in the year. I’m rooting for him, but I’ll believe it when I see it.”

The Yankees have until mid-June before Prior’s opt-out clause becomes an issue, so there’s no rush to make a decision. He recently appeared in back-to-back games for High-A Tampa and came out of that okay, but he’s obviously got a long, long way to go.

Even more on oblique issues

We’ve heard quite a bit about oblique injuries early in the season, as a number of Yankees missed time in Spring Training because of them. They’re not alone though, oblique issues have become an epidemic around the league. Fourteen players have already hit the disabled list with oblique injuries this season, and Michael Schmidt of The New York Times is trying to figure out why. We’ve heard about imbalanced training already, and another theory is that players are going from offseason training to game conditions too quickly. The Yankees were playing Grapefruit League games less than a week after position players reported. It could also be a classification issue since a lot of these injuries were just called abdominal or ribcage strains in the past. Whatever it is, there’s a lot of money being wasted on the disabled list, and you can be sure teams will get to the bottom of it.

Update projected standings

Before the season, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS system projected the Yankees to finish third in the AL East with an 87-75 record. The Red Sox occupied the top spot at 93-69 while the Rays trailed at 88-74, but because of their 2-8 starts, the playoff odds for Boston and Tampa Bay have taken a significant hit. In an ESPN Insider piece, Szymborski shows that updated ZiPS projections call for the Sox to finish 86-76 now, one game back of the Yankees in the division. The Rays are now projected to finish third at 85-77. A 2-8 start certainly isn’t the end of the world, but that’s ten games each team won’t get back, and that absolutely takes a bite out of their playoff hopes.

If nothing else, look at it this way: the Sox came into the season as the favorite in the division and understandably so, but the tangible benefit of being four wins better than New York in terms of roster construction is gone, if it ever existed in the first place.

The wannabe lefty

Earlier today we learned what makes David Robertson so effective: his extension. But did you know he’s ambidextrous? No, he’s not Pat Venditte, who will throw with both hands in game, but as Dan Barbarisi explains, Robertson shags fly balls every day using a glove on his right hand, firing balls back to the infield with his left. He’s even worked out an arrangement with Brett Gardner, who gives D-Rob his gloves to break in during batting practice. No, Robertson isn’t close to throwing left-handed in a game, he’s just working on it as a hobby. “If I can do it with my right hand, I can do it with my left hand. Why not?” said David. “I’m pretty ambidextrous. I just can’t write left-handed. That’s my only problem.”

All about pitchers & extension

We’ve all seen David Robertson pitch, maybe even 100 or more times by now (138 career appearances). He’s a little guy (listed at 5-foot-11) and his fastball sits in the low-90’s (averaged 91.6 mph in his career), but why does it look like it’s moving faster? The better question is: why do hitter react like it’s faster? The answer, as Tom Verducci explains, is extension.

A Danish company called Trackman, which already has a death grip on golf data capture and analysis, has installed equipment in a number of MLB (and minor league) parks that record a 3-D Doppler radar measurement of pitch’ flight. It’s not necessarily how fast the pitch moves, but how much time batters have to react to it. Robertson releases the ball seven feet in front of the pitching rubber because of his long stride, compared to the MLB average of 5-feet-10. He’s effectively stealing 14 inches from the hitter, and that makes his fastball look more 95 than 91-92. That seven-foot extension is the longest by any pitcher recorded last season.

The Trackman system also records pitch rotation, and the faster the pitch the rotates, the more it moves and the hard it is for batters to pick up. At 2,690 rotations per minute, Ivan Nova‘s curveball had the eighth greatest measured rotation last year. Justin Verlander’s curveball was tops, Al Aceves‘ was fourth. Verducci’s post also shows the impact that greater extensions and pitch rotations have; the end result is more swings-and-misses. Make sure you check it out, it gets RAB’s highest level of recommendation.