Gary Thorne and Buck Martinez are interviewing Gator in the Yanks dugout in regards to the state of the pitching staff. His response began: “Obviously, Wanger is out. Karstens is out…” He then went on to say that they still have Pavano, Mussina, Pettitte, and Igawa, and that they’re looking at Darrell Rasner for the fifth rotation spot. That’s not good news for Karstens, especially after hearing that there’s no real damage to his elbow. Meanwhile, Phelps just hit a monster ball over the fence in dead center. His performance was immediately followed by an Andy Phillips strikeout. If Phelps isn’t going to make this team, one has to wonder why the Yanks even bothered to take him as a Rule V selection. · (2) ·
Carlos Zambrano on his impending free agency:
“I like the Yankees, but I don’t see myself pitching at Yankee Stadium. Too many rules,” he said with a laugh. “If I play in New York, it’s going to be with the Mets. First of all, because I get to hit. And I love hitting. “I can’t say … that I would never play for the Yankees. Hopefully no, but you never know. This is a business.”So if the Yankees dump a truck of cash on his doorstep, he’d consider signing. Otherwise, he’d use the team for leverage. Given the way Cashman has been running things, I doubt we’ll see Big Z in pinstripes next season. · (3) ·
There’s nothing to really talk about today that hasn’t been beaten to death (non-prospect related, of course). But that doesn’t mean other people didn’t do it. Let’s see what’s going down in Yankeeland:
Don Amore thinks that Kei Igawa was effective yesterday against the Phillies. Then again, Amore also thinks that “Igawa didn’t walk a batter.” I’ll hold back on Amore’s criticism of Kei’s performance, even though I didn’t see it that way. But to say that he didn’t walk a batter when, in fact, he walked two is despicable. Meanwhile, Peter Abraham compares the spring numbers of Dice-K and Igawa. I like Pete and all, but this is an exercise in futility.
Tests found no damage in Jeff Karstens’s elbow. While there is no timetable for his return, this places him back in the battle for the fifth starter spot, which will appear just once in the early going. Darrell Rasner will make his case tomorrow.
Both could actually make their way into the rotation for the first week of the season, but Andy Pettite doesn’t want that to happen. He threw 25 pitches yesterday, and I suppose we’ll get word later as to how his back is feeling today.
Who could have predicted the series of events that would begin to unfold just a week ago, when Andy Pettitte experienced back spasms following a workout? Chien-Ming Wang injuring his hamstring while running isn’t exactly something we fans were worried about; if there was any concern at all, it was for his shoulder. Then Jeff Karstens, who was actually in consideration for the Opening Day starter gig, left yesterday’s game in the second with elbow stiffness. Turns out that logjam at AAA may not be as much of a problem as once thought over the season’s first month.
The timing of Wang’s injury — on a day Mussina pitched — leaves very open the matter of who starts on Opening Day. Pettitte is just returning to the mound today, preparing for a final exhibition start on Friday, which puts him right out of consideration. Since Mussina pitched Saturday, he’ll pitch Thursday, which also renders him out of bounds — there is no need to start a guy on three days rest before the season even begins.
Speculated over the weekend has been the real possibility that Carl Pavano ends up taking the ball Opening Day. At this point, it’s between him, Darrell Rasner, and Kei Igawa, meaning that any choice will likely leave the Yankees with the worst Opening Day starter in the league. Pavano rises to the top of that crop because 1) he’s the most recognizable name, 2) in theory, he is the best of the three, and 3) he gets paid the most money. To be honest, I’d be hard pressed to come up with three worse reasons for starting a guy on Opening Day.
Technically, though, it’s still spring, and spring means that hope and faith are still in abundance. So instead of lamenting how disgusting it is that Carl Pavano will start on April 2, let’s see if there’s any positive spin to put on this. Let’s see…Pavano has been injured for the past season and a half, and Opening Day will be his first MLB start in 643 days. As far as we know, he’s healthy now while his teammates ail. He hasn’t looked necessarily good this spring, but he hasn’t been tattooed. I got it!
It is Carl Pavano’s destiny to pitch a no-hitter on Opening Day. Am I stretching a bit? Sure. But think about this: how perfectly did these events unfold in Pavano’s favor? When pitchers and catchers reported, the only way that he would have even had a shot to pitch Opening Day was if Pettitte, Wang, and Mussina succumbed to injury, Jeff Karstens looked flat, and Kei Igawa didn’t adjust quickly. Of course, all five of those happening is an enormous long shot. A week and a day ago, only the Igawa scenario looked like it was happening.
But then we had the Pettitte incident on the same day Karstens got roughed up. Wang’s hammy lined up with Mussina’s start, leaving the team’s collective hands tied. If Pettitte had been hurt lifting that Friday and not Monday, if Wang got hurt earlier and the Yanks were able to juggle Moose’s rotation turn, then there would have been another answer on Opening Day. But now we’re stuck with Carl Pavano, and he could provide the kind of Opening Day magic we only hear about in tales told by 70-year-old men.
Or he could tire after five innings and get shelled by the D-Rays. I suppose that’s the more likely scenario. But, once again, we’re in the season of dreams, when anything is still possible because nothing to this point has counted.
Of course, I jest about Pavano’s destiny. However, I maintain a degree of seriousness when I ask: why not Phil Hughes? True, there’s a level of pressure to pitch well in that scenario, but Yankee Stadium would be absolutely electric, and that would definitely get the 20-year-old’s adrenaline pumping. I think a guy like Hughes would feed off it rather than be scared by it.
Plus, just think about it; who would you rather have start Opening Day, Phil Hughes or Carl Pavano? Seems like a no-brainer, right?
Once upon a time I believed high school players were where itâ€™s at, that a team should spend all 50+ of its picks on prepsters and completely forego college players. However Iâ€™ve been coming around on college guys of late, and nowÂ believe that they too have their place in the amateur draft world (conversely, Billy Beane has been warming up to high schoolers, taking 4 in his top 7 picks last year). In fact, Iâ€™ve concluded that a team should draft only college guys at 2 key positions: catcher and end-game reliever. Experience in these roles is crucial, and you can argue that they are the scarcest commodities out there.
But enough of that, lets get down to business. If youâ€™re a Yankee fan, thereâ€™s only one guy to focus on for the first round: Jack McGeary. The 6â€™-3â€ southpaw will be graduating from Roxbury Latin High in suburban Boston this summer and has a â€“ putting it mildly â€“ strong commitment to attend Mike Mussinaâ€™s alma mater, Stanford (and it’s not just baseball that’s getting him there either, he scored a 2030 on his SATs). Over the last decade, the rule of the land has been â€œif you commit to Stanford, you go to Stanford,â€ as nary a player has passed up the Cardinal for pro ball since before Moose played at Sunken Diamond. That track record combined with some scary bonus demands (more on that later) is what will get McGeary to the Yanks at #30.
The guys at Project Prospect released the second half of their list, with Melky Cabrera (#78), Dellin Betances (#145) and Joba Chamberlain (#147) joining the guys from the list’s first half. It’s interesting to see where they ranked some the of top college guys,Â particularly David Price of Vanderbilt (#75 -Â 51.2 IP,Â 35 H, 79 K,Â 13 BB this year) and Andrew Brackman of NC State (#117 – 40.1 IP,Â 41 H, 38 K,Â 15 BB). · (0) ·
Ouch. Granderson led off by legging out a double, Polanco singled him in, Craig Monroe walked, and Sheffield hit a bomb. Karstens finally recorded his first out on a warning-track fly by Magglio. Yeah, I know, results aren’t everything in Spring Training. But we’re nearing the end, and Karstens has come back to earth. · (0) ·
Nope, that’s not a typo. By many accounts, Carl Pavano â€” the missing-in-action Carl Pavano â€” is going to start Opening Day for the Yanks. With Wang landing on the DL, Pettitte needing a few more days to get ready, and Mike Mussina’s starts not lining up right, Pavano may be the one to take the ball against the Devil Rays on Monday, April 1 at Yankee Stadium. This goes to show that it really doesn’t matter who symbolically gets to pitch game 1 of 162. And as Peter Abraham noted, “Pavano would be pitching on 643 days of rest.” · (2) ·