Looks like a suspension for Farnsworth

Defend your teammates, get suspended. That’s the message MLB is apparently sending to its players. Mark Feinsand is hearing a rumor that Kyle Farnsworth will be suspended for throwing at Manny Ramirez on Thursday night. It should be of the three-game type, though an appeal is almost certain. To me, this is beyond ridiculous.

Say what you will about the location of the pitch. It was behind him, but I saw it as being more towards the shoulders than the neck/head. Plus — and I don’t know why I haven’t read this elsewhere — Kyle Farnsworth has no control of his pitches! Have we not learned this over the first two years of his contract? It stands to reason that Farnsworth could have been aiming for the middle of the back, where they hit A-Rod, and just missed by a bit.

All this does is allow aggressions from one team to go unrequited. So if you want to hit someone, you’d better make sure none of your guys were hit recently. Because that’s retaliation, and you’re on the hook for a suspension. Hit the guy first, though, and you’re in the clear.

Does this make sense to anyone?

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In which Peter Gammons acts like the Red Sox homer he really is

Perusing the Internet this afternoon while waiting for my chance to head outside to enjoy this 75-degree weather we’re having, I came across that clip from last night’s Baseball Tonight via The Big Lead. As I watched Peter Gammons offer up his holier-than-thou take on Kyle Farnsworth’s seventh-inning pitch to Manny, I couldn’t believe how biased Gammons was being.

In the clip, he laughs off Kyle Farnsworth as “AAA pitchers … I mean, please.” Please, Peter. Please.

Please go back and watch the clip of Farnsworth throwing behind Manny. Please note that Farnsworth’s pitch, had it hit Manny, would have hit him in the exact same spot as A-Rod‘s hit-by-pitch the night before. And please spare us the faux-outrage. You’re better than that.

Kyle Farnsworth shouldn’t throw at Manny’s head, and he didn’t last night. He threw Manny an exaggerated brushback pitch after Manny had spent five of the last seven days taking batting practice off the Yankees’ starting pitchers. Biased TV commentators…I mean, please.

What Kyle said

Another day, another mediocre Yankee reliever popping off about Joe Torre’s bullpen management skills.

Today’s contestant is Krazy Kyle Fansworth. He of the 1.45 WHIP and 4.80 ERA had this to say about his former boss:

“I always have confidence in myself, definitely,” he said. ” But it’s tough when you do lose the confidence from your manager to maybe prepare yourself day in and day out when you have no clue about anything.”

Farnsworth criticized the way the Yankees handled him last season, saying no one asked him if he could pitch on consecutive days or in the middle of an inning, two things Torre was reluctant to do. The Yankees decided unilaterally on “The Farnsworth Rules,” according to the reliever.

“I know that’s been going on in the past, especially last year,” he said. “They decided not to use me back-to-back days. They never came up to me and asked me. I don’t know why that came about.”

While I can understand why members of the Yankee bullpen were skeptical of Torre’s bullpen patterns, this is another example of a crappy pitcher bemoaning a fate that was largely in his hands. In 64 appearances last season, Farnsworth managed to throw just 14 one-two-three innings. He gave up walks; he gave up hits; he nibbled; and he was eventually replaced by Joba Chamberlain. Is it really surprising that Torre didn’t want to use him?

I’d be thrilled if Farnsworth could rediscover himself in 2008. A halfway decent season by the Farns could allow Joba to move seamlessly into the starting rotation without significantly weakening the Yanks’ late-inning pitching. But right now and forever really, Farnsworth only has himself to blame. If he didn’t like how Torre didn’t have confidence in him, it was because he didn’t show anything confidence-worthy on the mound last season. Prove us wrong, Kyle.

Yankees saying and doing all the right things

Is it just me, or has the first few days of Spring Training set the expectations for the Yankees rather high? Sure, many of us can see through the media spin on the events of the past week or so. But even at that point, we’re seeing players do things, rather than just saying them. It’s a careful balance that the Yankees have executed perfectly so far. And I have to say, it has me more excited about this season than I have been in any year I can remember — though I’m fairly certain I say that every year.

First, we heard about the pitchers who showed up early. Joba, Phil, and IPK in particular were there before they required to, which is always reassuring. We also heard about Shelley Duncan showing up to work on his first base skills with Tino Martinez. And, Cap’n Jetes was there early, too. But he resides in Tampa, so it only makes sense for him to be around.

Then we heard about Brian Bruney losing weight. Good news, for sure. If anything, it shows that he’s at least a bit motivated. It’s certainly better than him showing up in the same physical shape as last year, and spouting off lines about his determination to make the team. PeteAbe also noted that Mike Mussina checked in lighter, which spoke to his off-season conditioning. We also heard about Kyle Farnsworth being less bulky, but then it was revealed that he dealt with a rather nasty staph infection last month.

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Anatomy of an effective bullpen

In 2007, the Padres and the Red Sox topped their respective leagues in bullpen ERA and batting average against. Thing is, entering the season, neither team had much to boast about in that department. In fact, the Sox pen was in such shambles that Jonathan Papelbon told Tony Francona that he wanted to move back to the closer role (or at least that’s how Boston tells the story). So how did these two teams come out ahead?

Skilled closer

Obviously, the first step in building a bullpen is creating a viable endgame. Both Trevor Hoffman and Jonathan Papelbon qualify as such. They keep things relatively stable at the end — Papelbon more than Hoffman, though, as he blew just three saves last year (and we remember a couple of ‘em), while Hoffman was the goat in seven games, including the most important one for the Padres.

There’s not much else to say about this. We have it in Mo, who I think we all can agree is better than Hoffman at this stage of his career.
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Farnsworth OK after ‘hip pop’

With two outs in the ninth yesterday, Kyle Farnsworth pulled up a bit lame, and Joe Torre and the trainers rushed to the field. No one said much about it after the game, and the only word on his leg comes from Kat O’Brien. Farnsworth felt his hip pop and says he’s feeling OK. As any athlete knows, pop – shoulder, knee, elbow – happen, and the lingering effects are usually minimal. It’s all good.