Last Saturday I watched parts of two Yankee spring training games. First, I caught most of the Friday night game on Yankee Rewind, and then I popped in-and-out of the day game against the Braves. One thing is for sure: as much as I like to worry about how good the Red Sox, Blue Jays and every other good AL team will be, I don’t envy any of those teams when they face a healthy Yankee line up. Watching Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield follow Jeter felt like playing a video game, almost too good to be true. I allowed myself to get caught up in the excitement. Man, this is going to be fun.
It is reasonable to assume that this team will pound out plenty of 12-4 wins. I’m interested in how many games they win 7-5 after trailing 4-1 going into the seventh or eighth innings.
Like Crosby, Proctor is a product of Los Angeles’ 1998 draft class. Drafted out of Florida State in the fifth round, Proctor has pitched adequately as a starting pitcher, but never obtained true prospect status and was often left off Dodger prospect lists. Converted to relief this year, Proctor has posted a 2.58 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 66 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. His fastball has been timed anywhere between 89 and 95 mph, and he has a reasonably effective slider. He is 26, and could be a middle-relief sleeper.
Proctor is thin, almost like a young Tim Hudson. His motion is compact, and he kept the ball down, mixing in a slider with his fastball. I’m curious to see how he develops this season. Perhaps he’ll make it up to the Bronx at some point during the summer. For his part, Crosby has caught the attention of Joe Torre and the Yankee coaches. Bill Madden reports:
“The first thing I noticed about him were his quick hands,” said batting coach Don Mattingly when I asked him if Crosby, who is hitting .363 while playing a flawless center and right field, might be the real deal. “He can run, throw and hit. That’s all I can say, other than the fact that he’s a major league player in my opinion, and could be one for a long time.”
Meanwhile, Donovan Osborne, an old favorite of Joe Torre’s from their days in St. Louis, will make like Sterling Hitchcock and fill-in as the number five starter…for now.
The Yankees bombed the Phillies yesterday. Gary Sheffield homered, as did Kevin Brown. Brown, who allowed four hits and no runs in four innings of work, hit the first pitch thrown to him by Billy Wagner over the fence. I didn’t know Brownie’s birthday was in March.
Pedro Martinez intentionally threw at Karim Garcia’s head in Game Three of the ALCS last year. Apparently, the diminutive right-hander is still sore at Garcia, as he went off on the erstwhile Yankee in a recent ESPN interview. According to the Boston Herald, Martinez will talk to the Red Sox about a contract extension this week.