"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Spring Cleaning

Happy Opening Night Eve, everybody!

The Yankees dropped their final spring training game yesterday afternoon, optioned and reassigned the remaining players who failed to make the 25-man roster which was set in mid-February, and high-tailed it for the Big Apple. Now nothing stands between the team and Randy Johnson’s first pitch, which will kick off the season sometime after 8:00 tomorrow night.

With that in mind, here are some quick notes to get us all in the same shape:

Before Thursday’s game, Andy Phillips, the Official Lost Cause of Bronx Banter, was given the James P. Dawson Award as the top rookie in Yankee camp this spring. I’m sure he’d rather have been given a spot on the 25-man. For those who can stand it, his final spring stats are:

.324 AVG (12 for 37), .730 SLG, 13 R, 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 27 TB, 1 SB, 1 HBP

Don’t get me started on the fact that they keep HBP stats for spring training, but not walks. No word on who on earth James P. Dawson is/was.

If Andy Phillips is taking his undeserved demotion in stride, NRI LOOGY Buddy Groom, who was also sent to Columbus, is not. Groom was stellar this spring. Final stats:

1.13 ERA, 7 G, 8 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 0 BB, 3 K

But with seven relievers signed to major league contracts, there’s no room in the pen for him. The NRI contract Groom signed with the Yanks allows him to bolt if he’s not on the 25-man roster by May 1, and he plans to use it. Sez Buddy: “I’ve got nothing to prove to them and no reason to stay down there after May 1.”

One player who’s not going anywhere, surprisingly, is Alex Graman, despite his being out of options like Wil Nieves trade bate (how’s that for a distinction?) Bret Prinz. Graman actually cleared waivers and was outrighted to Columbus, proof of how far his stock has fallen. His final spring stats:

7.62 ERA, 13 IP, 18 H, 12 R (11 ER), 4 HR, 9 BB, 7 K

Avert your eyes! Ye horrors!

So for yucks, the Clippers roster looks something like this:

1B – Andy Phillips
2B – Robinson Cano
SS – Felix Escalona
3B – Russ Johnson
C – Wil Nieves
RF – Mike Vento
CF – Colin Porter
LF – Kevin Reese

UT – Damian Rolls
IF – Caonabo Cosme
OF – Noah Hall
C – Ryan Hankins
C – Joe Depastino

RHP – Chein-ming Wang
RHP – Ramon Ramirez
RHP – Jorge DePaula
LHP – Alex Graman
RHP – Eric Schmitt

RHP – Colter Bean
LHP – Buddy Groom
RHP – Sam Marsonek
RHP – Scott Proctor
RHP – Jason Anderson
LHP – Danny Borrell

Give or take Aaron Small, Marc Valdes and Brad Voyles (take them, please!).

Oh yeah. One other thing. Kevin Brown’s back is as grouchy as he is. There’s a legitimate chance that Brown and delayed fifth starter Jaret Wright could switch places, with Brown resting until April 15 and Wright starting on Friday against Baltimore and then again a week from Wednesday in Fenway. Wright was on point this spring (1.06 ERA, 17 IP, 12 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 6 K, 1.00 WHIP), even if his strikeouts were low. No harm in having him keep that mojo working. As for Brown, what did you expect? I’m sure Buddy Groom and Chien-ming Wang are licking their chops.

Finally, to put spring training to rest, looking over the Yankees offensive numbers, nine men on the 25-man stung the ball this spring. Unfortunately Bernie and Tino were not among them (Ruben and Bubba were). I’ve already expressed my hope that Bubba gets one or two starts in center a week (in part because Bernie, who seems to have aged about 20 years in the past three, needs the time off). Meanwhile, one particularly interesting subplot to this season will be whether or not Tino will get it together, and if he doesn’t if the Yankees will have the guts and the smarts to drop him and give Andy Phillips the first base job (though I think we know the answer to that one).

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1 rilkefan   ~  Apr 2, 2005 12:39 am

1.  That explains why I couldn't find the walk #s. You'd figure somebody would have harvested the info (from watching the games perhaps?) and posted it.

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Apr 2, 2005 12:55 am

2.  They keep walks for pitchers. I don't understand the malfunction there, but there it is.

3 Jen   ~  Apr 2, 2005 3:05 am

3.  James P. Dawson appears to have been a NYT reporter during the Ruth/Gehrig era.

4 redshift   ~  Apr 2, 2005 8:31 am

4.  I certainly hope Tino "gets it together". He's been my favourite player for years, and i was extremely happy when NY signed him again.
On a side note, I cant wait to see the Yankees when they come to Toronto in a few weeks!

5 jayd   ~  Apr 2, 2005 9:51 am

5.  Six Predictions/Observations
1. Biggest roar of Sunday Night goes to Tino. If he doesn't "get it together", like Bernie, he will take himself out. So no worries there. Only saw Philips bat once or twice but came away with an impression of how stylish his swing was -- in the manner of ARod or Bernie.

2. Anyone named Bubba has a shot at roaming centerfield for the Yanks. I like the way he wears his socks.

3. Robinson PolanCano will see playing time before Philips.

4. Why do I worry so much about Jorge staying healthy this year? He was having such a great year last year before he took that throw in the face.

5. Final Season Series Yanks/RS 13 and 6, favor of the good guys.

6. Randy wins 25. Curt goes 12 and 14. Truth Justice and the American Way returns to mlb as Jason Giambi and ARod put together a season for the ages.

6 Fabian   ~  Apr 2, 2005 11:40 am

6.  They do keep BB/K numbers for hitters in spring training. Just check out USA Today.

7 jkay   ~  Apr 2, 2005 2:34 pm

7.  Yankees.com says Sierra hits cleanup. Amazing.

The lineup starts with Derek Jeter, followed by Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield. Sierra will hit cleanup, followed by Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Giambi, Bernie Williams and Tony Womack.

8 rilkefan   ~  Apr 2, 2005 3:49 pm

8.  "Yankees.com says Sierra hits cleanup" for opening day due to great career numbers against Wells. Still, ack.

9 rsmith51   ~  Apr 2, 2005 4:04 pm

9.  I thought that was an April Fools joke about Sierra. Why is Bernie batting 8th when he hit pretty well batting RH last year?

Fearless predictions:
IF Sierra gets 350 abs this year, the Yankees miss the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
IF Phillips gets 350 abs this year, the Yankees win the World Seris.

10 NetShrine   ~  Apr 2, 2005 7:20 pm

10.  Sierra = hot hand. IIRC, he hit some HRs in the last few games of the Spring. I wonder if Big Rube will look as fat on OD as he did this Spring? Nice guy; but, I think he let his condition go a little this Winter.

Funny Phillips story --- in 2000, my friend asked me to give him the name of a good Yankee prospect - I told him Phillips and he got Andy to sign a ball for him.

It's a funny story - when his son, who was then around 12, saw he ball, he said to his Dad "Why did he write the time on it?"

Andy had put down something like 3:11 - for a Bible reference.

He seems like a really nice guy. I would love for him to make the team. He could help vs. LHP at first and back up A-Rod when Sanchez has to play because Womack is hurt.

11 David   ~  Apr 3, 2005 4:49 am

11.  Why is Bernie batting 8th? I suppose Torre considers him to be only the 8th best hitter in the Yankee lineup. I sort-of agree with Torre, if one gives full credence to Sierra's lifetime record against Wells. Isn't it wonderful to have a team where the lineup has 7 hitters even better than Bernie?

12 seamus   ~  Apr 3, 2005 8:18 am

12.  Bernie is a slow starter traditionally and I would push him towards the bottom fo the lineup too. This is particualrly too because he doesn't seem to have the ego problems that some players have so Bernie can produce anywhere in the lineup. It is interesting to me how Torre positioned the switchhitters and I bet that says something about this lineup order too.

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