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).