"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Astros 12, Yankee 2

Darrell Rasner tried to give back the fifth starter’s spot, but forgot that there’s no one around to give it to . . . or is there?


L – Johnny Damon (CF)
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Bobby Abreu (RF)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L – Jason Giambi (DH)
L – Hideki Matsui (LF)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
L – Doug Mientkiewicz (1B)

Pitchers: Darrell Rasner, Ron Villone, Sean Henn, Brian Bruney, Kyle Farnsworth, Luis Vizcaino

Subs: Miguel Cairo (2B), Chris Basak (SS), Carlos Mendoza (3B), Eduardo Nuñez (3B), Wil Nieves (PR/C), Kevin Thompson (RF), Kevin Reese (CF), Josh Phelps (DH)

Opposition: The Astros B-squad.

Big Hits: Doubles by Derek Jeter (1 for 4) and Jason Giambi (1 for 3). Bobby Abreu was 2 for 3 and drove in Jeter in the bottom of the first.

Who Pitched Well?: Kyle Farnsworth and Luis Vizcaino each threw perfect innings, though Farnsworth had the only strikeout between them.

Who Didn’t?: Brian Bruney allowed two runs on three hits in his lone inning of work, though he didn’t walk anybody. The big story though was the disaster outings by Darrell Rasner and Ron Villone. Villone faced three men, registered just one strike and gave up a four-pitch walk, a single, and a two-run triple, the last to an A-ball shortstop named Tommy Manzella. Darrell Rasner, meanwhile, gave up a whopping seven runs on nine hits, five of them for extra-bases, and two walks in 4 2/3 innings (Villone was supposed to get that last third, but, fittingly, passed the buck to Sean Henn, who allowed Manzella to score before getting that final out of the fifth). Among the hits allowed by Rasner were three doubles, a triple, and a home run, though all came off the bats of men who will head West with the major league team.

Oopsies: Hideki Matsui flubbed a ball in left.

Ouchies: Andy Pettitte threw 31 pitches in the bullpen yesterday, getting up to full speed and mixing in all of his pitches. He’ll throw a minor league game or a simulated game in Tampa today. Jeff Karstens will throw a bullpen today and says he doesn’t feel any discomfort in his elbow. The big injury news, however, took place outside of camp. Peter Abraham reports that J.B. Cox, who missed spring training because he broke his pitching hand in a fight, had a ligament in his pitching elbow repaired by Dr. James Andrews earlier this week. He could return to action at the end of the season, but any hope of him serving as a late-season reinforcement in the pen is gone. Abraham also reports that 2006 draftee Mark Melancon, a right-handed reliever out of the University of Arizona, had full-blown Tommy John surgery this winter.

Battles: Given Rasner’s poor outing, Jeff Karstens could still break camp with the team as the fifth starter if his bullpen work goes well. The team won’t need a fifth starter until a week from Sunday and could give Karstens an inning or two out of the pen early next week as part of his rehab. Meanwhile, Ron Villone remains in play despite all evidence to the contrary. After the game, Joe Torre said that Villone looks exactly like he did a year ago at the end of spring: “If he wasn’t here last year, then it would be tough to even consider him, but with what we know about him and know about his makeup and all that stuff, I think you still have to make a decision with that infumation being a part of it.” Brian Bruney had a bad outing. Wil Nieves went 0 for 2 with a strikeout. Josh Phelps made out in his only at-bat.

Notes: Mike Mussina will pitch in a minor league game today. The Yankees have called up Steven Jackson and Chase Wright to pitch the major league games in place of Mussina and Pettitte today and tomorrow.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver