Today’s post is powered by a classic personality pitching a (for its time) classic baseball video game:
- Edwar Ramirez has been diagnosed with mild bursitis in his right shoulder, and won’t pitch again until this weekend.
- Mariano Rivera notes that his shoulder is well on its way to full recovery:
“It’s feeling strong and now I am building muscle,” Rivera said of the shoulder, which was operated on after last season. “I have been throwing, playing long toss and it’s getting better every day.”
The next step for Rivera is to get on a bullpen mound, but he isn’t sure when that will occur.
“I don’t want to push it,” said Rivera, who vowed on the first day of spring training he would be ready by Opening Day, April 6.
- Tyler Kepner has a nice piece on Hideki Matsui’s efforts to get all the way back:
Matsui will be 35 in June, and his knees have made him a full-time designated hitter. He had surgery on his right knee after the 2007 season, then on his left knee on Sept. 22. Matsui delayed that operation so he could play in the final game at Yankee Stadium.
He stayed in the United States until December, working to strengthen the knee. In Japan, he practiced jogging on grass. He did not jog here until Monday, and he ran the bases gingerly after a round of batting practice Tuesday. He will not be ready to play when the Yankees visit the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday in Dunedin. …
Matsui spent 10 seasons playing his home games on artificial turf at the Tokyo Dome. At 6 feet 2 inches and 220 pounds, Matsui said he was among the bigger players in Japan and worried about damage to his knee cartilage.
“I knew there was a certain level of stress that was being put on my knees and my lower body in general,” he said. “I did have that fear that at some point, something was going to happen.” …
“I still feel I have a lot of baseball in me,” Matsui said. “Yes, I did get injured the last few years, but in terms of how I feel physically and my baseball skills, I don’t feel like I have any issues.”
- Kepner also details the positional battles to be address over the next five weeks:
With Edwar Ramirez dealing with bursitis in his right shoulder, there could be another opening in the bullpen. Mariano Rivera, Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte are locks. The Yankees will probably take a long reliever, too, which leaves three more spots from a group including Jose Veras, Phil Coke, Dave Robertson, Jonathan Albaladejo, Mark Melancon and Ramirez. …
Others who will try to squeeze onto the roster include the versatile infielder Cody Ransom (who is on the 40-man roster), and non-roster players like shortstop Angel Berroa and catcher Kevin Cash. Among the other non-roster players with major league experience include Shelley Duncan, Todd Linden and John Rodriguez.
- Newsday’s Neil Best had an interesting give-and-take with Yankee COO Lonn Trost, including this exchange:
Is it true there are seats in the bleachers from which you can’t see parts of the field?
“Yes, but we will have TVs in the walls there.”
That’s not the same thing as seeing it live, is it?
“We had a choice of selling it to somebody or not. If you come to the stadium you’ll see there are TVs in the walls. [Some views are obstructed] a little bit, but for $12 it’s a choice of taking it or not.”
[My take: Hold the phone .... you had the choice of selling it to somebody or not???? How about building the bleachers such that everyone had an unobstructed view to begin with? When you were examining the blueprints and 3D mock-ups, didn't the obstruction sort of jump out at you? Would YOU pay $12 to sit there? Would you play $12 to sit in a movie theater where you could only see 3/4 of the screen?]
[By the way: 'Yankee COO Lonn Trost' anagrams to "Relocate knot? No ... nosy!"]
- Peter Abraham has an article going behind the scenes with the Yankee pro scouts:
The pro scouts watch players in the major leagues down to the lowest levels of the minors. Their job is to gather information to allow Cashman to make the best-educated decisions about trades, waiver claims and other personnel moves. …
“You see how much work is done on the amateur scouting side, where they have cross-checking, they have meetings, they have regional meetings. They spend so much time and effort for that one day. Why can’t we do it like that on the pro side?” Cashman said. …
- The Yanks placed three players on BaseballAmerica’s Top 100 Prospects, with Austin Jackson being the highest-ranked Baby Bomber (#36).
- The Yanks will have the 28th pick of the first round of June’s amateur draft.
- The Yanks have seven of their 40-man roster participating in the WBC.
- Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball provides a very nice summary report of the 2009 arbitration process. (Its a PDF file, and the Yankees are on page 12).
- Fan favorite Paul O’Neill turns 46 today. Roberto Kelly, the man the Yanks traded for O’Neill, did not become a fan favorite in Cincy.
- Stump Merrill, manager of the treading water Yankee teams of ’90 and ’91, turns 65. Bonus points if you know his real first name (answer later).
- Danny Cater turns 69. Along with the Roberto Kelly/Paul O’Neill trade, the Cater/Sparky Lyle swap of 1972 is probably one of the five best deals the Yanks have made in the past 40 years.
- He was never a Yankee, but apparently he could have been, so we’ll wish Monte Irvin a very happy 90th birthday! According to his entry in Wikipedia:
The Brooklyn Dodgers signed Irvin but Newark owner Effa Manley demanded compensation. Branch Rickey refused to pay for his Negro League players at this point and said he had no further interest in Irvin. Manley tried to sell him to the New York Yankees but they maintained a whites-only policy. She then sold him to the New York Giants and said “They paid me $5,000 lousy dollars for Monte Irvin. If he’d have been white they’d have given me $100,000.” Irvin, along with Ford Smith, became the first African-American players in the history of the Giants organization on January 28.
- On this date in 1994, the Veterans Committee elects Phil Rizzuto to the Hall of Fame.
- Back in 2005, Kerry Konrad’s $2,325 bid won an eBay auction giving him the one-day naming rights to the Fleet Center Arena in Boston. Konrad, a Yankee fan, wanted to call it the “Derek Jeter Center”. But instead, on this date, ESPN reports that Konrad will agree to call it the “Jimmy Fund Center,” after a Boston friend and Red Sox fan donated an additional $6,275 for the children charitable effort, bringing the total amount to $8,600 (symbolizing the 86 years between Red Sox World Championships).