"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 1

The Yankees kicked off their exhibition schedule this afternoon with an easy 6-1 win on the road against the Blue Jays, though neither team played their full set of starters.


L – Brett Gardner (CF)
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
S – Nick Swisher (RF)
R – Shelley Duncan (DH)
L – Juan Miranda (1B)
S – Todd Linden (LF)
R – Kevin Cash (C)

Subs: Justin Leone (1B), Cody Ransom (2B), Ramiro Peña (SS), Kevin Russo (3B), P.J. Pilittere (C), Colin Curtis (RF), Austin Jackson (CF), John Rodriguez (LF), Jesus Montero (DH)

Pitchers: Brett Tomko, Jose Veras, Dan Giese, Kei Igawa, Christian Garcia, Michael Dunn, Steven Jackson, David Robertson

Opposition: The Jay’s B-squad

Big Hits:

Brett Gardner (1-for-3) led off the game by hitting Brett Cecil’s second pitch over the right-field wall. Alex Rodriguez (1-for-1, 2 BBs) added a two-run jack off Rickey Romero in the fourth. Robinson Cano and Austin Jackson (both 1-for-2) both doubled. Todd Linden (1-for-3) picked up an RBI single against B.J. Ryan. Kevin Cash went 2-for-3 and stole a base.

Who Pitched Well:

Everyone except Jose Veras. The other seven pitchers combined for eight shutout innings, allowing just three hits and a walk.

Who Didn’t:

Jose Veras gave up the lone Blue Jay run in the third on a one-out John McDonald double, a hit batsman, a wild pitch, and a sac fly. He then walked two batters before getting out of the inning.


Gardner‘s home run was no small thing. Last year he hit just three home runs between the minors and majors, spring training included. Cecil, meanwhile, allowed just six in 118 1/3 innings. Kevin Long’s been working with Gardner to get his legs into his swing. If Gardner can hit for power this spring, he’ll take the center field job with ease. His throwing error came on a strong throw to the plate that just happened to hit the runner. Swisher affirmed his ability to reach base at a high rate by drawing two walks, but didn’t hit a ball fair in three trips, striking out in his other turn at-bat. Veras put himself in an early hole in the bullpen battle, but David Robertson was also wild in his one inning of work (issuing a walk and uncorking a wild pitch). Pete Abe reports that Robertson loaded the bases in the ninth. I assume two of the Yankees’ other three errors (one by Leone, the other two on throws by Peña and Russo) were involved. Veras and Robertson did combine for four of the Yankees’ seven strikeouts, but  Steven Jackson was perfect, getting two groundouts and a strikeout.


  • Melky Cabrera has switched to Bobby Abreu’s old number 53.
  • I’ll be on Kenrick Thomas’s Real Sports Talk podcast tonight at 10pm. Give a listen.

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1 tommyl   ~  Feb 25, 2009 5:23 pm

Not to mention that if Gardner flashes some power, his OBP should also go up as pitchers will be a bit less apt to challenge him. I felt that last year, ML pitchers were likely to just groove one over the plate to him, figuring the worst that could happen was he slaps a single. If he can threaten to hit for extra bases and even some homers, he should be able to be more selective too (and avoid Ellsbury disease).

2 TheGreenMan   ~  Feb 25, 2009 5:39 pm

I thought I read earlier that Swisher K'd in his first at-bat.

Nice to see Gardner with some pop. In his third AB though he weakly flied out to center with runners on the corners. Wonder if he is gonna try to go big fly a lot this year.

3 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 25, 2009 5:41 pm

All I remember about Dave Robertson, was that seemingly every game he'd come in and Michael Kay would scream "His numbers don't reflect how he pitches!" and then he'd have an awful outing.

4 RIYank   ~  Feb 25, 2009 5:52 pm

No [3], there was that stretch where he was pretty nearly unhittable. Only I can't remember what month it was.
Anyway, can anyone tell whether he was good or lucky this outing?

5 Just Fair   ~  Feb 25, 2009 5:53 pm

I thought Gardner's goal this year was to hit the ball on the ground. I'm not going to argue about a home run, but I hope he doesn't catch the Willie Mays Hays disease. : ) Push ups, indeed.

6 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 25, 2009 5:58 pm

Oops on Swisher. Fixed.

Robertson is a very good pitcher (great stuff), but is prone to wildness, which makes his outing today a bad start even though it was hitless.

I agree about everything written about Gardner above.

7 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 25, 2009 6:40 pm

This is what I was recalling. His last 15 games weren't good.

8 OldYanksFan   ~  Feb 25, 2009 7:04 pm

I don't know why he said it and what made him say it, but I read an article where Gammons said "He'll surprise you. Gardner is stronger then he looks." I don't know if he saw him with his shirt off or what, but I was surprised (and pleased) to hear Gammo say that.

9 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 25, 2009 7:22 pm

If Gammons says it, can't we just assume its a lie?

10 rbj   ~  Feb 25, 2009 7:35 pm

A Cliff Corcoran game recap! Cliff at least looks to be in midseason form.

OK, maybe I am getting a little excited about the first spring training game, but hey, at least it's baseball.

11 RIYank   ~  Feb 25, 2009 7:46 pm

[9] Sadly, no. Extensive analysis has proved that Gammons' pronouncements are completely uncorrelated with the truth. "I'm not sure what to believe -- what did Gammons say?" is for all practical purposes like "I'm not sure what to believe -- let's flip a coin."

12 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 25, 2009 7:53 pm

I'm just burned by the defective baseball.

13 PJ   ~  Feb 25, 2009 8:00 pm

I'll gladly give up a messy inning for a hit batsman on the other team, for a change!

Thanks for the recap, Cliff!


14 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 25, 2009 8:32 pm

[10] I am absurdly, stupidly excited about baseball cmoing back..

[12] hey Mattpat11, twas in an earlier thread but I wanted to ask, why do you hate the WBC? I admit it has been poorly organized, but outside the US the fans are really in to it. I think I posted earlier that there were 20,000+ in the stand to watch the Japan team PRACTICE..and in Korea and Taiwan there is the same level of interest.

I would bet in Latin America and the Windies it's the same?

15 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 8:43 pm


I'll answer instead of Mattpat.

1. I hate any sports events that pit athletes along national lines. This invariably brings out the worst aspects of nationalism and jingoism, and cuts against the unitive and integrative power of sports.

2. The tournament seems to interfere with training for MLB and may increase injury risk. If I owned a team, I would ban my players from participating, by contract.

3. The tournament is fabricated and cobbled together. This results in absurdities (like the one Mattpoint pointed out about Cervelli) in order to get enough "Italians" to play for the Italian team, and so forth. And agin, the mere fact that they have to dredge up players who somehow fit some national definition, the organizers have to fall back on potentially ugly definitions (just how much "Italian blood" do you need to "count" as Italian?).

16 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 25, 2009 8:52 pm

[15] Valid criticisms, though I would ask..(1) have you ever attened a World Cup soccer game? The atmosphere is phenomenal, and as long as England isn't playing the jingoism and nationalism are not so evident, but the passion and intensity is.

(2) Agree. It should be after the season ends. Though again, for the World Cup teams release their players for national qualifying matches.

(3) Agree, here too! But this will change as more countries embrace the game and develope home-grown talent..which is something we should all be in favor of..right?

17 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 8:58 pm

[16] (1)

I have not, but I have watched world cup games with friends who love the sport ( i find soccer dreadful, but that's me). They all joked around about the various nationalist and racist chants traditional sung by fans of various teams, from the national down to the club level. And that was before they got into the religiously bigoted chants.

Good times.

18 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:01 pm

[17] Sample size..do drunk idiot bleacher creatures of who chant homophobic insults at the box-seats represent ALL Yankee fans??

The religious background to Celtic-Rangers in Scotland, and the fascist-socialist dynamic to many Italian league clubs is disturbing for sure, but don't let that distort your image of all soccer clubs round the world..

For me it's baseball that is the "beautiful game", but soccer has grown on me the more I watch it.

19 tommyl   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:03 pm

[16] Yeah, and I'm sure Arsenal is loving the fact that Theo Walcott is out for the season due to a training injury with the national team. I'm still amazed that teams in Europe let their players go, sometimes even missing important games to play for the national team side. Barcelona has tried to insure that Messi will not play in any friendlies, but he still sometimes gets pulled. Could you imagine if Jeter and A-Rod had to leave in the middle of a 3-game swing at Fenway to go play for the US in a WBC qualifier?!

20 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:13 pm

[19] poor Gunners..but I really think outside of the club owners and managers, everyone takes the World Cup so seriously that they'll put up with the occasional injury.

The problem really stems from US sports being so "domestic" for so many years..thankfully the NBA and MLB are finally embracing the international talent. Hopefully I'll live to see the MLB expand to an Asia-Pacific division including Japan, Korea and Taiwan!

21 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:51 pm

monkey, basically what I would have said, although emphasis on points 2 and 3. I'm not entirely against something like this as a rule, but the timing, half assed organization and bizarre rules push it well into my hate column.

22 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:57 pm

[18] I can only judge by what I observe, which happens to be a cross section of European transplants. In any case, my main point stands: if you organize sports along national lines, you inherently increase the chances that ugly nationalist sentiments emerge.

In fact, you mention the "passion" of World Cup games. Why is there so much "passion," I wonder? What makes it more exciting to root for the same players reconfigured into national teams? It must be, I think, nationalism.

Let me put it another way. How many MLB players have been killed by their fans for committing even a major blunder? Andres Escobar would like to know.

23 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:01 pm


The problem really stems from US sports being so “domestic” for so many years..thankfully the NBA and MLB are finally embracing the international talent.

Im not sure I agree with this assessment. Baseball has long been an international game, and the foreign talent pool grew just fine without some sort of international tournament. Rather, the very best aspired to play in the big show, and at the same time MLB teams put more resources into wider scouting.

Same with the NBA. The pros never played in the Olympics, for example, and yet the sport grew internationally and the talent pool improved. NBA teams started drafting more international players when they could compete at the highest level.

24 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:05 pm

[22] Sample size again! ONE goal-keeper is killed by some mafia thugs because they lost money gambling and this is evidence of widespread "ugly nationalist sentiments"??

Yes, there is some element of "nationalism" in rooting for your country's team, but this is not always a terrible thing. I personally would MUCH rather see passion for one's country expressed in the sporting realm rather than through B-2 bombers flying over the Super Bowl, if you get my drift..

Also, when Japan plays Korea in anything, history rears it's ugly head..but again, much better at the ping-pong table, ice rink of ball-park than the way they used to express it..

25 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:33 pm

[24] Right, sorry, small sample size. Only one world cup athlete killed.

Of course it's better that nationalism play out in an athletic contest than in a war, but why bother to reinforce nationalism in the first place? Why even have Japan and Korea compete against each other to stir up those old hostilities? How about this idea: a professional ping-pong league where the teams are mixed, made up of Japanese and Koreans and people from other nations.

I just do not get the desire to organize teams on national lines. We would never think (any more) of having teams organize by race or religion.

BTW, you can keep saying small sample size, but the mixture of nationalism and sports, especially sports events organized into national teams, has long been toxic. This includes the US boycotting Olympics, the Soviets boycotting Olympics, American athletes being booed in Greece, Hitler hoping to use the Olympics as a showcase for his regime and the master race, the murder of Israeli olympians in in Munich, the protests over the recent Olympics in China. And that's just a sampling, from the Olympics.

Lets turn to the World Cup. What about the 1969 "Football War," arising from a qualifying match between Honduras and El Salvador, or the riots in China in 2004 arising from the Asia Nation Cup v. Japan,

It is my contention that national sports tournaments only reinforce pre-existing national hostilities and not infrequently exacerbate nationalist fervor, actually increasing the chances of real, ugly nationalist actions.

26 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:02 pm

[24] "Right, sorry, small sample size. Only one world cup athlete killed."
Your sarcasm is misplaced, one athlete killed because of the local mafia..taken from a pool of thousands of players and games throughout the years..obviously, a freak occurance.

Your points about the Olympics are true of course, though surely we could find examples to prove the opposite? I wasn't around then but perhaps OYF or others could enlighten us about the "ping-pong" diplomacy between China and the US back in 1971/2..

"It is my contention that national sports tournaments only reinforce pre-existing national hostilities and not infrequently exacerbate nationalist fervor, actually increasing the chances of real, ugly nationalist actions."

I would argue that national sports tournaments can also help end such hostility (which would be there regardless of whether there are sporting events) and help encourage healthy competition, rather than aggresive military posturing.

27 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:10 pm

If Italy goes to war with Canada, I will never speak another kind word about the WBC again!


I find there to be a line between pride in one's nation and excessive jingoism, so the organization of the WBC along national boundaries doesn't bother me. In fact, I can see it promoting some goodwill between some of the participants, as opposed to encouraging hostilities.

Of all the dumb stuff Bud has done, the WBC doesn't bother me. I kind of like it. Its neat to learn about some of the guys who play in their home nation's leagues, and those leagues. As long as no Yankee starting pitcher takes part, I have no qualms with it. FWIW, I think playing in the WBC increases the risk of a starting pitcher getting hurt some significant amount.

In fact, as long as the Yanks keep their starting pitchers out of it, it may be an advantage to them, because not all teams will, and someone is bound to be affected by that increased risk.

28 cult of basebaal   ~  Feb 26, 2009 5:34 am

uh, cliff, have you ever, actually seen robertson pitch?

i almost mentioned in in your write up on the candidates for the bullpen, but robertson couldn't hit 95 if you shot him from a cannon.

supposedly he was mid-90's in college, but he consistently sat low 90's (90-92) in the games i watched last year (almost all of them) last year and that's pretty much where he'd been scouted.


or this quote from a NY Post article last summer.

"It's interesting to note how Robertson perfected his curve ball. Robertson is on the small side - "I'm 6-foot in spikes," he says with a laugh - but he is sneaky fast in the 91-92 range. Opposing hitters say it looks more like 97-98."

29 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 26, 2009 6:38 am

I come down on the side of [26] and [27]. For starters, national pride isn't inherently bad. Just like any affiliation, the feelings one has can be used as a force of good or evil. There are lots of examples of sports bringing different people together on a common ground (one of the precepts of the modern Olympics). While politics and ideology can sometimes contaminate the ideal, I think the spirit of athletic brotherhood triumphs more often than not.

As for the WBC specifically, I think it is a terrific event because it gives me the chance to watch high level baseball played by people who really want to win the game. As fun as the laid back atmosphere of spring games can be, I much prefer competitively driven games. Also, while I am sure there are heightened injury risks, it’s not like injuries never occur in Spring Training.

Ultimately, the WBC is a chance for baseball to get on a world stage, and that can only be a good thing. Sure, it could probably be set up better (I would have one week of pool play toward the END of spring training followed by one week of championship round play in lieu of the All Star Game every 4 years), but that doesn’t make it a bad thing.

30 randym77   ~  Feb 26, 2009 6:39 am

Melky wore #53 in Scranton when he was sent down last year.

Trying to change his luck, maybe?

31 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 26, 2009 6:46 am

[30] Hopefully Abreu's patience will rub off on him.

32 monkeypants   ~  Feb 26, 2009 8:15 am

[29] Ultimately, the WBC is a chance for baseball to get on a world stage, and that can only be a good thing.

This argument I don't really understand. Baseball is already on a "world stage" inasmuch as it is popular in many countries (not as many as basketball or soccer, but baseball is far less a parochial sport than many critics say). Looking at the 16 nations, most of them are already "good" baseball countries--it is difficult to imagine that the WBC will "grow the game" in the US or Canada or Japan or the Latin countries. Maybe in Italy, which has a very interesting history with baseball, or the Netherlands.

But overall, I don't see how a tournament played between countries where baseball is already popular is any more a world stage than pro and semi-pro baseball already possesses. It's comparable to a Cricket tournament whose participants are Australia, UK, India, Pakistan, and the like.

33 Raf   ~  Feb 26, 2009 8:19 am

ST is really the only time you can hold the WBC. MLB & Japan have their leagues going during the summer & fall, and the Winter leagues are going during the winter.

Given that athletes are doing a better job of keeping themselves in shape, I'm not surprised that they would be in game shape by the time the WBC rolls around. Even if they didn't, they have more than enough time to prepare for the tournament beforehand.

Besides, watching the enthusiasm of Japan and Korea as well as being able to watch the Cuba Nat'l team play, is worth the price of admission to me.

34 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 26, 2009 8:38 am

[32] Just because baseball is already very popular in many of the countries sending WBC teams, there is still room for growth in countries such as China, South Africa, Netherlands, Italy, Australia and even Mexico and Panama. Also, in addition to growth in the game itself, there is a chance for the MLB brand to expand in places like South Korea, Japan and the Caribbean. In addition, I think the existence of a tournament that is international in scope enhances the chances of spillage into non-participant countries. I know, for example, that there was coverage in the U.K. (which, believe it or not, used [and may still] to simulcast the ESPN Sunday night game on channel 4 or 5.

35 cult of basebaal   ~  Feb 26, 2009 12:25 pm

I guess I'll chip in here, since it appears that I'm the only one who has actually, you know, attended a WBC game.

I saw the semi-final game between Japan and Korea at Petco park (that Japan won, salvaging Ichiro's honor) and it was easily one of the best baseball experiences I've ever had.

The Korean and Japanese fans were intense without being at all aggressive towards the other team. During a late rain delay, which drove most of the non-partisan fans from the stadium (it *was* a cold night) the Korean fans swarmed into the seats along the 1st base line, where they proceeded to chant and bang thunder sticks, IN THE RAIN, for 45 minutes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the last WBC and I'll go to either the finals or semi's again this year.

In the end, I don't have a problem with sports on an international level. I don't think they engender the worst aspects of nationalism and jingoism, or cut against the unitive and integrative power of sports anymore than sporting events at lower levels engender the worst aspects of parochialism and regionalised partisanship.

Every Dodger-Giants game I go to, I witness fights and abuse and insults between opposing fans, usually breaking down along racial lines. A Giants fan was knifed and killed by a group of Dodger fans in the parking lot within the last couple of years. That doesn't sound very supportive of the unitive and integrative power of sports to me, maybe we should ban sporting events between inter and intra state rivals, after all we wouldn't want to promote the escalation of tension between Northern and Southern California ...

36 Yankster   ~  Feb 26, 2009 3:29 pm

I'm with OK JAzz and the very solid cult of Basebaal capper (35). Well argued.

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