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USA 6, Yankees 5

The Yankees–without Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, or Robinson Cano–nearly beat the All-Star-quality Team USA (which did have Jeter) yesterday afternoon, and likely would have if not for some poor play in the field by the New York reserves. As it was, they led the US in hits 13 to six, didn’t allow an extra-base hit, and the only member of the US squad who had a multi-hit day was their captain, Derek Jeter, who went 2-for-4 with a run scored, two RBIs, and a walk against his real team. In the end, John Rodriguez flied out with the tying run on base and the Yankees lost 6-5.


L  – Johnny Damon (LF)
L – Brett Gardner (CF)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
R – Xavier Nady (RF)
R – Cody Ransom (2B)
R – Kevin Cash (C)
R – Angel Berroa (SS)
R – Justin Leone (3B)

Subs: Nick Swisher (1B), Ramiro Peña (2B), Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Doug Bernier (3B), Kyle Anson (C), Shelley Duncan (RF), Melky Cabrera (CF), Colin Curtis (LF), John Rodriguez (DH)

Pitchers: Phil Hughes, Phil Coke, Eric Hacker, Michael Dunn, David Robertson, Jose Veras

Opposition: The USA All-Stars.

Big Hits:

Brett Gardner went 3-for-3 with a double and a stolen base. Nick Swisher (1-for-2) delivered a two-RBI ground rule double that bounded over the outfield wall. Jorge Posada and Cody Ransom both went 2-for-3; Ransom also stole a base.

Who Pitched Well:

Everyone but Hacker. Michael Dunn, David Robertson, and Jose Veras combined to hold the US hitless over the final four innings, striking out seven and walking one man each. Phil Coke allowed just a single in 2 1/3 innings and struck out Adam Dunn and Ryan Braun swinging. Phil Hughes faced the minimum for the first two innings, getting Jeter to ground into a double-play in the first, striking out David Wright and Dunn looking back-to-back in the second–Wright on a fastball on the inside corner, Dunn on a curve that dropped into the zone. In the third, Braun reached on a broke-bat single and with one out Hughes threw inside under Curtis Granderson’s hands and clipped his jersey, putting him on base. The runners move up on a 400-foot fly ball to center tracked down by Gardner before Jeter hit a bouncer past Berroa at short to drive them both in and end Hughes’ day.

Who Didn’t:

Eric Hacker allowed two singles, walked two men, and uncorked two wild pitches without getting an out. Angel Berroa botching a backhanded grounder didn’t help anything but Hacker’s stat line, which shows four runs allowed, but only three earned in zero official innings pitched.


Melky Cabrera went 1-for-2 and stole a base, the hit and steal coming during the Yankees’ ninth-inning rally against Matt Lindstrom which fell a run short. Unfortunately for Melky, Brett Gardner had already gone 3-for-3 in the game with a steal of his own and a double down the left field line. Adding insult to injury, during a remote from the dugout with the YES Network former Yankee and current Cubs and Team USA lefty Ted Lilly complemented Gardner’s swing and asked if he was going to be the Opening Day center fielder. Xavier Nadywent 1-for-3 and hit into a 2-6-3 double-play. Nick Swisher went 1-for-2, his one hit being a booming two-RBI ground-rule double. Cody Ransom went 2-for-3 with a stolen base and a great diving play to his right at second base, while Angel Berroa went 0-for-3 and made an error at a ball hit to his backhand at shortstop. Jose Veras, having passed on the Dominican team to fight for his bullpen spot, turned in a second strong outing. David Robertson turned in his first strong outing of the spring. Phil Coke‘s 2 1/3 innings suggest he is indeed in the long-relief battle and his dominance in those inning suggest he’s got a good lead in that battle.


Jorge Posada went 2-for-3 as the DH. His shoulder soreness seems to have already been forgotten about. Across the state with the Dominican team, Alex Rodriguez was diagnosed with a cyst on his right hip. It’s not enough to keep him from working out, and shouldn’t threaten his availability for Opening Day, but it could give the Yankees and excuse to recall him from the WBC.


The Yankees’ games against the USA (yesterday) and Canada (Thursday) won’t count in the spring statistics, which doesn’t make much sense to me, as all of the spring games are exhibitions, the US is an All-Star team and Canada is at least as good as a split-squad team (more hitting, less pitching).


1 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 4, 2009 12:29 am

The Angel Berroa experiment is already headed downhill..

let's hear it for Phil Coke though! I wish you could get spring training footage up on the Banter somehow..

2 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 4, 2009 12:46 am

Yeah, were it not for Hacker, we would have flattened Team USA. Hope Jeter makes it back in one piece and keeps up that pace against the rest of the league. And yeah, Berroa may make the issue of taking up a roster spot a moot point soon enough. I just hope that Cashman's keeping detailed notes on who's offering him bad advice like that.

3 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 4, 2009 12:49 am

Berroa seems to have been Tony Pena's suggestion. Pena managed Berroa with the Royals when he won the Rookie of the Year.

4 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 4, 2009 12:56 am

Gardner is really making his move..this one is going to get interesting for sure. I'm still pulling for Melky but..
no Shelly Duncan info? :)

5 Mr. Max   ~  Mar 4, 2009 1:06 am

I think Shelley D flew out to end it, not Rodriguez. Nitpicking.

6 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 4, 2009 1:13 am

[5] Yeah, he did. He's putting the bat on the ball, but he doesn't make the team if he has no full-time role. If he keeps hitting though, he should get a decent return, right?

Tony Pena suggested Berroa? Must have been a favor then. He had to have noticed the disintegration of skills from then til now. Unless he plans on making him a pet project of his or just wants to get him a break somewhere else, but how long can this last?

7 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 4, 2009 1:15 am

[7] By decent return, I mean he'll have trade value, yes? Or does he have to be on the 40-man to be traded for value?

8 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 4, 2009 1:53 am

[7] Surely a team like the Padres or Royals could use Duncan..

interesting bit on the buddy-buddy relationship between Big Papi and A-Rod..never knew about that. http://tinyurl.com/bqptpe
Papi does seem like a really warm and genuine guy..

9 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 4, 2009 6:19 am

[1] I wouldn't exactly call it an experiment. I think the Yankees realized they were going to need a lot of infielders to make up for the loss of Arod/Jeter/Cano and simply signed Berroa for that purpose. As Cliff mentioned, Pena may have been involved, but I don't think the Yankees have actually made plans around him.

[7] Unfortunately for Duncan, he probably doesn't have much trade value. I believe he already cleared waivers (which allowed the Yankees to drop him from the 40-man), so if no one had interest then, they aren't likely to have any now.

10 The Hawk   ~  Mar 4, 2009 8:01 am

I love "Brett Banter" - it's a great blog ... Haha just kidding. But there is a lot of Gardner love here usually. So much so I just wanted to agree with the rare Melky booster here. But if he doesn't earn it, he doesn't earn it.

11 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 4, 2009 8:36 am

I am not a big Gardner fan, and probably the biggest Melky supporter here, so I feel it is my duty to point out that Gardner also had a very good spring training last season. He hit .395 with a .535 SLG% and 6 SBs, yet still seemed over matched in prime time.

I like what he is doing and agree that he has the potential to bring a valuable element to the team, but I wouldn't get too excited just yet.

12 rbj   ~  Mar 4, 2009 9:24 am

I loved Melky when he first came up, but now I only want the guy who will help the club more. If it's Melky, fine. If it's Brett, fine.

Though I do like hearing about the CF battle more than certain other stories.

13 Mattpat11   ~  Mar 4, 2009 9:35 am

As long as Angel Berroa continues to play poorly in spring training, I'm fine with him being here. Its when if he starts to play well and somehow wins a roster spot that thinks go south.

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