"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Canada 6, Yankees 0

The Yankees managed just four hits against the pitching-deprived Team Canada. Meanwhile, the first five men in the Canadian order reached base against Joba Chamberlain as Canada scored sixth in the top of the first. There was no scoring after that as Canada won 6-0


S – Melky Cabrera (CF)
S – Nick Swisher (LF)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
L – Hideki Matsui (DH)
R – Xavier Nady (RF)
R – Cody Ransom (SS)
R – Angel Berroa (3B)
S – Ramiro Peña (2B)
R – Kevin Cash (C)

Subs: Juan Miranda (1B), Doug Bernier (2B), Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Justin Leone (3B), P.J. Pilittere (C), Todd Linden (RF), Austin Jackson (CF), Colin Curtis (LF), Jorge Posada (DH)

Pitchers: Joba Chamberlain, Jonathan Albaladejo, Kei Igawa, Brian Bruney, Christian Garcia, J.B. Cox

Opposition: The big-hitting, weak-pitching Team Canada.

Big Hits:

Xavier Nady (1-for-3) and Doug Bernier (1-for-2) both doubled of reliever T.J. Burton, a Double-A reliever from the Indians’ system. The Yankees had just two other hits, both singles.

Who Pitched Well:

Kei Igawa struck out two while allowing just a single in three scoreless innings. Brian Bruney pitched a perfect sixth striking out two. J.B. Cox pitched a perfect ninth striking out one. Christian Garcia allowed a single and a walk in two scoreless innings, striking out two and getting his other four outs on the ground.

Who Didn’t:

Joba Chamberlain faced five batters. Four of them walked, the other, Russell Martin, singled. With that, Chamberlain was pulled from the game. He told Pete Abe after the game that he felt great and that the problem was purely mechanical, but this comes after he he topped out at 88 miles per hour on the YES gun in his poor first outing.


Melky Cabrera went 0-for-3. Cody Ransom drew two walks in three trips. Angel Berroa singled in three at-bats and booted a ball at third base. Fortunately for him, both of his errors have come in exhibitions against WBC teams, so neither will show up on his official spring training stat sheet. Xavier Nady doubled in three trips. Nick Swisher drew two walks in three trips and stole a base. Those two are playing to their strengths to an extreme degree. Neither is getting many hits, but Nady’s are all for extra bases and Swisher is drawing a lot of walks, so that the former’s stat line is all slugging and the latter’s is all on-base percentage. Jonathan Albaladejo gave up a run on three hits (including a Matt Stairs double) and two walks in two innings and didn’t strike anyone out.


Hideki Matsui made his first appearance in a game this spring and went 0-for-2 as the DH. Mariano Rivera and Edwar Ramirez both threw in the bullpen. Both sessions went well. Oh,and one of the guys named Rodriguez hurt his hip or something, but I can’t seem to find a report on it.

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1 boslaw   ~  Mar 5, 2009 9:18 pm

Pete Abe threw out some 3b names to fill in for his Rodness. I would love to see the yankees get Chone Figgins. Good filler for Arod's absence, and when Arod's back I think he's a MUCH better bench player than what the Yankees have now. Guy seems like he can play any position passably. I don't see the Angels giving him up though.

2 Mattpat11   ~  Mar 5, 2009 9:25 pm

Kei Igawa is appearing in the "who pitched well" section far too often for my tastes

3 tommyl   ~  Mar 5, 2009 9:36 pm

I still don't understand any of Cashman's quotes from the Kepner article. He claims they detected this as far back as A-Rod's quad injury MRI, at that time he had no problems. Fine I believe that. Then you have Girardi and especially Long saying that as the season went on, A-Rod had pain, stiffness, and weakness to the point where his swing was slightly altered. Cashman then decides at the end of the season that an MRI is not necessary.

I'm sorry, I just do not understand that at all. You're greatest player has an injury that lasts for months, it affects his swing, its in his hip. You've just watched Mike Lowell and Chase Utley's second halves get ruined by hip injuries, both of which started out in a similar fashion as A-Rod's. How in your right mind do you not spend the chump change and get him to take an MRI after the last game of the season?

I am also bothered by his comment, where he says that if they did an MRI on every player they had, they'd find a lot of things, but most aren't serious. Well, sure most aren't, but what if one is? What if Jeter has an ankle that's about to snap? Wouldn't you like to know that? How is closing your eyes and hoping things work out a strategy for running a baseball team?

4 randym77   ~  Mar 5, 2009 9:47 pm

[3] Jeez. You're right. I'd heard that they did do an MRI after the season, and it didn't show anything. But the Times article says the opposite.

Cashman said the Yankees discovered an irregularity in Rodriguez’s hip last May when he underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam for a right quadriceps injury. By June or July, the hitting coach Kevin Long said he could notice subtle changes in Rodriguez’s hitting, notably in his right foot — the back one in his stance.

The foot was not pivoting fully, Long said, and as a result, Rodriguez could not completely turn his waist and clear his hips. This caused his bat to drag and prevented him from driving through the ball and generating maximum power.

...It is possible that if the Yankees had given Rodriguez a follow-up M.R.I. exam on his hip after the season, they might have found the cyst and the labrum tear in time for him to have surgery and be ready by opening day.

I understand about incidental findings. Scans, x-rays, etc., can find all kinds of oddities that don't mean anything. But if it was affecting his swing...come on!

5 Mattpat11   ~  Mar 5, 2009 9:51 pm

What a rinky dink organization the Yankees turned out to be.

6 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 5, 2009 10:14 pm

[5] We need Big Stein to rise up and save the day..I agree that the organization is looking weak and disjointed..

7 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 5, 2009 11:16 pm

if anyone cares..watched the WBC Japan-China game on tv last night. Pretty easy win for Japan, Yu Darvish started..he's going to get posted soon adn probably fetch more for his club (Nippon Ham Fighters) than Matsuzaka did a few years ago..I worry about his arm though, they really aren't following pitch counts here like in the US...Darvish is saying all the right things so far (he's very PR savvy) about staying in Japan to win championships, etc but word is he wants to get to the US asap...

8 tommyl   ~  Mar 5, 2009 11:16 pm

[4] Sure, the initial finding being incidental is fine. I mean, if Jon Lester doesn't get in a car accident who knows how long till his cancer is discovered. The point is, once you're aware of a situation, you treat it. This team has bungled the handling of Posada last year, Melky's options and now A-Rod. Its these little things that add up and we're in a division that doesn't allow for much error.

9 Rich   ~  Mar 5, 2009 11:27 pm

[1] One of Ham's suggestions was Bill Hall, whose OPS+ the last two season has been 79 and 89, so it's hard to take him seriously.

I'm a little concerned about Joba's velo.

I usually defend Cash, but I really don't understand his take on this one.

10 randym77   ~  Mar 5, 2009 11:28 pm

What happened with Melky's options?

Verducci thinks A-Rod's injury is a symptom of a larger problem: the Yanks are getting old.

Only three third basemen age 33 or older ever managed more than two seasons with at least 150 games: Brooks Robinson, Pete Rose and Mike Schmidt. To win games and sell tickets and sell advertising on their network, the Yankees need Rodriguez to be one of those outliers, to be in the lineup if not every day, pretty darn close to every day.

Great as he is, it's probably not reasonable to expect him to buck the odds that much. Not for nine more years, anyway.

11 Rich   ~  Mar 5, 2009 11:48 pm

[10] I don't have the time or the inclination to do an exhaustive study, but it does seem fairly obvious that a greater number of players are having longer, more effective careers than at any previous point in MLB history as a result of improved medical technology, the ability to stay in shape year round, improved diet, etc., so I'm not sure how insightful Verducci's comments really are.

12 monkeypants   ~  Mar 5, 2009 11:59 pm

[11] It's also fairly obvious that all-time great players tend to stay around longer, because they can still contribute as their skills diminish. That Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt are on that list bodes well for A-Rod, IMO.

13 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 6, 2009 12:02 am

Two things on the Verducci/age thing:

1) My essay in the Yankee chapter in Baseball Prospectus 2009 addresses the issue of the aging Yankees. They got a lot younger this offseason by replacing Giambi, Abreu, and Mussina with Teixeira, Swisher, and Sabathia. They have tons of young pitching on it's way. They have catchers in the low minors, Matsui and Damon will be gone after this season. The age issue in the long-term really boils down to Jeter and Rodriguez. But none of this is news to anyone who reads or comments here regularly.

2) Hasn't Rodriguez always been an outlier? I'm not disagreeing with Verducci, but if anyone's going to buck a trend, isn't it going to be an elite talent like Rodriguez? I mean, just look at the three names who have bucked it in the past

14 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 6, 2009 12:02 am

[10] Agreed..also, CC, Tex, Swisher, Melky/Gardner,Cano,Wang,Joba,Hughes..I see some youth here...A-Rod has been healthy his whole career, I'd still take 135 games of him rather than 155 of any other 3B (except David Wright)

15 tommyl   ~  Mar 6, 2009 12:26 am

Maybe Jose Reyes would agree to switch to 3B? ;)

16 thelarmis   ~  Mar 6, 2009 12:27 am

tex is going to be pitched very differently without alex behind him. the pressure might mount on him and his contract. NOT what we needed!

it truly is amazing how some star players and MAJOR organizations can be so careless in so many areas. : /

17 thelarmis   ~  Mar 6, 2009 12:29 am

i know it's meaningless, but i wonder if aramis ramirez will take over 3B in the WBC for the Dominican team...

if the bravos are out of it, we should get Chipper mid-season! i know, i know...

18 Raf   ~  Mar 6, 2009 12:36 am

I am also bothered by his comment, where he says that if they did an MRI on every player they had, they’d find a lot of things, but most aren’t serious.

Not sure what to expect. If Rodriguez says he is able to play through it, then why should Cashman force him to undergo surgery/treatment?

19 Rich   ~  Mar 6, 2009 12:47 am

[18] Unlike the other players, they had a baseline MRI that showed an "irregularity," so it would seem reasonable and prudent to do a follow up MRI after the season (not necessarily surgery or treatment, unless indicated) to determine if that irregularity had changed.

20 tommyl   ~  Mar 6, 2009 1:05 am

[19] Yes, that is precisely the point. If the choice was have surgery in October and likely be good to go at full strength by opening day, I think A-Rod would have elected to do surgery.

21 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 6, 2009 6:33 am

It's very, very easy to second guess the medical issue, but if Arod and the Yankee doctors didn't think a follow-up MRI was necessary, then I can't blame Cashman for not demanding one. He has enough on his plate without having to oversee the course of medical care. Having management types determine a course of treatment might work for HMOs, but I think most would agree that those decisions belong in the hands of doctors.

Maybe Hershon and his staff dropped the ball, but he is no longer the team physician, so I don't see the point in wringing our hands about what should have been done.

As for Arod, if the pain is tolerable (and he doesn't seem to have any now), I don't see why he can't play the whole season and have surgery, if needed, in the offseason. That's pretty much how Pujols has handled his elbow injury. It also reminds me of a story that Mike Schmidt always told about how a surgery he didn't have saved his career. Apparently, Schmidt was set to have major knee surgery before the 1974 season when the doctor asked him to get down in a three point stance and then run as fast as he could down the hall. After completing the task, the doctor told Schmidt, "you don't need this surgery now", and then Schmidt proceeded to have an MVP type season.

I like the fact that the doctors are going to run Alex through a series of baseball activity-related tests. If he checks out fine, there may not be a need to have surgery anytime soon.

Unfortunately, it seems to have taken the potential of a serious injury to remind everyone just as vital Arod is to this team (except the Daily News, who saw fit to call Arod a dope because he had the temerity to get injured). Then again, with Arod’s luck, the Yankees would probably definitely win the World Series if he missed the season.

22 Raf   ~  Mar 6, 2009 7:16 am

[19-20] If Cashman asks Rodriguez if he's ok, and Rodriguez says he is, why would Cashman force him to take an MRI? Especially in light of the fact that Rodriguez presumably worked out all offseason without incident and no problems with the hip.

23 rbj   ~  Mar 6, 2009 9:20 am

[22] Because you have $275 million invested in him, he's supposed to be at least one of, if not the drawing card for your new $1 billion stadium. You have to protect that investment.

Wouldn't being the fastest/youngest player to 500 homers indicate that there might be more stress on the body and thus more likely to suffer an injury?

If Alex is able to play through it and produce at his level, great. I'm not saying he has to have surgery, but it would at least be prudent for him & the Yankees to know what shape his body is in and what sort of injuries are potentially looming. Be proactive and not reactive.

24 Simone   ~  Mar 6, 2009 9:38 am

I'm furious about the Yankees' inaction. I can't believe that they were not overly cautious. This is a multi-milion dollar operation. How much do a couple more MRIs cost? They should have taken the extra step. Now I think that Alex should just have the surgery and get it over with. He should not suffer needlessly.

25 Raf   ~  Mar 6, 2009 10:15 am

[23] I ask again, if Cashman calls him up and asks him if he's ok, if Rodriguez says that he's ok, and that he can play with the discomfort, then what's the problem? If the opinion is that he didn't need surgery, then what's the problem?

Apparently he played with it last season, he worked out with it during the offseason, and was playing up until a couple of days ago with it.

As for "protecting the investment," he's a baseball player. Anything can happen at any time. The team can only do so much. Once again, if he says he's ok, and the doctors say that it's possible that he can play with the condition.

On top of that, you don't think Rodriguez can say on his own, "um, Cashman, my hip is really bothering me, I think I'll take an MRI and see what's up." You don't think his agent, or anyone else associated with him would say something about his hip acting up?

26 Rich   ~  Mar 6, 2009 10:18 am

[22] In addition to the cost/benefit aspect that [23] discussed, Girardi has acknowledged that they were aware of a problem last season:

Girardi said Rodriguez battled nagging issues with his hip last season, and began feeling stiffness again even before the Yankees started playing exhibition games this spring.

Long has said that the problem affected his swing:

Kevin Long, the Yankees’ hitting coach, said he knew Rodriguez had a hip problem last June or July. Long noticed subtle changes in Rodriguez’s hitting, notably in his right foot, the back one in his stance.

The foot was not pivoting fully, Long said, and as a result, Rodriguez could not fully turn his waist and clear his hips. This caused his bat to drag and prevented him from driving through the ball and generating maximum power.

Taken together with fact that the Yankees have said the first MRI showed an irregularity:

Rodriguez, the highest-paid player in baseball, did not have another M.R.I. on his hip during or after the season. Cashman said the irregularity on Rodriguez’s M.R.I. was an insufficient reason to pursue additional testing.

I don't think it's unreasonable to conclude that the benefit of performing a second MRI to assess whether or not there was a change would have the most prudent course of action given the available facts and their overwhelming investment.

27 Raf   ~  Mar 6, 2009 10:37 am

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude that the benefit of performing a second MRI to assess whether or not there was a change would have the most prudent course of action given the available facts and their overwhelming investment.

It also isn't unreasonable for the GM to ask Rodriguez if he was ok, and "keep us posted if anything is wrong." Rodriguez is not a child.

28 Rich   ~  Mar 6, 2009 10:51 am

[27] How many times have you heard about athletes who want to continue to play even when there is a medical test that reveals a serious or semi-serious injury? I have heard about it numerous times. That doesn't make an athlete a child, it makes them a warrior.

That's why you make your assessments based on observable facts, i.e., an irregularity in an MRI (which can serve a baseline), a report of continuing soreness, and a change in his batting stance.

The cost of another MRI is around $1000-$2000. That's a very small price to pay for going the extra mile to gain a little peace of mind, or a heads up that there might been a deteriorating underlying condition.

29 Raf   ~  Mar 6, 2009 10:56 am

How many times have you heard about athletes who want to continue to play even when there is a medical test that reveals a serious or semi-serious injury?

About as many times as I've heard athletes who elect to have surgery during a season.

30 rbj   ~  Mar 6, 2009 11:07 am

[25] My only point is that the Yankees should have been a bit more proactive in this. Even though A-Rod said he was ok, there's no pain, wouldn't you want to double check? What's wrong with getting some more information? I'd certainly want to know what potential issues might be affecting my #4 hitter. This isn't Igawa here.

31 Raf   ~  Mar 6, 2009 2:47 pm

[30] And my point is that a person can only do so much. Whether it's a superstar or the last man on the bench, a GM is not going to press the issue unless a player says something. If Rodriguez was constantly complaining, going to the trainers, etc, if this injury was impacting his play, and the team did nothing, fine, have at it. That wasn't the case here.

32 Rich   ~  Mar 6, 2009 8:38 pm

[29] So, at lot...

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