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News of the Day – 3/20/09

Let’s get right to it ….

  • Chien-Ming Wang has been getting some pitching advice from . . . A.J. Burnett?:

One of the points that Burnett has stressed to Wang since arriving in camp has been the urgency of developing his other pitches, playing off a bowling-ball sinker that has been regarded as one of the league’s best.

The suggestion is not a new one for Wang, who was tinkering with his offspeed pitches leading up to a season-ending injury last season. But hearing it from a power pitcher like Burnett may ratchet up the intensity of the message.

“A.J. told me a lot about changing speeds,” Wang said. “More changeups, more sliders.”

As the days of Spring Training begin to wane, Wang is making a conscious effort to mix in more variety. Though Burnett wasn’t in the ballpark on Wednesday — remaining behind with the Yankees in Tampa, Fla. — credit him with a long-distance assist.

  • BaseballProspectus.com has their Team Health Report for the Yankees posted, and as you can expect, BP’s injury database system has lots of “reds” and “yellows” scattered throughout the Bomber’s lineup. A-Rod was a “green” . . . here’s his write-up:

Injuries can happen to even the least risky of players. The hip problem was undervalued by the system since he played through it, leaving him green when we ran the rankings in late January. He’s had the ‘hybrid’ surgery now, and while he’ll miss some time at the beginning of the season, there are no comps at all for how he’ll come back, or even when. The prognosis is solid . . . The interesting thing here is that PECOTA catches a comparison of Rodriguez and Henry Aaron, who had a “down” season at a similar age. (Anyone remember why?) One last thing to keep in mind, since we’ve discussed it already, is the “iron man syndrome” we hinted at with Damon and Matsui; Rodriguez hit the DL last year with a bad quad, and now he’ll begin this season on the DL with the hip. Will this be the new norm for him? . . .

Hideki Matsui still hasn’t put his surgically repaired left knee to the full test, saying instead that he is slowly but surely building up steam as he runs the bases.

The 34-year-old slugger enjoyed a well-deserved break on Wednesday, resting after becoming the first Yankee to play in four consecutive games this spring. Driving the baseball and feeling no pain, Matsui is even more encouraged that he will be able to return as a productive player.

“I think it should be fine,” Matsui said through an interpreter. “As long as I don’t have any setbacks and I don’t have any huge problems with my knees, it’s not something that I’m concerned about.”

  • Matsui may be getting healthy, but Newsday points out his full-time DH status limits Girardi’s line-up flexibility.
  • Tyler Kepner speaks to Ray Negron about his latest Yankee-influenced children’s book:

A bat boy named Ray is the central figure in all three of Negron’s books, the latest of which was released on Tuesday. The co-stars of the others were children stricken with illness, but Steinbrenner shares the lead role this time.

Steinbrenner comforts Ray the bat boy, who cries upon learning that the old ballpark is closing and stages a final game for the Stadium’s ghosts. The emotions were similar for the character’s inspiration.

“It’s my way of being able to finally walk away,” Negron said. “It’s very, very personal.”

  • MLB.com is running something called “Moniker Madness”, enabling fans the opportunity to select from the 64 best real minor leaguer names, like Bear Hill and Rocky Roquet.
  • Paul Mirabella turns 55 today.  Mirabella got into 10 games with the Bombers in ’79, to the tune of 0-4, 8.79 ERA.  He was included in two of the more memorable Yankee trades of the late 70s.  In 1978, he was sent by the Rangers to the Yanks along with Greg Jemison (minors), Juan Beniquez, Mike Griffin, and a youngster named Dave Righetti in exchange for Domingo Ramos, Mike Heath, “Bronx Zoo” author Sparky Lyle, Larry McCall, Dave Rajsich, and cash. After the ’79 season, the Yankees traded him, along with the well-liked Chris Chambliss, and Damaso Garcia, to the Blue Jays for Tom Underwood, Rick Cerone, and Ted Wilborn.
  • Steve Blateric (who? . . . he pitched in one game for the ’72 Yanks) turns 65 today.
  • On this date in 1961, the Yankees formally announce they will oppose any plan that would enable the new National League expansion franchise to use Yankee Stadium. This decision leaves the old Polo Grounds as the only viable option for the new team, the New York Mets.
  • On this date in 2006, two-time All-Star Al Leiter announces his retirement after a 19-season career.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 20, 2009 8:47 am

Big newsflash from Newsday on Matsui clogging up the DH slot. Why is everyone acting like this is news? Matsui played 24 games in the field last year versus 66 at DH and is now coming off an additional knee surgery.

Meanwhile, good stuff from Brad Wochomurka on the Team Health Report.

2 tommyl   ~  Mar 20, 2009 8:57 am

[1] Good stuff but somewhat worrying. Nearly every key player is red or yellow. That does not bode well. At least we finally have some pitching depth in both the rotation and pen this year.

3 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 20, 2009 9:24 am


The only "greens" were Cano, Cabrera and Sabathia, as I recall ....

4 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 20, 2009 9:30 am

And Teixeira. (well, Rodriguez too, but that didn't work out)

This is why I was so insistent on the Yankees signing Teixeira, everything he is is something they needed: young, big bat, great glove, healthy, first baseman.

Take Tex out of the lineup, out of the health report, out of the defensive analysis, out of the team's average age, each of those things gets ugly fast.

5 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 20, 2009 9:46 am

If anyone is a season ticket holder, the Yankees are holding their pre-sale right now. Opening Day seems sold out, but the exhibitions against the Cubs are still available.

6 Rich   ~  Mar 20, 2009 10:11 am

Will this be the new norm for him? . . .


This was another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

7 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 20, 2009 10:12 am

well I'm just back from the presale, that took about 5 years off my life and the life of my Visa

8 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 20, 2009 10:13 am

[7] What'd you get?

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 20, 2009 10:22 am

well I'm a jilted partial plan holder, so my seatmates and I built a 12 game midweek plan through the presale and anything that was face value on stubhub. There's 3 of us so we each got 3 tickets to 4 games.

all told we got:
Opening Day
4/20 vs Oak
4/30 vs Ana
5/7 vs TB
5/19 vs Bal
6/3 vs Tex
6/17 vs Was
7/2 vs Sea
7/21 vs Bal
8/10 vs Tor
9/8 vs TB
9/28 vs KC

per person it came to about what we paid last year. I figure I'll probably end up with tickets to a couple of Boston or Mets games during the course of the year, someone always seems to have an extra.

10 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 20, 2009 10:26 am

[9] Not a bad idea, especially because the partial plans aren't guaranteed playoffs anyway.

One thing I noticed is that the prices seemed to change based on the dates, even though the Yankees don't list variable pricing or discount promotions on the website. For example, I bought 6 bleacher seats to the 6/17 game against the Nats and the seats were $5 each (and they are in 236, which is far from the obstruction).

11 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 20, 2009 10:27 am

It was also pretty cool to order 4 grandstand tickets to the Cubs game for a total charge of $7.65.

12 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 20, 2009 10:32 am

yeah we all had no idea about the $5 games until today, it was a nice little surprise for some of the games obviously.

we just got sick of waiting around for the Yankees to finally send us a letter that our plan was now on a "waiting list" or offer us something completely out of our price range after hearing nothing for months. I think we keep our seniority/account # regardless, so we'd be eligible for postseason pre-onsale and whatnot. All's well that end's well.

I was thinking about going for the Cubs games, but I'm corny. I want opening day to be the first time I set foot in the place.

13 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 20, 2009 10:34 am

[12] I couldn't get an Opening Day tickets (at least not yet)..or at least not at the available price when I got through. Right now, if you want to pay $800, singles are available...just in case anyone else is interested.

14 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 20, 2009 10:38 am

I tried for them first thing, I was shocked how quickly 2 seats in the LF bleachers (236 I believe) came up.

15 MichiganYankee   ~  Mar 20, 2009 10:47 am

Considering that Pavano accounted for nearly a third of lost $31 million last year, I'm not sure how Carroll came up with the "negative trend."

It's tough to compare A-Rod to Matsui vis-a-vis the "iron man syndrome." Matsui is a big guy who roamed center field every day for 10 years on artificial turf. While the wrist injury was a fluke, the knees were bound to go. A-Rod does not carry such a red flag.

16 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 20, 2009 11:07 am

I got the only thing I wanted: some choice field box seats to the first game against the Cubs, third base side in line with the RF foul line about half way up the field level: $50 each (normally $325 seats).

I'll be able to say I was at the last game at Yankee Stadium and the first game at the new stadium. As for the rest of it, I'll wait for the market correction to come and/or satisfy myself with HDTV.

17 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 20, 2009 11:30 am

[16] That was my goal too (be at the last and first)...I got 4 $1.10 seats to the Friday game and bought probably a very similar seat to the Saturday exhibition because I likely wont be seating in those seats very often.

On the whole, I spent less money than last year for the same amount of tickets that I normally get (about 20 games when combined with my Firday plan). I know the horror stories are out there, but my experience with the New Stadium has been very pleasant (at least to this point).

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