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Yankees 4, Tigers 3

Posted By Cliff Corcoran On March 21, 2009 @ 6:17 pm In Cliff Corcoran | Comments Disabled

In a see-saw game, the Yankees beat the Tigers 4-3 [1] for their ninth-straight victory.

Lineup:

S – Melky Cabrera (CF)
L – Johnny Damon (LF)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
L – Hideki Matsui (DH)
R – Xavier Nady (RF)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
R – Cody Ransom (3B)
R – Jose Molina (C)
R – Angel Berroa (SS)

Subs: Juan Miranda (1B), Doug Bernier (2B), Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Justin Leone (3B), Francisco Cervelli (C), Todd Linden (RF), Brett Gardner (CF), John Rodriguez (LF), Shelley Duncan (DH)

Pitchers: Joba Chamberlain, Jonathan Albaladejo, Mariano Rivera, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, Zach Kroenke

Big Hits:

Juan Miranda hit a two-run homer in his only at-bat. Melky Cabrera went 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base. Mark Teixeira (1-for-2, BB), Johnny Damon (1-for-3), and Francisco Cervelli (1-for-1) all doubled.

Who Pitched Well:

Joba Chamberlain struck out five in 3 1/3 innings, walked no one, and allowed just one run on a quartet of singles. Returned Rule 5 pick (from the Marlins), Zach Kroenke pitched a perfect ninth inning. Mariano Rivera struck out two while pitching around a single for a scorless fifth inning.

Who Didn’t:

Edwar Ramirez vultured the win by giving up a run on two hits and a walk in the seventh to blow a 2-1 lead. The Yankees then scored two in the bottom of the seventh, and Jose Veras gave one right back in the top of the eighth on a solo home run by first-base prospect Jeff Larish.

Battles:

Melky Cabrera had a good day as the only Yankee with a multiple-hit day, going 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base. Brett Gardner then singled in his only at-bat in relief of Cabrera. Xavier Nady went 0-for-3 and left four runners on base. Angel Berroa went 1-for-3 and is still hitting over .400 (.409 to be exact in official spring games).

Jonathan Albaladejo allowed three singles in just 1 2/3 innings, but didn’t allow any of those runners to score, dropping his official spring ERA to 1.08. Edwar Ramirez and Jose Veras didn’t help their causes, but didn’t do themselves all that much harm either. Steven Jackson was optioned to Triple-A.

Cuts:

There have been a bunch over the last day or two, the most notable being Phil Hughes. Due to the Yankees’ flurry of offseason activity, the rotation is full, and with CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and Joba Chamberlain pitching deeper into games now that we’re just two weeks from Opening Day, Hughes had to go to minor league camp to continue the fine work he’s been doing this spring. His spring line, including his start against the USA’s WBC team, was 15 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 HR, 7 BB, 10 K, 3 HBP, 0.93 WHIP, 3.00 ERA. His strikeout and walk rates aren’t quite in the right place, but he was nonetheless impressive, showing good command of all of his pitches, rediscovering his groundball tendencies, and busting lefties under the hands (thus those three HBPs). Brian Cashman has said he’ll be the first man called upon in the event of an injury to one of the other five starters, and if Hughes can build on what he’s done since returning from his broken rib last year (including ditching his slider for a very effective cut fastball, a solid Arizona Fall League performance, and his good work this spring), he’s a shoo-in to take Andy Pettitte’s spot in the rotation next year.

Others: Francisco Cervelli, Anthony Claggett, Steven Jackson, Humberto Sanchez, Sergio Mitre, Jason Johnson.

Jackson was a longshot candidate for the underside of the bullpen. He pitched well (2.57 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 6K, 1 BB in 7 IP), but everyone already ahead of him pitched as well or better. Claggett, who finished 2008 in Double-A, was not a candidate for the bullpen, but got everyone’s attention with a 1.13 spring ERA and 0.65 WHIP. Add him to the list of potential in-season replacements as he’s headed for Triple-A to start the year. Mitre is coming off Tommy John surgery. Sanchez is to, in a way, and didn’t pitch this spring due to tightness in his right forearm and is ticketted for Double-A. Johnson endured treatments for optical cancer and managed to throw 2 3/3 fairly effective innings, but really never should have been in camp to start with, and was rendered irrelevant by Brett Tomko’s success.

As for Cervelli, he went 4-for-19 with a double and a walk between Yankee camp and playing for Italy in the WBC. Having finally gotten a look at Cervelli between his cup of coffee last September and his work this spring, I fear he’s going to be yet another solid defensive catcher who can’t hit in the majors. The good news is he’s just 23 and will now get to have the season in Double-A he missed last year. Give him that year to work on his hitting and check back in on him in September.


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[1] 4-3: http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/news/boxscore.jsp?gid=2009_03_21_detmlb_nyamlb_1

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