Today’s news is powered by a guy who built a wiffle ball field in his own backyard . . .
- Notes from Joe Girardi:
- Alex Rodriguez is making progress in his rehab program after right hip surgery, but is unlikely to rejoin the team before it breaks spring training camp on April 1.
- If the regular season were under way, Xavier Nady would be the starting right fielder over Nick Swisher.
- More on the Nady/Swisher battle:
Nady, 30, was not impressed by his own performance this spring, hitting .256 with one homer and six RBIs in 43 at-bats through Monday. He said that he never viewed his situation as a competition.
“I still had the same mind-set going in, to try and get ready for the season,” Nady said. “I know Swisher is obviously going to be a big part of this team. We both plan on playing a lot, and I think we’re going to need everybody in order to have success.”
Swisher now projects as a reserve outfielder and first baseman for the Yankees as he attempts to rebound from a troublesome 2008 season with the White Sox.The 28-year-old is hitting .257 with no homers and eight RBIs in 35 spring at-bats through Monday.
“They wouldn’t have brought me over here if I wasn’t going to do something,” Swisher said. “We’re just going to see how it goes.”
- Will Carroll believes that A-Rod may be ready by May 1.
- Ken Rosenthal addresses one of the elephants in the Yankees clubhouse . . . how to handle the decline phase of Derek Jeter:
Scouts, however, have been buzzing all spring about Ramiro Pena, 23, and Eduardo Nunez, 21, both of whom have received increased exposure with Jeter participating in the World Baseball Classic.
Pena spent last season at Class AA, Nunez at Class A.
“They’re two of the better young kids I’ve seen … two legitimate core players for the future,” one scout says. “They’re not that far from being major-league ready — they have some tools and they know how to play.”
Will they hit?
“Their offense will not keep them from playing — they have at least survivor skills with the bat,” the scout says. “I enjoy watching them. They’re exciting players. They bring a lot of energy.”
As for Jeter, one problem with moving him off short would be finding him a new position. Center field would appear to be his most logical destination, considering that the Yankees are set long-term at first, second and third.
- Chien-Ming Wang will most likely get the starting nod in the first of two exhibition games against the Cubs in the new stadium.
- Here’s the lowdown on the food/concession choices at the new stadium, along with a snippet of the press release:
Concessions have been designed with the fan in mind. With 25 permanent concessions stands and 112 portable locations, lines will be shorter and fans can return sooner to their seats to enjoy the game. The point-of-sale ratio for fans has increased by over 50% from the original Stadium. Moreover, no matter where fans are in the Stadium, they will be able to keep in touch with the game. Open concourses throughout the Stadium will allow continuous viewing of the action on the field while at concession stands. Further, hundreds of state-of-the-art high-definition video monitors placed at concession stands and in dining areas will carry the live broadcast of the game. Credit cards (Mastercard, American Express and Visa) will be accepted at all stands and, for the first time, at all carts. Great locations to purchase food and drink include the Food Court on the third-base side of the Field Level, the Main Level Beer Garden and the Bleachers Café in center field.
- Steve Karsay turns 37 today.
- On this date in 1933, Babe Ruth, another victim of the Great Depression, takes a pay cut of $23,000 from his previous salary of $75,000.
- On this date in 1996, at Tampa’s Legends Field, Yankees infielder Tony Fernandez fractures his right elbow in a game against the Astros, and is placed on the 60-day disabled list.
[My take: . . . and thus was born the career of Derek Sanderson Jeter.]
- And finally, it took 2 and 3/4 hours, but 20 owners drafted a total of 420 players in the inaugural Banter Battle fantasy baseball league draft. Carl Pavano was drafted . . . willingly. Ken Griffey, Jr. was not. Many Yankees were taken, including Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. Brett Gardner was drafted, Melky Cabrera was not. Cody Ransom went undrafted. All you need to know about the proceedings is that if you let Yahoo pick your team for you, you were apt to get some duds. One team was given Pat Neshek (out for season after Tommy John surgery) and Curt Schilling in consecutive rounds. With 20 owners/teams, the talent sure got pretty thin in the later rounds, but most owners agreed they preferred this to “all-star” leagues. Play ball!