"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Yankees 7, Red Sox 1

This game was far closer than it looked. The two teams were held scoreless on just three combined hits through five innings and heading into the bottom of the eighth, it was tied 1-1. The Yankees then broke it wide open, a grand slam by Austin Jackson doing the heavy lifting. Thus the 7-1 final.


L – Johnny Damon (LF)
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
L – Hideki Matsui (DH)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
R – Xavier Nady (RF)
R – Cody Ransom (3B)
L – Brett Gardner (CF)

That looks a lot like the Opening Day lineup.

Subs: Shelley Duncan (1B), Doug Bernier (2B), Ramiro Peña (SS), Angel Berroa (3B), P.J. Pilittere (C), Todd Linden (RF), Melky Cabrera (CF), Austin Jackson (LF), Eduardo Nuñez (DH)

Pitchers: A.J. Burnett, Jonathan Albaladejo, Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte, Edwar Ramirez

Opponent: The Red Sox’s B-team.

Big Hits:

Brett Gardner (1-for-2) tripled off Jacoby Ellsbury’s glove in center, setting up the first Yankee run. Angel Berroa (1-for-1) broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI double. Austin Jackson (1-for-1) crushed a Devern Hansack pitch over the left-field foul pole for a game-breaking grand slam.

Who Pitched Well:

A.J. Burnett dominated for five innings, allowing just one hit and issuing one walk while holding the Red Sox scoreless. In the sixth he allowed an infield hit and hit a batter before giving up an RBI single to David Ortiz. He then walked a man and was pulled after 81 pitches (he had been scheduled to throw 75). Jonathan Albaladejo came in with two outs and the bases loaded and got Rocco Baldelli to ground into a force out to end the inning. Mariano Rivera was perfect again, striking out two in the seventh. Edwar Ramirez, who is no longer wearing his prescription goggles, pitched around a single and struck out two in a scoreless inning and a third.

Who Didn’t:

Damaso Marte allowed a walk and a single and committed an error in the eighth while recording just two outs.


Brett Gardner created the first Yankee run by himself by turning a misplay by Jacoby Ellsbury into a triple, then scoring ahead of the throw home on a groundout to first base that didn’t leave the infield grass. Melky Cabrera walked in his only plate appearance. Ramiro Peña was credited with an infield hit on an attempted sacrifice bunt on which the Red Sox’s pitcher flattened the first baseman as he attempted to field the ball. Angel Berroa delivered a tie-breaking RBI double in his only at-bat. Jonathan Albaladejo retired the only man he faced to escape the bases-loaded, two-out jam he was brough into. Edwar Ramirez has likely firmed up his bullpen spot as he’s struck out six against just one walk and no homers in 5 1/3 spring innings, posting a 1.69 ERA, though Alabaladejo and David Robertson‘s spring stats are even better. If it were me, I’d take Robertson, Albaladejo, and Coke, and make Edwar and Jose Veras battle it out for the last spot. Instead, we’re likely to see Ramirez, Veras, Brett Tomko, and Coke head north, though Tomko’s non-roster status and the Yankees additional need to make room for a non-roster infielder could save us from that decision.


Juan Miranda, who could be the player dropped to make room for a non-roster player, was optioned to Triple-A. Austin Jackson and Eduardo Nuñez were reassigned to minor league camp. Nuñez will head to Double-A where he’ll try to prove he can hit, though he never has before. Jackson will be the starting center fielder in Scranton. Should Gardner and Cabrera fall on their faces, Jackson could be given a shot at the major league job mid-year, but I expect he’ll be a September call-up and will battle (and likely defeat) the incumbent for the major league job in camp next year. He’s just 22, so I wouldn’t mind seeing things play out that way as he could use a full year at Triple-A.


Jorge Posada threw out Jacoby Ellsbury stealing last night. It wasn’t a perfect throw. Derek Jeter had to make a leaping swipe tag to get Ellsbury on the helmet (which he missed, by the way, but Jeter got the call). Still, Posada reported no discomfort afterwords and the throw was fast, strong, and straight, if a bit off-target. Phil Coke, who has been out due to a bruise suffered when a combacker hit him in the leg, is scheduled to pitch tomorrow.

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1 tommyl   ~  Mar 25, 2009 2:42 pm

I really, really hope Brett gets the nod at CF, at least to start the season. The kid has done everything you could ask for, showing good OBP skills, some decent power, great baserunning and some really nice fielding. I obviously don't think he's gonna OPS over 1.000 over a reasonable sample size, but it likely beats watching Melky circle his way towards balls and fail to bunt for the umpteenth time.

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 25, 2009 2:48 pm


3 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 25, 2009 3:11 pm

Who knows...maybe competition would bring out the best in them. If so, Girardi could always go with a platoon early on and see if someone commands the full-time job.

4 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 25, 2009 3:16 pm

A platoon doesn't work. Melky can't hit from the right side, so they're both essentially lefties, except Gardner does everything but throw better than Melky. You can ride the hot hand in some sort of job share, but you can't platoon them.

5 a.O   ~  Mar 25, 2009 3:25 pm

Rosenthal says the White Sox are interested in the Melk Man. Sure would be good to let him start the season over on the South Side, get a little something in return, and free up some ABs for The Swish.

6 tommyl   ~  Mar 25, 2009 3:27 pm

[3] More importantly, I think Gardner has earned a shot. Melky has had the better part of three full seasons to cement his job. That's a large sample size and he hasn't earned the job at this point. Gardner deserves a chance at it, and the level and amount of work he's put in are really all you could ask for.

7 tommyl   ~  Mar 25, 2009 3:28 pm

[5] Who could they get back?

8 a.O   ~  Mar 25, 2009 3:36 pm

[6] Exactly.

[7] Dunno. The story is on the Fox site.

9 rbj   ~  Mar 25, 2009 3:45 pm

[8] Do the W.S. have any catching prospects? My worry is that if the Yankees trade Melky away, Brett will come back down to earth, hard. I'd like to see a half season of Brett, just to be sure.

I got home last night just in time to watch the 8th inning. Even in ST it feels good to beat Boston.

10 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 25, 2009 3:50 pm

Well, the Yankees did just get Chris Stewart from the Chisox for "future considerations" . . .

I'm kidding, of course.

Here's an idea: trade Melky, sign freaking Jim "I'm still a free agent, you know" Edmonds.

11 PJ   ~  Mar 25, 2009 4:00 pm

What exactly is Austin Jackson going to have to do in ST in order to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster, really? He was clearly the second best outfielder in camp to Gardner. I absolutely hate the idea of waiting on Nady and Swisher to produce as Jackson languishes in AAA ball this April if this ST is any indication at all of what we're dealing with in terms of quality from these players. Why am I'm suddenly reminded of similar waits on Jason Giambi to "return to form"... for years... and years... that never came...

12 a.O   ~  Mar 25, 2009 4:02 pm

[11] There is way too much veteran worship going on with the Yankees. This is what I always hated about Sweet Lou and Mr T to a lesser extent.

13 tommyl   ~  Mar 25, 2009 4:06 pm

[9] The question is how much more is Melky going to give you though? Last year he was well below replacement level. If Brett tanked would Melky be that much of an upgrade? Or could we get by for a bit of time with a platoon of Damon/Swisher till a stopgap could be gotten? I guess it all depends on what the ChiSox offer in return. If its a good prospect playing certain positions (SS/2B/C etc.) then it might be worth the risk.

14 tommyl   ~  Mar 25, 2009 4:12 pm

[11] Ajax needs some time in AAA, possibly even a full year. ST is not the greatest predictor, especially in his case, since most of his ABs came late in games against minor league or fringe pitchers. He hasn't played more than a handful of games above AA. Rushing him now would impede his development, hell, the kid even said so himself.

15 MichiganYankee   ~  Mar 25, 2009 4:12 pm

[11] Jackson got most of his at bats late in games against minor league pitchers. His numbers last year in Trenton and AFL indicate that he is still a year away.

Shouldn't Miranda have some trade value? Doesn't someone have room for a platoon 1B or DH on the major league roster? At 400K/year, he's an expensive farmhand, but he's a cheap major leaguer.

I like the idea of trading Melky. If Melky had performed better in ST, I would have given him the starting job, since Gardner has much better bench value. With Gardner presenting himself as the far superior starting option, Melky becomes a useless fifth outfielder.

16 Bum Rush   ~  Mar 25, 2009 4:33 pm

@ 10

Torre ruined Cashman. Never sign a veteran when you have youth that might do the job.

@ 11

How about he gets a half a year in AAA first? Go and look at how they handled Melky. They rushed him. How'd that turn out again?

17 Mr. Max   ~  Mar 25, 2009 4:38 pm

See this:


I am curious who they remove if they make room for Berroa/Pena and/or Tomko. I can see dropping Geise for Tomko, but is Miranda really the other choice? He had a solid year at AAA, and is platoon-ready for MLB. He's also signed to a "major-league" contract, and costs an average of 500k a year, though I don't know the year-by-year break down. Can he be removed from the 40-man like anyone else? Would Cashman remove a pitcher for a position player, and if so which one?

18 Mr. Max   ~  Mar 25, 2009 4:39 pm


Melky was probably ready. I remember Kevin Long singing his praises with the bat when K Long was the AAA coach.

19 MichiganYankee   ~  Mar 25, 2009 4:58 pm

[17] Miranda will make .4M in 2009 and .4M in 2010 no matter where he is (on major league roster, optioned to minor, off 40-man -- actually Cot's Contracts says "$0.375M in salary guaranteed each year," so maybe that's for the "off 40-man" case). Since .4M is the major league minimum, a team that has room for him is getting him cheap.

20 ny2ca2dc   ~  Mar 25, 2009 4:58 pm

I hear the ChiSox have this dude named Wilson Betemit, he might be nice to have around if ARod ever goes down.

21 Bum Rush   ~  Mar 25, 2009 6:25 pm

Seriously, that's pretty funny. I mean no one objected to that deal when it was made, but watch Betemit start strong while Swisher rides the bench...

22 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 25, 2009 9:40 pm

last WBC-related note for those interested..just to show that what is not a real game to some is REALLY important to others..this link has two photos from the press conference when Team Japan came home..very formal, serious business here. The medal was for Murata, injured third basemen. Followed by lots of heartfelt sentimentalizing about finding the "winning spirit" and "fighting through adversity"..


23 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 25, 2009 9:47 pm

[20] btw, is Hawk Harrelson still anndoucing for the ChiSox? or is "he gone!"?? I like the Sox because of Ozzie, talks so much but gets the job done, they are always competitive.

24 monkeypants   ~  Mar 25, 2009 10:19 pm

[23] By "always" competitive, presumably you exclude the 72 win, fourth place campaign of 2007?

25 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 25, 2009 10:34 pm

[24]99,90 & 89 wins in 3 out of 4 years is quite good..so how about "mostly" competitive? Also, I'd love to have Ozzie interacting daily with the NYC press..great hilarity to ensue no doubt

26 PJ   ~  Mar 26, 2009 1:10 am

[14] [15] I'll grant you both that Jackson did not face much front line pitching this spring if any at all (see also Berroa), but both Nady and Swisher did, and quite badly I might add. So what's your point? Clearly Austin's defense, speed, and arm are all vastly superior to the two veteran options, and since Alex is going to be out for a time, defense will be at a premium in order to maximize our pitchers' efforts, like during the post season. If they go with the hot hand with Berroa, why not go with Jackson too, if for no other reasons than for defense and for him to get a look at how much quicker everything happens at the major league level while he's hot and not expecting the promotion? I'd like to see Nady and Swisher prove they can hit .300 plus in the minors before wasting valuable time on them in April, trying in vain to "come around" like Giambi. Oh well, they will learn one day. I just hope to God they don't make the same mistake with Jackson that they made with Navarro. Wasn't he supposed to be Posada's replacement? Do you think he's ready now? Oh wait... whoopsie! Never mind...

[16] They brought Melky up out of necessity in '05 for a six-game cup of coffee, in the middle of a pennant race, because Bernie got hurt and really couldn't play in the outfield any more. At the time he was batting third for the Clippers and hitting over .300, if I recall correctly. I would argue that had he started the year with the big club, he would not have turned Trot Nixon's line out into an inside the park HR because up until that game, he had never played in a multi-level stadium before. He would go on to lead all major league left fielders in assists during his rookie year in '06. He's no worse for the wear of being sent down last year if his spring is any indication of his progress. That's what's supposed to happen to major leaguers who struggle! After all, they sent down Mantle too... "How’d that turn out again?"


27 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 7:09 am

[26] since Alex is going to be out for a time, defense will be at a premium in order to maximize our pitchers’ efforts, like during the post season.

Couldn't you turn this argument on its head: since A-Rod will be out, offense will be at a premium, so it will be better to pack the roster with the best offensive options until he returns?

28 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 8:05 am

[4] I disagree. For starters, at 23, I am not ready to say flat out that Melky can't hit righthanded. When Bernie Williams was 24, he had an .OPS of .645 batting left handed. It's a good thing no one made such a definitive declaration about him.

Who knows...if Melky only focuses on the right side, maybe he could improve enough to be the effective half of a platoon. Also, I think an element of competition could drive both men to play a notch better. Unless someone takes the job by playing great, I wouldn't mind seeing a platoon.

[27] I think you can go either way...the bottom line is that with Arod out, you need to make up value somewhere. It really doesn't matter if it is with the glove or the bat.

29 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 8:31 am

[28] I agree, but isn't always the case that you should try to get the best value on the field, offense and defense combined? If Jackson offers added value over Nady or Swisher, then he should be on the roster regardless of A-Rod's injury. If not, he should develop in AAA.

Whatever the case, it is flawed reasoning (in my mind) to assume that with A-Rod the team has reached some threshold level of "enough offense" or that without him the team then needs to focus only on defense and pitching and become a modern day version of the '85 Cardinals.

30 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 8:41 am

[29] Of course...overall value trumps dominance on one side of the field. I was referring more to the notion of going with Ransom (whom I think is excellent with the glove) as a fill in as opposed to a Wigginton-type who might give you an OPS+ over 100, but be brutal with the glove. I definitely agree with you, however, that the Yankee lineup is not at the point where added offense would contribute a declining rate of marginal utility.

As for AJax, I think he could use "more seasoning", and if he was promoted, I don't think it would be to takeover from Nady/Swisher. Great peril exists in reading too much into Spring stats...just take a look at Darren Reed, who seemed to hit over .400 in every spring.

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