Today’s news is powered by “how a baseball bat is made”:
- Brian Cashman references a peripheral, Sabermetric stat!:
For instance, in the decision to acquire Nick Swisher despite a .219 average for the White Sox last year, stats like line-drive percentage and pitches taken were used. “The only stat that was different was batting average when he put the ball in play,” Cashman said, “so we concluded it must have been an unlucky year.”
[My take: Pass the smelling salts . . . a GM quoting BABIP, and interpreting it correctly! Don’t let Joe Morgan know about this!]
- Chien-Ming Wang goes on the DL:
The Yankees placed Chien-Ming Wang on the 15-day disabled list on Friday after the struggling right-hander was diagnosed with weakness in the adductor muscles of both hips. . . .
The weakness is a kinetic effect of Wang’s right foot injury — a Lisfranc fracture suffered last June 15 — and may be directly responsible for the 34.50 ERA Wang posted in three big league starts this year.
Cashman said that Wang will remain in Tampa to undergo a week to 10 days of physical therapy on his hips to help build the lacking power. Asked when the Yankees might see Wang at the big league level again, Cashman responded, “I don’t know.”
“I know it’s a minimum of 10 days to two weeks of physical therapy on the hips, and the fact that he’s a pitcher, after that, who knows?” Cashman said. “He’ll be able to throw to some degree, I believe, while that’s going on. The main issue is to get those hips taken care of and get him back on line, because they’ve gotten off line.”
- Yahoo!Sports’ Gordon Edes plays out what might have happened had Alex Rodriguez been able to join the Red Sox back in ’04:
And then came the 24 hours that shocked the baseball world: Epstein secretly slipping away from the winter meetings in New Orleans for a hush-hush meeting at the Four Seasons in New York with Rodriguez, who at 1:30 a.m. answered the door of his suite impeccably dressed in a suit, his hair freshly moussed. Before dawn Rodriguez agreed, in exchange for a couple of player options inserted in his contract, to give up millions to escape the purgatory of the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez even pledged to send some under-the-table money back to Rangers owner Tom Hicks to make the deal work.
That morning, after some hard bargaining, players’ union lawyer Gene Orza signed off on the deal, and a day later at a hastily called press conference in the .406 club at Fenway Park, Epstein announced that the club had acquired Rodriguez for outfielder Manny Ramirez, who had worn out the club with his trade demands, and a left-handed pitching prospect named Jon Lester.
Then Epstein leaned into the microphone to announce the second part of his bombshell: Nomar Garciaparra, the incumbent shortstop who had interrupted his honeymoon to call a Boston sports-talk show and complain about the A-Rod rumors, had been traded to the White Sox for outfielder Magglio Ordonez and a pitching prospect Brandon McCarthy.
A-Rod was fretting about how Nomar would handle him being on the same team until Epstein told him about the trade for Ordonez. A-Rod’s eyes got as big as silver dollars. Ordonez was one of his best friends. “You don’t understand,” he’d told Epstein. “Magglio and I are tight. We work out all winter together. I taught him how to hit.”
- Count SI.com’s Ben Reiter as being in the “Joba belongs in the pen” camp:
The 24-year-old flamethrowing Nebraskan now has 14 big-league starts under his belt, and thanks to a combination of limited pitch counts, poor run support, shaky bullpen work and uneven performances, he’s won just three of them. He’s walked at least four batters in five of those starts, and for every outing in which he’s been dominant — such as the one he turned in last July 25, when he struck out nine batters over seven shutout innings at Fenway — there’s been one like last Friday’s, when he walked five Cleveland Indians and allowed as many earned runs in 4.2 innings. Chamberlain hasn’t by any means been bad in his cumulative half-season as a starter (3.08 ERA, 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings), but he hasn’t been nearly as effective as in his 49 career relief appearances (1.53 ERA, 11.9 K’s/9), in which he can release his 97 MPH fastball and biting slider with impunity, without having to worry about saving something for the next inning, or the next.
- Tickets for the upcoming Staten Island Yankees season go on sale at 10 am on May 18.
- Juan Miranda turns 26 today. Fun fact: Miranda collected his first major league hit on 9/24/08 against current Yankee A.J. Burnett.
[My take: When I do these fun facts, I feel like I’m writing copy for the backs of Topps baseball cards. Here is a fun fact about me: Back in the mid-80s, I was a fact-checker for Sportflics (the cards with the 3-D images on the front).]
- On this date in 1904, Highlanders pitcher Jack Chesbro posts the first of his 41 wins on the season, an American League record that (of course) still stands.
- On this date in 1982, just 14 games into the season, George Steinbrenner fires manager Bob Lemon and replaces him with Gene Michael, the man Lemon had replaced last September.
See ya’ Monday!